Archive for category Process Automation Controllers

How to Avoid Honeywell Process Instrument Explorer (PIE) Software Communication Errors

Honeywell’s Process Instrument Explorer (PIE) configuration software used for configuring UDC controllers and the UDA analytical controller communicates with the instruments via RS-485, Ethernet, or Infrared (IR).

Since most newer PCs don’t ship with built-in serial ports to connect an IR adapter, you can use a USB-to-RS-232 converter, and then connect using the Actisys serial-to-infrared adapter (ACT-IR220L+). The USB converter will plug directly into your PC’s USB port, but install on a virtual COM port.

Here’s where it gets tricky: That COM port has to match the COM port used in PIE, and PIE doesn’t support ports above COM8.

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Honeywell Increases Analog/Loop Processing Speed on HC900 Process and Safety Controller

Written by: Dan Weise

Good news!  Recent upgrades to Honeywell’s HC900 Process and Safety Controller includes a major update to analog/loop processing speeds. Even though analog/loop cycle time has been 500mS since the early 2000s, early versions of the HC900 controller were only capable of a processing speed of 2x/second.

The upgrade to the HC900 CPU’s microprocessor hardware and an associated firmware update broke that processing speed limit for their SIL-rated CPUs. Honeywell C50S and C70S model CPUs v6.1 will now process analog inputs and loops at a rate of 10x/second (100mS per update). If your process needs additional analog/loop throughput speed, you will benefit from these enhancements to the HC900 systems.

To run at 100mS, a qualified hardware configuration is required:

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Combustion control systems go modular with Honeywell Slate

A typical combustion system is complex to say the least.  It is usually made up of various devices from multiple vendors that have to be combined and connected in order for the system to work.  These systems are not typically flexible and are hard to change once the system has been set up.

Honeywell has come up with a completely new system that provides limitless flexibility with fewer components.  This product has been designed as a fresh start for the combustion industry or in Honeywell’s words, “It’s time to wipe the SLATE clean.”

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Five Key Features Required for a Perfect Fit Distributed Control System

If you work in the industrial sector, you understand the never-ending push to increase uptime and improve reliability at your plant. Today’s processes require faster and more accurate engineering. Because of this, most companies are looking for ways to boost operational effectiveness and increase maintenance efficiency at their plants.

A distributed control system (DCS) is a control system where control elements are distributed throughout the system, as opposed to using a single controller at a central location. But how do you choose the right DCS? And how do you decide what functions are critical to your process?Functional_levels_of_a_Distributed_Control_System.svg

Honeywell recently released a white paper that discusses five key features for a perfect fit DCS if you’re thinking about implementing one at your plant.

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How can I use a controller to detect thermocouple drift?

If you use thermocouples in high-temperature applications, you’re aware of the issues thermocouple drift can cause. Thermocouples drift. It’s not a question of IF, it’s a question of WHEN. And thermocouple drift costs processors time and money in processing errors, waste, downtime, and lost production.

Thermocouple drift occurs due to metallurgical changes of the metal alloy elements over the extended use of the sensor. Thermocouples can drift by as much as several degrees per year.

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How do you keep production going when a control thermocouple burns out?

There’s no such thing as a fail-proof thermocouple. Over time, thermocouples fail. To compensate for that, a temperature controller will normally go into upscale burnout mode, and drive the furnace burner to low fire or turn down the SCRs.  But then, you have to deal with the downtime, rework, or even the potential of losing product.

Not long ago, a plant operator called to see if there we had a way to work around this burnout mode, so he wasn’t wasting time and materials.

His heat treat load had almost finished its final soak when the control thermocouple broke open. The controller, as expected, drove the furnace burner to low fire. The operator then popped the controller into manual mode, so he could nurse the load through the remainder of its soak cycle. He used the temperature reading on a recorder, fed from a second, unbroken thermocouple in the protection tube as temperature indication for the load.

If the situation had happened in the middle of the night, it may not have been handled with the same attention the day-shift operator had provided.

So, he asked if there was any way to have the controller automatically “fail over” to a second thermocouple. 

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