March 2006

Special Report: Instruments and Networks

Abnormal situation prevention through smart field devices

High-speed data capture and analysis can detect many process anomalies

Eryurek, E., Sharpe, P., White, D., Emerson Process Management

Avoiding abnormal situations remains a key foundation in the process industries' pursuit of operational excellence. Abnormal situations can vary widely in severity and consequences from slightly off-specification products to catastrophic equipment failures. These events can be expensive, sometimes dangerous, and occasionally cause environmental and health issues. Three hundred seventy-nine abnormal events in the hydrocarbon industries with individual event losses exceeding $10 million were identified in the period 1970 to 1999.1 Average losses per year were approximately $700 million with 25 of these events having individual losses exceeding $150 million. Unfortunately, some of these inciden

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