April 2007

Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Proactive automation maintenance cuts engineering hours, averts process problems

Some suppliers are automatically issuing control system updates and other important notifications

Coulvillon, E., Solomon, J., Praxair Technology Inc.; Van Camp, K., Emerson Process Management

A growing concern with advanced digital automation is keeping current the critical updates and other information vital to safe, efficient and reliable process control. Few users maintain large engineering staffs dedicated to control system design and upkeep because digital automation is so much easier to develop, configure, troubleshoot, modify and expand than former DCS equipment. This has had the unwanted effect of leaving maintenance of these systems in the lurch at a time when such work may be more important than ever. At Praxair, maintaining the automation running five hydrogen production units within four customer refineries is the responsibility of just the two Praxair authors alone

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