The May Durban branch Technology Evening broke with the traditional timing of the first Wednesday of the month in order to avoid a clash with the election.
On the evening of the 14 May, Dean Trattles gave a very interesting and well received presentation at the Durban Country Club on the topic ‘Key Considerations in Implementation of a Process Information System’. Dean is the regional manager sub-Saharan Africa for OSISoft, who kindly sponsored the evening.
Dean covered the background of the evolution of process information systems, their use for the collection and interpretation of historical information, and gave some examples of the economic benefits that can be achieved through their correct application. He also showed how they are linked to process control systems and demonstrated how vastly improved data storage has enhanced the capability. It was made clear, however, that their purpose was not for optimisation of plant operation by the application of Advanced Process Control, but rather for the interpretation of plant conditions to ascertain the effectiveness of the control systems that have been applied.
He also covered aspects such as cybersecurity, audit and event and geospatial context within a process information system.
Questions from the floor showed that the talk had been clear, relevant and interesting. Many of the questions centred on the subject of data transmission sampling rate and how this must be set with the response time of each individual measurement in mind. That led to a question about the possibility of such an information system being applied to an Instrument Protective Function and it became clear that the fast required response of an IPF made it unsuitable for this type of application, but that a high speed event recorder may be appropriate. However, for most applications in large process plants the response time for monitoring and control purposes is relatively slow and hence a relatively low sampling frequency can be used to obtain the essential process data.
When the final questions had been answered, branch chairman Howard Lister thanked Dean for the thought-provoking talk. The evening ended with attendees enjoying a supper that was up to the Country Club’s usual high standard and more networking over a few after-dinner drinks.
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