Saturday, July 20, 2013

Industrial Controls Get an Upgrade

Oil and gas, wastewater management, and wind farms construction projects are all experiencing some momentum as of late. These large-scale infrastructure projects not only require proper planning for on-time construction, but also typically need a significant host of automation technology to enable operators to manage processes such as sewage treatment, for example.
These automation and networking technologies aren’t new; contractors have been building the systems into infrastructure projects for decades. The only difference is now the technology has a fresher consumer look-and-feel, not to mention increased rugged capabilities targeted specifically to industries such as oil and gas.
Red Lion Controls,  York, Pa., has released its newest generation of operator interface panels. The Graphite series combines plug-in modules with protocol conversion, data logging, and Web-based monitoring and control.
In particular, this allows industries such as oil and gas and water/wastewater to connect, monitor, and control processes. The new series is designed to be sleek, rugged, and flexible, according to Jeff Thornton, director of product management, Red Lion Controls.
Addressing the first point, he says the design of the panels has the look-and-feel of an iPad, giving operators an easy-to-use panel that ‘feels familiar.’ However, it is the rugged capabilities that he says will really appeal to industries such as oil and gas. This includes an increased temperature rating and improved shock and vibration, among others. Speaking to the final point, Thornton says the modular capabilities will enable customers to save time and space.
As new and renovation oil and gas, wastewater, and wind farm construction projects continue to gain global traction, owners and operators will face big decisions regarding which types of industrial automation and networking technology to use in the facilities.
Certainly rugged capabilities will be a big consideration, but what about the user interface? The consumerization of devices has crept into many areas of the working world. A user-friendly and familiar look-and-feel of the operator interface panels could potentially also be a big consideration for these infrastructure construction projects going forward.