Wireless: Handhelds Hold Sway

Staff in the field increasingly rely on wireless handheld devices.

By Seán Ottewell, Editor at Large

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The future, he says, is obvious: tablets that are lighter, thinner and with a bigger screen — like an iPad. "I think that a process-hardened iPad will become a reality. Then eventually we could have augmented reality where you could simply hold up the tablet anywhere in the process unit and instantly access all the process, diagnostics, etc., information that you need based on where you were standing and looking. We've pretty much achieved that now, but it's not 'Apple-sexy' yet."

Extensible System
The latest wireless development from Invensys Operations Management, Plano, Texas, came in early May when the company launched the latest version of its Wonderware IntelaTrac mobile workforce-management and decision-support system.

"Its extensibility enables our clients and ecosystem partners to integrate a number of systems throughout the plant with an IntelaTrac mobile device, delivering tasks directly to mobile operators and making them more effective and efficient," says Jim Frider, mobile solutions product marketing manager. "These capabilities help close the information gap that many mobile systems have and deliver useful information directly to the people that need it the most."

Chevron already is benefitting. In February Invensys won a contract to supply the company with IntelaTrac (Figure 2). "Chevron wants a mobile platform capable of supporting many business work processes and an 'out of the box' solution," notes Eric Moorehead, North America client care executive program leader. "Our IntelaTrac solution has been used by Chevron in its downstream business process for several years. By extending the availability of IntelaTrac, Chevron anticipates being able to support many new business processes using a single mobile platform for operations, maintenance, reliability tracking, production data collection and safety inspections across the enterprise."

IntelaTrac will assist operators, field engineers, technicians and supervisors in creating inspection and regulatory procedures. It also will assign, schedule and execute rounds and report findings that are prioritized based on the level of severity of the issue. IntelaTrac enables creating and defining procedures based on best practices, as well as regulatory compliance rules and regulations. Such procedures are re-usable across many operator and technician rounds to ensure that inspections are performed on a routine basis as mandated by overall corporate policies as well as regulations.

Harnessing Handhelds
Honeywell Process Solutions, Phoenix, announced in April that Woongjin Polysilicon will use its Mobile Station technology as well as Experion Process Knowledge System and Foundation Fieldbus at a 5,000-ton/yr. polysilicon plant being constructed in Sangju, South Korea. Mobile Station is designed to increase worker productivity by enabling operators to use a wireless tablet or other handheld device to access critical process information, historical data, graphics and other key functions in the field.

The need for reliability is magnified for corporations such as Woongjin Polysilicon that aim to become global manufacturing leaders," says H. Han, domestic sales leader, Honeywell Korea. "The solution Honeywell is providing Woongjin addresses this issue by delivering the most-relevant information to operators controlling the processes, maximizing the productivity of the workers in the field and promoting overall safety. Having those critical factors in place will allow plant personnel to focus on maintaining high-quality production levels."

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