Virtualisation technology, that enables a single server to run multiple operat- ing systems and applications simultaneously can help manu- facturers streamline system management and lower the cost of ownership of equipment, says automation contractor Honeywell strategy and global marketing vice-president Vimal Kapur.
The process control environment often requires separate servers that control different applications. Virtualisation integrates plant subsystems, including process control, asset management and safety and security, to give operators a more comprehensive view of how their plant is functioning overall, he says.
The virtualisation technology enables off-line testing and development solutions that can be used for training, simulation and engineering. Further, the automated alarm management suite improves on-line process safety and operational efficiency, he adds.
Virtualisation reduces disruptive operat- ing system and hardware changes, sim- plifying overall systems management. Virtualisation also improves the reli- ability of systems and the data from virtualised systems improve plant safety, reliability, efficiency and sustainability by allowing operators to make better-informed decisions in the control room, Kapur says.
The system enables remote monitoring, through eServer solutions, which provide Internet access to the system. Honeywell’s virtualisation solutions have been awarded VMware Ready status, which provides independent assurance that Honeywell has tested its software with VMware vSphere and that it was found to be reliable and secure, he concludes.
In March, Honeywell was chosen as the main automation contractor (MAC) for oil giant Shell. The global framework agreement is part of Shell’s long- term MAC strategy to increase production, while lowering operating costs by equipping its worldwide facilities with integrated process automa- tion technology, says Honeywell process solutions president Norm Gilsdorf.
“The agreement allows Shell to provide consistent, global delivery of the highest-quality technology with strategic support at sites around the world,” says Shell group equipment manager Ronaldo Marques.
Designing a facility with an integrated system enables manufacturers to accurately plan how to integrate new technology into processes in the future, preventing systems from becoming obsolete.
“Clients want Honeywell’s early engagement and to design integrated process automation systems from the ground up because it is a smart strategy for protecting an asset’s long-term viability and the business’s profitability,” Gilsdorf concludes.