Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How should we tune into better understanding of online measurements?

august9_2010 082 Metso Automation’s Newsletter of Kajaani Product Line 1, 2004 “The Analyzer” Wrote, “In process automation, rapid  technological development from business systems down to intelligent field devices and analyzers is progressing to meet existing and coming demand. New control and communication protocols are linking different system levels more tightly which emphasizes the importance of accurate measurements. The solution is as strong as its weakest link. Too often it is still the measurement area.”

The approach sounds Top-Down for me. At the early days of Kajaani Electronics the measurement was they key for everything and based on that we could think about process management and control.

Nevertheless, corporate cultures change over time. On-line measurements are based typically on in-direct measurements correlated to laboratory standards. Quite often we try to measure something that is not even well enough defined to start with.

Multipoint measurement has been along for quite some time. But according to The Analyzer “A new way of measuring originates from different engineering sciences combined together.”

Developing an analyzer needs at least physics, chemistry, micromechanics, electronics, sampling, software and many other engineering sciences. The real challenge is about how to handle the complexity and end up with simple and versatile solutions working in demanding operational environments.

When the level of complexity increases automation suppliers must understand the requirements arising from the process. We should also think about the ways to get that understanding. We need to have close contacts and an open dialog with our clients. The processes don’t talk but people managing them are eager to give us insights if we’re able and willing to listen.

A way to cope with the complexities is to combine ones own knowledge with collaborating partners and experts participating in networks working towards a united goal.

Big and small companies are learning to utilize the power of open and closed networks. These consist of universities, research centers, customers and specialized suppliers.

Critical mass is needed to develop, maintain and keep up the networks.

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