Yokogawa advances web-based operations management software

Yokogawa Electric Corp. has enhanced its FAST/TOOLS web-based operations management and visualisation software to, it said, improve the efficiency, security and operation of remote process management infrastructure.

The enhancements in new version R10.01 are said to respond to industry's growing use of data from smart devices, as well as trends to consolidate operations across dispersed assets over large geographical areas.

According to Yokogawa, though, only 5% of data from smart devices gets transferred into meaningful information, only 10% is 'relationally structured', and more than 50% is poor in quality.

End users, it argues, need an information strategy that facilitates collaboration and information-sharing across different platforms, systems, geographies, and corporate networks. This require technology and networks that seamlessly connect devices and applications, and manage them as a single system for operations, engineering, and maintenance activities.

The main target markets are: oil and gas upstream/midstream, petrochemicals, chemicals, renewable energy, power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, food, iron and steel, water supply, wastewater treatment.

As most enterprises in these sectors will take a hybrid approach to management and control solutions, Yokogawa said it has developed FAST/TOOLS to "help customers utilise their application investments and transform data into meaningful information by providing a transparent environment which can integrate multi-tier architectures and a variety of sources that can be accessed and shared globally."

As explained further in a Yokogawa press release, the main feature of the new version include:

1. Enabling the adoption of enterprise solutions

To help build process information infrastructure that delivers continuous services and applications across several enterprise levels, this new solution empowers companies to create enterprise-wide information management centres without boundaries using FAST/TOOLS for high-scale deployment. Multiple layers can be used within a single organisation, with organic data exchange between these layers.

An enterprise operation module is responsible for gathering the data across several levels on different servers, and allows for supervision at the upper-layer single-operator console. For this, the system establishes the optimal path for accessing data that is to be presented to the user. It tries to find alternative paths to the data if access to a certain server is temporarily interrupted.

A rule-based authorisation model authorises a user to perform certain operational tasks, with an enterprise user being able to obtain information from multiple servers and a local user obtaining data from a local server. Template-based graphics and object-oriented structures can have local or enterprise properties, eliminating the need for time-consuming distribution mechanisms.

2. Information model (process hierarchy)

The requirements for enterprise-wide process automation solutions are driving the need for any-to-any “collaboration” across different platforms, geographies, and corporate networks.

To make sense out of the ever-increasing volume of data, Yokogawa has implemented an “information model” to allow for process hierarchies. This means that multilevel namespaces can be created on both items and objects up to 128 levels, and up to 255 characters, e.g. “Country.Region.BusinessUnit.Area.Section.Unit. …… Tag (item)”.

Each namespace can be used as a grouping for other entity types. This means, for example, that at the process unit level, an oil well can be defined. At the area level, an accumulator can be defined that accumulates all the oil production of the area. And at the business unit level, an accumulator can be defined that accumulates all oil production of the area level accumulators.

3. New RDBMS interfaces to the enterprise environment

As part of its vision to help more people unlock actionable insights from big data, Yokogawa has released an embedded RDBMS engine which allows customers to perform more complex queries that cross-section FAST/TOOLS data and integrate that data into their own Microsoft SQL- or ORACLE-like environments.

For big data analytics and fast insights, this has advantages over traditional methods. Data that needs to be exposed to foreign databases is first mapped to local database tables, thereby offloading the supervisory control system, and the shape of these (pre-defined) tables can be defined (modified) at engineering time, ensuring that only relevant data is exposed to the customer's database in a way that best suits the application.

The new RDBMS engine contains a "distributor" module that runs on the same machine as the customer’s database and provides an interface to the mapped tables, allowing them to be used as "linked server" tables in the customer’s RDBMS system. This method improves data integration by allowing these tables to be queried and reported in the same way as native tables. Yokogawa also works with virtual environments to give customers built-in cloud backup and disaster recovery in this area.

4. Wireless mobility solution enhancements

Wireless is the next step towards the deployment of standard IT solutions in the world of management and process control. By bringing down the walls of traditional information gathering and delivery, this mobility is game changing.

The use of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones is an integral part of Yokogawa’s information technology infrastructure. It enables organisations to measure and share context-based information anytime, anywhere, providing real-time insight for the timely localisation of incidents and the making of faster and better informed decisions on the go.

Delivering on the promise of giving customers access to their information on any device, Yokogawa confirms the availability of new touch-optimised experiences on Android and other device platforms with new input components, alarm widgets and alarm acknowledgment capabilities, trending, reporting, and faceplates.

5. Enhanced ProSafe-RS support for upstream oil and gas applications

With this new release, it is now possible to easily support gas flow-rate calculation functions in the ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system and reporting and data retaining capabilities in FAST/TOOLS. To monitor and control gas wells and pipelines, gas flow-rate compensation is required.

The in-situ gas volume needs to be compensated to a standard volume because the gas volume rises or falls significantly depending on the process temperature and pressure. This compensation is usually carried out by a control device or dedicated flow computer.

For customers who wish to eliminate the need for such dedicated devices, Yokogawa has incorporated gas flow-rate calculation functions, with an easy to navigate parameter settings overview for American Gas Association (AGA) calculation and the ability to create hourly/daily/monthly closing reports on totals/averages/PVs/flow-times, and shut-in times.

6. Distributed temperature sensing and FAST/TOOLS

Yokogawa sets a new standard in distributed temperature sensing by providing an integrated automation solution based on the DTSX200 distributed temperature sensor and FAST/TOOLS that is designed for oil/gas conventional and unconventional in-well (down-hole) applications, LNG and refinery facilities, pipeline and tank leak detection, and other thermal monitoring applications.

With this new release, it is now possible to easily create 3-dimensional data from the DTSX. The temperature for each point along the fibre is measured at each sample interval, which is returned as block data. The advanced trend component can display distance against temperature or time against temperature, and DTSX sample data integrity is guaranteed by data-buffering capabilities and automatic recovery in the event of a network interrupt.