‘Pervasive Sensing’ to Improve Site Safety, Reliability and Energy Efficiency

Emerson Process Management is addressing the emerging market for intelligent sensors in process manufacturing and production operations with an expanded “pervasive sensing” portfolio that extends the company’s focus to fill the need for improved visibility of conditions outside of process control. Emerson estimates that over the next 10 years this additional served market will more than double the $16 billion traditional measurement market. 

Pervasive sensing can help enhance site safety, security, equipment reliability, and energy efficiency in industries such as oil & gas production, refining, chemical, power and mining, where installing additional sensors to monitor non-process parameters has traditionally been physically difficult, expensive or technically challenging. For example, the risks associated with equipment degradation or failure were historically dealt with by periodic manual inspections and reactive maintenance, or energy losses were simply unidentified.

With its Smart Wireless technologies and advances in sensor technology and installation techniques, Emerson has overcome the cost/value barrier by providing lower cost of deployment, reliable non-intrusive installation, and low lifecycle costs, combined with ease-of-use in sensor applications. New software applications and embedded sensor intelligence also are becoming available to interpret the data from these sensors and convert it into actionable information, enabling prompt response to potential problems and better insight for improved decision-making.

“Our customers are like anyone else – they want actionable information that can make their lives safer, more predictable, and save them cost, risk and time,” said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer at Emerson Process Management. “This goes beyond the control room and optimizing process performance. They want clarity and certainty of conditions for business-critical decision-making across all aspects of their operations. To achieve this, a more comprehensive network of sensors is needed. Pervasive Sensing provides the foundation for their insight.

“A great analogy we are all familiar with is the ongoing evolution of automobile sensors. They have evolved from managing engine performance and simple ‘check engine’ alerts to providing actionable information about all aspects of car performance – such as precise tire pressure and fuel economy – to help maintain safety, economy, and provide failure prevention diagnostics.”

Emerson is already seeing customers move aggressively to take advantage of pervasive sensing. An Eastern European oil processing plant is currently deploying a full wireless infrastructure to allow the addition of 12,000 Pervasive Sensing instruments – or 60% beyond the base of traditional process measurements –to better detect energy losses, equipment corrosion and safety releases.

“The Pervasive Sensing opportunity grew out of Emerson listening to our customers and better understanding their needs,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president, Emerson Process Management. “While the industry has widespread adoption of process related automation, the opportunities for utilizing technologies that make a profound, measureable business impact outside of the process have been elusive. Not any more. The combination of pervasive sensing with software and algorithms for interpretation and decision-making is empowering customers with actionable insights in places they never dreamed.”

Examples of Emerson Process Management products that address the pervasive sensing market include ultrasonic and point sensors in the recently acquired NetSafety and Groveley product lines, corrosion and erosion detection technology from the Roxar acquisition, vibration sensing of rotating equipment from CSI, and the Rosemount wireless steam trap monitor and wireless bolt-on surface temperature probe.

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