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Verification of Characteristics of Wireless Instruments installed in Plant Facilities

~Evaluation of Stability and Reliability of Wireless Communication in Plant Field~


(December 2015)


Abstract: It is well known that process variables such as flow, pressure and temperature in plant field networks are normally transmitted by cables between instruments and central control systems. Recently, wireless instrumentation technology has attracted wide attention in the process automation field, intended to achieve 3 main benefits: (1) reduced costs by minimizing cable installation run lengths, (2) as a backup strategy for Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in case of incident, and (3) advancement of measurement technology. However actual application of wireless technology to plant facilities has historically included some uncertainty due to unknown performance characteristics at operating plant sites.  The key performance characteristics of interest include “stability” and “reliability” of wireless instrument communication at operating plant locations; subjected to environmental conditions including metal obstructions like tanks, boilers, pipes and, production equipment. Due to the uncertainty, the adoption of wireless technology at operating plant sites has been slow despite the availability of commercial industrial wireless sensor products since 2007.  In this paper, verification results of characteristics of wireless instruments obtained by field tests conducted in actual plant facilities are reported, as well as, our future plans to optimally apply this technology to plant facilities.

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