The November technical meeting of the Yorkshire Branch for the 2016-17 season was held at the Bridge Inn, Wetherby. Members and guests heard a talk by Carl Pinches of Siemens and Richard Yeates of Underwoods Electrical Distributors about process automation and instrumentation in the minerals industry.In a detailed presentation, Carl outlined the broad demands of modern business for information and control of production processes, with management requiring different information than operators who control the process, but all from the same control system and instrumentation.
Using various real world examples of asphalt plants, water abstraction and process water flow, Carl illustrated how modern systems can not only be used for production, but also performance monitoring, maintenance planning, inventory, environmental and safety compliance. After reviewing systems, Carl then went on to look in detail at the various types of sensors, controllers and instruments available depending on the material or fluid being measured.
Meeting ISO standards is a key requirement of many businesses and so it is essential to have instrumentation to calibrate process sensors in order to ensure compliance and an audit trail of maintenance and inspection. Modern systems are now fully integrated for this function making record keeping faster and more accurate.
Finally, cyber security is an increasing threat, not only to operations, but also to intellectual property and company data, so it is essential that systems are capable of encoding and protecting vital data against unwanted outside attention. Siemens systems are constantly being upgraded and improved to ensure maximum protection.