Continuous process industries (e.g., oil and gas) are not typically a major point of coverage for Design News. However, some recent news from Yokogawa, a supplier of instrumentation, process control and automation solutions, should be of interest to the Design News audience due to its relation to automation systems and process design.
The news is that Fractionation Research (FRI) and Yokogawa Corporation of America have begun collaborating on automating procedures and data acquisition for the FRI research facility at the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater, OK. FRI is a non-profit research consortium supported by industry memberships which include the world’s largest petroleum and petrochemical companies. It was founded in the 1950s to engage in research that was too expensive for any one company.
As part of the collaborative effort, the staff of FRI will work with Yokogawa consultants and implementation experts to automate and optimize procedures used in startup, shutdown and transitions in the distillation columns at the facility. FRI will use Yokogawa’s Modular Procedural Automation (MPA) methodology to evaluate and automate these procedures.
MPA is Yokogawa’s consultative methodology that documents and automates procedural operations in continuous processes. According to Yokogawa, the modular design approach facilitates standardized implementation that enables facilities like FRI to quickly make design and configuration changes critical to its research mission.
Ultimately, the goal of using MPA as part of this collaboration is to assure that different operators start, change and stop operation via identical steps, thus facilitating the attainment of safety goals.
On a related note, Yokogawa is a founding member of ISA106, the newly formed standards committee focusing on defining procedural automation standards and best practices for the continuous process industry.