NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2015:
Smart Sensors ‒ New Technologies for Process Optimisation

from 2015-11-20

At the 78th NAMUR Annual General Meeting in Bad Neuenahr on 5 and 6 November 2015 users of automation technology in the process industry met invited experts and managers of manufacturers and associations for the traditional exchange of technical expertise.

The theme of this event was ‘Smart Sensors – New Technologies for Process optimisation’, a forward-looking topic which is considered an important basis for further innovations in automation technology. Innovation is also what this year’s sponsor of the Annual General Meeting, Krohne, is committed to.

This year there were as many as 630 attendees who, at the beginning of the two-day event, were informed by the chairman, Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik), about the results of the association’s activities in 2015. The successful registration of NAMUR both as an association and as a trademark as well as the increase in membership are proof of the association’s continual development. The fact that two of our colleagues, Michael Pelz (Clariant) and Dr. Bernd Schrörs (Bayer), were honoured with the Golden Honorary Badge once again highlights the dedication with which representatives of our member companies pursue the association’s objectives.

By way of introducing this year’s sponsor, Dr. Thomas Steckenreiter (Bayer) gave a brief overview of Krohne’s business activities and global presence.

Representing the sponsor, Stephan Neuburger, Michael Rademacher-Dubbick and Dr. Attila Bilgic described Krohne’s corporate strategy and philosophy as well as their technology. Krohne is an international family-owned enterprise with a long-term strategy and the courage to tackle difficult developments in measuring technology and eventually provide solutions as well as the associated knowledge required for application.

Dr. Armin Brucker (BASF) and Oliver Weigel (BASF) then explained where NAMUR had identified development needs on the road towards smart field devices. A standardised list of a few equipment parameters, integrated into the FDI device package, would permit quick commissioning and swift replacement of devices. A selection has already been made. If ‘Ethernet in the field’ were to meet user requirements, this communication technology could make complex device integration easy for the user.

Tobias Schlichtmann (BASF) explained the current status of asset management. Unfortunately, existing data today do not always reach their analytical tools for inferring the condition of assets and avoiding failures. Data ‘from the socket’ via an information channel might provide a solution.

Dr Michael Maiwald (BAM) then discussed the contents of the new ‘Process Sensors 4.0’ technology roadmap. Based on four hypothesis regarding cultural change, soft sensors, ability to communicate and integration, he described future requirements and outlined prospects of implementation.

The 28 workshops held on Thursday afternoon reflected the diversity of topics dealt with in the Working Groups. Subjects such as FDI with OPC-UA, flow meters, soft sensors, resource efficiency, logistics, fire detectors, and the Machine Directive were discussed. In the sponsor’s workshops participants could acquire detailed knowledge of the technology developed by Krohne.

In a discussion held in the evening about future communication structures NAMUR said the association would welcome a second communication channel for sensors and field devices for transferring large data volumes that go beyond pure control signals. This would in particular provide a solution for back-fitting old plants.

The second day of the Meeting began with the traditional recognition of outstanding theses written in the field of intelligent process and operational control. This year the deputy chairman, Dr. Matthias Fankhänel (BASF), presented two NAMUR Awards for doctoral theses which were then briefly explained by the authors.

In his presentation Thomas Scherwietes (Evonik) demonstrated the importance of type testing for reliable operation. Whether a NAMUR test seal will be introduced, will certainly also depend on its acceptance by manufacturers who will be consulted on this point in the wake of the Annual General Meeting.

Dr. Jens Bernshausen (Invite) and Dirk Hablawetz (BASF) reported on NAMUR highlights. First the description of the current status of NAMUR-MTP was given, based on the method of integrating modules into the control system that had been presented at last year’s AGM. Then the benefits of the new online method were explained, a method to capture the field data of safety instrumented functions (SIFs). Data evaluations may serve as proof of SIF reliability according to DIN EN 61508 and DIN EN 61511.

Martin Schwibach (BASF) then outlined the user’s perspective of ‘security’. After NAMUR Recommendation NE 153 with the demands for ‘Secure by Design’ ‘Secure by Implementation’ and ‘Secure in Deployment’ was drafted in consultation with representatives of manufacturers, politics/authorities, research and partner organisations, it is now planned to prepare a Security 2020 roadmap. This roadmap will be developed by a VDI/VDE-GMA technical committee and start in 2016. The presentation also included a brief discussion with Gunther Koschnick, the general manager of the ZVEI Automation Association, which underlines the close involvement of associations in these activities.

Martin Zeller (Bayer) described the importance of speaking the same language and where automation affects operational excellence. Automation, he said, was the link between production staff and technical process and helped to drive the continuous improvement process.

Traditionally, the last technical presentation led over to the theme of next year’s Annual General Meeting which will take place at Dorint Parkhotel, Bad Neuenahr, on 10 and 11 November 2016. The theme will be

Solutions for Optimization in the Global Process Industry

The sponsor will be Yokogawa. We eagerly await the results of NAMUR and Yokogawa’s joint preparations for next year’s Annual General Meeting.

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