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ABB survey reveals attitudes to instrumentation

22 August 2012

A survey by ABB into the use of process instrumentation has produced a snapshot of how process instrumentation users employ their instruments, as well as their thoughts on the use of intelligent instrument and their attitudes to upgrading and investing in their control systems.

The survey of 43 companies found that the largest proportion of plant control systems are up to 10 years old, with 46.5% of system falling into to this category. Another substantial proportion, 39.5%, is between 11 and 20 years old, with only small minorities being older than this.

Survey respondents were also asked about what percentage of their process instrumentation was intelligent, i.e. based on protocols such as HART, Fieldbus and Profibus. Just over 51% of respondents said that between 10 and 20 % of their instrumentation has this type of intelligence, while three equal sized groups of 16.3% chose the option of 21-40%, 41-60% and 60%+.

Some 56.8% of companies answering said that they used this intelligence, while 43.2% do not.

Of those that do use it, over 77% employ it to aid instrument maintenance. Other categories are plant optimization (54.5%), early event warning (54.5%), preventive maintenance (63.6%) and environmental compliance (63.6%).

When asked which parts of the safety system where certified, the majority (67.6%) said that their Emergency Shut Down system was certified by a body such as TUV or Exida, while other large proportions (64.9%) ticked the Fire and Gas and Associated Instrumentation options. Associated analyzers and Environmental Monitoring was cited by 43.2% of respondents.

In terms of instrumentation they will be using in the future, HART (4-20mA) headed the list at 38.7%, followed by Profibus and wireless (both 22.6%), Foundation Fieldbus (9.7%) and Ethernet IP on 6.5%.

Over 77% of respondents envisaged significant investment in instrumentation to meet health and safety legislation, while over 70% also intended to invest to meet environmental compliance obligations and improvements in their process efficiency. Over 60% intended investing in instrumentation to cut energy consumption, while 6.5% would use it for business management information.

For more information on the ‘How do you measure up?’ survey please email

moreinstrumentation@gb.abb.com or call 0870 600 6122 ref: ‘How Do You Measure Up’.

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