Electronic marshalling technology works like a charm

17 September 2013

Emerson Process Management has announced that its CHARMs (Characterization Modules) technology has already logged one billion operating hours at more than 300 sites.

The company’s DeltaV digital automation system, featuring electronic marshalling with CHARMs technology is said to transform and streamline automation practices that were developed based on technology limitations that existed more than three decades ago.

The technology was developed initially for offshore platforms, which have space and weight limitations and where last-minute automation design changes routinely result in high costs and expensive delays. Instead of implementing the traditional approach of a pre-engineered physical wiring scheme, CHARMs technology provides a flexible approach that reduces the complexity of connecting automation systems with thousands of temperature, pressure, level, flow, and other control and measurement devices in a typical process operation.

"DeltaV’s CHARMs technology has overturned 35 years of industry thinking and promised to change how automation projects are designed and implemented," said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. The technology provides solution to replace a long-standing industry approach that did not provide the needed flexibility for today’s highly complex and challenging projects. The simplicity and enhanced flexibility accommodates late project changes, eliminates hardware, and helps customers reduce field rework, minimising costly schedule delays. This new solution has since been proven to bring similar benefits to automation projects in many process industries.

"We saw a 40% drop in installation costs over traditional approaches," said Bryan Beyer, operations manager, Southern States Chemical, a sulphuric acid supplier. "The simplicity of CHARMs technology also means fewer failure points, which translates into more reliability and greater up-time for our plant."

The technology has also proven popular among innovative engineering and procurement contractors such as WorleyParsons, which engineers, designs and builds plants and platforms and works with Emerson to provide the automation systems. Most recently, WorleyParsons has experienced significant cost, space and weight savings from reduced wiring and cabling required for a sophisticated Arctic offshore installation. "As our customers ask us to take on increasingly large, complex projects – often with fast-track schedules – changes late in the design process are inevitable," said Robert Armstrong, chief instruments and controls engineer, WorleyParsons. "CHARMs technology streamlines how projects are designed and engineered and as a result, has helped control the cost and schedule impact of last-minute changes."

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