Sunday, June 30, 2019

Oil & Gas and Power Grids Have New "Cause for Concern" from Hackers

A report released in June, from the security firm Dragos, describes a worrisome development by a hacker group named, “Xenotime” and at least two dangerous oil and gas intrusions and ongoing reconnaissance on United States power grids.

Multiple ICS (Industrial Control Sectors) sectors now face the XENOTIME threat; this means individual verticals – such as oil and gas, manufacturing, or electric – cannot ignore threats to other ICS entities because they are not specifically targeted.


The Dragos researchers have termed this threat proliferation as the world’s most dangerous cyberthreat since an event in 2017 where Xenotime had caused a serious operational outage at a crucial site in the Middle East.

The fact that concerns cybersecurity experts the most is that this hacking attack was a malware that chose to target the facility safety processes (SIS – safety instrumentation system).

For example, when temperatures in a reactor increase to an unsafe level, an SIS will automatically start a cooling process or immediately close a valve to prevent a safety accident. The SIS safety stems are both hardware and software that combine to protect facilities from life threatening accidents.

At this point, no one is sure who is behind Xenotime. Russia has been connected to one of the critical infrastructure attacks in the Ukraine.  That attack was viewed to be the first hacker related power grid outage.

This is a “Cause for Concern” post that was published by Dragos on June 14, 2019.

“While none of the electric utility targeting events has resulted in a known, successful intrusion into victim organizations to date, the persistent attempts, and expansion in scope is cause for definite concern. XENOTIME has successfully compromised several oil and gas environments which demonstrates its ability to do so in other verticals. Specifically, XENOTIME remains one of only four threats (along with ELECTRUM, Sandworm, and the entities responsible for Stuxnet) to execute a deliberate disruptive or destructive attack.

XENOTIME is the only known entity to specifically target safety instrumented systems (SIS) for disruptive or destructive purposes. Electric utility environments are significantly different from oil and gas operations in several aspects, but electric operations still have safety and protection equipment that could be targeted with similar tradecraft. XENOTIME expressing consistent, direct interest in electric utility operations is a cause for deep concern given this adversary’s willingness to compromise process safety – and thus integrity – to fulfill its mission.

XENOTIME’s expansion to another industry vertical is emblematic of an increasingly hostile industrial threat landscape. Most observed XENOTIME activity focuses on initial information gathering and access operations necessary for follow-on ICS intrusion operations. As seen in long-running state-sponsored intrusions into US, UK, and other electric infrastructure, entities are increasingly interested in the fundamentals of ICS operations and displaying all the hallmarks associated with information and access acquisition necessary to conduct future attacks. While Dragos sees no evidence at this time indicating that XENOTIME (or any other activity group, such as ELECTRUM or ALLANITE) is capable of executing a prolonged disruptive or destructive event on electric utility operations, observed activity strongly signals adversary interest in meeting the prerequisites for doing so.”

Thursday, June 27, 2019

NH3 Slip Measurement in the Fluidized-Bed Catalytic Cracking Process


AN APPLICATION NOTE FROM SIEMENS PROCESS ANALYTICS

Fluidized-Bed Catalytic Cracking (FCC) is the most important and widely used refinery process for converting low value heavy oils into more valuable gasoline and lighter products.

The typical FCC process will convert 75% or more of the heavy oils to gasoline and lighter products. Originally, chemical cracking was accomplished by heating the oil to super high temperatures but the catalytic process has almost completely replaced thermal cracking.

The cracking process produces carbon (coke) which remains on the catalyst particle and rapidly lowers its activity. To maintain the catalyst activity at a usable level, it is necessary to regenerate the catalyst by burning off the coke with air. As a result, the catalyst is continuously moved from reactor to regenerator and back to reactor.


Contact Ives Equipment for more information. Call (877) 768-1600 or visit https://ivesequipment.com.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Calibration Services for Process Instrumentation


Measuring, positioning, recording, and controlling are important parameters in all industries processes. That’s why process instruments need to deliver the highest levels of precision and reliability.

Today calibration measuring devices is an important production and competitive activity due to steadily increasing demands on reliability, availability and performance.

Off-site Calibration Services

Siemens offers factory calibration services for Pressure, Temperature and Flowmeters from both our own and other manufacturers.

On-site Calibration Services

Siemens offers on-site calibrations for Pressure, Temperature and Belt scale of our own products as well as those of other manufacturers.

This video presents the viewer with explanations and concepts for the following:

  • The Siemens Process Instrument Services overview.
  • A description of field instrument technologies.
  • What calibration means.
  • Reasons for calibrating field devices.
  • The importance of calibration and verification.
  • What traceability means.
  • Why accreditation is needed.
  • The Siemens Factory Calibration process.
  • The Siemens On-site Calibration process.
  • What verification means.
  • Reasons for verification.
  • The Siemens On-site Verification process.

For more information, contact Ives Equipment:
(877) 768-1600
https://ivesequipment.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What Are Pneumatic Actuators?

rack and pinion actuator
Internal view of rack and pinion actuator
(Flowserve Worcester)
Pneumatic valve actuators are used in extreme conditions in many industries such as oil and gas, chemical, water and wastewater, bulk storage, pulp & paper, and power generation. These devices are used in a multitude of valve control processes for regulation (or cessation) of flow, controlling pressure and adjusting level.  Due to their reliability and simplicity, pneumatic actuators are one of the most popular types of actuators used in industry today.

Pneumatic valve actuators work by conversion of air pressure into motion. The device applies a force of air to a diaphragm, rotary vane, or piston that is attached to the actuator shaft, which is then mechanically connected to the stem of the valve or damper. Depending on the type, pneumatic actuators produce either linear or rotary motion. 

ACTUATOR ACTION - SPRING RETURN OR DOUBLE ACTING

Spring Return — Pneumatic actuators with spring return design have air supplied from one side. The spring on the opposite side is responsible for the motion. With this design, air compression moves the opens or shuts the valves while the spring is responsible for the opposite motion. 

Double Acting  — Double acting actuators have air fed on both sides of a piston. The pressure on one side is higher as compared to the other that results in the required in movement. Air is used to open and close the valves.  

Diaphragm actuator
Diaphragm actuator
(Samson)
PNEUMATIC ACTUATOR DESIGNS

Diaphragm Actuators — Diaphragm actuators work by applying pressure to a thin membrane or diaphragm. 

Piston Actuators — Piston actuators apply compress air to a piston that is within a cylinder. Air is fed into a chamber that moves the piston in one direction. The piston moves in the opposite direction when air pressure is removed (spring assisted) or directed to the other side (double acting). 

Rack and Pinion — Rack and pinion actuators produce rotation by applying pressure to pistons with gears that turn a pinion gear. Rack and pinion actuators can be spring return or double acting. They are valued because of their compact size and versatility.

Scotch Yoke — A scotch-yoke actuator contains a piston, yoke, connecting shaft, and rotary pin.
Scotch yoke actuator
Scotch yoke actuator
(Samson)
They can be direct acting or spring return. They are capable of providing very high torque outputs and are generally used on larger valves. Scotch yoke actuators can be powered by air or process gas.

Rotary Vane —Vane actuators use a mechanical vane, connected to a shaft, that separates a circular shaped body in two "clamshell" halves. The vane moves in response to the differential pressure inside the actuator body, turning the shaft clockwise or counter-clockwise in response to the pressure differential. External springs units are available for spring return models.

BENEFITS OF PNEUMATIC ACTUATORS

The use of compressed air (typically found in all industrial facilities) as the power source is the prime advantage for the use of pneumatic actuators. Additionally, pneumatic actuators have an advantage in suitability for different environments and can be used in extremes temperatures. They are preferred over electrical actuators in explosive, flammable and other hazardous areas because they do not require electricity (a possible ignition source) to operate. They do not create electrical fields or electrical noise since there is no electrical motor. Pneumatic valve actuators are faster opening and closing compared to their electric counterparts. Finally, they are low cost, lightweight, durable, require little maintenance (depending on quality) and there are a myriad of positioning controls, speed controls, and communications devices available for tailoring the actuator to the application.

DRAWBACKS OF PNEUMATIC ACTUATORS

While compressed air is the main reason for using pneumatic actuators, it can also be considered a drawback. For instance, pneumatic actuators can perform poorly when the air supply source is located at a distance, resulting in lag and slow response. Another drawback of pneumatic actuators is the additional cost for the compressed air system due to the requirement of dust filters and moisture removing dryers. These are required to ensure clean air is fed into the system.

APPLYING PNEUMATIC ACTUATORS

There are many aspects to the proper, safe, and efficient application of pneumatic actuators to valves and dampers. Sizing the power output (torque) being paramount. All valves and dampers have unique torque requirements. You must consider a threshold force for opening (breakaway), as the valve continues to move to its open or closed position, and then for seating. Matching the actuators to the valve type, and operating conditions is critical. Published torque curves must be reviewed and understood. Too little torque and the vale will not respond. Too much torque increases cost and can damage the valve. Spring return adds to this complexity. Considering all this, it is strongly suggested you always discuss any valve actuation requirement with an experienced applications expert. They will ensure the proper, safe, and cost effective mating of pneumatic actuator to valve or damper.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

What Is IIOT? Understanding Industrial IoT and the Technology Behind It

What Is IIOT
IoT or the internet of things needs no introduction. However, you may want to familiarize yourself with its offshoots such as the Industrial IoT, better known as IIoT. The simplest way to define IIoT would be the implementation of IoT capabilities in an industrial or manufacturing setting.

An amalgamation of various technologies such as big data, machine learning, automation, and sensor data, industrial IoT enables a connected enterprise by combing the information and operational department of the industry. Let’s take a more detailed look at IIoT and the technology behind it.

Understanding IoT

A sector that is rapidly progressing and accounts for a major share in the global IoT spending, IIoT provides manufacturers and industrialists with a significant opportunity to not only monitor but also automate many complex manufacturing/industrial processes. IIoT, a network of connected devices, enables systems to collect, track, disseminate, and analyze valuable new insights.

With these insights, industrial companies can make smarter, faster business decisions. By changing how industries work, IIoT is transforming them. Additionally, businesses are getting desired outcomes by integrating IIoT with other technological solutions. This includes providing production data in real time to unveil additional plant capacity, stopping cyber-attacks through increased visibility or control over the industrial control systems, and allowing identification of corrosion within a refinery pipe through predictive analytics.

IIoT is driving incredible levels of efficiency, productivity, and performance by combining technology, industrial big data analytics, cyber security, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. And, this has helped bring transformative operational and financial benefits to companies in the healthcare, aviation, manufacturing, oil & gas and power & energy sectors.

The Future of IIOT

It is predicted that the industrial internet could be worth over $200 billion by 2030. This is the reasons many companies have invested heavily in the industrial internet. Example of this is the Industrial Internet Consortium—an association founded companies to accelerate the development, adoption, and widespread use of interconnected people, machines and devices and intelligent analytics.

SIEMENS is helping drive the industrial transformation by leveraging the potential of the industrial internet. The company predicts that in the future, IIoT will account for a major share of the global economy and will impact both energy production and energy consumption. Today, industries are making all sorts of efforts to modernize systems and equipment to meet new regulations, keep up with increasing speed and volatility of the market and deal with disruptive technologies.

Significant improvements to efficiency, safety, and profitability have been experienced by businesses that have embraced IIoT and this trend is expected to continue in the future as IoT technologies are more widely adopted.

If you want to learn more about IIoT, contact Ives Equipment. The can be reached by visiting https://ivesequipment.com or by calling (877) 768-1600.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Heat Exchangers for Hygienic Use

Alfa Laval provides the widest range of hygienic products and accessories in the world. Designed for superior safety, efficiency and cleanliness, they ensure careful product handling in the food, dairy, beverage, biotech, pharmaceutical and personal care industries. Alfa Laval heat exchangers, valves, automation, pumps, tank equipment and installation material offer solutions for all process stages – and almost certainly the solution you need.

Alfa Laval heat exchangers are designed for heating and cooling, pasteurization and utility duties, and are able to handle even viscous products. By combining Alfa Laval thermal technologies with their many years of industrial experience, Alfa Laval can also provide you with a wide range of tailored solutions.



Ives Equipment
https://ivesequipment.com
(877) 768-1600