Efficient Plant February 2020 - 10

feature | mobile technology
data. For example, handheld devices used
by facilities that have level measurement
transmitters can offer an app that configures
and troubleshoots that measurement device,
gathers data about that device, maintains
a log, and uploads data to and from the
asset-management system. All of this eases
the tasks required to maintain and operate
the level transmitter.

SIMPLIFY FIELD WORK
Although many configuration tasks can be
performed remotely, there will always be
activities, primarily physical inspections,
that require a person to be at a location. To
respond easily and quickly to potential hazards, the process industries need handheld
devices that offer truly intuitive operation.
To meet this need, modern handhelds have
evolved to be more like tablets, or "phablets," with large, touch-driven interfaces
and fewer buttons. They also must use

10

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EP2002femerson.indd 10

resistive-touch technology so they can be
operated while wearing protective gloves.
Efficiency goes up and costs come down
if field personnel do not need to carry
accessories or power. Unlike first-generation handhelds that required a separate DC
power supply, multimeter, resistor, loop
simulator, and other accessories to perform
common tasks, modern industrial handheld
communicators with HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus connectivity provide their
own power. That means technicians can
configure devices before the control system
or PLC is up or before power is run to the
field. This allows a maintenance technician
to work an entire day in the field without
need for a power receptacle or to haul a bag
of additional handheld devices.
Safety is also improved because tasks can
be performed quickly, reducing time spent
in potentially hazardous areas. Data-collection accuracy and transmission also reduce

the number of instances in which a technician needs to return to the field to redo
incorrectly performed tasks or to follow up
on tasks that could not be completed without information from the control room.
Handheld communication devices have
changed to serve a wider range of needs.
Just as cell phones have evolved from simple
communication tools, handheld instruments have grown to become multipurpose
devices that provide maintenance managers
and technicians apps and embedded knowledge to improve how they perform their
responsibilities. EP
Alessea Lane, is a chemical engineer at
Emerson, Knoxville, TN, focused on instrument and valve condition monitoring, sales
enablement, and solutions. Jose Verdugo is a
mechanical engineer at Emerson, with more
than 12 years of experience with rotating
machinery condition monitoring.

FEBRUARY 2020

1/28/20 5:43 PM


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Efficient Plant February 2020

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