In brownfield plants, the automation structure is normally a closed system. Field devices are integrated into plants according to the principle of the automation pyramid. In cases where connection is possible, this means that information and data are passed on from field level to management level and vice versa in a hierarchical structure. Newer approaches try to break through this hierarchy. Samson, at the helm of the smart valve evolution, actively pursues and supports such an initiative.
Samson can draw on more than 100 years of experience and expertise in control valve engineering. As early as 1957, Samson launched the first pneumatic positioner onto the German market. Since then, Samson has enhanced and perfected its positioners. An advancement that is not only restricted to mechanics, but also specifically includes device intelligence and the integration of the positioners into control, engineering and asset management systems. The first positioner with integrated valve diagnostics was first presented to trade experts in 2001. Shortly afterwards, positioner versions with Hart, Profibus and Foundation fieldbus communication were added to Samson’s product portofolio. Series 3730 Positioners continue to set standards and have been sold in their millions worldwide. More recent positioners including the latest generation of the above mentioned positioner series include functions that are able to bring about digital transformation and allow the logging and analysis of data for further use.
To develop system solutions for IIoT and Industry 4.0 environments, Samson is currently working together with top innovators and technological leaders on a number of research projects. Right from an early stage, Samson was involved in various NOA demonstrator projects including the following three examples:
• In 2016, Samson’s Type 3730-3 Positioner with integrated diagnostic functions and HART communication was integrated into a demonstrator by Ingolstadt University of Technology. The demonstrator included field devices from other manufacturers (Yokogawa, ABB, Siemens and Krohne) and other communications protocols (Profibus and Profinet). It showed that FDI allows the use of data regardless of the manufacturer and communications protocol.
• At the 2017 Namur Annual General Meeting, Samson presented a demonstrator in cooperation with Dresden Technical University and Yokogawa, which allowed the secure feedback of recommended action into the process control system from the cloud. This demonstrator also used Samson’s Type 3730-3 Positioner with integrated diagnostics, which communicates with Yokogawa’s PLC using HART protocol. Field data are provided to the M+O (monitoring and optimization) area using OPC UA and information diodes without creating any interference and passed on to the operator as recommended action over a Verification of Request.
• At the annual Digital Summit organized by the German Federal Government in June 2017, BASF, SAP, Pepperl+Fuchs, Samson and Endress+Hauser showed how an open and secure platform for data exchange in the process industry can be created, which compiles field device data from different sources at one central location and makes these data available to the different user groups.
Samson’s own Digital Lab enables it to replicate automation concepts and to verify their orchestration with Samson devices. In the NOA test setup, data from installed positioners are read using WirelessHART and forwarded over a gateway to the cloud-based SAM Valve Management asset management platform.
The NOA diode guarantees secure one-way data transmission from positioners to SAM Valve Management without any interference to the process. As a result, the test setup met the aim of NOA “to make production data easily and securely usable for plant and asset monitoring as well as optimization”.
The conventional Samson products are installed in the process and field level. Pneumatic control valves and on/off valves control the medium flow through the pipeline. More and more of these valves are fitted with smart positioners. Samson offers a wide variety of positioners versions with different communications protocols for these applications. EXPERTplus valve diagnostics are integrated into all positioner versions, which log, save and analyze all data on the valve condition. Based on the communications protocol used by the positioner and additional interfaces, such as OPC UA, field data can be passed on within the automation pyramid.
SAM Valve Management Samson is a web-based solution for the smart monitoring and management of control valves installed in process plants. It provides a complete overview of all connected control valves fitted with smart Samson positioners, a clearly structured dashboard displaying all relevant operating and diagnostic parameters, immediate detection of malfunctions and algorithm-based predictive maintenance. Status assessments are made for each valve based on the analyzed data and recommended action is issued if it is required.
NOA is a key element for advance digitalization in the process industry. Samson is geared towards implementing predictive maintenance strategies as well as prescriptive maintenance strategies in the future. This requires field data to be logged and analyzed and made accessible to other systems. NOA plays a key role for brownfield plants to connect them to Industry 4.0 environments.