Capital projects are growing larger and more complex—a daunting new reality for process industries that have typically been slower to adjust. A planning misstep in these mega-projects can have big implications: Emerson experts say 65 percent of all projects over $1 billion and 35 percent of all projects under $500 million are significantly late or over budget.
Many projects are turning to Emerson’s Electronic Marshalling with CHARacterization Module (CHARM) technology—an integral part of the DeltaV™ Distributed Control System—to gain improved capital efficiency and deliver projects on time, on budget.
Electronic Marshalling with CHARM technology is a key enabler of Emerson’s Project Certainty initiative, focused on improving capital project performance and transforming the way projects are executed across the process industry.
“Across all industries, the market is reacting positively to these advances because customers are seeing results: reduction in project complexity, accommodation of late changes and reduced costs,” says Bruce Greenwald, platform business development manager for DeltaV. “Our development takes advantage of the system and field intelligence to automate much of the previously manual and hazardous work.”
Many companies have adapted to use this innovative approach: More than 1,000 Emerson customers have seen Electronic Marshalling deliver results in more than 10 billion hours of operation.
This technology solution might work like a CHARM—but what is it, exactly?
Cross-Marshalling and Other Challenges
For decades, traditional wired marshalling was the accepted industry practice to connect field devices to the process automation system. This was a significant undertaking, in which field technicians wired field devices to terminal blocks in marshalling panels in an input/output (I/O) room. Because wires typically come from the field, through multi-core cables, the wiring was cross-marshalled to ensure the device was connected to its appropriate I/O card and channel.
This cross-marshalling can cause problems. Like the maze of cords behind billions of televisions across the world, it becomes harder and harder to keep track of where the wires are coming or going—making human error far more likely, when wires are connected to the wrong place or left unplugged altogether.
Late project changes—a common issue—around I/O requirements can have a domino effect across the entire implementation. These changes can mean drawing rework, control system partitioning, moving wires and building new cabinets. All these changes add time, cost and risk to a project—an issue that is only amplified by cross-marshalling.
Electronic Marshalling offers the flexibility to add I/O anywhere in the plant without affecting the control room—no redesign, no rewiring.
Emerson developed its Electronic Marshalling to focus on the most complex or disruptive areas of developing a process automation system. Similar to the wired approach, multi-core cables from the field still come into the right side of the terminal blocks in the marshalling cabinet, so there are no changes to work done by technicians that wire up cables from the field.
The significant difference: There are no cross-marshalling wires. In fact, all the cross-marshalling issues disappear, because each individual I/O channel is electronically marshalled to any controller in the system. This is accomplished through CHARMs components that make it possible to interpret any type of I/O signal.
This simpler, technology-focused approach reduces the complexities that late project changes can cause, providing more project flexibility and less risk.
For project managers responsible for multi-million-dollar projects, this automation solution can have a significant impact on a project’s success—providing time and money back to the bottom line.