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ISA100 Wireless Applications

Learn about ISA100 Wireless Applications and how they can result in significant savings and operational improvements.

ISA100 Wireless is an end-user-driven, standards-based, and robust wireless protocol. It adds value by extending existing ISA100 Wireless applications, enabling new ISA100 Wireless applications, eliminating protocol barriers, and enabling the Industrial Internet of Things.

Single wireless network enabling multiple applications

Alcoa is a global industry leader in bauxite, alumina, and aluminum products.
As Alcoa assessed their automation systems and their path to digital maturity, they envisioned a single wireless network that could serve as a plant-wide utility.

This elegant solution would simplify management, increase operational efficiency, and enable new applications.

what is Alcoa?

The inherent features of ISA100 Wireless allow it to act as just such a single wireless infrastructure, a network of networks, which can house many different types of wireless protocols.

This was the perfect protocol for Alcoa to achieve its vision.
Their vision was multi-faceted, providing automation connectivity from sensor-level data to the operator interface.

ISA100 Wireless provides Alcoa with an engineered, secure, managed, and integrated wireless network. The ISA100 Wireless protocol was built around a secure communications model which provides for management and integration tools that allow devices to be added to the network easily and securely.

ISA100 Wireless applications for Alcoa operations

As with any complex process facility, sensors and actuators are chosen based on suitability for purpose and for providing a set of functions that support the needs of the process.

This required using wireless instrumentation and sensors from a variety of protocols supplied by a variety of vendors.

Instruments for Alcoa certified by ISA100 Wireless

ISA100 Wireless compliance assured Alcoa that these devices were interoperable and able to be seamlessly integrated onto the ISA100 Wireless network.

ISA100 Wireless allowed Alcoa to use various devices, including remote wireless sensors for process and machine condition monitoring equipment, as well as mobile operating devices, such as handheld terminals.

Mobile Operating Devices

Current and future IIoT application integration were primary drivers for Alcoa to install an ISA100 Wireless infrastructure.

ISA100 Wireless is the only wireless protocol that is ready for true IIoT integration, with features such as IPv6, enhanced routing, IPsec security features, and online provisioning all built into the protocol.

IIoT integration with IPv6 Enhanced Routing Ipsec Security Features

Benefits of installing ISA100 Wireless

The ability to provide all of these features and benefits is nice, but what benefits did Alcoa actually realize by using ISA100 Wireless in this way?

1) Lower capital expenditure

A key benefit was a lower capital expenditure from reduced installation and life-cycle costs using wireless devices instead of wired devices.

Wired devices require expensive initial installations of conduit and wire, cable trays, and/or buried cable ducts.

Moreover, corrosion, water infiltration, short circuits, and damaged wiring are all issues that wired instrumentation systems must contend with during their lifecycle which wireless systems do not.

Low Capital Expenditure of Using ISA100 Wireless

2) Decreased deployment time

Since wireless instruments need only be mounted at the sensing point, there is a significantly decreased deployment time for ISA100 Wireless sensors and devices.

ISA 100 Wireless devices Deployment Time

3) Increased insights and efficiency

In addition, ISA100 Wireless enabled the use of mobile sensors for troubleshooting or performing trials, an approach that was impossible with wired sensors.

With the ability of the operator to monitor and maintain the process closer to the equipment, Alcoa was able to benefit from increased insights and efficiency from the deployment and use of mobile worker applications.

ISA100 Wireless Insights and Efficiency

4) Advanced continuous improvement

Integration of the newly available wireless data directly from the existing equipment and new machine-mounted sensor types enabled advanced continuous improvement processes using plant-wide process models, rich data repositories, advanced analytics, and agile maintenance methods, all of which allow operators to visualize and understand plant problems and opportunities in ways previously impossible.

Integration Using ISA100 Wireless

ISA100 Wireless enables the future

The success of the ISA100 Wireless installation at Alcoa yielded additional benefits that were not anticipated when first envisioned. Alcoa understood that ISA100 Wireless might enable other sensor innovations which would meet other needs within the company.

In addition to off-the-shelf ISA100 Wireless instruments available, Alcoa is working with ISA100 Wireless instrument vendors to develop new devices to meet their automation needs. A couple of examples include:

– A Lower cost lightweight wireless pressure transmitter to be used as a wireless pressure gauge

– A Wireless safety shower panic button

– A Wireless push button that can be used in multiple installations and applications including a pulsed version for timestamping operator rounds

– An ISA100 Wireless serial interface that can be used on specialty analyzers developed in-house based on a small PLC platform.

ISA 100 Wireless Enables the Future

Alcoa has realized significant savings and operational improvements since the installation of the ISA100 Wireless infrastructure. With the future proof ISA100 Wireless protocol and the technology that it enables, there are many more benefits and advantages yet to be discovered!

That should do it for this video. I hope you have learned something practical about ISA100 Wireless that can be applied to your career.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about ISA100 Wireless, head on over to isa100wci.org.

We recommend checking the following related articles, if you haven’t already, to have a better understanding of ISA100 Wireless applications and protocol:

Feel free to let us know in the comments if you have any questions. We read every comment and reply to it in less than 24 hours.

Got a friend, client, or colleague who could use some of this information? Please share this article.

The RealPars Team

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