Emerson Process Management has announced the winners and finalists in its 2009 Smart Wireless Innovators Application Contest. Designed to recognize creativity and business value from applications of Smart Wireless solutions, entries in this second annual contest were from various production, manufacturing, and distribution industries around the world.
A cross-industry panel of end user judges reviewed the anonymous entries to understand the application, challenges addressed, benefits obtained, and reason for use of wireless. They evaluated all entries to select "most innovative" and "best business results" winners.
The "Innovation" criteria included the extent to which use of wireless was novel; the identification of previously unknown process issues; the degree to which wired technology wouldn't have been possible; and the extent of real operations improvement.
The winning score went to CalPortland, a manufacturer and distributor of cement and concrete in the southwestern United States, for its application to monitor a rotating 540-foot-long, 13-foot-diameter cement kiln at its plant in Glendora, Calif. The devices rotate with the cement kiln at almost twice a minute and helps the company meet NOx emissions regulations. The rotation, extreme temperature and cement dust, and the location of the kiln (at 20 to 40 feet above grade), made using a wired solution impossible.
The "Business Results" criteria included demonstrated dollar savings in operations; installation savings compared to a wired approach; time savings for implementing with wireless; and the extent to which safety or environmental impacts were improved.
There was a tie in the Business Results category, and the co-winners were CHS Inc. refining and Severstal Wheeling steel. CHS is using wireless to improve monitoring of several tanks. The installation cost savings were $500,000 compared to a wired solution. A previous tank overfill cost the refinery $1.5 million in tank repairs and $50,000 in soil remediation. This solution will prevent similar incidents and the resulting repair/remediation efforts.
Severstal’s wireless installation included applications to protect assets, prevent production loss and improve safety. Smart Wireless applications enabled Severstal to gain $300,000 by preventing production loss. Valuable assets, which cost $200,000 to replace, are protected from damage. Severstal was also able to update their fire safety system to meet insurance requirements at 60% savings compared to a wired solution which was estimated at $60,000 to $100,000.