2014 ICS Cyber Security Conference October 20-23, 2014 in Atlanta, GA

ics_cybersecurityAs the longest-running cyber security-focused conference for the industrial control systems sector, the 2014 ICS Conference will cater to the energy, utility, chemical, transportation, manufacturing, and other industrial and critical infrastructure organizations. The conference will address topics covering ICSs, including protection for SCADA systems, plant control systems, engineering workstations, substation equipment, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and other field control system devices.

The 2014 ICS Cyber Security Conference will address the myriad cyber threats facing operators of ICS around the world, and will address topics covering ICSs, including protection for SCADA systems, plant control systems, engineering workstations, substation equipment, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and other field control system devices.

Bigger and better than ever before, select sessions of interest in the 2014 ISC Conference will include:

* A summary and status of the two utilities performing Aurora hardware mitigation projects in conjunction with the Department of Defense
* A summary and status of the two utility ICS cyber security test beds (the equipment is the same as in water, oil/gas, pipelines, chemicals, etc.
* A summary and status of the Department of Defense ICS cyber security test bed
* A summary of the recovery and remediation actions from one the most significant ICS cyber incidents to date – complete loss of DCS logic with plants at power
* A summary of Project Shine findings
Discussions of recent non-North American ICS cyber incidents
* Immerse yourself in the reality of managing a plant under cyber-attack: Play KIPS, the Kaspersky Industrial Protection Simulation

Online Registration!

Gas Metering with Honeywell Transmitter

Gas metering is a big part of what we offer customers. One product that has proven to be very successful is the Honeywell Smart Multivariable (SMV) Transmitter.  It is an industry leader – there are no others on the market that work as well.  It measures the gas pressure & temperature and measures a differential pressure across a primary element.  The primary element can be an orifice plate or a Preso Ellipse pitot tube.  It creates a differential pressure that we measure and relate to flow (the square root of the pressure drop is proportional to the flow rate).  The SMV calculates a corrected flow by accounting for the compressibility of the gas along with the pressure and temperature that exist in the pipe.  It is quite an involved calculation that is pre-loaded into the transmitter and set up using a software wizard.  Please keep it in mind for gas metering applications – it is an affordable alternative.  For under $4000 you can measure big flows accurately with easy installation. [Read more...]

Not Just the Hard to Find Parts

Many people think of Stromquist when it comes to buying those “hard to find” parts — the old or obsolete parts or those that just aren’t very common. We’re well known for our great counter and inside sales staff who find matches and replacements for such items. While we do appreciate that you think of us for these, we want you to also think of us for those everyday, run of the mill parts like thermostats, valves, gauges and sensors. Some people automatically go to the bigger supply house chains for these types of parts and only come to Stromquist for the more elusive items. So we would like to ask that you give us a try on your “regular” parts too. We stock a wide range of Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric (formerly TAC/Invensys), Belimo, White Rodgers and many more. And we’re competitive on our pricing. The next time you need that simple thermostat, a relay or pneumatic fittings, give us a call. We’d be happy to pull one off the shelf for you in addition to finding the replacement for that rusty part that’s 25 years old.

Understanding: On/Off, Floating, Modulating/Proportional Control

First, to understand these types of control you must have the elements of control. The elements of control are the sensor (senses the medium being controlled), the controller (device either preset or programmed to react to the sensor), and the final controlled device such as a damper or a control valve (receives input signals from controller to affect change in controlled medium). These elements are considered the control loop.

On/Off control is the basic type of control in a control loop.  With On/Off control, the sensor senses the controlled medium and sends a signal back to the controller, which processes the signal. For ease of understanding, our example will be a heating application. The set point (the desired control point) in this case is 68 degrees with a temperature differential of 2 degrees for the controller. When the sensor’s signal to the controller reports a temperature of less than the controller’s set point, the controller sends a signal to the final control device (hot water valve) to position to fully open until set point is achieved. When the controller receives a signal from the sensor that the set point has been achieved, the controller then sends a signal to the valve to position to fully closed.  The problem with On/Off control is over-shoot temperature of the desired system set point because of reaction time between sensor, controller, and final control device. Review: With On/Off, the controller asks “Is there an error?” The controller compares the actual value of the controlled medium to the set point through the sensor. As the controlled medium deviates from set point, the controller’s output cycles the final controlled device on, and when the set point is reached the controller’s output cycles the final control device off.

Floating control is a variation of On/Off control that requires a fast responding sensor and a slow-moving actuator connected to the final controlled device (valve or damper). Using the same example as the On/Off example above, when the sensed temperature drops below the set point of 68 degrees by the controlled medium’s sensor, the controller sends a signal to activate the actuator on the final control device. The actuator starts to slowly drive open the hot water valve, increasing the heat in the controlled medium. When set point is reached the actuator stops opening the final control device (hot water valve) and tries to hold at set point. If set point starts to be over-shot, the controller sends a signal to the actuator to start to drive close the valve. Review: Set point control is achieved when the sensor signal (from the controlled medium) starts to deviate from the controller set point. The controller sends a signal to the actuator of the final control device (valve or damper) to slowly drive open. As the set point is approached the controller sends a signal to the actuator, then the actuator stops and tries to maintain set point.  If set point is passed the controller sends signal to the actuator to drive the final control device to a closed position.

Modulating/Proportional represents the higher end of control positioning. In modulating/proportional control the output varies continuously and is not limited to being fully open or fully closed. Proportional means that the size of the output is related to the size of the error detected by the controller. The key phrase for modulating/proportional control is “Continuous Control Action.” The sensor, controller, and final control device act as one unit to maintain constant precise control over the controlled medium. Continuing with the previous example, when a modulating system senses a deviation from the set point of 68 degrees, the controller calculates the amount of the error (1 degree less than set point) and sends a signal to the actuator, which will drive open the final control device (valve or damper) by a certain percentage of the controlled medium’s set point deviation (1/2 degree) to maintain set point without over-shoot. The controller calculates how much the final control device needs to open without over-shoot and will start reversing the actuator to close the final control device to a percentage of the closed position to maintain set point.
Popular modulating control signals include 4-20 ma and 0-10 volts. If you were to look into a control panel like a Hoffman Enclosure you might see controls like a Honeywell UDC3200 that could be taking a 4-20 ma signal from a device like a Hawkeye 908 current transmitter and based on the control input signal from the Hawkeye 908 ( which would most likely be a 4-20 ma signal) the UDC 3200 controller would respond with a 4-20 ma output signal to a device like a Honeywell Variable Frequency Drive which would control either a fan or a pump. This is an example of how a proportional signal like a 4-20ma signal is used in modern HVAC controls.
If you are in Georgia or Florida,the control pros at Stromquist & Company can answer your control questions.