A smart instrument and a quality instrumentation panel offer advantages including better performance, convenience towards maintenance, and longer operations or uptime. While the instrument may be more complex than the simpler instruments, they can balance the process better and provide for a reduction in operational costs over a long term.
The Smart Instrument
Instruments have evolved from being manual and analog, are now more sophisticated and digital, and the evolution is continuing. The earlier pneumatic devices had a single loop controller. All the information and statistics were recorded by hand and the chart recorder was used for analysis. Later on, the transmittance of data through remote channels was initiated and the devices could now be controlled and displayed remotely as well. The next devices had the input-output (I/O) feature and the central processing function.
The first smart instruments can be said to be the field instruments that had the microprocessors, which could process information/signal digitally. It was now possible for the devices to process the 4-20 mA analog variables in digital signal form, which could be transmitted over any network. This new microprocessor was adept at handling tasks such as diagnostic and calibration as well.
Next was HART, or Highway Addressable Remote Transducer Technology, which was able to unify even the incompatible networks of vendors. The modern automation systems today, including the Profibus PA can easily link the various automation system to the instrument while also providing for additional features (like embedded local control), enhanced diagnostics and greater speed, among other benefits.
All the smart instruments available today possess one or many communication options for digital networks. A microprocessor may be necessary for digital communications, while the new smart instruments also have other kinds of capabilities.
Using the Smart Instruments
A smart instrument also has functionality aspects like diagnostics so that it can solve the error or problem in the application. These instruments do not allow the problems to affect the reliability and quality of the operation, while also responding to the inquiries for the automation system.
Revealing the Information
The operator interface is the point where the information can be found and revealed. HMI or Human Machine Interface (hand-held or over the network), or a local display can be the interface for unlocking the information stored in the smart instrument. In a smart instrument, the flow of the information (in between the instrument and the engineer) is more steady and easy when compared to the local display.
The best and most modern of smart instruments can communicate all the data through wireless or digitally and may have multiple sensors for receiving and measuring different kinds of information variables.
The operator has to perform the least of functions in most cases. The latest smart instruments having the foundation Fieldbus H1 Technology or HART 6+ Technology can obtain and easily share the variables among different types of equipment and instruments. This could help towards the performance of calculations, and towards automation.
Combination of new technologies results in the intelligent instruments that can be termed as the information automation and control systems of the future. Choose a leading supplier for procuring any of the smart instruments and instrumentation panel, and get benefits including better efficiency, greater process control, low downtime, lesser energy consumption, and increased quality.
Evolution in technology has helped towards the creation and improvement of equipment that are now much smarter in the way they procure, process, and use information and communicate it to the other channels and equipment. The new smart instruments can obtain information through multiple sensors and can also transmit the processed results digitally.