Pilot Pro™, a Communications Interface that Offers Real-Time Sample System Information for Critical Process Control Decisions


Parker Hannifin’s Instrumentation Products Division (IPD) today introduced Pilot Pro™. Pilot Pro is a new process sample conditioning system communications interface designed to provide a link between plant process control operations and analyzer maintenance networks, no matter where the two are located. A sensor and solenoid administration module, Pilot Pro is designed to acquire, transmit, and manage real-time sample system information via an electronic interface, facilitating critical process control decision-making. The flexible communication capability on Pilot Pro allows analyzer engineers and technicians to receive critical sample system data (pressure, temperature, and flow) to promote proactive maintenance activities and reduce system downtimes. Able to support a variety of communication protocols, including Ethernet, Modbus, Profibus, and others, Pilot Pro provides a complete communications solution for process analytical applications, making “smart” systems a reality for both modular and conventional sample handling systems. According to Mike Cost, Applications and Innovation Engineer for Parker IPD, Pilot Pro’s ability to support a variety of communication protocols meets a growing, industry-wide need to do process analysis remotely. “Real-time, locally obtained sample data is critical to accurate assessment by process analyzer engineers and technicians who may be located remotely from a sample site,” Cost said. “With downsizing, there are now far fewer people in the field to collect data at the analyzer or sample system. Pilot Pro bridges this gap, gathering local data and translating it into any one of a number of common protocols for customers to access and act upon. Consequently, Pilot Pro offers far greater versatility for a wider range of customer applications than other competitive systems.” In addition to supporting multiple communication protocols, Pilot Pro offers other unique features as well. Through options, custom pneumatic, and electric feedthroughs provide the end user with reliable separation of hazardous zones while allowing real-time troubleshooting of electrical components. Pilot Pro features hazardous area certified, off-the-shelf hardware for reduced order and delivery times, guaranteed reliable performance, and ongoing product support. Plus, Pilot Pro can be utilized with Parker CTC HMI (Human Machine Interface) hardware and software for data trending of information from multiple Pilot Pro units and analyzer systems. In discussing Parker Pilot Pro differentiators, Cost pointed out the critical nature of obtaining accurate sample data. “Right now, greater than 75% of process analyzer failures in the areas of chemical, petrochemical and power generation can be related to inaccuracies in sample handling systems. Many plant operators have recurring problems with poor analyzer performance. As a result, they remove the analyzer from control schemes, or incur significant costs for analyzer technician call-outs,” said Cost. “Maintenance can be time-consuming and ineffective without key sample parameter information. Parker Pilot Pro eliminates these issues while minimizing the need for costly communication infrastructure upgrades.” All hardware is rated for FM Class I Div. II or ATEX Zone 2 operation. The system enclosure is Nema 4X rated with options including solenoid valves manifold-mounted in 4, 6, or 8 valve configurations with manual locking override and LED indication (blanking plates may be used to isolate unused valve positions). A variety of PLC systems or simple I/O chassis hardware may be used for transmission of data to local area analyzer networks or to the plant DCS. Hazardous zones are separated by a compression barrier that allows the removal or the addition of transducer/analyzer hardware from the sample system. Multiple pneumatic and electrical interfacing options are available to meet customer mounting preferences.
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