It is my pleasure to welcome Tom O’Banion as a member of the Flow Control Editorial Advisory Board. I encourage you to read the following short Q&A for some perspective on the wealth of knowledge Mr. O’Banion will bring to Flow Control magazine and FlowControlNetwork.com.
Mr. O’Banion is the Director of Industry Differentiation for the Micro Motion Division of Emerson Process Management, and he has 30 years of professional experience, 26 of which have been spent at Micro Motion, a leading supplier of Coriolis flow and density measurement solutions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Denver. Mr. O’Banion has expertise in process engineering, safety instrumented systems (SIS), density/concentration, greenhouse gas compliance, and smart meter verification. He holds two U.S. patents for Coriolis and Sizing/Selection tools.
Q: What are the top applications you are involved with in your current role?
A: My most recent focus has been on working to have our Smart Flow Meter Verification accepted/recognized/approved by third-party agencies. Recent examples include AGA-11, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Greenhouse Gas, and exida, et al., for Safety Instrumented Systems.
In all these cases, what is most interesting is that despite the long-term stability of the Coriolis flowmeter’s accuracy, work-practices, habit, or contract terms have continued to require calibration or proving that is more frequent than is really of value. For many companies to consider work-practice changes, recognition by an independent “third-party” is required.
With smart technology, calibration frequency can be extended—saving money and also boosting plant personnel safety. The flowmeter stays in the line and operating while being verified.
Q: What do you see as the leading technology trends in industrial engineering over the past 5-10 years?
A: The main trend I’ve seen is for field devices to be equipped with increasingly useful diagnostics. These diagnostics can not only remotely check the health and accuracy of the device, but also reveal useful insights about the process. A good example would be the desire to detect two-phase flow in a line or system.
Another major trend is for greatly extended operating hours between scheduled shutdowns or turnarounds. At Emerson, we regularly hear of 8,000-plus operating hours between major scheduled maintenance, which drives the need for heightened device reliability and the need for better “forensics” while the device is in-line operating.
Q: How do you see the technology/application landscape changing over the next 5-10 years?
A: Increasingly, vendors will strive to provide more useful, real-time actionable information. Historically, there has been a tendency to err on the side of a large volume of information versus the “most important few” diagnostics. As sensors become less expensive and more reliable, more real-time information can be generated, allowing real-time mass balances, accounting for fluid movement and quality.
— Matt Migliore, Director of Content