29 May

NFPA 85 Committee Welcomes Synergy’s Own as new Principal Subject Expert

Synergy Vice-President, Marc Hunter, has recently become a part of The Committee of NFPA 85 Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code. He is a Principal Subject Expert on the committee and participates in votes that determine the standards of NFPA 85.

“Now, more than ever, our clients are assured they get a compliant solution and a superior level of safety in our control systems and boiler optimization,” said Hunter.

Hunter insist he is just happy to be considered, but the rest of us here at Synergy know the committee is lucky to have his 20 years of automation experience there to guide the committee on votes. His experiences on the committee will undoubtedly further our commitment and expertise in our core values of safety, reliability and efficiency.

NFPA-85 Combustion-systems-hazards-code
Marc Hunter proudly displays his certificate naming him a Principal Subject Expert for the NFPA 85 Committee.

More about NFPA 85 (from http://www.nfpa.org )

Document Scope:

1.1* Scope. This code shall apply to single burner boilers, multiple burner boilers, stokers, and atmospheric fluidized-bed boilers with a fuel input rating of 3.7 MWt (12.5 million Btu/hr) or greater, to pulverized fuel systems, to fired or unfired steam generators used to recover heat from combustion turbines [heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs)], and to other combustion turbine exhaust systems.
1.1.1 This code shall cover design, installation, operation, maintenance, and training.
1.1.2 This code shall cover strength of the structure, operation and maintenance procedures, combustion and draft control equipment, safety interlocks, alarms, trips, and other related controls that are essential to safe equipment operation.
1.1.3 Coordination of the design and operating procedures of the boiler furnace or HRSG system and any flue gas cleanup systems downstream of the post-combustion gas passes shall be required. Such coordination shall include requirements for ensuring a continuous flow path from the combustion air inlet through the stack.
24 May

Data vs. Information: a growing Synergy

Synergy Systems Services Include

These days, there is nothing our state-of-the-art technology can’t measure. From the amount of electricity being used per hour in a plant to the amount of product being created within a day, nothing is beyond measurement. While the data we can gather is remarkable, translating it into useful information that can be used at every level in a plant can be difficult.

To this end, we have updated our website to reflect three of our growing services aimed at turning data into information, improving the overall process of the plant and defining the specific information needed in all levels of a plant.

The following services are growing areas of Synergy Systems Inc.

  • Asset Reliability: We imagine a process system with tangible assets that have the ability to collect a variety of data and easily resent it as information relevant to workers in every level of a plant.
  • Business Performance:  Since business performance is often dependent on the human element of a plant and worker’s ability to make fast decisions, we strive to design HMI which takes this human element into consideration. We strive to create HMI that makes it easy to read and react to information about the plant or process.
  • Key Performance Indicators: Key Performance Indicators, also known as KPI, are specific measure of performance chosen by a business in order to maintain progress toward a goal.

These three services together create the most optimized system for safety, reliability and efficiency. Intelligent technology is able to gather enormous amounts of data and present to those at different levels of a plant the specific information they need.

We are proud to be growing our expertise into these areas and furthering our commitment to the creation of safe, reliable and efficient plants.

15 May

Securely One Step Ahead

This photo, “Computer Security” is copyright (c) 2014 Intel Free Press and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Hackers take all shapes and sizes. Some are as big as the government fears, working for terrorist organizations with the goal of crippling countries or corporations. Others are just looking for personal gain or personal entertainment, tinkering with expensive computer technology to do so. We have posted a few blogs this year talked about cyber security. As more and more information emerges about the vulnerability of industrial control systems, we have seen the necessity to examine our own security measures in order to provide our clients total and complete protection from hackers. It is time that we stay one step ahead of the hackers.

The past few years have seen industry systems hacked in record numbers. While this is a new problem, it stands to reason that any system that has the potential to be hacked should have some serious protection. Think about the two most common personal computer operating systems – Windows and iOS. Most hackers targeted Windows, allowing the iOS system to maintain a reputation of cyber security. However, one of the reasons why Microsoft was so popular for viruses and hackers was simply because more people had a Windows operating system, providing hackers a larger target. Today, even Apple is not immune to security pitfalls. The only way to ensure the operations controlled through any computerized program remain secure is to have optimal cyber security as well.

Cyber security needs to move on from simply protecting the information on personal computers. We now live in a world where we have to ask ourselves, what would happen if someone hacked into an energy plant? What damage could someone cause by hacking into a food processing plant?

We pride ourselves with our ability to provide safe operating systems for our clients using our SORA system. Even so, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve our security system. Hackers will always be looking for ways to break through the current security systems. This only means that we need to strive to stay one step ahead of them.



08 May

Can You See Your Control Panel in This Image? We Can Help

Unit 1 Control Room Panel

Imagine how many different tasks, measurements and alarms are on this control panel our vice-president saw on a recent trip to Chile. All this can be consolidated into one screen. More than simply saving space, the redundant safety measures and accurate real-time measurements of today’s latest technologies save a plant precious time and money.



01 May

EPA Now Considering Regulations for the Steam Electric Power Generating Industry

EPA Now Considering Regulations for the Steam Electric Power Generating Industry

The EPA is proposing new regulations for the steam electric power generating industry to control the amount of contaminates being released into America’s waterways, according to a Power Engineering article. The rule as it stands has not been updated since 1982 and, according to an EPA fact sheet, “does not adequately address the associated toxic metals discharged to surface waters from facilities in this industry.”

Toxins specifically addressed include arsenic, mercury, lead, boron, cadmium, selenium, chromium, nickel, thallium, vanadium, zinc, nitrogen, chlorides, bromides, iron, copper and aluminum. These elements increase the risk of cancer and may have other health consequences when humans consume them through eating fish or drinking the water.

Proposed requirements will affect the following processes/byproducts in the electric power generating industry:

  • Flue gas desulfurization
  • Fly ash
  • Bottom ash
  • Flue gas mercury control
  • Gasification of fuels

The fact sheet mentions four options the EPA is currently looking at to reduce toxins in waterways.  Also mentioned are studies showing that the new regulations will have little effect on the energy industry.  Numbers or stats related to the benefits of the plans were not given.  The EPA estimates fewer than half of coal-fired power plants will incur any cost due to the regulations. They are trying to work with existing equipment and most power plants already possess the technology needed to meet the proposed standards.

More information can be found on the EPA website.