Emerson Updates Plantweb Software to Include Social Density Management and Contact Tracing

August 25, 2020 by Sara McCaslin

Emerson's Plantweb Location Awareness update makes it possible for plant managers to support health and operational continuity through social density management and contact tracing tools.

What is Plantweb?

Plantweb is an industrial asset health and performance management platform developed by Emerson, a leader in industrial automation.

In a nutshell, Plantweb gathers data from various sensors for various assets and plant locations, communicates that data to the correct system or experts (both onsite and offset), and applies analytics. 


By leveraging Plantweb's updated Location Awareness application, plant managers can, among other things, receive alerts when too many people enter certain zones generate contact tracing reports that are accurate to 10 m. Image courtesy of Emerson.


The resulting information supports key functions such as maintenance, performance assessment, and troubleshooting. More importantly, it provides actionable data for making informed decisions at every level of plant management.

Platforms like Plantweb are also vital in supporting IIoT, Industry 4.0, and lights-out manufacturing.

Emerson regularly adds additional capabilities to Plantweb, such as the Optics platform that provides AR support to alert maintenance and repair teams to potential issues.

Another example would be Plantweb's Insight Inline Corrosion browser-based application for monitoring corrosion in oil and gas facilities. Their newest update involves employee health.



Plant managers can make informed decisions about their employees' health and how to keep their plant operational during a health crisis using data from Plantweb's updated Location Awareness tools. Image courtesy of Emerson. 


Plantweb's Location Awareness Update

Emerson announced that they are enhancing Plantweb's Location Awareness technology to include two critical aspects of health and viral diseases such as COVID-19: social distancing management and contact tracing capabilities.

The Location Awareness application is cost-effective, easy to install, and reliable even in severe working environments. Here are some examples of what Social Density Management and Contact Tracing make available:


  • Trigger an alert when a zone has exceeded the maximum number of people allowed. 
  • Generate contact tracing records or personnel movement reports that are accurate to 10 meters.
  • Create geofenced zones to minimize the probability of personnel gathering in a particular area and provide alerts when unauthorized individuals may wander in.
  • Respond more quickly if an employee becomes ill.


So how does all this work? Starting at the employee level, each employee wears a rechargeable tag that sends out signals to fixed, battery-powered Location Anchors. These Anchors collect these signals and prepare time updates that enable an employee's location to be determined to within 10 meters.

The Location Anchors then wirelessly send these updates to Wireless Gateways that mount throughout the facility. Once the data reaches the wireless gateways, it can be accessed through the Plantweb Insight Location application.

The wireless communication is achieved via the WirelessHART protocol, a secure standard used in tens of thousands of industrial plants worldwide. It is commonly used for wide-area plant network deployment and fully supports Plantweb.

In light of the pandemic and the severe impact it has worldwide, it makes sense for managers to look for ways to support the health of their employees and operational continuity of the facilities they are responsible for.

Social distancing management tools and contact tracing capabilities like Plantweb enable plant managers to restructure processes and scheduling to minimize the probability of employees spreading viruses on the job.

It also makes it easier to isolate areas that need deep cleaning, all with minimum disruption. Such tools also support compliance with governmental protocols that may be in place during outbreaks and other standards related to safety and health.