Keywords: Instrumentation, Automation Systems, Real-Time Historians, Manufacturing, Process Industries, Technology Maturity.
Users often wonder about how the level of automation-related technology adoption in their plants compares with their peers. To provide insights into this area, ARC recently surveyed end users to determine the adoption levels of technologies and methodologies in automation, instrumentation, and operations management and the extent to which these have been integrated.
More than fifty users from around the world, representing many process industry subsectors participated to the survey. The results indicate that among the many available technologies, only instrumentation, automation systems, and real-time historians can be considered "mature" from an adoption perspective. Of the other nineteen technologies included in the survey, respondents considered five of these technologies "common," and fourteen "emerging."
Some technically mature technologies and methods are still in the ascent phase of the adoption cycle; while others have been adopted to a much greater degree. ARC believes that these differences in adoption rates can be explained by the benefits typically achieved for the process to which the specific technology is applied and, to some degree, to factors related to the people directly impacted by the technology and adjusted for risk and probability of success.
The technology maturity and adoption levels allow users to assess if their investment choices are below or above the benchmark and compare this with their goals. Users should also question if their processes for justifying, acquiring, maintaining, influencing the degree of usage, and upgrading or transitioning to new technologies are mature. Earlier research indicates that there's still plenty of potential for technology to mature further. It is important not to confuse technology maturity with adoption maturity. Even highly adopted technology can and often does have new technology advances. The report includes suggestions for how follow-up research, benchmarking, and process management can further improve process performance.
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