At the recent ARC India Forum in Bangalore, silver sponsor AVEVA – now merged with the industrial software business of Schneider Electric – provided an insightful presentation on digital transformation and how this is driving industrial growth. The forum, with over 250 delegates, provided AVEVA with a conducive platform to demonstrate its technology expertise for digital transformation. These discussions resonated well with the forum’s theme of Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure, and Cities, stimulating discussions and networking between sponsors, delegates, and the ARC team. For all, it was a collaborative learning experience.
According to AVEVA, digital transformation is about deploying flexible, agile solutions that help companies become more productive. But the path is not always smooth; diverse challenges on multiple fronts need to be overcome. These challenges cover the gamut from investment decisions, awareness about new technologies, and regulatory policies. Today, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has moved beyond the hype stage and is the fulcrum that supports collaboration and connectivity, globally. Disruptive technologies, such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and mobility have uprooted conventional ways of doing business. The joint presentation by the AVEVA team covered all these aspects.
Some key takeaways include:
- Digital transformation drives industrial growth
- Digital technologies will transform every link in the industry value chain
- Process simulation will streamline smooth operations for plant commissioning
Trends and Imperatives Driving Digital Transformation
Navanith Mohan, Head of Technical Sales, AVEVA India talked about the digital transformation that is enabling companies to enhance their capabilities, increase their reach, and maximize returns on investment across their asset and operations value chains. Technologies like cloud computing, IIoT, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality and virtual reality are transforming traditional industrial operations. These innovations represent unprecedented potential growth opportunities for businesses.
Speaking about the trends and imperatives driving digital transformation, Mr. Mohan said that the market environment is rapidly changing; there are huge fluctuations in terms of supply and demand in the electric power & energy sectors, which is creating havoc for capital projects. Now the Internet of things (IoT) and cloud are being utilized across industries to create insight into how process and production efficiencies can be improved. Machines are going to churn out more and more data. There is a need to collect, validate, and analyze these data. These data are going to provide the basis for building analytical models to help optimize operations. Organizations are increasingly aware of intellectual property and cybersecurity, which is driving digital transformation globally.
Understanding the Digital Twin
Digital twin is the digital copy of the physical assets, enabling full lifecycle management of physical assets and processes.
Digital twins are used to:
- Improve operational safety
- Reduce pressure on O&M cost
- Reduce unplanned shutdowns by creating predictive models
- Support remote operations
- Support fleet learning (to monitor many connected equipment/capital assets in the plant)
Mr. Mohan explained that the digital twin is continuously updated with ongoing operational and process data such as maintenance and performance records and IIoT sensor information. Digital twins can also use artificial intelligence in conjunction with advanced process control and basic control strategy design to support process optimization. The digital model can use predictive modeling to proactively identify potential asset failures or shutdowns before they occur and even suggest ways to prevent those failures or shutdowns.
Collaboration of Digital Asset with the Operations Systems
In his presentation, Ramki Sethuraman, Technical Sales, APAC, AVEVA provided an overview of how companies can integrate the digital assets with the operational systems. What needs to be done is to collect and collate the data from SCADA-based monitoring systems to maintain capital assets like motors, pumps, compressors, etc. He said that it is possible to check the current operating conditions of the pump/motor as well as their engineered operating conditions. Once the digital asset is connected using web services to any of the control and monitoring systems, the real-time data from the pump/motor can be used for decision support.
Some of the salient features of digital assets are:
- Unified lifecycle simulation platform - refers to updates to the process design from simulation models. The process engineering phase includes design, optimize, and simulate. The digital twin enables authorized personnel to access the design/model of the particular equipment from anywhere. Once the design is approved, the operation can be validated.
- Optimize control system configuration & commissioning – using the digital asset for controls checkout.
- Complete operations crew training – to prepare the operators prior beginning the commissioning activities.
- Extracting value from assets – to streamline operations and optimize technologies by using real-time and historical data for predictive and prescriptive maintenance.
- Enterprise asset performance management - is evolving beyond traditional maintenance practices to become “predictive.” Here, Mr. Sethuraman referred to the asset maintenance pyramid, in which the lowest part depicts reactive maintenance and highest part depicts risk-based maintenance.
- Predictive asset analytics - use historical data to describe how a piece of equipment normally operates to build a model. Asset behavior can be monitored continuously in real time. Alerts will come when the operation differs from the historical norm. Operators can get early warning detection of equipment problems. Advanced analysis capabilities include problem identification and root cause analysis.
- Real-time optimization - simulation of plantwide activities helps the team to make informed decisions in real time.
- Unified supply chain – trading, planning, & scheduling – for value chain optimization from end to end. In this context, he spoke about the planning, scheduling, and trading of a typical crude oil or refinery product operation cycle.
Digital Transformation Across the Asset and Operational Lifecycles
Mr. Mohan said that digital transformation can support and help optimize an asset over its entire lifecycle, from the planning stage to the disposal stage; including requisitioning, allocation, designing, building, and decommissioning. During the operations lifecycle phase, digital transformation helps the company do web monitoring & control, planning & scheduling, and optimize operations. Usually what is lacking is data connectivity between these two lifecycles. Useful information created in any process should be organized and accessible to relevant stakeholders. This information must not only be widely available and understandable by humans, but also captured, stored, and made available in a form such that it can be processed by authorized machines.
AVEVA’s presentation at ARC’s India Forum highlighted its digital transformation initiatives in the industrial space. Modern digital platforms must deliver returns across the comprehensive value chain, and technology investments must enable the digital integration of engineering, planning and operations, control, visualization, information, and asset performance management solutions to create a “360° view” - from the shop floor to the top floor. The technology ecosystem should include design, development, delivery, maintenance, and support of industry-specific solutions on a global scale.
AVEVA, with its innovative solutions and recent merger with the industrial software business of Schneider Electric, is poised to help support global industrial growth.
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Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Asset Lifecycle, Operation Lifecycle, Big Data & Analytics, Cloud, Digital Transformation, Digital Twin, IIoT, Mobility, Virtual Reality, ARC Advisory Group.