A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. ARC has conducted numerous best practice surveys over the past thirty years and has developed best practices for a large number of topics of interest to industry executives.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework for Manufacturing

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has received considerable recognition over the past few years for developing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), which is now widely used as the basis for establishing effective security management systems.  NIST recently released version 1.1 of its Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.  While this falls short of being a fully constructed risk management model for cybersecurity, the new framework does contain much expanded guidance on the element of risk in cybersecurity. 

Smart Sensors Increasingly Important in the Industrial IoT Age

While there is no single standard that could be applied to support a claim that a sensor is “smart,” Smart Sensors are typically characterized by on-board intelligence and the ability to communicate via a digital network. With the emergence of both the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial IoT (IIoT), new sensors and associated applications are emerging every day. Increasingly, these sensors are “Smart”, a requirement for IoT sensors as well as for many industrial applications.

Digital Twins Define Oil & Gas 4.0

According to the US Department of Energy, pumping systems account for almost 20 percent of the world’s energy consumed by electric motors and approximately 25 to 50 percent of the total electric energy usage in certain industrial facilities. Among other applications, pumps move crude oil through vast pipeline networks, which in turn play an indispensable role in transporting hydrocarbons to key markets. Suppliers are already developing solutions such as digital twins that can leverage data analytics to optimize the performance of pump stations for crude oil and other pipelines.

What is a Main Automation Contractor (MAC)?

The role of a Main Automation Contractor is not only to design, engineer, and deliver all automation-related equipment and systems (field instrumentation, control systems, safety systems, etc.); but also to ensure that these systems are integrated safely and securely and supported by the appropriate services.  Increasingly, MACs are also being asked to integrate the plant automation systems with the plant electrical and other systems.

Digital Transformation in Oil & Gas Enabled by Technology Partnerships

As the awareness of digital transformation and its many benefits grow in the oilfield, ARC is seeing an increasing number of collaborative partnerships being formed between high-tech giants and oil & gas players. Leveraging complimentary domain expertise, technologies and solutions and developing a collaborative culture of sharing knowledge provides a powerful force for which an increasing number of oil & gas companies are deploying to improve operational performance, lower costs, and operate with greater visibility, flexibility and agility in an increasingly more challenging energy market.

Integration of Machine Vision with Machine Learning Bolsters Smart Factory Infrastructure

The global race toward smart manufacturing is driving the use of advanced automation technologies such as machine vision (MV). MV has become a key technology in both manufacturing and quality control; however, MV is rapidly becoming a crucial building block for Industrie 4.0-enabled smart factory infrastructure. MV is an essential element for smart factory infrastructure, due to its characteristics such as efficient communicating network and the intelligent exchange of information among sensors, devices, and machines.

Augmented Reality Reduces Mean-Time-To-Repair

To improve fuel economy, all automotive OEMs have converted many of the car’s parts to lighter materials which often involves aluminum or magnesium.  To make these parts in the high volumes needed for car manufacturing, automated casting machines are deployed.  A key manufacturer of these machines -  which are used by OEMs globally - is Italpresse Gauss located in Italy.  It designs and produces a range of casting machine models with closing forces from 200 up to 4,500 tons.  These machines cast a variety of parts including precision engine blocks, transmission housings, steering wheels, an

Renewable Energy and the Smart City of the Future

Clearly, increased use of renewable energy will be a prerequisite for future sustainability, which is a core objective for smart cities. With this thought in mind, something recently caught my attention in an article in the Ideas section of the Boston Sunday Globe newspaper. The article, entitled “Boston vs. the Rising Tide,” discussed how, back in colonial days, the effects of ocean tide were once extremely apparent in this city by the sea. And based on the tidal-influenced flooding of downtown during a particularly severe storm this past winter – tides are becoming increasingly apparent once again. This is due in part to the gradually rising sea levels and severe weather patterns we’ve been experiencing courtesy of global warming.

IIoT Living on the Edge in Industrial Environments

Given the hype about IIoT, the ARC Advisory Group asks if it is really time to focus on the edge.  The promise of edge computing in industrial environments means getting the right device data in near real-time to drive better decisions, and maybe even control industrial processes.  For this to work, it means that the edge device, its embedded software, edge servers, the gateways and cloud infrastructure must all be up and running correctly all the time.

Operational Historians and Time-Series Databases – Adapting to the Digital Transformation

The number one reason to implement operational historians and time-series databases is to be able to make data-driven process decisions.   The operational historian collects real-time process data from process control systems, sensors, equipment, and other data sources. The new generation of operational historians provide a data platform for capturing and transforming time-series data to support improved analysis and decision-making and overall digital transformation. 

Applying Augmented Reality in Field Service

Equipment OEMs can use augmented reality (AR) in the form of a display of real-time data layered on a live video to further improve their field service capabilities and offerings. As equipment become more complex, problem isolation and diagnosis increase in difficulty. Obtaining a high first-time fix rate requires good tools to determine the true source of equipment failures. Two distinct opportunities exist for augmented reality in field service among OEMs.

What is Your Change Management Process?

When it came to project change management at Southern Gardens Citrus Processing (SGC), there was no process, no rules, and no control. With little to no project management, scope creep was rampant and projects never ending. Individual departments conducted projects in a vacuum without real business justification and little consideration for the impact of those changes throughout the organization.

Top Technology Trends in Automation for 2018

Over the last several years, there has been significant advances in and adoption of new automation technologies. This rate of change and subsequent adoption will continue to ramp up in the coming year. Many of the recent advances include industrializing some popular consumer technology. This helps accelerate the ongoing convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) to support digital transformation.

What is Safety Lifecycle Management?

State of the Industry

Despite the application of a wide variety of safeguarding measures, many accidents in the process industries continue to occur.  Experiences gained from past accidents have led to the development of an increasing number of technical solutions.  One of the best known and widely accepted technical solutions concerns the use of safety instrumented systems (SIS).  To control the design and implementation of these technical solutions, numerous safety-related standards have emerged.  These standards consist of technology-oriented requirements defining “adequate” im

What is Operations Performance Management?

Operations Performance Management (OPM) systems act to improve the responsiveness, throughput, quality, cost, and efficiency of production or service systems. OPM typically includes process optimization, operations intelligence, and forecasting, and often involves technologies such as modeling, process data collection, visualization, and analytics. OPM systems often act together with Asset Performance Management (APM) systems, which focus on improving the reliability and availability of physical assets while minimizing risk and operating costs.

Motor Control Centers Defined

Motor Control Centers (MCCs) are segmented into two distinct classifications: Low Voltage and Medium Voltage. Low Voltage MCCs are used for low voltage three-phase alternating current motors from 230 V to less than 1000 V. Medium-voltage MCCs are used for large motors requiring 1000 V to around 15000 V.