How many costs can be avoided by removing dust from your operations?
Written by Stephen Reynolds, Industry Principal for Chemicals, AVEVA
Back in my day…
Remember when you had to go into that creepy closet at the dark end of the maintenance building to search through dusty old filing cabinets to find the equipment file that might have the pump curve you’re looking for? Remember the rat’s nest in the bottom left drawer? And that one time you had to chase a gator out before you could have a look? Yeah, that’s no joke.
Managing our information has not always been a core competency. Before digital systems, managing the vast amount of paper accumulation became untenable. Subject to age and the elements, they just didn’t last. If you didn’t file them correctly, or return them to where you found them, asset files just disappeared. The most current P&ID was the least dusty one where the red lines hadn’t quite faded. It was always a scramble to have the right information in the right hands at the right time.
It worked for us, I suppose. But, think of the incidents that should have been avoided and the money that could have been made.
As the Chemical Industry proceeds with its digital transformation toward Industry 4.0, we can identify key themes – information transparency, interconnectivity, real-time technical insight, and decentralized decision making. This transformation would not have been possible with a paper system or even the early digital services that are still in service today. They lack that interconnectivity, that accessibility, to use effectively in our day-to-day operations.
Innovators are leaning into our modern technologies. We are seeing a push to integrate our asset information from the front-end simulation and design through construction and as-built. By connecting this data to our maintenance systems, we can now cross-reference our asset performance to design with an effective asset information management system. Further integrating our real-time operations data allows us to construct a fuller picture of plant performance by connecting design, condition, and operations monitored through a unified operations center. What was once driven by human intervention now takes place in the system to enable data-driven decision making where it’s needed the most.
These modern systems, some may use the term “Digital Twins”, go beyond the typical web-based links page or the screen of screens display bringing up multiple platforms in the control room. Data is integrated and utilized across the various applications. Using Cloud technologies, integration is fast and secure, enabling a host of contextual and analytical opportunities driven by AI (Artificial Intelligence). The connected worker now has the right data available to respond in real-time.
Our industry moves fast but changes slow. Time to get out of those dusty filing cabinets.