Times are tough. Automation shouldn’t be.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (September 28, 2010) — At the 2010 Emerson Global Users Exchange conference, Emerson Process Management demonstrated the latest results of its commitment to using innovative technology to reduce the complexity of customers' jobs. This commitment was reflected in new products and services that help reduce barriers to productivity, as well as reports from customers on the benefits they are already seeing with recently released products.
"Today automation users face twin challenges," said Emerson Process Management President Steve Sonnenberg. "The task of building and running a safe, efficient operation is more complex than ever. At the same time, many of the experienced workers needed to deal with that complexity are nearing retirement or simply not available. Emerson understands these challenges and is investing not only to make our products easier to use, but also to make customers' jobs easier to do."
This investment includes Emerson's pioneering work in applying Human Centered Design to process automation. "Understanding customers' roles, tasks, and interactions with others has become part of our product-development culture," explained Duane Toavs, director of the company's Human Centered Design Institute. "It's what enables us to deliver products and services that remove barriers to productivity – in automation projects, in operations and maintenance, and in plant management."
Project teams are charged with executing large, dynamic automation projects on time and on budget – a task made difficult by the challenges of complex technology, rigid engineering processes, and inflexible schedules that ultimately result in costly changes and delays. In 2009 Emerson introduced a new generation of digital automation system – DeltaV™ version 11 with I/O on Demand -- with the specific goal of reinventing those outdated work processes to provide the flexibility required by today’s projects.
This year's conference included customer confirmation that this new technology is fulfilling its promise. In-depth analysis by a major engineering contractor showed how Electronic Marshalling with CHARMS – one option under I/O on Demand – could dramatically reduce project cost, engineering effort, and schedule. And a large chemical manufacturer found that using CHARMs I/O did indeed lead to faster startups, easier engineering, and reduced capital costs.
Operations and Maintenance
Operations and maintenance personnel are chartered to run complex facilities safely, reliably, and efficiently but are often challenged to do so with a less experienced workforce and an increased scope of responsibility. Emerson’s Smart Wireless is an excellent example of how the company is using technology to overcome this challenge – reducing the complexity of adding “eyes and ears” in the process so that maintenance and operations can be more effective.
At Emerson Exchange 2010 the company showed how recent technology advances are further increasing that effectiveness by enabling customers to use wireless for tough control problems where wired solutions just wouldn’t work.
“The wireless adoption rate is accelerating as users gain confidence and find new ways to put the technology to work,” said Bob Karschnia, vice president of wireless for Emerson Process Management. "They started by using wireless to solve challenging measurement problems where traditional wired technology was too difficult or expensive, then expanded its use to mainstream monitoring applications. Now we’re seeing a similar pattern as our customers extend the benefits of wireless to challenging control applications."
Senior management must manage global operations safely and profitably while continuously improving the bottom line -- and do all this in an environment with fewer resources, rising costs, and increased technical complexity. Emerson is aiming its latest investments in AMS Suite directly at management’s ability to meet this challenge by providing the tools and information they need to confidently develop and implement the right strategies.
The AMS Suite: Asset Performance Management software that Emerson announced at the conference combines predictive intelligence with asset reliability information and decision-support tools to help managers analyze predictive data over time, combine it with other business information, highlight areas for attention, and direct action where it's needed to maintain or improve performance.
"Many plants have invested in predictive intelligence and asset management to improve their operations, often with significant, quantified results," said Stuart Harris, vice president and general manager of Emerson's Asset Optimization business. "But how to manage plant assets to get the next level of business performance? That's the question we're helping them answer."
An Ongoing Commitment
"Today's process operations have enough challenges to deal with. Automation should make their job easier, not harder," said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer of Emerson Process Management. "At Emerson we come to work every day committed to making that happen. The technologies and services we're highlighting at Emerson Exchange are just a few examples of how that commitment is paying off for our customers."