Sergey Mishin: Modern Automation as Important Contributor to Operational Efficiency12:32 23 Декабрь 2016 Emerson
Sergey Mishin: Modern Automation as Important Contributor to Operational Efficiency
- Sergey, Emerson is going to participate in
oil and gas conferences and summits and you will make presentations in Ufa and St. Petersburg. We have decided to talk to you and ask about the ideas you would like to share with professionals. So, what is the key point?
- The schedule is really very tight and includes Operational Excellence in Oil Refining and Petrochemicals Conference called OpEx Russia & CIS 2016 that will address important issues of operational cost optimization and profit improvement in current economic and market environment; Oil Terminal 2016, Annual Congress on Crude oil, LPG and Petroleum products Trading and Transportation; Exploration and Production IV Russian Oil and Gas Summit; and CIS & CEE Downstream Project Management international conference.
At meetings and presentations within such remarkable events, we will speak about process automation, Emerson’s key focus area. I am going to tell to plant managers of how automation can boost production efficiency. Given the latest economic and technological trends, automation is becoming a key success factor for any plant.
- So, state-of-the-art automation technologies help improve plant competitiveness and efficiency, don’t they?
- What trend do you see in the interest of Russian companies towards automation capabilities and their role in production operations and maintenance?
- I can say for sure that the interest is growing. But technologies are showing rapid development as well and plant managers are sometimes too busy to stay aware of ongoing changes regarding availability and usability of automation tools along with opportunities that they open.
- In recent years, Emerson has been increasing the number of publications about improved processes and plants efficiency driven by automation and top quartile performance in operational excellence, reliability, safety, and energy efficiency. What does it really mean to achieve this or that quartile?
- If we compare any specific performance indicator across the industry, all plants can be split into four groups from the first to the forth quartile. Plants showing maximum of the selected indicator are considered top quartile. We can run such analysis either locally or globally comparing Russian and foreign plants. Compared indicators are different and include productivity, product cost, reliability, capacity utilization, etc. However, they are very much correlated. For instance, automated predictive diagnostic helps not only to reduce unplanned shutdowns and product losses but also to cut maintenance and repair costs, prevent serious incidents, and so on. We help key industrial plants in Russia to implement innovations and achieve top quartile performance.
- It’s well known that automation takes under 3% of the total modernization or construction project cost, being outside the area of Management strategic focus. How does the level of automation impact project budget and time? What kind of environment is needed to turn automation from expense into the driver of project cost and time optimization?
- The number of changes is increasing year-over-year. Growing economic pressure demanding higher production performance comes amid new technologies improving efficiency. Copying and pasting decade-long practices often leads to failure. Ranking of projects made it clear that maintaining the status quo, fourth quartile performers spend twice as much cost and time than their top quartile peers.
Even if each project participant works perfectly and follows the latest trends, there is no guarantee that the whole projects will be fulfilled according to the best practices. Early involvement of key suppliers is becoming more important enabling joint optimization of project scope, boundaries, functionality of certain areas, etc. As for automation, you can minimize intrusions into process units and pipes due to non-intrusive or multivariable transmitters; reduce the process unit footprint with compact valve actuators; and minimize cable trays due to electronic marshalling or wireless solutions.
These and many other opportunities help to optimize not only automation but also the other parts of the project like construction, process technology etc. And even more focus should be put on the operational phase, which lasts for 20 to 40 years and defines return on investment for the whole project lifecycle. Over the last 10 years, a lot more instruments have been installed to achieve much higher control quality and completely different work practices due to automated information collection and analysis. All of these directly impact the enterprise ability to boost efficiency and achieve top quartile performance.
- Could you give an example, please?
- Imagine a compressor failure at night, causing a few units to shut down. As a result, you loose your products, spend time to urgently find staff and spare parts and pay extra for repair. Automated early diagnostics would allow to detect imminent equipment failure and proactively shut down the process for maintenance and repair of several units at once within the shortest period of time. Coming back to quartiles, 25% of top performers have, on average, 5% of downtime whereas equivalent fourth quartile operators have 20% of downtime. Top performers spend around 3 times less maintenance and repair costs by minimizing unplanned shutdowns. Diagnostics automation plays a big role here. Thus, top performers have 90% of their rotating machinery equipped with vibration diagnostics tools as opposed to 5% for their fourth quartile peers.
- What capabilities should be inherent into today’s automation driving production performance?
- First and foremost, it should be quickly and easily adjustable to constantly changing operating requirements. For projects it helps to avoid commissioning delays and minimize costs. For operating facilities, it allows to identify inefficiencies and responsible personnel, quickly improve performance, add new measurement points as needed, and so on.
- How do you know whether a solution complies with such requirements or not?
- You can ask the supplier to provide a quote not only for an automation system but also for a few years of service including the reasonable range of adjustments and enhancements.
- How much effort does it take to prepare staff for using new solutions? How to change traditional operation culture?
- Today, automation system interfaces can be made very simple and easy-to-use displaying real time key performance indicators linked with personnel responsibilities. However, human work practices are more difficult to change. It requires direct involvement of the plant management and sometimes results in reorganization, reduced headcount, etc. One side of the progress is that automation systems come to perform simple routine functions used to be done by people.
- Lately, I have been hearing a lot about Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Big Data analysis
as the ways for industrial plants to reach game changing visibility, performance, and
ease of control. Could you tell us a few words about the essence of the concept?
- The idea of Big Data is pretty straightforward meaning that the information about an individual person, process or technological unit provides much less value than data about all people, processes or units and their lifecycle history. There is a huge difference between analyzing performance of a separate pump and using comprehensive data to evaluate all pumps of the particular type within the plant, company or even globally by the pump manufacturer. Automated real-time monitoring and aggregated historical data first enable to identify causes of poor performance and failures, predict them further on depending on process conditions, and then prevent the issues due to maintenance by the best experts in the given type of unit.
Current plants are increasing the number of new sensors including wireless ones, which are now more reliable and easier to install and maintain. So, we are at the cusp of another industrial boom similar to that in the realm of Internet with an advent of compact, light, and affordable smartphones.
- What differentiates Emerson in this realm?
We need to evolve automation not for the sake of automation as such but for the sake of operational excellence. Our differentiator is that we employ bottom up solutions strategy having good knowledge of what to measure, how to process information and communicate it to employees. This is an effective way to optimize human workflow based on real data captured directly from process units, calculate real-time performance indicators and link them with responsible staff.
- Sounds inspiring! However, given Russian realities, do your developments and technologies need to be adapted to our country? Do you have manufacturing, local expertise, service and support capabilities in Russia?
- Emerson has been successfully running its business in Russia for so many years that the company truly feels a part of our country. We have been localizing manufacturing since 2004. Moreover, localization is part of our company’s global strategy. We believe that engineering, manufacturing, and service capabilities should be located in proximity to our key Customers. Since acquiring Metran Industrial Group in 2004 (CALLOUT: Metran is a leading Russian instrument-making company producing pressure, temperature, level, and flow instruments, distributed control systems, valves, regulators, and metrological equipment. Metran supports products through all phases of the lifecycle, including development, production, engineering support, sales, service, and customer training), Emerson has been focused on developing manufacturing in Russia. As a result, in 2015, we opened the new manufacturing plant according to all requirements stated by Russian authorities and government-owned companies. So, we are in line even with most stringent import substitution requirements. Metran Industrial Group is an example of the full business localization cycle virtually in every aspect starting from demand analysis and new product development to comprehensive engineering support and service. We have about 1,500 employees across Russia, which is a lot more than any other global industrial automation company.
- Are technologies developed in Russia applied internationally? Are there any examples?
- Yes, they are. Our engineering center in Chelyabinsk with over 100 Russian engineers has been successfully designing new technologies. The latest examples fitting into the Industrial Internet of Things concept include small size pressure transmitters, pressure and temperature transmitters with cold temperature option capable of functioning in severe ambient temperatures as low as -60 °C, non-intrusive pipe-clamp temperature sensors with embedded mathematical model achieving high accuracy, wireless tank gauging system and many other solutions. These technologies are installed both in Russia and worldwide. Since we are a global company, proven solutions can be applied in other countries as well.
- Who would you highlight among Russian and foreign industrial experts and opinion leaders? Whose opinion would you follow?
- International consulting companies bring good ideas to think over. Independent Project Analysis (IPA), Inc provides solid analysis of large projects. We use economic forecasts from IHS company. For instance, CERA company regularly arranges famous CERA week conference, which highlights trends and inspires new ideas. As for reliability, we use our own MRG consulting company acquired by Emerson two years ago.
We have experts for each and every key industry in Russia, each of them with decades of experience in process automation. Also there are experts specializing in industrial safety, reliability, and energy efficiency. As for safety, we provide compliance consultancy in accordance with Russian and international requirements and also offer a wide range of equipment from instruments to valves including the harshest applications. Our products are SIL3 certified and can be used to ensure safety of the most critical production processes.
- It is clear that design of new industrial facilities should be initially planned according to operational excellence principles and state-of-the-art automation systems. But there are many outdated plants to be upgraded. What would you recommend for them?
- The first step is to evaluate the current state of the plant. Our industry expert can organize working session on-site involving middle management, people profound in equipment and well aware of plant issues. Our expert provides a review of various scenarios proven to solve the same challenges at similar units followed by the discussion of potential benefits and costs. As a result, we offer an automation roadmap considering current state and budget restrictions.
We never strive to automate everything indiscriminately. Sometimes a few simple recipes are enough to solve the plant toughest issues. The objective is to maximize economic benefits while having limited budget. For example, our references include a success story of the enterprise, which had moved energy efficiency from the fourth to the first quartile over a year with the payback period of 3 months.
See also YouTube top quartile campaign page
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