Yokogawa Introduces “Profit-driven Operation”
Digitizing Plant Data to Generate Sustained Future Value
Spurred by the need to balance innovation, costs, profitability, operational performance, customer centricity and safety, companies will need to shift their focus from reactive operations to proactive, predictive and profit optimizing operations. In order to achieve this stage of maturity, data and data quality is important and the consistent use of it from the Operating Room to the Board Room. The ability to extract the right data to drive value creation will set companies apart in the future. Customers who leverage data as a critical asset will maintain a competitive advantage. The automation of data → knowledge → insights is an area of focus in the immediate future.
The process industry sees digital transformation as a key organizational strategy to deploy sustainable innovation across value-chains through the judicious use of digital technologies, while structurally altering operational models, culture and best-practices to encompass new ways of working.
The Japan based company Yokogawa is active in industrial automation and control and serves a wide range of industries including oil, chemicals, natural gas, power, iron and steel, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, and food. Yokogawa says, it helps companies maximize their profits by offering a wide range of highly reliable products and premium solutions and services. CHEManager editors Ralf Kempf and Volker Oestreich met members of the board of Yokogawa to discuss recent developments in digitization and process controls.
Value Drivers in Digital Transformation
Process industries are facing a disrupt transformation cycle that is fundamentally going to remodel the way value chains behave in future. “The industry is looking to manage conflicting priorities like maximizing flexibility, modernizing processes, minimizing product quality variability, enabling a safe, secure operation while effectively driving innovation and customer centricity,” stresses Satoru Kurosu, Executive Vice President at Yokogawa Electric Corporation´s Premium Solutions & Service Business Headquarter in Tokyo.
Digital transformation is a journey customers must embrace to stave-off disruption by digital technology enablers. Underlying technologies like advanced process optimization software, analytics (including Artificial intelligence, machine learning, stochastic and mechanistic models), cloud hosting and computing power are poised to drive substantial improvements across the process manufacturing value chain. Three stages in the digital transformation can be identified:
- Digitization is the adoption of digital technologies (e.g., wireless, smart devices, edge, analytics/algorithms, controls, software and cybersecurity) to drive automation, repeatability and predictability in actions compared to traditional work processes.
- Digitalization leverages digitized data collected to drive new revenue streams, valuecreation while transforming business, work and operational processes.
- Digital Transformation builds on digitization and digitalization to transform enterprise operations. Stage 1 and 2 may be restricted to individual sites/plants, while moving into stage 3 helps customers to drive performance excellence across the enterprise.
“The convergences of the digital technologies are enabling companies to realize unexpected value and charter previously unseen levels of insights to improve process efficiencies. Based on current implementations and feedback from customers, we have observed that digital technologies help customers improve their competitive edge and ultimately the overall business profitability,” says Yokogawa´s Masatoshi Nakahara, Executive Vice President Industrial Automation Systems.
Integrated Plant Performance Management
With OpreX Profit-driven Operation, Yokogawa has a solution for process industries that drives seamless alignment with plant management objectives across the organization, from the operations floor through to the C-suite. The solution is centered on a methodology of interrelated performance indicators distilled from Yokogawa’s extensive domain knowledge, and promotes profitability by helping to optimize the balance between conflicting objectives. It incorporates a new performance dashboard and related services designed specifically for the operations level, as well as programs provided by KBC Advanced Technologies, a wholly-owned Yokogawa subsidiary specializing in consulting and simulation for process industry management. “Process industry executives say that, despite considerable investment in IT, they don’t have true visibility into what is happening across their plants, and that objectives they communicate are not being clearly understood at the operations level,” says Satoru Kurosu. “To help solve these critical issues, we have constructed a cross-organizational performance metrics methodology to provide the visibility and alignment they need.”
Performance dashboard for operations
Integrated into the Centum distributed control system (DCS) is a new performance dashboard to enable plant operators to monitor in real time how their operation patterns are impacting high-level plant management objectives. When the service is implemented at a plant, optimal setpoint ranges are determined for each SPI, and then if a certain indicator moves outside the ideal range, built-in expert advice is displayed to support prompt action by even inexperienced operators. The SPIs and operator performance data are automatically accumulated to enable internal and industry benchmarking, root cause analysis, and expert consulting for continuous profitability gains.
“Plant control systems continuously receive a vast amount of information from sensors and devices, but the utilization of this big data collected in real time by the DCS has mainly been limited to front-line plant safety and line control,” comments Masatoshi Nakahara. “Bringing together the DCS big data and the captured knowledge of Yokogawa and KBC experts within the performance dashboard and services dramatically improves transparency, feedback, and motivation for operators, letting them transform their work from event-driven to being sustainably profit-driven.”