Automation & Control Systems

Automation & Control Systems

Technical Pillar Theme: Automation & Control Systems

Champions: Bazmi Husain

Abstract:

Automation and control systems have evolved significantly since the early days and the 4th industrial revolution opens even more opportunities.
Modern automation systems can mirror the different physical aspects of an controlled or monitored assets into a digital twin, the increased data integration allows faster and more flexible deployment of solutions and at the same time require modified workflows to leverage the value such as for example remote commissioning and distributed engineering.
Access to more process and device data allows not only to control and monitor processes better, but also allows improved condition monitoring. New data analytics drive root cause analyses and preventive maintenance solutions.

Modularisation and standardization will tomorrow further increase flexibility during project execution as well as during the full life cycle. Compared to the past where entire DCS systems needed to be replaced by newer technology to keep up with the plant’s needs this will help to gradually enhance the automation system and provide extended overall life cycle and avoid major system renewals at high cost and risk to production.

In digital operations, analytics are employed to convert measurements and data into information and knowledge, and the active use of such refined information are enablers for improved maintenance operations and process performance. Degradation can be discovered before in-operation faults occur, leading to both cost reductions and safety improvement. Allowing all relevant data to be securely available in cloud type repositories allow plant owners to use big data technologies to analyse failure patterns, failure modes and effects for equipment categories and identify systematic manufacturer or equipment type performance. In this way digitalization are becoming the new operations theatre, leading to lean productive and safe operations.

Augmented reality has started to find its way into the oil and gas industries. Process operations information can easily be superimposed to plant equipment and procedural instructions can be displayed to field-technicians or maintenance technicians while they work outside of the control room. Remaining life time prediction for equipment paired with augmented reality will help to operate the plant for efficiently, maintain degrading equipment at the right time and most efficient even by personal that is not permanent stationed at site. In future unattended control, data validations and autonomous inspections will further improve reliability of unmanned sites.

Increased access to data also means more connections to the automation system that needs to be secure to protect performance and integrity.
Companies must be more vigilant than ever before in protecting their assets. Fortunately, solutions exist to protect assets from cybercrime. Companies will need to ensure their assets are protected correctly from the very start and are vigilant on an ongoing basis.

Not all of this technology is necessarily bound to Greenfield installations. Data based decisions and analytics as well as operations and maintenance support through augmented reality can also be deployed to brownfields. The emergence of lower cost wireless sensors allows existing devices to be equipped with smart IoT technology at an acceptable cost so that the news solutions can be deployed also in a brownfield installation without jeopardizing older systems integrity or cybersecurity.

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