Visibility improves efficiency
Last week’s ARC Forum in Orlando, Florida, hosted top executives from automation suppliers and end users all over the world. The theme of the forum focused on collaborative manufacturing strategies that drive performance in the flat world. In today’s global business environment, competition is fierce. To compete, companies need to find ways to improve efficiencies wherever and however they can.
To improve efficiencies, companies need visibility of everything in the plant...not only from field devices to ERP systems, but from one process to another. Suppliers are answering the call with more integrated solutions than ever before. And, I'm sure, there are many more to come.
A face to face meeting with Raj Batra, the new VP of Siemens Automation & Motion Division, revealed his passion for discrete and process manufacturing. Siemens' innovative combination of a uniform software environment, network technology, tools, diagnostics, simulation and planning bring manufacturers one step closer to a completely digital factory.
A number of suppliers represented at the forum offer asset management solutions. These products give companies visibility of their assets, so they know which machines or process equipment are available for production, as well as which need maintenance. You can check out the most recent announcements for asset management products in our Product Showcase by searching on the product category "Software - Asset & Maintenance Management."
During a panel discussion, many suppliers indicated they have added or continue to add more intelligence and diagnostic capabilities to instruments and sensors. By including brains and diagnostics at the device level, operators can quickly determine which device has faulted, decreasing downtime and improving efficiencies. Device diagnostics aid in start-up and commissioning as well as long-term maintenance.
Change management or configuration management has always been a challenge for users. With dozens or even hundreds of systems to maintain, how do you keep track of small changes that occur in control systems? Many vendors offer a management solution for their own system, but PAS offers a solution that encompasses multiple vendors and systems. You can read more about the PAS Integrity system in our featured white paper, Does your Automation Systems have Integrity?
Invensys has partnered with SAP to co-develop pre-integrated PCAs (Packaged Composite Applications) that provide a single solution environment extending from the plant or factory floor up through the enterprise. It includes two applications:
- The Real-Time Finance composite application helps align process manufacturing operations with business objectives by providing managers with clear, minute-to-minute (as opposed to daily, weekly, or monthly) information about and visibility into production-related financial performance.
- The Real-Time Production Execution composite application enhances production agility by providing a powerful pre-integrated solution for dispatching, executing, monitoring, and evaluating manufacturing production and performance runs in discrete, batch, and hybrid plant operations.
These two applications allow managers and operators to actually see the financial relationship of the process and act accordingly. Read the full product announcement.
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Vice President, Publisher