Highlights from the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum General Session - Part 2 | Automation.com

Highlights from the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum General Session - Part 2

Highlights from the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum General Session - Part 2
By Paul Miller and Dick Hill

Following several days of excellent workshops and presentations focused on the four individual topical tracks (Rethinking Operational Excellence, Re-thinking Asset Lifecycle Management, Rethinking Cyber Security, and Rethinking Performance-Based Outsourcing), attendees at the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum came together again on the afternoon of February 10, 2010 for a second, Forum-wide general session (See last week's Insight for an overview of the Tuesday morning general session.) The afternoon general session included a timely and interesting OpX presentation by BASF's Werner Setzwein; an attention-getting and thought-provoking presentation on immersive virtual environments by Chevron's Kevyn Renner; a brief introduction and overview by Daryl Dulaney, President and CEO of the recently formed Siemens Industry business; and finally, a presentation on a successful continuous improvement process by Dennis Inverso, from DuPont Engineering.

Following this general session, Forum attendees boarded buses that brought us to Disney World's Epcot theme park, where we enjoyed drinks, a wonderful buffet dinner, and live jazz in the replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall in the American Adventure Pavilion, all sponsored by Siemens Industry. Following dinner, we bundled up against the surprisingly chilly night air for the brief walk to Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon to see the impressive "Illuminations" fireworks, laser, and water display, which Siemens has sponsored at the theme park for many years.

BASF's New Production System Leverages Automation as a Value Driver
Werner Setzwein, Vice President, Automation and Electrical Engineering at BASF SE, traveled all the way from BASF's headquarters in Germany to share his presentation on Automation as a Value Driver for Operational Excellence. According to Mr. Setzwein, the company implemented its new production system, called OPAL 21 (Optimization of Production in Antwerp and Ludwigshafen in the 21st Century), to further drive operational excellence, provide an integrated and consistent framework for optimizing organizational and technical processes at production sites, and help counter the negative effects of the recent economic downturn. BASF is the world's leading chemical company and Ludwigshafen and Antwerp are BASF's two largest production sites.

Werner believes that it is significant that BASF's Board of Directors was directly involved in establishing the specific EBIT-related value drivers for the production system. These value drivers are feedstock costs, energy costs, logistics costs, sales volume, and staff – all which must be balanced against capital expenditures. According to Werner, the company's strategy was to install an automation platform that can help leverage either cost reductions, productivity enhancements, or capacity increases for each of the above value drivers.

Centered on motivating employees and ensuring safe production, BASF's new production system is based on six core elements:

• Roles and responsibilities
• Lean management
• Process optimization
• Automation
• Qualification
• Optimization of plant structures

To reduce specific feedstock costs, BASF applied process control, quality control, and process analytics in the production plants to increase yields and minimize off spec product. This identified the need for integrated tools and platforms for online modeling and fallback concepts.

To minimize specific energy costs, BASF applied a base MES/CPM infra-structure and a DCS-integrated APC toolbox with MPC to optimize setpoints and establish and visualize energy KPIs.

To minimize specific logistics costs, the company implemented a successful MES/CPM solution for information combined with load rack automation at production site filling stations.

To help increase production capacity (to support increased sales volumes), BASF implemented recipe-based startup of process units, a higher level of automation for batch processes (including online analytics and MPC), debottlenecking through improved basic control and APC implementation, and ongoing operator training.

To reduce operations complexity (to help reduce specific staff costs), the company performed a controller performance assessment to identify the controls loops that show degraded performance or frequently require manual intervention. This identified the need for services to help improve basic design structure of control loops. To further support operators in the production plants, BASF implemented improved alarm management and installed intelligent displays to enable successful control room mergers, even in situations where less experienced operators might not have expertise of the second plant. According to Werner, this has high potential to improve operational excellence further.

BASF sees that it can achieve cost advantages in plant design and asset management in many instances by increasing automation, rather than by purchasing and installing new processing apparatus. For example, inline blending with ratio control can avoid the need for a stirred collection tank. To support more effective central asset management, the company implemented improved diagnostics through sensor-based diagnostics (both on- and off-line), intelligent field devices with self-diagnostics, model-based condition diagnostics, and by leveraging the diagnostic know-how of process operators.

Werner also commented that participation in ARC's Benchmarking Consortium has helped BASF identify strategic improvement opportunities.

Chevron's Immersive 3D Virtual Environment Improves Work Processes
Kevyn Renner, Senior Technology Consultant at Chevron, next provided a highly creative, multi-media presentation on the company's new RAVE (Real Asset Virtualization Environment) collaborative environment. Introduced by a high-energy statement audio track and compelling visuals, Mr. Renner's presentation featured a much higher "production quality" than we usually get to experience at industry forums.

According to Kevyn, "Chevron Manufacturing basically just boils oil, but the internal processes involved can be very complicated." Like other manufacturing companies, Chevron is losing expertise. So the question becomes: How do you capture expertise? How do you improve situational awareness? How do you create immersive operations intelligence? RAVE, a new immersive collaborative environment at Chevron, deals with these issues. According to Kevyn, "RAVE is where the virtual and physical worlds meet."

"Most work processes in refineries are archaic, but we can use new collaborative environments to improve situational awareness," said Kevyn. Three-dimensional virtual environments, such as RAVE, are more immersive than two-dimensional (paper and computer screen) environments. Here, operations, planning, and maintenance subject experts can all be brought into the 3D simulations as avatars, where they can collaborate in real time, even if they are physically located halfway around the world. According to Kevyn, "Virtual rooms are persistent, just like the real world, and can be located anywhere via the 3D internet." Immersive collaborative environments can provide plant personnel with appropriate, in-context information about production assets, such as pumps or compressors. Everyone has a different perspective, and therefore requires different information and can contribute different expertise.

In a pilot project at Chevron's Salt Lake Refinery, the RAVE virtual 3D environment also proved extremely effective as a training vehicle. Here, a virtual training room using 3D models and actual documentation and operator screens, several new operators (all in their 20s) participated as avatars. According to Kevyn, this created a compelling and effective training environment. These young operators absorbed and retained as much knowledge of a particular process unit in 20 minutes in the virtual space as they would ordinarily learn in three days in the real world. "We can also train people in a virtual space using the model before the plant is even constructed, which can save a tremendous amount of time," said Kevyn.
Manufacturers can also use modern laser scanning technology to create 3D models of existing assets, which they can then incorporate into the virtual environments.

Value Accelerators Increase Productivity at DuPont
Following a brief overview of the new Siemens Industry business in the US, President and CEO, Daryl Dulaney introduced Siemens' customer, Dennis Inverso. Mr. Inverso is a Principle Consultant at DuPont Engineering. His presentation, DuPont's Value Accelerator - Proven Methodology for Increasing Productivity, explained the motivation, the methodology, and some results to date from this continuous improvement methodology, which incorporates elements of the DuPont Production System.

According to Dennis, Value Accelerators represent formalized brainstorming processes for projects with both narrow scope and high value potential. The methodology melds Six Sigma, Lean, Kaizen, and other continuous improvement techniques based on plant floor activities and involving "real work." Value Accelerators fit within the overall DuPont Production System, which focuses on effective asset utilization and reduced waste. To be considered for a Value Accelerator, a project must involve at least half a million dollars worth of improvement.

The Value Accelerator process involves four steps:

• Identify the problem and the potential improvement value
• Run the event
• Implement the programs
• Capture the benefit to realize the value

According to Dennis, the best Value Accelerators focus on-site resources on the "real work," enrich the idea stream via an outside "set of eyes," and deploy external resources to help implement the work.

In a typical three-day event, the first day would focus on problem definition, involve a deep dive to ground the group on the data needed to support the goal, and end with the first idea generation session. The second day would include a second deep dive, an idea generation session, and efforts to prioritize. The third day would involve assignment of charters and a closing.

In an Energy Value Accelerator at DuPont's Washington Works manufacturing plant in West Virginia, the goal was to reduce steam demand, including transient peaks, to save $1.8 million in variable steam costs by minimizing use of a specific gas-fired boiler. Here, the Value Accelerator team initially came up with 230 different concepts. Using a prioritization matrix to identify the specific projects with the highest potential impact and lowest costs, these were reduced to 29 capital projects, nine additional projects, five "quick hit" projects, and three "just go do it" projects. The process also involves an event program tracking report to help identify what's working, and what's not working.

Last Word
ARC analysts have performed extensive research into and written numerous reports on operational excellence, collaborative environments, simulation, 3D laser scanning, and continuous improvement and will continue to do so between now and next year's Orlando Forum. We find it extremely encouraging that industry leaders such as BASF, Chevron, and DuPont have had such obvious success at actually implementing these concepts to create value for their own companies as well as for their customers. As always, ARC welcomes your feedback on these and other topics.
Did you Enjoy this Article?

Check out our free e-newsletters
to read more great articles.

Subscribe Now
Back to top
Posted in: