New Emerson Facility Features Integrated Operations (iOps) Center

  • March 26, 2014
  • Emerson Automation Solutions
  • Feature

By Bill Lydon, Editor

Emerson invested nearly $70 million in a new 282,000-square-foot Innovation Center in Round Rock, Texas. The center serves as the global headquarters for Emerson’s automation systems and project services business, which helps customers safely, reliably and profitably operate facilities in industries, including oil and gas, refining, chemicals, power, life sciences, food & beverage, and metals & mining.

This new Innovation Center is the third globally. The Emerson Innovation Center in Marshalltown, Iowa, develops and tests flow control applications and technologies, replicating real-world conditions no other test or R&D facility in the world can match. The company’s Innovation Center in Pune, India, focuses on world-class software application development. The Innovation Center in Round Rock, near Austin, Texas, is comprised of several world-class disciplines under one roof:

  • A technology and product design and support center, providing engineering and development for the DeltaV digital automation system and DeltaV SIS Safety System.
  • An Integrated Operations (iOps) Center where customers can explore new ways of managing remote operations and enabling easier collaboration with experts located anywhere in the world.
  • The Emerson Process Management Human Centered Design Institute, an industry leading consulting and engineering practice that drives usability-based design into all products Emerson Process Management designs and manufactures, is also based in Austin. By designing products that are easier to use, customers gain improved worker effectiveness and lower requirements for specialized knowledge in their workforce.
  • A world-class interoperability and testing lab in which Emerson tests both its own products as well as competitors’ to ensure safe, reliable and robust operation.
  • The Life Sciences Industry Center provides consulting, engineering, and project management expertise to support pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers.
  • Educational Services where more than 2,500 customer personnel gain product, technology, and operational skills on the latest technologies.
  • Lastly, the company’s Project Management Office (PMO) aligns and integrates the company’s best practices, processes, systems and metrics for global project execution.

Educational Services Labs

Integrated Operations (iOps) Center

The “jewel” of the new facility is the Integrated Operations (iOps) Center, which showcases the latest in automation and audio/visual technologies. At the center, users can get a hands-on understanding of the implementation and value of remote operations. The magic behind remote operations is leveraging the latest technology and the various functional departments (i.e. production operations, maintenance, logistics, and commodities trading) into a collaborative control room environment. Using remote technology, people from throughout the company can view and understand a full range of information, discuss alternatives, and collaboratively make better decisions.

In the command center, Emerson can run and monitor the local process in the facility and remotely located facilities. Integrated videoconferencing and IP video cameras provide visibility into remote operations, and dashboards are used to monitor the health of assets around the world. Connections to subject matter experts across Emerson allow the iOps team to have access to the right knowledge to optimize control system performance and reliability of assets. This provides customers with a true-to-life look at potential technologies and work processes as they try to optimize the reliability and performance of their own operations.

The command center features a Barco OL-series LED-lit rear projection video wall. The 30-foot-by-6-foot video wall provides nearly 25 million pixels onto which operators can display their level-1 overview displays, closed-circuit video feeds, KPI dashboards, and other sources. Emerson’s operator interface combines with Barco’s CMS software to seamlessly send displays from operator consoles to collaboration areas on the video wall or to any other displays in the facility, including mobile devices. With one click, the content across all screens in the command center can change, instantly transforming the environment from an integrated oil and gas production operation to a refinery, a petrochemical complex, or a pharmaceutical plant.

Thoughts & Observations

By sitting through the iOps demonstration that simulated real-world examples, I could easily understand how the concepts work and the value of applying the technology. Clearly, there is a great deal of technology demonstrated in the iOps center, but the big value is learning and understanding the opportunity for groups in the organization to work interactively, gain insights, and make more informed, better decisions.

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