The Intelligent Explorer | Automation.com

The Intelligent Explorer

The Intelligent Explorer

By Robert Golightly, AspenTech

Asset effectiveness is the essence of running a profitable operation in today’s highly competitive market. The primary measure of business performance is the ability to intelligently assess real-time production data in a way that contextualizes, visualizes, reports and shares information, while enabling operators to make the right decisions affecting operational performance.

For many chemical companies, batch analysis often fails to provide the ability to visualize data in flexible formats and incorporate characteristic data to identify and correct the root causes of operational problems. Manufacturing execution systems (MES) software delivers knowledge that optimizes processes and opens up the opportunity to explore and discover all possibilities, including the use of web-enabled data analysis capabilities to understand issues quickly.

By identifying and adopting best practices and implementing collaborative and integrated technology into the business, companies can readily transfer vital knowledge across the operation from equipment engineering to process engineering, which ensures continuous improvement initiatives. Cutting-edge MES software allows organizations to collect, manage and leverage vast volumes of production data to provide operational intelligence, via rich visualization and analytics, for improved production execution, effectively turning the data into usable and tailored information. Information must be relevant, timely and collaborative. The more you uncover, the more you can discover, enabling process manufacturers to efficiently resolve operational issues to remain profitable.

Discovering knowledge

Through the process of discovery, the unknown is understood and an environment can be interpreted. Process manufacturers generate data on a second-by-second basis and, therefore, need an intelligent MES software to display tag data, view trends and graphics, as well as analyze plant performance using the most innovative operations data visualization capabilities available.

Often, too much time is spent by knowledge-seekers trying to find relevant information, correcting errors and using unreliable data sources. Purposeful information must be relevant, timely and collaborative. Being able to share pertinent data to make better and faster decisions will give companies the competitive edge and allow operations to be more agile to respond to changes, producing more effective execution.

Every second is critical in manufacturing. Fast, flexible and easy-to-use data visualization and analysis software provides a timely and in-depth understanding of asset performance. By quickly discovering issues using advanced analytic functionalities and tapping into business intelligence, it is possible to minimize response times to production issues, as well as improve overall equipment effectiveness and turn the acquired data into profit for every minute of the day.

The Intelligent Explorer

Context makes analysis meaningful. Having information displayed in a logical, easy-to-understand manner with the appropriate tools enables operations to influence optimal outcomes. Solving problems quickly, is essential to meet customer demand and be competitive.

Modern MES software manufacturers can easily exchange real-time information among the shop floor, throughout the enterprise and up to the executive boardroom. With an integrated infrastructure, manufacturers can utilize available operational data to maintain and improve quality standards, adopt best practices and achieve operational excellence.

Many leading companies have adopted integrated workflow solutions capable of managing and handling the engineering challenges of the complete supply chain to increase profitability, reduce variability and improve overall asset utilization. The data management capabilities of MES solutions within a unified plant optimization puts information at the user’s fingertips, anytime and anywhere, by collecting and organizing process data across disparate systems and distributing it across the enterprise to make it easy to optimize the value of the data. The solutions available today, also include tools that collect and store large volumes of real-time and historical data from process control, manufacturing operations, laboratory systems and business systems, which form the foundation for an enterprise-level data platform. Rich calculations, analytic and visualization tools unlock the data’s value, allowing operators to compare performance across a range of assets and disseminate best practices to processes and sites that require improvement. As a scalable and flexible solution, the data historian software delivers enterprise-wide global deployments across hundreds of locations. In addition it also serves as an object-oriented real-time database where customers have the ability to create custom record structures, meta-data and object classes to accurately model and represent their specific process information. 

MES software provides the tools to access, visualize, analyze and monitor plant operations data, including secure access from any device connected to the network without the need for client-side add-ins or software installation. Users have the ability to choose between desktop, laptop, tablets and smartphones, so they are always in touch with their production data, anytime and anywhere. The most advanced solutions intelligently help to provide the context that drives effective analysis, build asset hierarchies that simplify monitoring and diagnostics, and expand batch and event visualization. With dynamic gauges, dials and other dashboard elements, operations can deliver performance dashboards that quickly convey important information in one platform.

Chemical companies around the globe use the latest MES tools to make better and faster decisions, driven by a comprehensive view of production operations to maximize asset effectiveness. Adding context to analyses helps identify root causes, such as batch variability, for faster problem resolution and enables operators to take corrective actions to preserve product quality.

The advantages of rich content aggregation and strong visualization capabilities include the ability to:

  • Search across a wide set of data sources and content types, including production records, alarms, graphics, trends, ad hoc tag lists and comments to locate all pertinent information
  • Look at data by production segment, event or batch within a single tool
  • Enable flexible events, so that users can plot periods of time where operators have placed comment markers or where alarms exist
  • Provide mobile worker, manager and executive access to current production information on their laptops, desktop, tablet or smartphone with a true thin client solution
  • Produce dashboards tailored for different users’ needs within minutes
  • Understand batch variability more easily; over time, within batch and batch-to-batch

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Manufacturers are constantly searching for ways to preserve margins, improve product quality and make optimal use of global assets. Now is the time to ensure operations are fully equipped with intelligent MES technology to better understand what is going on in the plant.

Having access to secure production data from any device connected to a network without the need for client-side software is no longer just a dream, but a reality. Being able to see the bigger picture and discover vital information helps solve production issues fast. An effective MES system allows users to visualize processes, event and alarm data in a consolidated view, so they can share data from their production operations. Leading MES software also incorporates features for batch visualization and helps spot process and product variation to identify poor quality batches. Contextual data can now be viewed alongside process data to provide production teams with the required information to maximize production assets – a truly intelligent solution to explore and discover ways to make more profit.

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