Improving resiliency and efficiency

Issue 3 2022 Industrial (Industry)

Energy-intensive industries, especially oil and gas and petrochemicals, have never been more under pressure to meet sustainability targets, boost uptime, maximise throughput and reduce total expenditures by lowering the end-to-end lifecycle costs of their assets.

Dwibin Thomas.

One way owner/operators and engineering professionals can identify strategies to reach these goals is to ask two questions:

• Is there an overlooked source of value in our operations?

• Can we take advantage of currently available technology to unlock it?

Thanks to advances in connectivity and digital analytics technology, the answer to both questions is an unequivocal yes.

Until recently, industrial enterprises’ power and process systems were designed and operated independently across a plant’s lifecycle. However, evidence confirms that uniting these two domains and managing them holistically can offer dramatic resiliency and efficiency benefits for industrial operations.

Whether organisations integrate during a plant’s design phase or unite existing power and process system management during a major infrastructure upgrade, the fusion of the two has real potential to accelerate business value and help build a long-term competitive advantage.

Traditionally, power management and process automation separation were primarily due to technical hurdles, with separated engineering domains connected by hardwired signals and localised digital information. Engineers are now realising how important it is to merge the two processes, benefiting from co-ordinated systems within an operational and maintenance framework.

There’s ample evidence to suggest that companies require new data-driven insights to support better, faster decision-making to thrive in today’s volatile economic environment. They need to respond faster to critical conditions that threaten uptime and become more agile to make their operations more resilient, safe and profitable, which is much easier to achieve with converged power and process systems.

Protecting today’s critical production infrastructure means rethinking traditional methods. For example, original high-speed load management systems matured with the advent of super-fast networking and the use of the IEC61850 information models and signalling.

The reality is that for virtually every onsite power generation situation, the power and process physical systems are already intrinsically connected electro-dynamically, so why not monitor and manage them as a unified system at a higher level of close loop, cascade loop and analytic behaviour?

The best of both worlds

Converged power and process solutions with predictive analytics, such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Process and Power, are engineered to help boost profitability by:

• Improving operational efficiency and saving energy.

• Increasing electro-dynamic protection for more uptime.

• Enhancing asset reliability to prevent downtime.

Converged digitised systems offer additional benefits, including faster commissioning, less cabling, simpler maintenance, and a reduced footprint. With the outstanding potential to improve process and energy efficiency while lowering risks to operational continuity, digitised process and power control solutions make good business sense in an unpredictable business environment.

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