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The issue facing many industrial organizations is that too much time and money is spent in designing, operating and optimizing new-generation and existing plants because of a lack of tools, incompatibilities and the absence of a digital model that is equal to the real built plant. Engineers are being forced to work with antiquated software tools that don’t link together well and don’t lend themselves to the methodologies used for designing and building new, fully-digitalized plants, not to speak about the simulation of them.
Recognizing this shift towards digitalization, we are excited to be in the final stages of creating a global leader in engineering- and industrial software with AVEVA. As a result, we are planning to help industrial organizations and their engineering teams achieve the goal of rapid plant modernization through virtualized plant development and simulation. Schneider Electric is combining its industrial software business with AVEVA to create a separate, agile provider of automation brand agnostic engineering and industrial software tools. The new entity will act as a pure software company, will be traded on the London Stock Exchange, and will be backed by the strength and global presence of Schneider Electric as a majority shareholder.
One customer, KBR, a global provider of government, technology, consulting, engineering and construction services, who conducts business with both AVEVA and Schneider Electric, sees an immediate synergistic benefit from the soon to be combined company as software interfaces are simplified. By aligning, automating and optimizing the interfaces and handoffs between the conceptual engineering and the detailed engineering phase of the value chain, KBR is estimating a potential cost savings of up to $4 million per capital project. And these are just engineering and construction (EPC) savings. Those upfront efficiencies will trigger a cost savings ripple effect throughout the operational phases of the plant project as a faster engineering to cash could be the outcome.
The virtual engine behind the savings
AVEVA’s E3D software engine is a tool that allows the user to build a 3D digital version of a plant. By building this virtual version, or “digital twin” of the plant, engineers can ultimately try out different combinations of plant configurations to determine which would result in the most efficient operations when all software is combined. Once the dynamic simulation of the plant is built, the testing results begin to build a feedback loop based on what the engineers have learned from experimenting with the digital plant. That information then goes back into reshaping and optimizing the design. Therefore, the vision is, that a plant can actually be optimized before it’s built.
By merging the AVEVA design software tools with the Schneider Electric industrial software, a true unified engineering approach can now be deployed across the power, oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical, as well as, food and beverage and water/wastewater industries. Since the software packages will be designed to talk to each other, the unnecessary layers of software interfaces and the related manual work required to integrate and process updates are eliminated. Thus, engineering teams will have a much easier time working together.
This unified software approach can be applied across the entire project lifecycle with our IIoT enabled architecture, EcoStruxure , which is specifically designed to support integration across the entire digitalized plant. The architecture includes an open but tailored stack of connected products, control level software, and services for supporting applications and data analytics, on premise or cloud-based.