Bridging power and process automation silos drive higher manufacturing efficiency

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Traditional business models are under threat across the oil and gas, water and wastewater, and mining industries due to astronomical cost increases for labor, resource extraction, and materials processing. The amplified shareholder scrutiny surrounding operational efficiencies and carbon emission government regulators are also dynamics that did not exist 20 years ago.

Both executive and operations-level stakeholders agree that core plant operations, such as power and process systems, must integrate to assure ongoing business growth. As a result, many across the industry reevaluate how they can streamline operations by breaking down existing silos.

The push towards power and process convergence is gaining momentum among organizations thanks to new technology innovations and a willingness to accept change. As heavy industries continue to diminish grid capacity, corporate leaders recognize the opportunity to eliminate redundant systems and processes, reduce energy consumption, and share data and tools across engineering and design projects.

If properly engineered, facility power and process systems’ physical linkages strengthen operational resilience and accelerate disaster recovery time should a catastrophic event occur.

Digital services create cost-effective power and process convergence

Using available power efficiently is an ongoing challenge for plant engineers and operators. Often, they have inherited a power network design that fails to complement processing operation efficiency. Most also lack a unified vision across electrical assets (e.g., MV and LV transformers, switchgear, electrical panels), physical automation components (e.g., MCCs, drives, motors, pumps, valves), and control systems (e.g., SCADA, DCS, and PLCs). This severely limits their ability to assess operational risks and determine how upstream electrical system changes can impact downstream production.

Schneider Electric’s established presence in the oil and gas, water and wastewater, and mining industries has supported energy management and process automation operations initiatives. During these engagements, joint partnerships with our clients have triggered idea generation, use case development, and technology development across both the power and process areas. This collaboration has led to a new connected service offer, providing insight and support for critical energy systems, automation components, and rotating equipment under a single service contract called EcoStruxure Service Plan for Power and Process.

Many industrial organizations have requested to bridge their power and process environments to boost operational efficiency, sustainability, and resilience. To break down operational silos, Integrated Asset Performance Management is a digital service that works with AVEVA, leveraging our deep domain expertise with energy management, sustainability, and automation to deliver turn-key Unified Operations Centers for power and process industries.

Why Integrated Asset Performance Management Services add value

Integrated Asset Performance Management enables monitoring and visualization of critical power and process assets using digital technologies, remote expertise, and on-site maintenance.

Industrial organizations that deploy Integrated Asset Performance Management benefit in several ways:

  • Higher visibility to maintenance risks – Integrated Asset Performance Management introduces condition-based monitoring services into the corporate asset maintenance mix. Through active monitoring, our connected services hub experts proactively communicate in real-time and predict when electrical and process automation components show signs of wear that could eventually result in unanticipated downtime. This helps to increase system availability and allows valuable engineering resources to focus on manufacturing productivity output improvements.
  • Higher resilience – Access to trending data from power and process automation systems, coupled with connected services hub expert analysis, helps drive future planning and disaster recovery mitigation. Such tools allow organizations to address potential issues before disrupting operations and recover from a downtime event quickly. In addition, the ability to manage assets remotely removes the risk of dramatically slowing down operations should employees be unable to work on-site.

Better decisions through Unified Operations Center support

A Unified/Integrated Operations Center (UOC or IOC) facilitates the linkages between the plant, regional, enterprise power, and process systems view. It acts as a conduit to deliver unique and converged power and process datasets to data consumers from executives through operations across the enterprise.

By structuring the UOC the unique needs of each client, data across critical power and process paths are consolidated and captured for analysis. Our experts can help establish KPIs and apply digital twin concepts to your power and process system operations.

These data interactions allow for dynamic simulation between power and process systems, ensuring an integrated analysis for up and downstream variables. This enables engineers to develop “what if” scenarios that determine the impact of changes in the electrical system, for instance, overall production efficiency or planning and scheduling. In this way, decision-making becomes faster and more accurate.

Learn more about the benefit of system integration efficiency and its impact on industrial plants’ operational optimization by visiting EcoStruxure Power and Process or watching this video.

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