Future Proof Designs Open New Opportunities for Engineers

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Design Engineer

Automation systems are crucial to the operational performance of today’s industrial enterprises. Production assets can’t function (Read: ‘make money’) until systems are designed and commissioned. Plant operational performance depends heavily on how well systems are designed. When it’s time to upgrade to newer technologies (as at some point it will be) how easy that is depends on whether these systems were designed with that in mind in the first place.

Smart Design and Engineering looks at some ways to make systems faster and easier to design, commission, operate and live with for the entire life of the plant.

A major challenge companies face today is a mismatch between the lifetime of a plant and its control systems. One generation of digital technologies can last 2 years, whereas a manufacturing line or plant could last 10 years+. Keeping this in mind during the project design phase can make management of systems easier during all phases of the plant’s lifecycle.

Efficient Engineering

Today’s digital design techniques make it far easier and less costly to produce efficient, error proof designs with optimal performance designed in from the very beginning.

With today’s systems:

  • An entire plant can be virtually simulated and tested and validated as it is designed
  • Multiple engineers work in parallel, reducing overall design time
  • Object-based approaches turn programming into configuration reducing design time and errors
  • Systems can be simulated and optimized before any physical build or commissioning takes place

Enhanced Commissioning

Helps speed up the launch processes so customers can deliver revenue generating product in the shortest possible times.

Digital design tools combined with smart engineering techniques help reduce hours spent on project commissioning. They allow more effective testing, debugging, and validation to take place while engineers are still in the office. Customers get faster return on investment and engineering teams get off site and on to their next projects faster.

Lifecycle Management

Digital design and engineering techniques (e.g. digital twins) can help link the design processes of an asset’s mechanical, electrical and control systems making initial deployment and lifecycle management of these systems much easier. Additionally, today’s open systems break the dependency between hardware and software designs.

These new approaches make the differences between ‘As Designed’, ‘As Built’, ‘As Operated’ designs which typically occur over time, a thing of the past. Staff can benefit from reduced complexity and the ability to simulate/ evaluate system changes virtually before they’re implemented in the real world. Plus, system designs will work on any generation of control hardware currently running in the plant.

So, what does all this mean for design engineers and today’s plants?

What if:

  • we could eliminate time wasted on non-value-added work so engineers can focus on innovation?
  • the right insights were available to staff to help them optimize operations?
  • control systems were easy to keep up to date with minimum risk and downtime
  • initial investments in system design could be preserved for the entire life of the plant
  • it was faster and easier to commission new systems?

Together Schneider Electric and AVEVA have developed a system that is more open, connected and flexible. There are personalized solutions for a number of different industries including CPG, Water, Discrete Manufacturing etc.

These solutions:

  • Optimize engineering
  • Improve operations management
  • Increase efficiency and agility

The approach reduces errors and lost time across the plant’s entire lifecycle, offering significant operational and business benefits for our integrator and end user customers.

By speeding up design and commissioning and preserving the investment customers make in their control systems our new Integrated Control & Supervisory solutions allow industry to raise sustainability, efficiency, and agility to new levels for the entire life of their manufacturing processes.

Find out more in this whitepaper from Frost & Sullivan.

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