Automation equipment and control systems across the process industries – being rich with technology and data – are an ideal area to begin implementing digital transformation initiatives.
Without dedicated real-time monitoring, these critical assets can fail without warning and unknown failures can lead to lengthy major outages and lost production.
You might be thinking, “my control system already performs dedicated real-time monitoring.”
And you’re right, your control system monitors the assets it is connected with and controls. But what is monitoring the control system itself? Or the rest of the automation equipment distributed throughout your facilities?
Which leads us to digital transformation.
Now, digital transformation is a broad topic. It spans geographies, industries and processes across all levels of an enterprise, and is often discussed at a high level. However, there is not always a clear roadmap for implementing digital transformation strategies for specific facilities or operations.
So how can you drive targeted action in implementing digital transformation in your facility’s industrial automation systems?
By leveraging digital innovations. Advanced analytics, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), edge devices and cloud computing can all play a role in helping maximize the reliability of your facility’s automation systems.
The good news is your automation systems are already producing the data you need to avoid major outages and reduce unplanned downtime. The first step in your digital transformation journey is to connect disparate systems – regardless of vendor and vintage – into a single view.
Connect Every Asset
Depending on the size of your facility, the automation equipment components that help keep operations running could number in the tens, hundreds or even thousands – and the likelihood all this control equipment is provided by the same vendor and in the same vintage is very low.
From database and engineering servers, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, operational technology (OT) network switches, and automation controllers (PLCs, DCSs, PACs, etc.) to human machine interfaces (HMIs), operator workstation PCs and historian servers, asset diagnostics and data come from varied sources through different vendors. As many facilities operate with fewer resources and with so much data to consume, it’s likely only the most critical assets get analysis or attention. This leaves many control system components unmonitored and a weak link in maintaining operational efficiency.
To gain full visibility into the performance and integrity of all automation system components, you can leverage an asset performance and integrity management solution that is both vendor and vintage agnostic. This will enable you to view and manage automation system diagnostics information in a single place, without having to manually gather data from disparate systems.
By monitoring both hardware and software diagnostics using one solution, it becomes easier to properly assess the performance of all assets and determine what interdependencies exist between those assets. Having this comprehensive view can provide an overall understanding of the system health, rather than just tracking the health of individual components. It will move information out of silos and into a single solution, so you can efficiently plan predictive operations and maintenance activities.
This first step also enables you to create consistent policies across all assets and recognize if there’s an operating change before a major issue and subsequent outage occurs. If a major outage occurs, having real-time diagnostics on every component will enable you to identify the location of the problem quicker and know how to fix it, reducing downtime and lost production.
Interested in learning more?
Our white paper, 5 Steps to Maximize Your Industrial Automation System Reliability, identifies targeted action for digital transformation initiatives in industries that rely on large amounts of industrial automation equipment.
The specific steps that will help you leverage digital innovations to maximize the reliability of your facility’s automation systems include:
- Connect Every Asset
- Baseline Asset Behaviors and Interdependencies in Real-Time
- Use Data to Drive Decision Making
- Implement Cybersecurity Measures
- Employ Wide-Scale Visibility and Analysis
You can get a copy of the full white paper here.