2014 ARC Industry Forum: The automation challenge

Sandy Vasser, facilities electrical and instrumentation manager for Exxon Mobil Development, was the first of two keynote speakers on the second day of the 2014 ARC Industry Forum. He discussed “The automation challenge,” toplining 12 challenges for suppliers in executing a successful automation strategy.


In a 2014 ARC Industry Forum seminar entitled “The automation challenge,” Sandy Vasser, facilities electrical and instrumentation manager for ExxonMobile Development, stressed the importance of automation for modern industrial production, but recognized that automation is no easy task. In his presentation he discussed 12 challenges for suppliers in executing a successful automation strategy.

Here are some quick notes from Sandy Vasser's presentation on how successful automation execution is challenging traditional practices and technologies.

12 challenges to suppliers are:

  1. Eliminate, simplify, and automate steps in the overall execution of automation;
  2. Minimize customer engineering and reduce total engineering;
  3. Shift custom engineering to software and rely on standard hardware;
  4. Virtualize hardware and provide software design against the virtualized system;
  5. Prevent rework;
  6. Eliminate unnecessary components;
  7. Standardize components;
  8. Eliminate or minimize dependencies;
  9. Simplify configuration of interface with third-party packages;
  10. Easily accommodate late changes;
  11. Mitigate effects of version changes;
  12. Eliminate simplify documentation.

Change doesn't come easy but is essential from those involved, Vasser said. Sandy Vasser, speaker biography: Vasser has been with Exxon or ExxonMobil for more than 34 years and has been involved in a number of Upstream projects covering offshore facilities, onshore facilities, and cogeneration facilities. He currently manages a team of about 120 electrical and I&C professionals responsible for the design, installation, and commissioning of electrical generation and distribution systems, process control systems, and safety instrumented systems for all major ExxonMobil Upstream capital projects. This team is also responsible for developing, promoting and implementing strategies, practices, processes, and tools for successfully executing project automation and electrical activities. Biography courtesy of ARC Advisory Group.

Click here for more CFE Media coverage of the 2014 ARC Industry Forum.

- Mark T. Hoske and Jordan M. Schultz, content managers, CFE Media, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com, jschultz@cfemedia.com.

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