Current industry challenges and expectations of an automation partner

At the 2014 Yokogawa Users Conference and Exhibition, Simon Lam addresses how the automation industry has changed and the new challenges it now faces going forward.


Simon Lam gives presentation at the 2014 Yokogawa Users Conference and Exhibition.At the 2014 Yokogawa Users Conference and Exhibition, the theme is “harness the future of innovation." In order to do that, presenter Simon Lam showed how far industrial automation (IA) has come. Going from an analog system to a digital one; gathering simple process data to handle more complex data at higher speeds; and going from local control to “total” control. With these new innovations, Lam offers a new way of utilizing IA: As a business tool.

While innovation is the goal, it does come with its own set of challenges. Safety management is becoming increasingly more important. Now safety is more closely inspected, but there is also a dilution of resources; people are shying away from the oil and gas industry. This results in a reduction of the technical know-how.  

In order to fully utilize these innovations, a site manager now needs to have a reliable DCS platform as well as software to help reduce maintenance costs. Safety management and intelligent alarm systems are important in having a well-run site. Site managers must also find away to transfer the experience that the older and more experienced generation of engineers to the new generation. By enhancing the training of operators before and after shutdown and avoiding costly downtime, operators can run the site more effectively. On the other end, site managers expect their IA supplier to understand the challenges that they face. Lam says that by creating a more long lasting and more collaborative relationship with the IA supplier, the site manager can ensure safety and support.  

-Anisa Samarxhiu, Digital Project Manager, CFE Media, 

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