Payback in one day?

Right now, plant floor people and systems "may be doing all the right things, but they don't look like it," said Peter Martin, vice president and general manager of Performance Management for Invensys. Martin was explaining the motivation behind the launch of InFusion, the Invensys "enterprise control system" that unites automation and information systems.

07/01/2006


Right now, plant floor people and systems "may be doing all the right things, but they don't look like it," said Peter Martin, vice president and general manager of Performance Management for Invensys. Martin was explaining the motivation behind the launch of InFusion, the Invensys "enterprise control system" that unites automation and information systems. "Plant/maintenance people aren't measured on economic value," he said. But "people perform to their measures, so you have to get the measures down to the people." In InFusion, the drivers from the Wonderware manufacturing execution system (MES) are used to stitch together the applied systems provided by Foxboro, Avantis, Triconex, and Simsi-Essor.

Twenty years ago, even two years ago, the cost of pulling together the data in order to implement such a solution was exorbitant. Today, costs have dropped dramatically, and vendors are doing the enterprise integration work that was too costly or burdensome for most users to do themselves.

Two months later and half a continent away, Jack Bolick, president of Process Solutions for Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions, talked at the Honeywell Users Group in Phoenix about getting good measures wirelessly up and out of applied systems and into its Experion PKS.

"Having sensors talk directly to an Experion system on a chip is becoming a reality," Bolick said. "As the cost goes down, the more data you have and the more you can do. Enterprises today use models. If we have [the infrastructure in place], you replace assumed data with actual data." One customer, he said, used wireless sensors to bring actual temperature data, rather than an estimate, into the MES. "His payback was one day," said Bolick. "And advanced applications could do so much more for him."

If you're doing all the right things now, isn't it time to look like it? And if you're not doing the right things, don't you want to know that? That's the "why" of integrating IT and automation systems. The good news is, the "how" really is cheaper and easier than ever before. Attend your vendors' user group meetings, and find out the reality for yourself.

renee.robbins@reedbusiness.com





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