Changing from made to created in China
With the slowdown in economic growth and the increasing global competition, China’s process industry has encountered a number of challenges in performance improvement, cost reduction, and industrial upgrade. How can the Chinese process industry successfully transform from "Made in China" to "Created in China?" To answer the question, Control Engineering China conducted an in-depth interview with Mr. Aldous Wong, vice president and general manager for China Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS).
Big data technology
Speaking about efficient collaboration and the intelligent plant, Wong asserted that "one of the core characteristics of ‘Intelligent Plant’ is to use big data. Through acquisition, processing, and analysis of big data, not only can the future operation be optimized, but also underlying risks can be reduced and nipped in the bud. Therefore, in some way, the ‘Intelligent Plant’ may be considered as a concept built on big data."
"Big Data" technology is widely used among developed countries by process industrial enterprises to deeply explore the market potential, which, to some extent, raises their profitability in return. And in the future market competition, big data occupation and utilization capability will be critical to the competitiveness edges. Wong added, "big data analysis can directly reflect basic operation condition of [a] plant. ‘Intelligent Plant’ solutions provided by us can help plant managers and onsite operators establish emergency mechanism[s] to make the smartest and promptest decisions in case of emergencies, to reduce foreseeable risks, and to raise operation performance."
Challenges, strategic partnerships
Application of automation technology is more mature in China’s process industry, especially in the petrochemical industry, compared to those in discrete industries. Still, many companies face difficulties, such as how to achieve information integration through the entire industrial chain and how to conduct specific analysis and optimization with scattered big data. A global supplier of process automation can provide intelligent process automation solutions for plants’ intelligent instruments, control systems, databases, software, and other solutions. Such implementations can benefit China National Petroleum Cooperation (CNPC), Sinopec, and China National Offshore Oil Cooperation (CNOOC), he said.
The challenge is to bring custom-made solutions up to speed with global technological advances in process industry development. Customer feedback improves process control industry products, Wong said, especially in "vertical industries like [the] mineral industry, pharmaceutical industry, and power industry."
Traditional automation for mining and beneficiation of large molybdenum and copper ores is completed with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software, but programming, operation, and maintenance have been a difficult challenge for customers. Modern products provide easy availability, configuration, and adjustment, which significantly shortens time for configuration programming, screen design, report configuration, and communication configuration. Products also can provide real-time, decision-making information for customers without disturbing the operator’s monitoring to process, which simplifies the equipment operation. Meanwhile, modern systems have flexibility and extendibility, which are essential for improvement of plant performance and operation achievement.
Emphasis on energy solutions
The Chinese economy has stepped into the new normal, along with energy consumption; it is anticipated that the growth rate of energy consumption during the "13th Five-Year Plan" will fall back to approximately 3%.
"Under the new normal, opportunities always come along with challenges. In the face of energy structural changes and market transformation, we also perceive the demand of customers in energy efficiency management, environmental protection, energy conservation, cost-benefit control, etc." Wong added, "We have always valued the future development of energy market. Companies need to forge a green environment and satisfy energy demand since this has become our development objective."
– Aileen Jin, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering China. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, Control Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was translated and edited for Control Engineering from Control Engineering China.
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