Preserve process manufacturing procedural knowledge: Yokogawa

To help process manufacturers preserve procedural knowledge, achieve production objectives, and meet health, safety and environmental regulatory requirements, Yokogawa launched Modular Procedural Automation (MPA).
February 10, 2010

To help process manufacturers preserve procedural knowledge and achieveproduction objectives, while meeting health, safety and environmentalregulatory requirements, Yokogawa has announced the launch of ModularProcedural Automation (MPA). The announcement was made at the 14th Annual ARC Forum in Orlando on Feb. 8.

Yokogawa explained that procedural operations are used in all processes whether manually from standard operating procedures, prompted by a control system or fully automated. The key to the design of these procedures is the knowledge of the production operators. Operations can vary from shift to shift and site to site depending on the procedural knowledge of the operators. Good operators can provide significant operational savings to a manufacturer and also be a reliable interface when incidents arise. However, the most experienced operators in all process industries are starting to retire in large numbers leaving a procedural knowledge gap.

"Operational knowledge and the accompanying skill sets are leaving the workplace due to retirement, and consequently the availability of good operators to run process systems is diminishing," states Maurice Wilkins, vice president, Yokogawa IA global marketing center. "By applying MPA a company can preserve the knowledge of the best operator on his or her best day every day, which enables running a process in an optimal state." MPA is an open and modular approach to procedures that is production centric, not bound by systems and defines the right balance between manual, prompted, and automated procedures.

Brent Lilienthal, general manager North American services for Yokogawa, said, "Start-ups and shutdowns need specific skills and are one of the biggest sources of risk in a production process." Maurice Wilkins added that "effective grade changes and transitions can provide a source of competitive advantage for manufacturers if they are done the same way every time."

MPA starts with a consultative assessment of a site’s procedural needs. A recommendation will then be made as to the best platform for the customer to achieve their desired result. Prompted procedures may be implemented on any control system using Exapilot, while fully automated procedures may need Centum VP solution or both.

"Customers have seen reductions of up to 98% of operator interactions during a polymer grade change and also a 69% reduction in crude switchover time in a refinery process," Lilienthal said. "We can’t provide the knowledge that these experienced operators have, but we can provide an effective methodology to preserve that knowledge in MPA."

Also read:

Closing the Skills Gap ; and

Yokogawa VigilantPlant Services .

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com.