Yokogawa: Safety, security a fundamental

Safety and security is one of the four fundamentals to running a plant along with availability, efficiency and human reliability.
By Gregory Hale, ISSSource October 27, 2014

"For safety and security the burdens are increasing. Business speed is getting higher and higher, so users need to be more agile," said Satoru Kurosu, president and chief executive at Yokogawa Electric International and executive vice president of Yokogawa Electric Corp., during his keynote address at the 2014 Yokogawa Users Conference and Exhibition in Houston.

Kurosu said some of the key aspects for safety and security include:

  • Achieve zero incidents
  • Reduce abnormal situations
  • Avoid unplanned outages
  • Maintain business continuity
  • Require remote O&M
  • Increase yields

Any company can talk about safety and security as they can about providing automation solutions, but it all comes down to working with their partners to understand their needs. Simon Lam served as the chief executive of CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company Limited (CSPCL) until 2007. He talked during his presentation about what users should look for in a technology partner.

He said when he first started, the industry was changing from analog to digital. "When I started at Shell all I saw was analog panels," Lam said. "But those analog panels disappeared and digital panels started to appear. People were able to handle more data at a higher speed. We were able to handle more complex information."

Lam talked about what kind of capabilities a typical facility would have then compared to now. "We could never handle the whole complex as one. We had separate engineers for every unit. Now we have one system that covers the entire complex."

Industrial automation (IA), Lam said, used to be a simple tool, but it is now a powerful information management tool to better manage relevant information at different levels so the data can go to operations, technical support, personnel and managers. He also said IA should be more of a business tool and not just a control system. But one thing he said was important is to create a reliance on an IA vendor as the complexity rises.

He also mentioned some of the challenges faced by business:

  • Cost leadership through lower costs
  • Safety management. The public wants to know they are safe from their neighboring plant.
  • Getting maximum benefit out of feedstock.
  • Dilution of technical resources and experiences to operate and manage change.
  • Is the IA vendor a cost factor or is it a value-added partner.

Everyone also has expectations and end users are no different. Here a few items Lam mentioned as items a supplier needs to bring to the table:

  • Reliable DCS is a minimum
  • A software package to make the system a powerful tool:
  1. To reduce cost
  2. Safety management through intelligent alarm management and ensuring integrity
  3. Use of simulation software to optimize production
  4. Enhance training of operators
  5. Use of artificial intelligence to capture experience of operators
  6. Avoid costly downtime or safety infringements
  7. Audit trail; statutory compliance

"I don’t need them to be an expert. I need an IA supplier to understand what I am talking about and not looking at me with a blank face. We need a long term relationship to provide continuity and support," Lam said.

Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (ISSSource.com), a news and information website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector. This content originally appeared on the ISSSource website. Edited by Joy Chang, Digital Project Manager, CFE Media, jchang@cfemedia.com