Operational Technology Viewpoints

Insights on emerging technologies, practices, and processes for enhancing operational excellence.

Sep
25
2018
Harry Forbes — Technology Trends

Open Process Automation Forum Redefining Next Generation DCS

In response to the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF), a forum of The Open Group, many DCS suppliers are defining a new generation of products in which industrial control systems will be virtualized and “software-defined” to a much greater degree than today. This OPAF effort was initiated by ExxonMobil in 2016. This largely end user-driven initiative seeks to define “a standards-based, open, secure, and interoperable process control architecture that applies across multiple process industries.” The functions of any DCS in today’s plants could be replaced by these new systems, which consist of both servers and small automation edge devices. ExxonMobil sees its existing industrial control system (ICS) applications moving gradually from the installed DCS to these small devices or to on-premise, high-availability servers that can virtualize them.
Sep
20
2018
Mark Sen Gupta — Industry Trends

Cybersecurity Certification is Important for Safety Instrumented Systems

or end users of process safety systems, cybersecurity certification should be a primary concern, especially after the costly TRITON/TRISIS malware incident that happened in the Middle East this past year. The emergence of TRITON/TRISIS adds a new dimension to the discussion of ICS and SCADA cybersecurity. Safety systems are not immune to cyber-attacks. As a result, end users will have to take a more considered approach to everything from management of change procedures to integration of process control and safety systems.
Sep
11
2018
Sharada Prahladrao — Industry Trends

Rising Fuel Prices and India’s Falling Rupee

Today’s gradually increasing oil prices have helped drive economic growth in energy-producing nations and supported renewed growth in the global operational technology (OT) industry.  However, rising energy prices have not been so good to countries such as India, which – while a major energy consumer – is neither a major energy producer or global OT supplier.  In fact, the rising fuel prices are putting additional pressure on India’s falling rupee.
Sep
06
2018
Guest Blogger: Kevin Jones — Industry Trends

Integrating Maintenance Information

One of the challenges facing industrial process manufacturing is the growing number of data sources. Examples of these data sources could be shift reports, process data historians, laboratory information management systems, or manufacturing execution systems. Being able to easily connect disparate data sources for decision-making is a key challenge in the age of IIOT. The lack of connection of these data sources and the creation of data silos is one version of the “big data” problem we hear about.
Sep
04
2018
Naresh Kumar Surepelly — ARC Report Abstract

Demand for Hazardous Area Automation Equipment Increases

In most process plants, it is impossible to install all necessary automation components in safe, non-hazardous areas. As a result, some form of protection is required to prevent fires and explosions that could occur when a hazardous gas and energy source combine. Fortunately, there are standards and associated products that, if properly designed, installed, and maintained, virtually eliminate the risk of an accidental explosion in hazardous areas.
Sep
04
2018
Dick Hill — Industry Trends

Five Must-Have Manufacturing Metrics for Operational Excellence

Establishing appropriate metrics provides a foundation for continuous performance improvements. Quarterly performance reports typically contain metrics such as unscheduled downtime, production-per-unit-cost, quality-per-unit, or energy consumed-per-unit-produced. Unfortunately, these metrics are after-the-fact averages. Using them can be compared to trying to drive an automobile while looking in the rear-view mirror.
Aug
30
2018
Jyoti Prakash — Industry Trends

Digital Disruption (including Smart Drilling), and Blockchain Could Help Define the Future of the Oil & Gas Industry

With the slow, but steady recovery in oil prices and increasing investments in alternative renewable energy sources, oil and gas companies need to innovate to stay competitive. New digital technologies to support smart drilling and blockchain distributed databases could help the global oil & gas industry evolve into a seamless, inter-operable connected environment. This is digital disruption at its best!
Aug
28
2018
Guest Blogger: Michael Risse — Technology Trends

Planned, Preventive, and Predictive Maintenance: The Third “P” Stands for Profit

Alliteration adds confidence. There is something about a string of repeated characters that suggest the listed words are more related than they may actually be. Doug Laney’s proposition back in 2000 that big data is defined by volume, variety and velocity, for example, is - to me - artificially convincing. This becomes obvious when consultants got hold of it and start stringing on a fourth (“value”), fifth (“veracity”), and sixth (“validity”) V-word to differentiate their perspectives. Trailing the three Vs of big data, the three Ps of maintenance (planned maintenance, preventive maintenance, and predictive maintenance) are a distant second but show up more frequently as new analytics offerings accelerate access to predictive insights.
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