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Plant performance and control optimisation software enables smart control

13 March 2017

Schneider Electric has added a new enterprise-wide IIoT plant performance and control optimisation software to its PES and Foxboro Evo process automation systems and Foxboro I/A Series distributed control system. 

Leveraging Expertune PlantTriage technology, the new EcoStruxure Control Advisor decision-support tool provides actionable real-time operating data and predictive analytics capabilities which allows plant personnel to monitor and adjust every control loop across multiple plants and global sites 24/7.

The software has been designed to optimise the real-time efficiency of the process throughout the plant lifecycle and to contribute directly to improved business performance.
 
Commenting on the solution, Martin Walder, vice president, industry at Schneider Electric, said: “Strengthening the efficiency of the process in real time has a tremendous, positive impact on the entirety of the operation and business, and it puts customers on the path toward controlling other critical business variables, like safety, reliability and even profitability, in real time sooner. Control Advisor continuously monitors plant performance and identifies potential issues in real time, before they occur. The information it provides empowers the workforce to be more actively involved and responsible for the success of the business.”
 
Improving performance in real time
Because it is more tightly integrated with the company’s PES, Foxboro Evo and I/A Series process automation and control systems, Control Advisor is said to provide better opportunities to improve business performance. An easy-to-use tool that works natively across a broad spectrum of industrial applications without substantial capital investments, it extracts more value from existing investments by bringing plant operations closer to set point, minimising out-of-specification production and identifying predictive maintenance indicators.

Improving the performance of each control loop not only restores stability to the operation, it can drive up to a 2% increase in energy savings and up to a 10% increase in production capacity. In addition to its ability to drive energy savings and production efficiencies, it is proven to enhance safety, optimise maintenance, lower operating costs, increase product quality and reduce emissions, among many other things.
 
“Because of the significant impact it can have on the efficiency and profitability of the industrial process, there has always been a need to simplify the complex task of optimising control-loop performance,” said Greg Shinskey, process control consultant. "Its ability to identify performance metrics and relate those to real-world diagnostics customers can easily act on will indeed help process manufacturers improve the quality of their production, reduce energy consumption and avoid unplanned downtime. For example, an LNG facility that employs this technology has been able to save an estimated $1 million per year in operating costs. That’s real money that goes straight to the bottom line.”
 
Empowering the workforce
Chris Lyden, senior vice president of strategy for Schneider Electric’s Process Automation, said: “In a world of diminishing domain expertise, today’s industrial workforce is expected to be more critically involved in the business. Control Advisor helps convert valuable raw data into actionable information so users can make better business decisions in real time. It is an IIoT platform that empowers plant personnel to advance from controlling the efficiency of the process, which was their traditional role, to improving the overall performance of the business, including improvements to plant safety, reliability and, especially, profitability in real time. That is the true promise of IIoT, and the first step toward realising the future of automation.”


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