The process industry has a history of emphasizing technological adoption as it adjusts to Industry 4.0. But technology only serves as a facilitator for the digital transformation journey, abetting in the modernization of industrial plants. The emphasis should be on utilizing Industry 4.0 technologies to hasten decision-making, enhance workflows, boost revenue, and reduce risks.
So, in what ways will Industry 4.0 impact the process industry? What are the benefits associated with its implementation? And how can we tackle any challenges? This blog answers these questions.
Industry 4.0 for Process Industries
Maintenance tasks such as inspection, data collection, and review and analysis of field data that ensure plant dependability and help prevent losses and energy overconsumption can be challenging for plant staff to keep up with. Failure to keep up could lead to non-compliance, penalties, escalating maintenance costs, production disruptions, or safety incidents. Like most people, you likely feel you have less time than you did a year ago. But by utilizing Industry 4.0, your plant’s digital transformation can help your plant keep up.
Industry 4.0 is information exchange over the entire lifecycle of a product. This entails gathering and keeping track of all data produced for a product over its life, from design through manufacturing, use, and maintenance to recycling. This makes sense for discrete manufacturing products like cars and toaster ovens, but not so much for fluids that are processed continuously. Making single customized units, or “lot size 1,” to meet precise individual requirements is another significant aspect of Industry 4.0. Since there is no “lot” in continuous processing, such as for specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals, it is not applicable.
How Does the Process Industry Benefit from Industry 4.0
1. Helps Digitally Transform Your Process
To identify the latent needs of each department in the plant, including maintenance, process, operations, and safety, the plant must first embark on the path of digital transformation. Such transformation enhances dependability and energy efficiency, lowers maintenance costs, and saves your staff time to keep up with their workloads. Remember that digital transformation helps to keep your plant evergreen.
It also prepares the facility for Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT. Monitoring can be done in-house, as a connected service offered by a corporate engineering center, or by contracting the work to a different company. Saving time and money requires using technology to alter labor processes digitally.
2. Closed Loop Maintenance
Imagine not having to collect data manually and not having to analyze hundreds of vibration spectrums. Well, how about simply receiving reports pinpointing where maintenance is required automatically. Sounds great, right? That is what the closed-loop cycle is all about. We can also term it – Measure-Control-Actuate.
The closed-loop maintenance process is all about “see-decide-act.” Sensors on industrial equipment like pumps gather vibration, temperature, and acoustic noise, allowing you to ‘see’ the machine. You can diagnose the equipment using on-premises or cloud-based analytics tools, determining which pieces require maintenance and which don’t. You can report using connected third-party services, and experts can offer recommendations. The maintenance staff at the factory merely follows the report’s suggestions.
3. Ensuring Reliability Via Apps
Reliability applications are pre-built analytic software that can be integrated with the plant’s history or web-based utilizing HTML5 visuals, enabling them to be seen in a web browser on a computer, tablet, or smartphone from anywhere. As a result, maintenance staff can rapidly obtain information about the equipment’s health in the cafeteria, in a meeting, or on their way home.
The apps use graphical representation in color-coded dial gauges and trend charts. This contains the general state of each type of equipment’s population and how many have serious problems, issue warnings, or are in good shape.
4. Determining Efficiency in Energy Management Through Apps
The plant’s history is integrated with the Energy Management Information System (EMIS) software to enable effective utility and energy use. For example, the models might forecast what the real-time consumption of water, fuel or gas, and electricity should be based on the current production of steam. Overconsumption results in alarms being set off. When equipment, such as motors, are left running while not in use or are operating faster than necessary, these alerts make it simple to find the problem.
The EMIS application also uses color-coded dial gauges and trend charts to show if each energy stream—such as water, air, gas, electricity, steam, etc.—is being consumed below, on, or excessively. The software’s equipment performance models and historical energy usage trends are used to calculate these consumption targets dynamically.
This makes it possible for energy managers to identify the cause of excessive usage more precisely to aid in troubleshooting. In addition, EMIS software saves a significant amount of time for plants following ISO 50001 energy management procedures to lower and maintain energy usage.
5. In – depth Report for Management
The design and usability of the analytics software application are irrelevant if the plant uses connected services because the maintenance staff does not need to utilize the application individually. Instead, maintenance staff is informed of the necessary activities through periodic reports or text messages from the equipment monitoring service provider. The clarity of the reports is important in the context of connected services.
Pie and trend charts visually represent the report’s overall sensor or equipment health. One can quickly see the status of the equipment, such as how many pumps are in good condition and how many have serious problems or only a warning. In other sections of the report, problem pumps and other equipment are listed by tag along with location data, a health index, a problem description, and the duration of the condition. The data in the report is utilized for turnaround planning, which includes personnel planning, as well as for prioritizing and scheduling daily maintenance.
The ideas behind Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT are not without drawbacks. They have mostly concentrated on M2M automation and haven’t acknowledged how important and inventive the human aspect is to greater performance. Unlike people, machines can only produce the tasks they have designed. People can also be innovative and creative. Only people can quickly resolve unusual, abnormal events in the plant, which may be especially helpful in emergencies involving dangerous and complex production processes.
Finally, the growing trend toward greater usage of robotics is not viewed as a chance to cut staff and replace workers in industrial plants who carry out monotonous jobs. On the contrary, when Industry 5.0 takes hold, process manufacturers who recognize the value of human intuition and problem-solving skills will prosper.
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