Benefiting from IIot Plant Modernisation

If you are in the fortunate position of developing a ‘green field’ manufacturing plant, digitisation is the obvious way forward. But for most companies, this is not the case. It is more likely you are modernising what you have or upgrading the infrastructure and plant control system. The Industrial Internet of Things has led to a change in thinking in the benefit of connected devices. If you are upgrading, IIot plant modernisation of automation control brings many practical benefits.

According to a Schneider Electric white paper, leveraging IIoT as a basis for plant modernisation could result in big payoffs. The new technologies empower the workforce to move to real-time smart control. It provides operators with useable, easy-to-understand data at the right time and within the right context. It better positions them to control the real-time risks to the operation. An engaged workforce is more capable of enhancing ROI and impacting both profits and product time-to-market. This delivers better real-time operational profitability control at the plant and enterprise level.

Faster Reporting

Businesses who manage their operational profitability using outdated monthly reporting cycles are failing. Combining existing systems and new technologies drives measurable, real-time improvement to operational profitability.

Linking embedded technologies to enable smart control at device level benefits plant modernisation. Smart control also supports informed decision making by the workforce. It provides improved control over efficiency, reliability, and safety risk variables. Moreover, it works autonomously or through the interaction of the operator.

IIot Plant Modernisation

Plant modernisation is not easy. It is disruptive to business processes, to employees, and does not always deliver the expected ROI. But IIoT can change that by using an adaptive approach to improve existing systems. Greater ROI and productivity gains come from modernising the existing asset base through use of cloud-based services. Stakeholders are realising that connected devices, data capture and faster analysis benefit decision making.

Intelligent use of data from connected technologies give manufacturers more control over profitability. The PLC is one of the core manufacturing technologies. But, the design concepts of many PLCs in use today are over 40 years old. Newer controllers like the Modicon M580 programmable automation controller (PAC), integrate IIoT capabilities.

They support decision making within a timeframe, that allows a direct impact on the process. If the costs of energy, and materials are changing every 15 minutes, so too is the operational profitability of the plant. By amortising costings using monthly periods, risks losing key profitability information. Modern IIoT-enabled control systems enable process-based decisions within real or near-real time. Moreover it means controlling operational profitability in the real-time domain as well.

Programmable Automation Controller (PAC)

An M580 PAC performs control to optimise process assets, while performing both safety and control functions. This case illustrates how IIoT enables control environment modernisation. A connected plant infrastructure provides the workforce with enhanced visibility into asset performance. Markedly, it lets operators exert a positive influence on plant efficiency, reliability, safety, and operational profitability.

Speed of business drives changes on how information flows through the manufacturing enterprise. Critical business variables were once constant over long periods of time. For example, energy prices that may have been at fixed unit prices for 90 days, now change many times a day, and sometimes many times an hour.

IIoT means control technology is no longer constrained by system design. Control system design and implementation can now align to solve a business problem, rather than a technology problem. Finally, this changes the decision making from a technology-based approach to an operational one. It also illustrates of the promise of IIoT driven plant modernisation.


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