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Sonnenberg explained that the process control and automation field has made many advances over the years, but that it might have paid too much attention to product features and to little attention to the reality of how products actually get designed into plants and how they're used there every day. "The truth is most of the automation technologies developed in the past 30 years weren't developed based on work practices. They were developed based on features," said Sonnenberg. "Don't get me wrong. Process control technologies are incredible advanced. Our industry has come a long way in the past 20 years, and we should all be proud of it. However, the vast majority of our advances have been around technology features without considering how users interact with those technologies and how these products are used."
We're looking not only at how we can enrich our products with more features, but also how we can reconsider technologies based on how you used them, he said. "There is a genuine science behind this. It seems simple, but designing products that have more technology and more features, but are easier to use and eliminate work is actually pretty hard."
By taking the best capabilities of Delta V and making them better, Sonnenberg reported that users will be able to:
Perhaps the main tool enabling these gains will be Emerson Process Management's Characterization Module (CHARM) electronic marshalling modules, which it's also introducing at the this week's Exchange event. Located at the heart of the firm's new Delta V S-Series, CHARM modules allow users to add I/O as needed.
In addition, the new Delta V also is offering a Device Dashboard that prioritizes and simplifies its display on the few primary tasks and status indicators that plant operator use and need most. Likewise, Emerson also has completely redesigned the interfaces to its field instruments and is launching more than 50 new Delta V and AMS screens that take much of the complexity and hassle out of routine tasks that users deal with each day in their field instruments.
"This overhaul of our new product development process puts features second and usability first. This process reinvents the relationship between technology and people," said Sonnenberg. "We call this human-centered design, and I can promise you this is just the beginning. For Emerson, this will be a way of life. It's already become a part of our DNA.
"In fact, we've created the Emerson Human Centered Design Institute, and its sole job is to guide the thinking and hands of our product development teams to make sure we build product based on improved usability. We've already put more than 60 product development teams through intensive training on this discipline, and it's incredible to see how this thinking, this science is improving the usability of our products. We've already established more than five years of product roadmaps that will be driven by this new process."
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