Live from CSIA in Savannah...

I'll be posting catchup from Automation World too, but I got up early this morning and flew to Savannah for one of the most important meetings I attend every year, the Control System Integrators Association. CSIA is the organization that has created the discipline of control system integration, and made it real. They made it so real that the big vendors have all tried to have their own integration divisions, with varying success. But the CSIA is growing annually--they are over 300 members now, with many of them having passed the third-party certification audit that CSIA designed. I missed the morning session this morning, but I will post from their presentations. The first one I physically made was Rick Dolezal's talk, "Plant Automation in the Future." He started out with where we were, 30 years ago, giving us a walk down memory lane. It was 1978 You had time to bid a job Pulse tone phones Vinyl records Gas station bell You could fix your TV at the drug store No one knew what Microsoft was Chat rooms included:   Dinner table Front porch Amateur or CB radio operator What problems did we have 30 years ago?? Communication between plants and the home office High inventories, no real time insight into the marketplace Automation was limited, data from plant floor was hard to come by Energy costs Discrete and process manufacturing operated on separate systems Specifically? Plants and Manufacturing sites: Had many systems running individual factory operations Hadn’t merged process and discrete manufacturing processes Had little insight into what was happening on the factory floor Controlled many processes manually Energy costs were skyrocketing How did we solve those problems? More data New technologies New approaches to plant operations A new breed of plant operators What problems do we have now? Less people Same or fewer assets Increased demand for: more production less waste more efficiency improved tracking quality Standards Mix of equipment within a plant for process and discrete Energy costs Insight into front office and plant floor goals How will we solve those problems? Same way: More data New technologies New approaches to plant operations A new breed of plant operators Data Drivers: All systems are linked Your password is your master key, one login for all system access Data on all plant projects is entered one time Customers know what they need based on changing purchasing patterns, even the weather Control to Profit Real-time performance management (RPM) and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) measures are calculated automatically and drive performance improvements Extensive use of RFID to track production, people or equipment Wireless Sensors Power Plant Artificial Intellegence makes routine decisions, freeing plant personnel to take a broader view of plant operations Self diagnosing Equipment can submit its own corrective or preventive work orders Scheduling of maintenance Product variability is lessened through adaptive advanced control Putting blocks of applications modules together – no custom code There will be no more PLC and DCS systems, just one Plant Automation System Paper is gone – all electronic data records All applications will be fully simulated before they are built Applications will be designed to a target and modeled beforehand allowing an efficient match of hardware, control system and the application itself No downtime No more control rooms All employees will wear visual display glasses with work instructions, real time-trends and alarms, presentation is unique to individual / area Smaller plant cells, highly adaptive Greener – plants will burn their own waste for fuel, lights out manufacturing, reclamation of energy in all plant operation Lights and all building services turn on only when needed Better diagnostics and explanations of what to do what to do when anomalies happen Robots will take the place of workers in hazardous areas We can work anywhere Work from wherever our PDA is We can make items anywhere, and a renewed focus on local manufacturing will further reduce costs and increase just in time delivery This may be the resurgence of many cottage industries Ebay Many production centers that make specialty items All supplier information will feed into the plant control system………that system will then feed information to the customer All information will continuously be kept up to date (patches, firmware releases) Work would cycle back to proactive (from reactive) Plant operators of the future (the iPod generation) There will be a Manufacturing Management degree combining electrical engineering, accounting, manufacturing, business and computer systems Engineers will respect IT and even ask them to come to meetings. IT will value and request engineering input These two groups may become so intertwined as to become indistinguishable. There will be a high degree of automation as the world rapidly globalizes, the availability of “cheap” skilled human labor will dry up With all this automation, operators will have much more time to optimize the process Biometric information will act as login information Information will only have to be entered once and will automatically populate to relevant areas Standards allow more productive use of automation professionals So what will stay the same? The balance between open low-cost systems and security Goal will be to build applications fast, and the next one faster He who makes it easiest to config               …..Wins! People who understand business processes and the means of making them occur – will be in high demand The person who knows how something works will always have a job, but the person who knows why something works that way, will be their boss So what should we be doing? Expand your boundaries – go to the other groups within your company and spend time there Embrace new technologies Implement standards Embrace other disciplines Embrace youth Challenge them Include them Get out of your plant/manufacturing facility Get an iPod Try new things and experiences Commit earlier Take full advantage of incremental gains – short passes Our goal,    to turn dreams … into Realities

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