On January 30, Emerson Process Management officially opened its new Emerson Innovation Center - Process Systems and Solutions in Round Rock, Texas, near Austin. The 282,000-square-foot, nearly $70 million facility will be the global headquarters for the company's automation systems and project services business, which helps its customers safely, reliably and profitably operate facilities in industries such as oil and gas, refining, chemicals, power, life sciences, food and beverages, and metals and mining. The official opening included comments by Texas Governor Rick Perry and Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell.
The event included unveiling of a new Integrated Operations (iOps) Center and announcement of an Integrated Operations Initiative to addresses customers' needs for streamlined decision-making, easily accessible expertise and the safe, collaborative collocation of essential personnel.
Comparing an automated manufacturing facility to the human body, with sensors and transmitters providing sensory data, the controller as the brain, and valves/actuators/drives as the muscles, "In Austin, we focus on the brain – the DeltaV controller," said Jim Nyquist, president, systems and solutions business, Emerson Process Management.
"Today, we're officially opening another chapter in the growth of a technology leader, making life easier, making life better," said Perry. "With growing pressure from global competition to do things better and more efficiently, we have to empower American industries to do better."
The new Innovation Center is the company's third – the first, in Marshalltown, Iowa, develops and tests flow control applications and technologies, and a second in Pune, India focuses on software application development.
The Emerson Innovation Center in Austin brings several world-class disciplines under one roof:
- A technology and product design and support center, providing engineering and development for the DeltaV digital automation system and DeltaV SIS Safety System.
- The Integrated Operations (iOps) Center where customers can explore new ways of managing remote operations and of enabling easier collaboration by experts located anywhere in the world.
- The Emerson Process Management Human Centered Design Institute, an industry leading consulting and engineering practice that drives usability-based design into all products Emerson Process Management designs and manufacturers, is also based in Austin. By designing products that are easier to use, customers gain improved worker effectiveness and lower the requirements for specialized knowledge in their workforce.
- A world-class interoperability and testing lab in which Emerson tests both its own products as well as competitors' to ensure safe, reliable and robust operation.
- The Life Sciences Industry Center provides consulting, engineering and project management expertise to support pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers.
- Educational Services where more than 2,500 customer personnel gain product, technology, and operational skills on the latest technologies.
- Lastly, the company's Project Management Office (PMO) aligns and integrates the company's best practices, processes, systems and metrics for global project execution.
"No other facility in the world can do what our new Emerson Innovation Center can do," said Nyquist. "We have the brightest minds in the industry developing world class automation technologies and collaborating with customers to imagine, plan and execute their vision of future operations to deliver breakthrough performance."
Real-World Experience Powers iOps Initiative
Emerson Process Management's new iOps Initiative brings that collaboration to life with a deep technology portfolio, real-world experiential lab and targeted consulting services help companies realize their vision for operations. It offers a way for the company's customers to satisfy their needs for streamlined decision-making, easily accessible expertise and safe, collaborative co-location of essential personnel.
"Running safe, profitable production operations is becoming increasingly challenging in the locations our customers are working in," said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer of Emerson Process Management. "These locations are sometimes referred to as ‘the Four D's': dull, distant, dirty and dangerous. These are often places few people want to go. The cost and scarcity of skilled workers just compounds their challenges."
To overcome these issues and improve operational effectiveness, manufacturers are turning to a new model called iOps. While implementations vary, key ingredients include: collocation of cross-functional teams in more desirable locales, collaboration tools like video conferencing and other applications, real-time access to process and asset data and streamlined decision making workflows.
"Workers used to have to be on-site," said David Farr, president and CEO, Emerson Process Management. "Now, with pervasive sensing and enabling software, real-time troubleshooting and decisions can be made remotely from anywhere around the world."
To accelerate industry realization of the benefits iOps can provide, Emerson has developed three distinctive offerings in its Integrated Operations Initiative:
- A comprehensive and scalable automation architecture
- A real-world lab to experience Integrated Operations, called the iOps Center
- Consulting services to help customers envision, plan and execute their own iOps strategy
Real-time access to essential information is fundamental to iOps and has been a core focus within Emerson for decades. The company has led with a fully digital plant architecture, a fully digital safety system, a robust wireless technology portfolio, remote and low-power field communications, a broad offering of diagnostics-based "pervasive sensing" instruments, and monitoring applications to convert this data into actionable information. Each of these innovations is foundational to the Integrated Operations model as they provide real-time insight to actual conditions, giving personnel the confidence to make better decisions.
"Customers have steadily seen operational improvement for years by deploying smart automation technologies that provide them more data – more visibility – into what's really happening," said Nyquist. "But data alone isn't enough. The real opportunity is to imagine new organizational workflows, like the formation of cross functional collaboration centers that bring together decentralized expertise to enable better, faster decision-making. That's iOps."
The new iOps Center offers a real-world, working model of a production enterprise where potential users can directly experience the next generation of collaboration and real-time, multi-disciplinary decision making. "We worked for nearly two years on the vision and execution of the iOps Center," said Nyquist, "partnering with industry leaders ranging from Dell, Barco, Cisco, Mynah Technologies, OSISoft and more.
"The enthusiasm and support for this project from our partner companies has been outstanding," continued Nyquist. "We are able to showcase leading-edge technologies in virtualization, video collaboration, telecommunications and more. Customers gain a clear vision of what's possible through an experience they can't get anywhere else in the world."
To help customers establish and execute their vision, Emerson has developed Integrated Operations Consulting Services. First, consultants help customers develop a vision for their operations, based on ever-growing best practices. Following human-centered design methods, Emerson works with customers to define roles and work practices and to also define applications targeted to individual user requirements. Then, consultants leverage the company's deep project management roots to help customers put their vision into action. These recommendations are derived through onsite visits, personnel interviews, assessments and analysis. This service is performed by senior consultants with the right expertise to explore opportunities and alternatives for taking advantage of new integrated operations capabilities.
The Integrated Operations Initiative is already being engaged by some of the world's leading production companies. Meetings in Emerson's iOps Center have surpassed initial projections and are expected to increase significantly in 2014. Emerson is currently evaluating plans to expand its network of customer experience centers around the globe to support growing demand.