Voices: Studebaker

Yokogawa Execs Pledge Commitment to Americas

Industrial Automation Leader Strives to Understand and Serve

By Paul Studebaker

Yoko14 banner

The straight angle at the top of the Yokogawa logo represents cutting-edge technology, and the curved lines below stand for the company's warm-hearted people. The yellow of the sun symbolizes its contributions to society through measurement, control and information systems, and its courage to innovate.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, Yokogawa has 88 affiliates in 55 countries around the world. Its presence in the United States dates back to the 1950s, and the United States is "a most important market" for Yokogawa, said Satoru Kurosu, director, executive vice president, Solution Service Business Headquarters; president and CEO Yokogawa Electric Japan International, Pte, Ltd., in his keynote address to the 2014 User Group meeting for Yokogawa Corp. of America, held this week in Houston. "We not only share your challenges and concerns, we have a vision for a long-term relationship."

With 4,000 engineers in 38 centers and 2,000 customer service engineers, "We have the ability to provide integrated solutions of any size and complexity, with continuous long-term support. We want to become your lifecycle automation supplier in the spirit of the Japanese word o-mo-te-na-shi, which means attentive and thoughtful service."

Addressing Human Reliability Needs

Identifying industry's megatrends as globalization, increasing speed of business and environmental concerns, Kurosu is aware that "You need more skilled people, but they're scarce, aging and retiring." Your four main concerns are safety and security, availability, efficiency and the "human reliability" that lies at the center of it all.

For safety and security, the company offers safe operations management; health, safety and environmental, and compliance management; management of change; safety system validation (periodic testing and diagnostics); and IT security consulting services.

For availability, Yokogawa's service portfolio includes secure remote operations and maintenance, condition monitoring, asset management, advanced analytics and procedural management for mode switch, start-up and shutdown operations.

For efficiency, tap into Yokogawa's ability to reduce operational expenses, improve productivity and energy efficiency, minimize greenhouse gas emissions and manage key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time using the company's opportunity identification services, real-time production management, energy optimization, total quality management and advanced process control capabilities. Kurosu cited examples of routinely saving 2% to 5% of energy in oil and gas facilities.

Finally, reduce human errors, improve collaboration, and retain and transfer knowledge using Yokogawa advanced decision support, operator training simulation, control room consolidation, fault-tolerant and ergonomic control room design, and workflow management capabilities.

Presenting the full spectrum of Yokogawa advanced solutions, Kurosu asked the audience, "Did you not know about all these?" In response to more than one raised hand, he said, "That's a problem we intend to solve."

"Yokogawa is a global solutions and services company that understands its customers' business concerns," Kurosu concluded. "We commit to the customer to deliver sustainable solutions that provide for sustainable growth."

Systems, Analysis Growing in Americas

A perspective on the Americas business was provided by Chet Mroz, president and CEO, Yokogawa Corporation of America (YCA), who reminded us that the company announced a new global organization this year that separates the Industrial Automation and Solution Service businesses, and gives both direct access to Yokogawa Corporate resources and attention.

In the Americas, strong growth in systems and advanced analytical solutions have driven 18% annual growth since 2009, almost doubling total revenues to $425 million in 2013. A long list of projects includes many new offshore and deepwater installations.

The Yokogawa global organization is expanding and adding U.S. facilities for engineering, manufacturing and distribution, including doubling the capacity for integrating analyzers and housings in Cool Spring, Texas; building a new distribution center in Newnan, Georgia, and a laser analyzer lab in Sugar Land, Texas; and founding a Global Subsea Measurement Center in Houston. The latter has provided thought leadership for subsea oil and gas, Mroz said, resulting in the "world's first degree program in subsea engineering" at the University of Houston, which now offers an MS degree in the specialty.

Subsea Measurement Advances

The subsea initiative is propelled by events including the Mexican government overhaul of its plans for developing its holdings in the Gulf of Mexico, and new exploration and drilling in the Atlantic seaboard and in Newfoundland. The initiative supports and is supported by activities of the MCS-DCS Interface Standardization (MDIS) group, which is developing the ISO 13628-6 standard for topside and subsea integration; SWiG, the subsea wireless working group; and the API group working on high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) subsea requirements for off-shore, deepwater operations at pressures over 15,000 psi and temperatures higher than 400 degrees.

YCA's Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee, created to strategically manage YCA's intellectual property portfolio and promote activities that foster innovation, has filed 28 patent applications since 2009 and has been granted six patents. These activities are intended to make Yokogawa Corporation of America "the most trusted automation solutions partner for operational excellence and a sustainable future," Mroz said.

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