Nothing in life is certain, but there's no harm and a lot of good to be gained from getting much closer to it.
That's the logic behind Emerson Process Management's new Project Certainty approach to helping process control and automation users achieve top-quartile performance by eliminating costs, reducing complexity and accommodating change.
Because of cost and scheduling overruns, billions of dollars per year are lost in oil and gas exploration and production, hydrocarbon and gas processing, chemical, pharmaceutical and other process industries. Jim Nyquist, president of systems and solutions at Emerson, reported that 65% of projects over $1 billion worldwide and 35% of projects under $500 million worldwide are failing—if failure is defined as 25% over budget and 50% behind schedule.
"The industry has reached a tipping point in which projects aren't sustainable with current budget and schedule excesses," said Nyquist. "We can't keep doing things the same way. Decreasing oil prices may have been the wake-up call, but best practices of the same activities won't be enough. We need to fundamentally change how we do things. Some customers are saying we need an industry-wide reset on project costs and complexity, typically in the 20-30% range, and deliver those projects more predictably and reliably."
"If we could move the three lower quartiles up to the present top quartile, it would represent an opportunity of $430 billion per year," said Nyquist. "This is why we need to look at projects differently, and it's why we're announcing Project Certainty, which is Emerson's transformative approach for achieving top-quartile performance by eliminating costs, reducing complexity and accommodating change."
Cutting costs and complexity
Project Certainty begins with early engagement during clients' engineering and design studies to define project goals and high impact strategies to meet those goals. Despite only accounting for about 4% percent of most project investments, automation holds the potential to simplify project processes beyond the automation discipline.
Kevin Jackson, VP of global project operations at Emerson, reported that Project Certainty decreases labor costs by eliminating unnecessary work, improving the efficiency of necessary work and eliminating rework, and it cuts material costs by eliminating the need for piping, structural and electrical components, and pushing for "fit for purpose" and right-sized engineering.
"For example, on a recent project that previously had 18,000 I/O and needed 32 cabinets, electronic marshalling with CHARMs reduced traditional I/O by 37% to 20 cabinets, and electronic marshalling with Smart Junction Boxes reduced this project another 95% to just one cabinet for a total savings of $14.5 million," said Jackson.
Jackson added that Project Certainty reduces project complexity by improving coordination to eliminate dependencies and align automation with overall project schedules, and then enhancing information flow to reduce errors and rework. "Project Certainty also tackles complexity by decoupling the dependencies suppliers have on each other, eliminating bottlenecks, and allowing concurrent work streams," explained Nyquist. "Likewise, we're addressing the complexity of data and documentation with innovative technologies that provide features like a single source of project data as well as automated documentation."
Project Data Link
This single source of truth is called Project Data Link, and it was also launched on the opening day of Emerson Global Users Exchange 2015. It's a project engineering environment that helps reduce complexity and accommodate changes in capital projects. As projects become more complex with multiple contractors and stakeholders, Project Data Link helps keep projects off the critical path by efficiently and consistently translating project information—including tag databases and instrument indices—from multiple sources into project deliverables. It mitigates project risk by normalizing specifications into a single data source with traceability and an integrated change-management system.
Jackson reported that Project Certainty accommodates change by further keeping automation off the critical path, and then helping users embrace necessary changes by eliminating much of the traditional work such changes usually require. Project Data Link helps this effort by giving multiple suppliers, engineering firms, and other stakeholders access to project information, including specifications related to field devices and the distributed control system, including control logic and configuration.
Because the integrity of project information is especially important during late project changes, Project Data Link is always up to date, so when a change is initiated, it automatically is reconciled against what is in the system, identifies what needs to be changed, automatically sends updates to the DeltaV DCS, and provides an audit trail of what has changed.
Finally, Project Certainty is assisted by Emerson's third release at the process conference—Smart Commissioning, a technology-enabled process that drastically reduces automation commissioning time and effort. Smart Commissioning helps automation projects meet strict and shifting deadlines by reducing trips to the field, eliminating tasks, and accommodating late project changes.
With the release of DeltaV and AMS Suite, Version 13, Smart Commissioning brings ease to automation project implementation. From initial device connections to final system testing, users save money as they shave weeks off project schedules by reducing time spent on automation commissioning activities.
Upon arrival at a project site, pre-tagged smart devices can be connected immediately to any channel in a nearby junction box, so there's no need to wait for wiring designs to be complete. Smart Commissioning also eliminates potential errors by automatically finding and identifying all smart devices, then binding them to the configuration. To further accelerate implementation, the device configuration is pushed to all devices based on pre-configured templates. "Smart Commissioning reduces typical commissioning times from 140 minutes before to 25 minutes now to 10 minutes in the future," said Jackson.