Aveva World Digital 2021 tackles digital transformation

Feb. 9, 2021
Online conference delivers 94 sessions on software and sustainability

Evolving from physical manufacturing, networking and control to their digital counterparts is harder than it looks, but some added assistance was available on Jan. 25-27 during Aveva World Digital 2021. The online conference consisted of 94 keynotes, technical sessions, panel discussions, product roadmaps and other rewatchable presentations about how increasingly intelligent software can help revamp operations, engineering and process performance.

Craig Hayman, CEO of Aveva, kicked off the event with his opening-day keynote, "The intelligence revolution: your partner in digital transformation," which was even more timely because COVID-19 has pushed the adoption of many Internet and software solutions into overdrive. "Digitalization is accelerating faster than ever, traditional infrastructure drivers have shifted due to the pandemic, and neither is over yet," said Hayman. "But 2021 is also a year of renewed hope and opportunity. In the past 12 months, we learned new ways to work and new imperatives emerged. We can't go back to the old world, so we need to go towards a sustainable future with digital transformation."

Hayman reported Aveva is also focusing on sustainability that enables innovation in industries worldwide. Its goals are aligned with those of the United Nations, and include clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industrial innovation and infrastructure, and sustainable cities and communities.
"We aspire to a world where economic growth supports environmental sustainability with better living standards for communities where we and our customers operate," said Hayman. "In the past year, we delivered software and intelligence to shape this sustainable future, but remember that cloud-based data, analytics and even artificial intelligence (AI) must still be infused with human insight, so they can compete and allow insightful actions that elevate performance."

To help client teams see their data from new angles, and achieve shop-to-top visibility for more agile operations in real-time, Hayman added that Aveva recently contributed to several digital transformation projects:

  • Starbucks developed an MES with custom operating interfaces, which give users insights in context provided by Aveva's integrated analytics.
  • Duke Energy production plants integrated Internet of Things (IoT) data with assistance from Aveva's AI-based software, which pinpoints the latest information and insights for better operations and safety, including one early-warning catch that saved the utility $34 million.
  • TechnipFMC developed a dynamic simulation for a flare header design, which reduced the steel needed by 34% and saved 20 million euros.

Eastman Chemical digitalizes, too

In her keynote address, Jan Shumate, director of Worldwide Engineering and Construction Services and Solutions at Eastman Chemical Co., reported her company has experienced the benefits of incorporating digitalization and automation, which have allowed it to become more agile and achieve greater sustainability.

"In 1962, the Jetsons cartoons envisioned the world of 2062, and we already have the equivalents of many of their inventions, such as Roomba robotic vacuums, Alexa for voice-activated lights and security, Siri to similarly place calls and send texts, and drones that can perform laser scans to generate 3D renderings," said Shumate. "George Jetson even had a remote operations center at his company, Spacely Sprockets, where he could view manufacturing, R&D and engineering, and this is Eastman's vision, too."

Shumate reported Eastman Chemical spent the past five years improving its remote insight and achieving greater transparency into elements needed for more advanced operations. "We found we're still very document-centric, even though many documents are electronic," explained Shumate. "We're not sharing visions and standardizing as much as we should. It's like having a masterpiece painting that's been chopped into jigsaw puzzle pieces, and the manufacturing side has to put it together without guidance, so it ends up looking like a finger painting. This is why we need to move from being document-centric to being data-centric, so we can keep the masterpiece intact, and transfer that vision to the individual asset owners and operators running our facilities. Because these communications go two ways, we also need to improve how creators and innovators get feedback from those owners and operators."

To gain its Jetsons-style interface and become more data-centric, Shumate added that Eastman Chemical has been working with Aveva to streamline its engineering, procurement, construction, operations and maintenance (EPCOM) activities into its new Seamless EPCOM Integrated Global Access (SEIGA) platform. This program includes all of Eastman's assets, and how they're conceived, designed, built and commissioned, and provides one access point for integrating them.

"This is a data-centric platform that automates redundant and repetitive work, and allows people to focus on projects, rather than processes," said Shumate. "It lets each stakeholder focus on their project's results, safety, environmental issues and sustainability, and be innovative at the next level in their results and how to achieve them. This is enabling a step change at Eastman because our information is now working more for us, instead of us working for it. Our toolbox for SEIGA includes extended-reality devices, drones and robots, and tablets and wearable PCs incorporated at different points in our production lifecycles. Wearables have been especially important during the pandemic because they give us eyes onsite for remote technical support.

"For instance, we're using laser-scanning drones in our engineering area to help install a two-mile pipeline without upsetting ongoing operations, and using its dimensionally correct scans to make better 3D models and walkthroughs. These let users see, for example, if a planned valve is too high to reach. Virtual reality (VR) also lets users do safety walkthroughs and train before plants are built."