Schneider Electric has added a new enterprise-wide IIoT plant performance and control optimisation software to its PES and Foxboro Evo process automation systems and Foxboro I/A Series distributed control system.
Leveraging Expertune PlantTriage technology, EcoStruxure Control Advisor — a native smart decision-support tool— provides plant personnel actionable real-time operating data and predictive analytics capabilities so they can monitor and adjust every control loop across multiple plants and global sites 24/7. The software empowers them to optimise the real-time efficiency of the process throughout the plant lifecycle and to contribute directly to improved business performance.
“Strengthening the efficiency of the process in real time has a tremendous, positive impact on the entirety of the operation and business, and it puts customers on the path toward controlling other critical business variables, like safety, reliability and even profitability, in real time sooner,” said Martin Walder, Vice President, Industry, at Schneider Electric. “Control Advisor continuously monitors plant performance and identifies potential issues in real time, before they occur.
"The information it provides empowers the workforce to be more actively involved and responsible for the success of the business. In short, Control Advisor is a great example of how Schneider Electric can apply its IIoT expertise and technology at every level, especially when it comes to Big Data, predictive analytics and other emerging technology, to help our customers drive operational profitability improvements, safely.”
Improving performance in real time
Because it is more tightly integrated with the company’s PES, Foxboro Evo and I/A Series process automation and control systems, Control Advisor gives users better opportunities to improve business performance, says Schneider Electric. An easy-to-use tool that works natively across a broad spectrum of industrial applications without substantial capital investments, it extracts more value from existing investments by bringing plant operations closer to set point, minimising out-of-spec production and identifying predictive maintenance indicators.
Improving the performance of each control loop not only restores stability to the operation, it can drive up to a two per cent increase in energy savings and up to a ten per cent increase in production capacity. In addition to its ability to drive energy savings and production efficiencies, it is proven to enhance safety, optimise maintenance, lower operating costs, increase product quality and reduce emissions, among many other things.
“Because of the significant impact it can have on the efficiency and profitability of the industrial process, there has always been a need to simplify the complex task of optimising control-loop performance,” said Greg Shinskey, process control consultant and member of the Process Automation Hall of Fame. “Expertune and Schneider Electric, with its Foxboro brand, have set the industry benchmark when it comes to control-loop performance, and I am thrilled to see this work continue with the inclusion of Control Advisor technology.
"Its ability to identify performance metrics and relate those to real-world diagnostics customers can easily act on will indeed help process manufacturers improve the quality of their production, reduce energy consumption and avoid unplanned downtime. For example, an LNG facility that employs this technology has been able to save an estimated $1m per year in operating costs. That’s real money that goes straight to the bottom line. I congratulate Schneider Electric and Expertune for taking this step and I look forward to seeing how their customers will continue to benefit.”
Controlling business variables
“Control Advisor builds on Schneider Electric’s long history of excellence when it comes to connected technology, closed-loop control and performance optimisation across the entire manufacturing operation,” said Chris Lyden, senior vice president of strategy for Schneider Electric’s Process Automation business. “In a world of diminishing domain expertise, today’s industrial workforce is expected to be more critically involved in the business. Control Advisor, with its easy-to-use analytics, helps them convert valuable raw data into actionable information so they can make better business decisions in real time.
"It is a powerful IIoT platform that empowers plant personnel to advance from controlling the efficiency of the process, which was their traditional role, to improving the overall performance of the business, including improvements to plant safety, reliability and, especially, profitability in real time. That is the true promise of IIoT, and the first step toward realising the future of automation.”