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Chemical Industry Digest - - Publisher’s Page -

The spread of dig­i­ti­za­tion across in­dus­tries and the in­ter­net con­nect­ing de­vices, equip­ment, plants and sys­tems can en­hance pro­duc­tiv­i­ties, ef­fi­cien­cies, make proac­tive ad­dress­ing of im­ped­i­ments pos­si­ble and dis­cover un­tapped po­ten­tial and open­ing new vis­tas – in short, it is set to cre­ate a rev­o­lu­tion from homes to agri­cul­ture to in­dus­try.

Lat­est au­to­ma­tion in­clud­ing dig­i­tally dis­trib­uted con­trols along with lat­est gen­er­a­tion high power com­put­ing and soft­wares have been driv­ing phe­nom­e­nal ef­fi­cien­cies in man­u­fac­tur­ing, par­tic­u­larly in plants of high com­plex­i­ties like oil & gas, re­finer­ies, petro­chem­i­cal and fer­til­iz­ers. With great ad­vances in sen­sor tech­nolo­gies, the small­est equip­ment to com­plex crit­i­cal equip­ment are get­ting em­bed­ded with sen­sors. Now with the ad­vent of the in­ter­net all these ma­chines and de­vices are get­ting con­nected within the plant as well as plants in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in the same coun­try or even in other coun­tries or re­mote lo­ca­tions. Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle in this is­sue of Chem­i­cal In­dus­try Digest, “around 8.4 bil­lion de­vices world­wide will be con­nected to the in­ter­net in 2017, up by 31 per­cent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 bil­lion by 2020. In In­dia such de­vice con­nec­tion is ex­pected to reach 1.9 bil­lion by 2020 – a whop­ping 31 fold growth.”

En­ter the world of the con­nected en­ter­prise or the In­dus­trial In­ter­net of Things (IIoT). IIoT is bring­ing about a con­ver­gence of global in­dus­trial sys­tems with the power of ad­vanced com­put­ing, an­a­lyt­ics, low cost sens­ing and new lev­els of con­nec­tiv­ity. And this con­nec­tion goes beyond de­vices to a com­pre­hen­sive sweep of func­tions from the sup­ply chain to man­u­fac­tur­ing to the con­sumers and fi­nan­cial ser­vices. Sen­sors are con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tor­ing all kinds of pa­ram­e­ters – op­er­a­tional pa­ram­e­ters to ma­chine per­for­mance. Such huge quan­ti­ties of data gen­er­ated have led to the de­vel­op­ment of data an­a­lyt­ics with­out which it is not hu- manly pos­si­ble to make sense out of such data to pro­vide for in­formed de­ci­sion mak­ing. Call it dis­trib­uted in­tel­li­gence, such an­a­lyzed data en­ables op­ti­miz­ing pro­cesses, un­cov­er­ing po­ten­tial prob­lems and iden­ti­fy­ing new ar­eas for im­prov­ing a busi­ness.

Sen­sors on man­u­fac­tur­ing equip­ment con­tin­u­ally gather, ag­gre­gate and process data pro­vid­ing new in­sights into mak­ing ma­chines work bet­ter as well as iden­tify early signs of po­ten­tial fail­ure and take proac­tive mea­sures to pre­vent equip­ment fail­ure.

The dig­i­tal in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tion is en­abling cost re­duc­tion, im­prove qual­ity, and speed up pro­duc­tion by op­ti­miz­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing per­for­mance form the plant floor to the en­ter­prise for the agility needed to be ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion.

The par­al­lel de­vel­op­ment of cloud based data stor­age and prospects of clus­ter shar­ing, open source soft­wares and tech­nolo­gies that are ma­chine ag­nos­tic un­like the in­flex­i­ble pro­pri­etary tech­nolo­gies will en­able the adop­tion of au­to­ma­tion and IIoT in not only the high in­vest­ment, com­plex in­dus­tries but also small and medium scale due to cost com­pet­i­tive­ness. IIoT has the po­ten­tial to con­vert all in­dus­tries into tech­nol­ogy based in­dus­tries. At the same time in this emerg­ing sce­nario data se­cu­rity be­comes para­mount due to breaches pos­si­ble for leak­ages of data. Com­pa­nies would have to en­sure high­est lev­els of cy­ber se­cu­rity at all lev­els of op­er­a­tion.

IIoT would be ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial for holis­tic per­for­mance man­age­ment, to drive prof­itabil­ity across the en­tire value chain, for quick re­sponses needed for fast, volatile and dy­namic changes in the sup­ply chain to mar­ket sit­u­a­tions. It is noth­ing short of trans­for­ma­tional and is set to im­pact many other ar­eas as such as health­care, re­tail, agri­cul­ture, trans­port and en­ergy amongst oth­ers.

GE es­ti­mates that IIoT would add $10 to $15 tril­lion to global GDP in ef­fi­ciency gains over the next two decades.

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