Automation Strategies for a Down Economy

PUBLISHED ON Mar 16, 2009

Process Control Investments with Short-Term ROI

In lean times, a plant managers’ priorities must necessarily shift from managing the growth and expansion resulting from new opportunities to minimizing risk, improving margins, and ensuring that an operation is not dealt a crippling blow by a catastrophic failure.  NovaTech Automation offers a number of solutions to help customers preserve, extend, and optimize their existing assets and improve their personnel skill levels. The return on investment for any of these offerings can typically be realized in months rather than years, and all can provide strategic advantage with relatively small up front investment.

Energy Asset Management Solution

The NovaTech Automation Energy Asset Management Solution (EAMS) turns the challenges of rising and volatile energy costs into an opportunity for competitive advantage.  EAMS allows management of a process in real-time economic context of energy costs, emissions, and asset utilization.  Plant managers can set energy strategies based on historical baselines, and operators can run the process to meet energy usage goals through customizable smartboards of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  Advanced Process Control (powered by industry leader AspenTech) automatically smoothes control profiles and lowers costs with feed-forward control strategies.

Power & Grounding and RC-SLP

NovaTech Automation engineers have a well-deserved reputation for thorough attention to detail and comprehensive understanding of the process control environment. Power & Grounding Analyses ensure that equipment and networks function optimally, and Reliability-Centered System Life Planning (RC-SLP) surveys all aspects of a process control system. Every  CPU, network connection, software patch level and hundreds of other points are inventoried, compared against Mean-Time Between Failure data for each component, and analyzed for wear and tear. The resulting System Life Plan allows maintenance to shift from a reactive to proactive stance, maximizes equipment life by avoiding premature replacement, and provides peace of mind to plant managers worried about what they don’t know.

HART® Diagnostic Data from 8000 Series I/O

HART data available from the 8000 Series I/O, coupled with Endress + Hauser’s industry-leading Fieldcare package, is another essential tool to maintain the highest levels of reliability. Upgrading from 16000 or 505 I/O is made quick and easy (and affordable) by retrofit panels that preserve original wiring and grounding connections.

Alarm Management

Avoiding big problems means filtering out the small ones. The balance between not enough alarms and too many is difficult to strike, especially during abnormal operations. Knowing what the real hot spots are requires experience, judgement, and a sound Alarm Management Strategy. NovaTech Automation provides Dynamic Alarm Management, Alarm Suppression, and Alarm Inhibit to filter the critical alarms from the chatter, helping operators to appropriately prioritize alarms and focus on the big problems.

Customized Operator Training

When it comes to competitive advantage, it helps to have a good control system, but it is essential to have good people with up-to-date skill sets. NovaTech Automation Educational Services provides a comprehensive range of D/3®, Microsoft®, Cyber Security, process control and utility automation courses that can be taught at our facilities or yours by instructors who are always welcomed back.