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Siemens exploiting digitalisation potential

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Siemens has presented its digitalisation strategy within the process industries at ACHEMA 2015.

The underlying foundation for this is integrated software products and solutions which enable digitalisation of the plant and, consequently, a seamless exchange of data – from the plant design and engineering stage through installation, operation and modernisation to cloud-based services. Users are, therefore, allowed to utilise a plant’s virtual identical ‘digital twin’ to simulate and optimise its commissioning, operation and maintenance.

Competitive pressure in the process industries

“Companies operating within the process industries are under enormous competitive pressure, particularly as a result of changing regulations, markets and technologies. Digitalisation is the central lever which will enable these challenges to be successfully met”, explained Peter Herweck, CEO of the Process Industries and Drives Division. “On the way to the ‘Digital Enterprise’ we support our customers in this process by providing a unique integrated portfolio comprising hardware, software and services across the entire plant lifecycle. The aim is to bring about a sustainable reduction in investment and operating costs”.

“Whether we are talking about the construction of a new plant or the modernisation of an existing one: investment in digitalisation always pays off,” explained Peter Herweck. “This means that companies can increase their flexibility and shorten the time to market while adhering to regulations. Customers with long plan life cycles will benefit in particular from greater availability and reduced lifecycle costs. In this way, digitalisation opens up decisive competitive benefits to all companies across the process industries.”

Digitalisation is enabled by integrated engineering. It reduces sources of error by lowering the number of interfaces required between disciplines, increases quality throughout every step of the engineering workflow and shortens the time to market by enabling parallel work processes. In this way, tasks such as process engineering or electrotechnical planning are able to run alongside automation engineering. The basis for this is provided by seamless interplay of the software solution Comos and the Simatic PCS 7 process control system which enables integration not only horizontally, across the entire plant life cycle, but also vertically, from the office world (for instance ERP systems) down to the field level.

One benefit is the scope this offers for integrating innovative process instrumentation such as high-precision Sitrans pressure transmitters. The integration process is further simplified by using established technology platforms such as Totally Integrated Automation, Totally Integrated Power and Integrated Drive Systems.

Linking the worlds of planning and operating

“By making the leap from integrated engineering to integrated operation, we are paving the way for our customers to take the next evolutionary step on the road to Industrie 4.0 by being the first supplier to develop an integrated data model,” Peter Herweck commented. “We are interlinking the world of planning with the world of operation to enable integrated system management over the entire lifecycle of an industrial plant. This makes for more efficient work sequences, and enhances productivity and quality. It entails consistent updating of plant data across the entire lifecycle – as if you were creating a digital twin.”

Data analyses performed during the operating phase allow users to obtain feedback regarding the status of important components such as pumps, motors and converters. This information can be used as the basis for developing an optimised maintenance strategy. The result: improved plant availability and security.

This service has a vital role to play in process plants, largely due to their long service life expectancy. Siemens provides reliable support to companies with its comprehensive portfolio which ranges from repair and remote services to data and cloud-based services. With its ‘Control Performance Analytics’ service, for instance, smart data analysis can optimise the performance of control loops, enhancing both production quality and output.

Siemens relies on industry-specific solutions to exploit the full potential of digitalisation, such as paperless manufacturing for the pharmaceutical industry. Paperless manufacturing speeds up the design, execution, review and release of pharmaceutical production processes and electronic batch records. This allows companies to boost efficiency and product quality, as well as driving down costs whilst also ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements.

Security and connectivity allows for successful digitalisation

For digitalisation to succeed, it requires robust, reliable and primarily secure communication throughout every area of a plant. “There is no other supplier capable of supporting companies in the process industry with automation and drive technology as well as providing a comprehensive portfolio of industrial and fieldbus communication”, said Peter Herweck.


Adapted from press release by Cecilia Rehn

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