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Neste Engineering Solutions and Curious AI test digital advisor

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Neste Engineering Solutions and Curious AI have started piloting the AI-powered NAPCON Advisor, an application that assists industrial process operators in their daily work. Tests with the NAPCON Simulator and real process plant data have demonstrated accurate long-term process outcomes as well as suggested optimal control actions. The technology now enters into pilot testing and will become commercially available in 2020.

Various industries are going through rapid changes due to increasing global competition and digitalisation. In order to stay up to speed, operators working in process industry plants need improved training, situational awareness and decision-making abilities. Digital operator assistant is a promising solution that supports the operators’ daily decision making. NAPCON and Curious AI have partnered to commercialise such a digital assistant by combining NAPCON’s deep process expertise and Curious AI’s novel machine learning techniques in the process prediction and automatic optimal action sequence generation.

The tests have shown that the system can predict complex, non-linear real-life processes accurately. The tests also demonstrated that the actions made were safe and efficient. What is more, plant profit for the duration of mode change was higher under the AI suggested actions than with an unaided, experienced human operator.

“We are excited to see our solution as a part of a high-end modelling product shipping soon. Modelling and especially planning actions for a complex, real-life production process is a challenging task for AI, even today. Curious AI has developed an efficient and robust approach to solving these problems, an approach we call ‘system 2 AI’. Our cooperation with the NAPCON team has now demonstrated that real-world processes can, in fact, be handled with machine learning”, says Harri Valpola, CEO, Curious AI.

“NAPCON has a long track record of supporting the optimal operation of industrial processes. Our portfolio covers everything from advanced process control to real-time data analytics and high-fidelity operator training systems. The new NAPCON Advisor is a big step forward in supporting process operators in running the processes safely and economically. With the help of Curious AI’s technology, we have created an amazing digital advisor uniquely suited for the needs of the process industry. We are looking forward to bringing it into the market next year”, says Jyri Lindholm, Head of Product Management, NAPCON, Neste Engineering Solutions.

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