By Jacques Squire
In a time when uncertainty has (unfortunately) become the new normal, organisations are increasingly looking at ways to improve their CAPEX and OPEX, driven by challenges such as compliance obligations, safety risk and technology applications.
At the top of this challenge heap, so to speak, is deploying and leveraging automation and control that yields CAPEX efficiency. This, coupled with quicker start up means company owners and operators must find a way to overcome increasing system complexity.
In operational environments, seamless integration provides an answer. It is not only the glue that links software to control and field devices but also an enabler of greater agility, flexibility and quality.
The above will also allow organisations to weather a multitude of storms. Major disruptions have been experienced across the world due to the fallout of the pandemic and have been catastrophic where operations lacked agility.
Furthermore, maintenance inefficiencies can jeopardise operations, asset reliability and longevity. All of these impact OPEX levels and efficiency which is why integration is a non-negotiable next move.
Actionable insight from integrated operations has the potential to transform businesses while reducing risk. Unfortunately, it remains elusive to many; whilst organisations pursue modernisation, IT and OT convergence and enterprise connectivity, the integration of the control layer is still lacking.
Integrated Control and Software Solutions
To overcome organisations’ integration challenges, they must turn to integrated control and software solutions. This technology advancement integrates control with supervision to facilitate seamless data flow between the control and software layers.
Integrated control and software solutions address the following key integration challenges:
· Communication – modern control systems need high performance, cyber-secure links between many control assets and supervision systems;
· Engineering – duplication of engineering represents risk; and
· Standardisation – standard blocks to connect to control assets and to interface to software applications provide rapid and reliable integration across the whole control system.
By Jacques Squire, Water & Wastewater Segment Lead, Southern Africa,
International Operations, Schneider Electric