Industrial Internet of Things Can Improve Profitability and Integrity Management
Times have changed. In today’s world, new technologies constantly emerge, while the speed of business operations are accelerating rapidly. For owner/operators of asset-intensive plants, pipelines, and facilities, this introduces major challenges. Namely: how to remain competitive and profitable without falling behind. The solution? The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
For too long, owner/operators have managed operational profitability using paper-based processes or monthly reporting cycles. In the new technological climate, this approach has been proven to be less effective. According to a white paper published by Schneider Electric, “The industry is experiencing a degree of variability in the business that’s never been seen before. Traditional ERP systems can’t handle it. ... Such a scenario means the plant’s operational profitability is out of control.”
Enter the industrial Internet of things (IIoT). IIoT refers to the use of Internet technology to connect a series of physical assets to enhance industrial processes. In the world of asset-integrity management (AIM), this means using intelligent analytics to modernize the plant to an asset-control environment.
Business management decisions depend on data. Inspection scheduling depends on data. Naturally, the more quickly data is collected, and the more intelligently it is analyzed, the faster those decisions can be made (and with greater integrity).
Using the IIoT enables businesses to move to real-time control of their assets. If a plant operator is alerted to impending equipment failure, he can respond immediately to keep that from happening. In the short term, that helps prevent costly unplanned shutdowns. In the long term, that affords the company time to develop a permanent solution to the issue at hand. This is potentially millions of dollars in savings.
Adopting IIoT by use of comprehensive AIM software can help businesses
- Access useable, intelligent data at the right time
- Achieve real-time visibility of equipment health in a centralized platform (analytics of equipment types and sites, onshore and offshore)
- Improve integrity strategies, set smarter inspection intervals, and allow capital allocation for critical resources
- Readily retrieve all historical data for regulatory compliance
- Access a single version of the truth for all assets
- Reduce issues with succession planning and information silos
- Mitigate risk and prevent equipment failure
- Enhance return on investment (ROI) and directly affect project completion time and overall profitability
The Cost of Plant Modernization
The process of undergoing plant modernization might seem daunting. Isn’t it generally expensive? These days, digitalized technologies are more affordable than ever. In fact, the ROI and productivity gains are much more significant than the initial investment.
Further, modernization is no longer a process that requires companies to rip apart legacy equipment and start from scratch. Modern technology offers cloud-based software to enhance the connectivity of existing systems. This makes it possible to work with and improve what a company already has. This requires less initial capital investment than ever before—all while delivering more rapid ROI.
Adopting a modernization approach that is more gradual is also possible. The best approach is to hire consultants with experience implementing AIM technologies. They will perform a full analysis on the company’s current system, identifying the areas most in need of improvement. They will then help implement tailored strategies.
Further steps that owner/operators can take is to choose a cloud-based asset integrity management solution that is scalable. This allows the company to start small with a basic inspection data management solution and then to grow as it needs to at a pace it can handle. Look for solution providers that offer multilevel, scalable product options.
Next, to stay ahead of the curve, look for a system that is available both on the premises and in the cloud. This allows critical data to be exchanged anywhere, in real time, between the back office and the field. To maximize real-time control, seek a product that offers on-the-go integrity management from a mobile device.
With companies all over the globe modernizing their industrial processes, the time to invest is now. Don’t waste capital resources on short-term fixes to immediate problems. Investing in digitalization technologies for long-term profitability is much more prudent, allowing you to remain competitive and not be left behind.
Metegrity strives to deliver quality asset-integrity management software for plants, pipelines, and facilities. Its products help leverage IIoT for improved profitability and enhanced ROI. Find Metegrity here.
Keith Davidson is the Metegrity’s business manager for US operations based in Houston. He has more than 20 years of experience with strategic technology solutions, consulting, and delivery to the petrochemical and oil and gas industries.
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19 May 2020