NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2016:
Solutions for Optmization in the global Process Industry
At the NAMUR Annual General Meeting, held in Bad Neuenahr on 10 and 11 November 2016, users of automation technology in the process industry met for their annual discussion with invited experts and managers of manufacturers and associations.
This year’s event which was sponsored by the internationally operating Japanese company Yokogawa was under the motto ‘Solutions for Optimisation in the Global Process Industry’.
Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik) opened the meeting on Thursday morning, welcoming a record number of 650 attendees. He reported on the current development of the Association. At the Members‘ Meeting held the previous day Dr. Felix Hanisch (Covestro) had been elected member of the Board of Management. A process automation user group had been successfully initiated in the US under the umbrella of the ACC, an event that clearly underlined the Association’s internationalisation efforts. Dr. Otten announced that this year Dr. Joachim Birk (BASF) had been awarded the Golden Honorary Badge for his contributions to the Association and his long-standing efforts to promote young employees within NAMUR.
Dr. Thomas Tauchnitz (Sanofi) briefly introduced this year’s sponsor and noted that Yokogawa had a worldwide network and had become an international player by developing innovative technologies.
Yokogawa President and CEO, Takashi Nishijima, opened the sponsor’s presentation by describing future challenges such as demographic explosion and scarce resources; he called for solutions by way of co-innovation and underlined Yokogawa’s client focus. Dr. Andreas Helget, General Manager in Germany, took up the point of client focus and described how boundaries between Operational Technology (OT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) had become blurred; he then presented examples of solutions in the areas of flexible automation, optimised production and worldwide service. In the third part of the sponsor’s presentation, Satoru Kurosu, Executive Vice President, again emphasised the wide range of possible solutions provided by Yokogawa for OT, IT and strategy and operations management. He promised continuous improvement from the customer’s perspective by value generation beyond plant limits through co-innovation solutions.
In his presentation Dr. Udo Enste (Leikon) outlined the crucial points of plant performance improvement. Appropriate and properly weighted KPIs provided information on the current status. Process management, maintenance and component replacement as well as plant design and process modifications were determining factors for short-, medium- and long-term plant performance improvements. Concluding his presentation, Dr. Enste highlighted the importance of information and the resulting interactions for future methods.
Dr. Michael Krauss (BASF) again took up the topic of remote operation by describing the various stages required to achieve a remotely controlled plant; he drew attention to the new NAMUR recommendation NE 161 which covered this topic and discussed the technical conditions required. Based on the operation of the Groningen gas field, John Hofland (Shell) gave a vivid description of what is already reality today.
In the third NAMUR contribution on Thursday morning, Dr. Thomas Tauchnitz (Sanofi) and Christian Klettner (BASF) presented the NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA). This architecture opens up a possibility for equipping both old and new plants with future Industry 4.0 monitoring and optimising functions in an extended area in addition to the classical automation pyramid. He noted that in this innovative area reliability requirements were less stringent, since unintended effects on the safe core area were precluded.
The 27 very interesting workshops offered on Thursday afternoon made it again difficult to choose. Universities presented NOA demonstrators which they had prepared before. The results obtained by the Working Groups looking into the modularisation of automation could be illustrated by using demonstrators as well so that practical aspects were certainly not neglected. Other workshops discussed field devices and type testing, security, safety, data use, interfaces, guidance documents, education and training etc. and, of course, Industry 4.0. The sponsor’s workshops provided detailed information on the solutions and services developed by Yokogawa.
At the beginning of the second day of the event, Henry Bloch received a NAMUR award for his outstanding master’s thesis in the field of intelligent process and operations management. He briefly presented his topic, Application and tool-based realisation of a methodology for the reuse-based engineering of automated plants, after he had received the award from the deputy chairman, Dr. Matthias Fankhänel (BASF).
Thomas Grein (IGR) then gave a summary of the requirements to be met by field devices. Type-testing statistics showed that not all requirements had already been met. So it would pay for manufacturers to involve users already at the design stage in order to avoid unnecessary detours in equipment development.
The following panel discussion on modularisation, chaired by Michael Pelz (Clariant), made it clear that module manufacturers, manufacturers of automation equipment and users needed to co-operate already in the conceptual phase to achieve non-proprietary, standardised solutions. The intensive technological exchange that had already been established was quite promising.
In his presentation of the new BASF Reliability Centre Joachim Thiel (BASF) showed what you could do with data. Central condition monitoring of critical plants helped to prevent unintended downtimes as he demonstrated by using the example of a two-stage compressor. Experts for technical facilities could develop action plans at an early stage, thus avoiding maintenance cost and production losses. However, investment required to improve data quality might offset the benefits.
In his presentation on tomorrow’s raw material Dr. Thorsten Pötter (Bayer) predicted that it would be perfectly natural in future to handle data and that they would influence our decision-making. Information and communication technologies would play a crucial role in making previously uneconomic solutions cost-effective and feasible and permit new business models. The trick was to connect the right automation information with business and management information. Using examples like jet engine monitoring at GE, Dr. Pötter pointed out areas where such data connections were already used successfully.
As usual, the last technical presentation given at the NAMUR Annual General Meeting led over to the theme of next year’s event which will take place at the Dorint Hotel, Bad Neuenahr, on 09 and 10 November 2017. The theme will be
Mastering the Digital Transformation of the Process Industry
For the first time, GE Digital could be won as sponsor, a challenge which NAMUR and GE Digital readily accepted to organise another interesting Annual General Meeting next year.