NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2017
Mastering the Digital Transformation of the Process Industry
Mastering the Digital Transformation of the Process Industry was the motto of this year’s NAMUR Annual General Meeting held in Bad Neuenahr on 9 and 10 November 2017. An excellent theme for the discussion between users of automation technology in the process industry, invited experts and managers from manufacturing enterprises and organisations.
This year, the event was sponsored by GE Digital, a company that also pushes in-house digitisation in the US GE Group.
650 interested attendees were watching as Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik) opened the event on Thursday morning and reported on current developments within the association. Rainer Oehlert (DOW) had joined the Board of Management after Dr. Thomas Steckenreiter (now Samson) had again joined the manufacturers’ camp during the year. Dr. Otten thanked Dr. Steckenreiter for the positive contributions he had made during his term of office as a member of the NAMUR Board of Management. Presenting key indicators, Dr. Otten then described NAMUR’s progress. NAMUR’s internationalisation efforts had been successful, as a company of the process industry based in China could be taken on board as a new member. Golden Honorary Badges were awarded to Dr. Armin Brucker (BASF), Professor Ulrich Epple (RWTH Aachen) and Dr. Stefan Stieler (Bilfinger Maintenance) who over many years had successfully worked for the association.
Introducing this year’s sponsor, Dr. Matthias Fankhänel (BASF) pointed out that GE had left its mark in history with important inventions like the lightbulb and MRI technology and had now pooled its digitisation skills and know-how in GE Digital.
In the first part of the sponsor’s presentation, Simone Hessel (GE Digital) explained the critical role of digitisation for industry and productivity gains. In this context, she said, partnering was an important element to master the challenges of digital transformation. In the second part, Dr. Carlos Härtel (GE Global Research) presented digitisation modules in the form of PREDIX, a cloud-based platform for processing data captured in the field. He pointed out that at the end of the day, it was important to increase the availability of assets, make processes more predictable and motivate people to use the new technology effectively. In the last part of the sponsor’s presentation, Dr. Dirk Voelkel (GE Healthcare) showed examples from the area of healthcare where digitisation modules were successfully used.
In the first NAMUR presentation given after the sponsor’s presentation, Erwin Kruschitz (anapur) highlighted the important role of IT security in the digital transformation process. Presenting a practical example, he discussed how the present production, quality and material management systems would grow together in the future, what the risks involved were and where approaches to solutions could be found. This applied to both the technical and the organisational aspects. He pointed out that IT and OT were important partners in paving the way for digitisation.
Dr. Thomas Gabriel (Covestro) discussed intelligent PCS security technology. He made a difference between the evolution of asset intelligence and that of process intelligence and presented optimisation tools based on digitisation.
The Thursday morning session finished with a presentation by Stefan Brüggemann (BASF) on the optimisation of plant availability by means of intelligent data analysis. The speaker mentioned a number of examples showing how data from unstructured information, collected over a wide range from mobile maintenance to enhanced reality, could already be used today. He explained that the objective was to transform data into relevant technical information which could be used on site.
On Thursday afternoon, things got even more practical in the more than 25 workshops. Current developments in the fields of safety, security, NAMUR Open Architecture, modularisation, consistent engineering and many other topics were discussed. The sponsor’s workshops provided deep insights into the digitisation solutions offered by GEDigital. On the mezzanine level, attendees had the opportunity to try out applications.
According to tradition, Friday morning started with the presentation of the NAMUR Awards for outstanding diploma/master’s and doctoral theses. This year the deputy chairman, Dr. Matthias Fankhänel (BASF), presented three awards. Dr. Dirk Kuschnerus received the award for his doctoral thesis on Modelling and Verification of Safety-critical Configurable Systems in Process Measurement Technology. Sebastian Gau, M.Sc., was distinguished for his master’s thesis on Optimal and Suboptimal Control of Switched Linear Systems. Dipl.-Ing. Chris Paul Iatrou (graduate engineer) received the award for his diploma thesis on the Design and Implementation of an OPC Hardware Stack.
The programme continued with a presentation by Dr. Kai Dadhe (Evonik) on process management in the era of digitisation. Covering the range from motivation to business processes, he showed which optimisations were still needed for detection, analysis and countermeasures in the associated control loop and could be supported by digitisation.
The panel discussion, chaired by Dr. Dagmar Dirzus (VDI), focused on education and training requirements and approaches to tomorrow’s transfer of knowledge. Dr. Matthias Fankhänel (BASF), Theo Fecher (Evonik), Dr. Gunther Kegel (VDE) and Nina Melches (IG BCE) were the panellists. They noted that the demand for well-qualified skilled workers continued and that appreciation by society was certainly part of the motivation to train in a skilled trade.
In their contribution, Dr. Michael Krauss (BASF), Dr. Jörn Oprzynski (ZVEI) and Don Bartusiak, PH.D.,(ExxonMobil) made it clear that the approaches of NAMUR Open Architecture, modular automation and reference architecture by The Open Group did not contradict each other. Both organisations even intended to work together more closely and to introduce jointly needed definitions into international standardisation.
In the last presentation of the second day, Dr. Martin Gerlach (Bayer), Frank Grümbel (Lanxess), Dr. Ulrich Schünemann (BASF) and Dr. Stefan Stieler (Bilfinger) focused on the value added by process analytical technology. Giving some examples, they demonstrated how cost-effective PAT solutions could be. They predicted that, following the digitisation trend, future PAT devices would be communicative, mobile and smart.
The chairman of NAMUR, Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik), summed up the event and gave a brief outlook. He then announced the motto of next year’s NAMUR Annual General Meeting:
Field Instruments Supporting Digital Transformation
The event will again take place at the Dorint Parkhotel on 08 and 09 November 2018. Endress+Hauser could be won as a sponsor, a company that is known for its important contributions to field instrumentation. We can certainly look forward to an exciting and informative NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2018.
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