I missed the Tuesday session of WBF’s annual conference, so I missed John Berra’s keynote (which, I’m told, was excellent) and the other presentations. On the plus side, I am recertified as a high school soccer referee assignor in Ohio. Story of my life–more places to go than ability to get there.

There’s an excellent turnout for this year’s conference. Great examples of using ISA88 and thinking up front leading to faster startups and better operations and documentation.

John Blanchard, principal analyst with ARC Advisory Group and WBF vice-chair, presented the two annual awards at the beginning of Wednesday’s session. The Guido Carlo-Stella Award, presented to “professionals who have excelled in the field and/of who have been an inspiration and mentor to all in the process industry,” went to Asish Ghosh, a retired engineer, who, among other things, jointly authored first major book on batch control. The Thomas Fisher Award presented to “individuals who have demonstrated notable leadership in the development, teaching and popularization of technologies, services and techniques in the field of process manufacturing” went to Dave Chappell.

Jim Porter, president of Sustainable Operations Solutions LLC and retired VP of Engineering and Operations at duPont, presented the Wednesday keynote on “Smart Plants: Creating Sustainable Competitive Advantage”. His favorite quote, “Human beings who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” — Douglas Adams.

Some comments that Porter made that capture the importance of his thoughts:

“DuPont has understood how to control its plants, that’s one reason it’s successful.”

“The US is the number one manufacturing nation, but over half of the total value of US exports consists of intermediate goods, manufacturing depends upon imports.”

“The business case involves economic viability and national security. No economy on the face of the globe has been resilient without a manufacturing base.”

“Smart manufacturing is a dramatically intensified knowledge-enabled industrial enterprise in which all business and operating actions are executed to achieve substantially enhanced energy, sustainability, environmental, safety and economic performance.”

Smart manufacturing includes these activities:

  • go from investment in facilities to investment in knowledge
    models integrated into operations
    distributed intelligence
    self-aware (autonomous) systems
    interoperable systems

Smart Process Manufacturing model uses the concept of lanes of activities. Lane 1 details data to knowledge. Lane 2 takes knowledge to operating models (mapping business outcomes). In Lane 3, takes the process from models to key plant assets to enterprise application. This Lane also can be explained as distributed intelligent manufacturing leading to resilient plant operations. Lane 4 describes moving from local to global, whild Lane 5 is integration of people knowledge and models to competitive KPIs.

Creating revitalization of the 21st Century industrial community is the goal. And Porter’s final challenge, “We should all be leading smart plant business processes and technologies development and deployment.”

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