This is a long post, but it brings together several of the more important announcements from this week’s conference. I’ve seen bits of this coming as Emerson has moved its message to incorporate asset management over the past couple of years and is now taking the message to an even higher level in the customer organization. I find it interesting that it takes a holistic look at its product portfolio and then bundles it in such a way as to serve a higher purpose at the customer’s business.
Steve Sonnenberg, Emerson EVP and Emerson Process Management president, said during the opening keynote to Emerson Global Users Exchange 2015, “Managers are looking for dramatic improvements. This is not a time to be satisfied to be as good as everyone else. All are talking top quartile performance. What do you do when all the usual approaches no longer work? Top companies are finding all new approaches. “
The phrase of the day was “Top Quartile Companies.”
Then the concept of improvements in project management and execution was introduced. Jim Nyquist, president of Emerson Systems and Solutions business, added, “Projects are in crisis. 65% of industry’s projects over $1 billion are failing. 33% of projects of $500 million. It seems the larger the project the larger the overrun.”
Global market means more competition leading to increases in the scale of projects.
What’s needed to rein in this runaway stage coach? Nyquist declared that design, engineering, and project management need a reset. Budgets need a resent and predictability and reliability must be improved. Top quartile projects are completed at half the cost and half the schedule of 4th quartile companies. “Industry is at inflection point,” he predicted.
Then he announced the launch of Project Certainty, an innovative technology- and engineering-based approach for improved capital efficiency and more reliable project schedules.
Emerson’s Project Certainty begins with early engagement during engineering and design studies to define project goals and high impact strategies to meet those goals. Despite traditionally accounting for approximately 4 percent of a project investment, automation is revealing unique and repeatable ways to eliminate cost, reduce complexity and accommodate late-stage project changes, beyond the automation discipline.
For example, Project Certainty relies on the right design engineering strategy to eliminate centralized control system room requirements by 70 to 80 percent, and can eliminate piping in some applications up to 50 to 60 percent. Additionally, tens of millions of dollars in capital spare parts can be eliminated through project-wide equipment reliability analysis.
“Project Certainty also tackles complexity by decoupling the dependencies suppliers have on each other, eliminating bottlenecks and allowing concurrent work streams,” said Nyquist. “Likewise, we are addressing the complexity of data and documentation with innovative technologies that provide features like a single source of project data as well as automated documentation.”
Addressing one of the greatest project vulnerabilities, Project Certainty significantly improves project schedule performance. Technologies like Electronic Marshalling with CHARMs, and pervasive wireless field instrumentation are helping project teams accommodate inevitable last-minute design changes without impacting schedule.
“The path to Top Quartile project performance is right in front of us,” said Nyquist. “The technologies and proven methodologies are here. It will take collaboration and commitment to eliminate outdated project approaches and drive change into the industry.”
Part of this new environment is Project Data Link, a project engineering environment that helps reduce complexity and accommodate changes in capital projects. As projects become more complex with multiple contractors and stakeholders, Project Data Link helps keep projects off the critical path by efficiently and consistently translating project information, including tag databases and instrument indices, from multiple sources into project deliverables. It mitigates project risk by normalizing specifications into a single data source with traceability and an integrated change-management system.
Project Data Link gives multiple suppliers, engineering firms, and other stakeholders access to project information including specifications related to field devices and the distributed control system (including control logic and configuration). In addition, data provided in various formats are normalized so that all information is available in a single, consolidated standard view.
The integrity of project information is especially important during late project changes. The data link is always up to date, so when a change is initiated Project Data Link automatically reconciles it against what is in the system, identifies what needs to be changed, automatically sends updates to the DeltaV distributed control system and provides an audit trail of what has changed. This saves time and eliminates errors during the critical late stages of the project.
“Moving forward to improve project certainty, Emerson continues to find methods to reduce the risk of project errors, accommodate change and improve engineering efficiency,” said Randall Fong, project technical manager. “We are confident that Project Data Link will help our customers move towards on-budget and on-time projects.”
Here is yet another part of the portfolio of improving products–Smart Commissioning, a technology-enabled process that reduces automation commissioning time and effort. Smart Commissioning helps automation projects meet strict and shifting deadlines by reducing trips to the field, eliminating tasks, and accommodating late project changes. Smart Automation Commissioning builds on advances made possible by the combination of the DeltaV distributed control system (DCS) Electronic Marshalling with CHARMs and AMS Device Manager Software to remove automation from the critical path of projects.
With the release of version 13 software for the DeltaV DCS and AMS Suite, Smart Commissioning brings ease to automation project implementation. From the initial device connections to final system testing, users save money as they shave weeks off the project schedule by reducing time spent on automation commissioning activities.
Upon arrival at a project site, pre-tagged smart devices can be connected immediately to any channel in a nearby junction box — no need to wait for wiring designs to be complete. Smart Commissioning also eliminates potential errors by automatically finding and identifying all smart devices, then binding them to the configuration. To further accelerate implementation, the device configuration is pushed to all devices based on pre-configured templates. Testing is easily and safely done from the control room by using digital communication, requiring no personnel in the field for confirmation.
“With Smart Commissioning, members of the project team can more easily meet tight project timelines and are not hampered by late design changes,” said Mark Howard, vice president of project execution for Emerson Process Management. “Developed based on industry experience, this solution is another step from Emerson toward attaining project certainty for users.”
Projects in Action
Sasol, an international energy and chemical company, has selected Emerson Process Management to help automate its $8.9 billion petrochemical complex in Lake Charles, La., designed to take advantage of abundant, low cost natural gas. The automation project is one of the largest in history awarded to Emerson.
When completed sometime in 2018, the massive petrochemical complex will more than triple Sasol’s chemical production capacity in the United States. The complex includes an ethane cracker that will produce 1.5 million tons of ethylene annually, as well as six chemical manufacturing plants designed to convert the ethylene into a diverse range of chemicals. Ethylene is a key ingredient in the production of plastics, detergents, anti-freeze, and other petrochemical products.
Emerson Process Management implemented a detailed engineering and project execution plan designed to mitigate project risks, lower costs and reduce time to completion, all part of the company’s strategic Project Certainty initiative.
“For a project of this scale, managing budget and schedule risk is paramount,” said Jim Nyquist, group vice president of Emerson. “This is a great example of our Project Certainty initiative. Early engineering and design work is being used to identify opportunities for automation technology to reduce complexity, create project cost savings, and reduce schedule and cost risks. As the project moves into the execution phase, Emerson is well-positioned to implement the design, accommodate late changes and reduce on-site work – all of which speed execution without compromising quality, safety or reliability.”