Everyone touts Digital Transformation lately. Emerson Automation has been patiently building a Digital Transformation practice through acquisition and development. Executives announced advances at this year’s edition of Emerson Global Users Exchange—my second stop of the Fall Conference Tour. I see Emerson pulling away from many of its automation peers becoming part of a select group of suppliers putting it all together (the others being Siemens, ABB, and Schneider Electric / AVEVA).

I’m going to run through some of the more significant announcements from the press conferences so far this week.

New Digital Transformation Organization

Emerson has established a dedicated organization focused on digital transformation technologies and programs. The Digital Transformation business brings together resources to help manufacturers develop and implement pragmatic digital transformation strategies that deliver industry-leading, or Top Quartile, performance. The $650+ million business combines existing expertise in consulting, project execution, smart sensor technologies, data management and analytics – all part of Emerson’s Plantweb digital ecosystem. The organization will help customers not only establish a clear vision for digital transformation, but also execute and realize measurable results at each step of their journey.

“In a space inundated by confusing promises, Emerson helps customers define and execute a practical and successful path to digital transformation,” said Lal Karsanbhai, executive president of Emerson’s Automation Solutions business. “With our new Digital Transformation business, we are strategically focused on guiding customers to the right strategy, helping them drive improved organizational alignment, and implementing programs that accelerate improved business performance.”

“The industry is at a critical point in the digital transformation journey,” said Stuart Harris, group president for Emerson’s new Digital Transformation business. “Many companies have a vision but struggle to implement practical solutions that deliver results and therefore they are getting frustrated. Other companies are solving specific problems, but not realizing value at scale across the enterprise. Emerson has the technology to provide practical solutions, and the experience to define the best practices and roadmap to help make a broad operational impact.”

Existing and new Emerson resources comprising the business include:

  • Operational Certainty Consulting: facility and enterprise-level roadmap strategies and implementation to improve reliability, safety, production and energy utilization metrics
  • Operational Analytics: the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of predictive diagnostics and advanced analytics, providing insights on health and performance of operational assets
  • Industry Solutions: deep, industry-specific expertise on solutions to drive key performance indicators
  • Pervasive Sensing: the industry’s largest portfolio of smart, easy-to-deploy, connected devices, including wireless instruments
  • Project Management: best practices, tools and resources to  implement a digital transformation project with confidence

Comprehensive Operational Analytics Portfolio

Emerson’s portfolio of operational analytics focuses on the greatest source of value for industrial manufacturers – the production itself. Operational analytics with embedded domain knowledge can impact and improve performance of simple equipment, complex assets and process units, and entire production plants.

“We recommend addressing the high impact, known problems first,” Zornio said. “By using proven models that make analytics accessible to the personnel responsible for the performance of assets, our customers can act quickly to solve problems faster. For example, Emerson’s solutions can detect and address 80% of the equipment failure modes contributing to production loss in a plant in real-time.”

Additionally, Emerson’s enhanced portfolio includes machine learning and artificial intelligence that can be used to identify new discoveries and deepen insight to impact business performance. These tools provide perspective previously unattainable with traditional analytics.

“With our acquisition of KNet and its integration into our Plantweb Optics asset performance platform, Emerson can provide not only some of the most advanced machine learning and AI tools in the industry, but also the connection to people and workflows, which are critical to digital transformation success,” Zornio said.

Emerson’s portfolio now provides both pre-packaged analytics solutions as well as a complete analytics toolbox for users to develop their own applications. This portfolio is supported by Emerson’s Operational Certainty consulting practice and robust data management capabilities that provide a foundation for analytics success.

AMS Asset Monitor increases visibility and adds predictive analytics

AMS Asset Monitor edge analytics device digitalizes essential asset data and analytics for better operations performance and improved decision making. AMS Asset Monitor provides actionable insights into essential
assets that were previously monitored only with infrequent assessments. The new edge analytics device will connect with Emerson’s Plantweb Optics asset performance platform to provide key operations personnel with instant asset health details for operations and maintenance decision making.

Plants typically monitor the condition of essential assets such as pumps, fans, and heat exchangers only every 30 to 60 days. The longer the gap, the more likely that a defect goes undetected and results in an unexpected failure with significant impact on production, product quality, and plant efficiency. The new AMS Asset Monitor combines easy deployment, embedded logic-based analytics, and intuitive health scoring to make it easier for organizations to monitor and maintain essential assets. For instance, AMS Asset Monitor’s analytics and visualization can help plant personnel effectively plan maintenance during scheduled shutdowns and turnarounds and reduce or eliminate unplanned downtime.

Unlike typical analytics devices that send data to a historian or the cloud to be processed later, AMS Asset Monitor provides analytics at the edge, performing calculations at the device. This device-centered analytics capability reduces the time, complication, and expense of adding analytics to a plant’s assets. Each device collects data continuously and uses embedded logic to identify and diagnose common reliability issues. Individual issues such as imbalance, misalignment, bearing faults, lubrication issues, or fouling are consolidated into an overall asset health score. AMS Asset Monitor then communicates these health scores via a web browser or—when integrated with Plantweb Optics—through real-time persona-based alerts on mobile devices. Plantweb Optics also enables enterprise-wide visibility and expands edge analytics and digital intelligence throughout the organization, keeping personnel aware of essential asset health.

“Plants are always looking for more ways to improve profitability by increasing productivity. Just a percentage point or two in availability can equal millions of dollars per year or more,” said John Turner product manager for online prediction, Emerson. “The AMS Asset Monitor enables personnel across the plant to see the current health of essential assets along with suggested actions to improve asset health. This allows them to make informed decisions to maintain reliability, increase uptime and maximize productivity.”

The AMS Asset Monitor’s small footprint along with wired or wireless Ethernet connectivity make it simple to install. The edge device can support new applications by simply adding new logic-based analytics.

Industrial Wireless Network Solution

Emerson is partnering with Cisco to introduce a next-generation industrial wireless networking solution. The new Emerson Wireless 1410S Gateway with the Cisco Catalyst IW6300 Heavy Duty Series Access Point combines the latest in wireless technology with advanced WirelessHART sensor technology, delivering reliable and highly secure data, even in the harshest industrial environments.

“A secure connection that scales easily is the foundation for every successful IoT deployment.” said Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager, IoT at Cisco. “By using the power of the intent-based network, Cisco provides a secure, automated, rock solid infrastructure helping IT and operational teams work together to reduce complexity and improve safety.”

This next-gen wireless access point provides enhanced wi-fi bandwidth necessary for real-time safety monitoring, including Emerson’s Location Awareness and wireless video. These applications enhance personnel safety practices, improve plant security and help ensure environmental compliance. A reliable and fast connection between devices and people streamlines decision making by providing real-time analytics. It also enables a mobile workforce to virtually come together, collaborate and resolve critical issues in a timely manner.

“Products installed in industrial plants need to last for years, even decades,” said Bob Karschnia, vice president of wireless at Emerson. “This kind of longevity was a critical design and engineering requirement to ensure this new wireless access point was future-proofed to meet a rapidly evolving technology landscape.”

Personalized Digital Experience

​​​​Emerson‘s new personalized digital experience – MyEmerson–connects people and technology through streamlined work processes and better collaboration. With a MyEmerson online account, users can access digital tools to quickly engineer solutions, manage software and installed assets, access training, collaborate with experts, streamline procurement processes, and improve visibility into buying history and trends.

“Driven by our personal interaction with digital technology, customers have new expectations today about speed and access to information,” said Brad Budde, vice president of digital customer experience, Emerson
Automation Solutions. “Our customers still want access to human expertise, but now expect a great digital experience as well. Combining these two experiences to deliver information immediately and use it to solve problems faster is what drives new business value.”

Digital engineering tools help engineers collaborate, gain confidence in an evolving industry, and streamline time-consuming manual processes. With online sizing, selection, and configuration tools for measurement instrumentation, valves, actuators, fluid control, pneumatic and electrical solutions, engineers can confidently and accurately specify solutions for their unique requirements and process conditions. By employing
digital tools, engineers can configure instrumentation up to 93% faster, typically saving over 100 engineering hours annually.

For procurement professionals, MyEmerson includes access to online purchasing and supplier management resources. Once solutions are selected and configured by engineering counterparts, the information moves seamlessly to the procurement team – eliminating the need for manual handoffs and duplicate entry of model codes. Procurement personnel can then create requisition lists, generate quotes and automatically populate purchase orders. With greater visibility to order status and order history, procurement teams have access to the information they need to drive more efficient processes.

The MyEmerson development roadmap will centralize the management of software, hardware and workforce upskilling. With easier access to technical documentation, easier identification of device location, and the ability to initiate repair, replacement or service as needed, organizations gain maintenance and turnaround planning efficiencies. By moving from manual management of disparate software applications, updates and
licenses, users will be able to actively operate and maintain their software portfolio through a single-entry point. Both hardware and software records will be tightly integrated to relevant training, enabling trackable and accessible information in the same experience.

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