Co-innovation with Air Liquide provides a super efficient training simulator

Yokogawa, in collaboration with Air Liquide, developed a new solution to dynamically Replay past operations in a data driven Centum environment. The new Centum Replay creates living videos of past operations, allowing navigation between HIS views, and the addition of comments/subtitles. The solution proved to be a precious tool for root cause analysis and opens a new perspective for operators’ training.

Knowledge transfer for the new generation
Yokogawa and Air Liquide - the market leader in industrial and medical gases - are pursuing a long lasting and fruitful collaboration. Many Air Liquide units are equipped with a Centum DCS and, in constant hunger for improvement, we are regularly challenged.

Most plants in Europe are facing workforces’ issues: Due to many reasons, skilled resources are lacking, a full generation is leaving the labour market. Millennials are entering the control rooms with new skills, different expectations, and less experience. The question of knowledge transfer and training becomes critical.

The challenge: ‘How can we train our operators in a realistic and dynamic environment?’ 
The concern is widely spread in the process industry: Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are often outdated, incomplete or they did not evolve with the plant and its controls. Lots of operating excellence remains in the brain of some experienced operators.

How to train a new operator to a procedure? How to be sure he or she will learn the actual best procedure? How not to lose the unevaluable experience of operators who will inevitably leave?
That’s the challenge we tried to answer, and we’ll see that we created more value than expected.

The solution: Centum Replay
What if you could Replay past operations on screens like a video, but is not passive? A data driven video, where you can decide which HIS view to open, and where you could add comments and subtitles?

Together with Air Liquide BeNeLux, we defined a minimum viable product that would is tested on the Air Liquide plant in Terneuzen. This simulator for operators is based on a simulation of the working process in a training environment where full control is possible. As with a flight simulator, a trainee employee can control a realistic simulation of a factory and a trainer can start scenarios and assess the behaviour of the trainee. Such a training system is the best learning tool for new employees. To ensure that the system remains efficient, the model must be kept up to date and training must be organised on a regular basis.

The training we came up with is a brilliant simple process: a 'state-of-the-art' start-up is carried out. We record this process with comments about what we have done, why we have done it and a few recommendations. In this way, we create a repository for training materials based on the process including best practices. In addition, the videos are undoubtedly useful for analysis purposes.

Successfully tested in Terneuzen
The solution was installed on-site and tested by the local team - the final judge. More than a judge, the local team was a crucial link in the development journey: How was it used? How could it be improved? We needed approbation, but also feedback.

To our happy surprise, we didn’t wait long; for sure because our colleagues from Air Liquide are committed and skilled, but also because the solution was quickly utilized to analyse operations. The troubleshooting and analysing became much more efficient and accurate.

The benefit of the tool for analyses is probably even greater than the original objective. But the training capability was also fully recognized. The tool also proves to be the ideal vehicle for knowledge sharing: to request expertise, to share experiences with other members of the team, or other plants of the group. It makes it easy to review successes, issues, to comment on them, to see what the operator could or couldn’t see.

What about the maintenance concern? Is it so easy to install, to keep up to date? Yes! Besides the configuration of the OPC, the installation is straight forward, using a wizard that will automatically use actual Centum graphics and configuration. The maintenance is very light: run the wizard if changes are made. Based on this success, a next release is developed, and the solution is installed in other Air Liquide sites.

Conclusion: Centum Replay is bullet-proof
The Centum Replay offers undeniable benefits to maintain operating knowledge, but also to directly improve the plant efficiency. And therefore, it is also available for all Centum users. 

Yokogawa and Air Liquide proved that value is first created by working together. Eric Hendrickx, International Senior Expert Air Separation Units at Air Liquide, confirms: 'Over the years I have seen Yokogawa evolve from a good partner in carrying out (revamping) projects, to a valuable partner in the search for solutions to problems we face. Every time I notice the willingness with which Yokogawa wants to step into developments. (Co)-Innovation thus acquires a very tangible dimension'

Technologies are offering incredible possibilities; they are subject to many fantasies and fears: From uncertainties about the benefits to questions about the right approach. Often, true value comes from a clever usage of existing technologies, coupled with industry challenges understanding, customers listening, and a deep wish to solve our partners’ practical issues. This is co-innovation at its best!

About Centum Replay

Centum Replay captures an active control data window for up to 7 days and communicates with the Centum HIS station via OPC. To create a video, all you have to do is specify the start and end time of the procedure in question and press the 'Save' button. Select and open the file to play the video.

The layout is the same as that of Centum, only there is an additional playback strip at the top of the window to control playback of the recording. A red warning ("This is a playback window!") has even been added to avoid confusion.

The recording is fully dynamic: Any HIS view can be opened during the playback, and it will show what it would have shown at the time of the actual operation. Finally, the video can be edited to add time-based subtitles.

More information
Would you like more information? Please contact your local Yokogawa contact person or ask the account manager Paul Snel via, +31-88 464 1871. 


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