…or, what we can learn from nature?
Module Based Automation Engineering – Synaptic Business Automation
Process automation has always been considered conservative, and indeed it still is today. Its methods and its ways of working are proven, and robust hardware and software are only released for operation in a process plant subject to thorough investigation (acceptance or FAT*). Functional safety, explosion protection and – more recently – cyber security requirements must be well planned and reliably implemented.
Yet the industrial revolution has been with us for some time now. Virtually every data set generated by sensors reappears at some stage in a company’s enterprise portal or planning system. Wireless, via an interface or printed out, sent by email and entered again manually – nature and life (or data) invariably find a way.
Adaptable to any situation
Life finds a way. This slogan adage sums up the ability of living creatures to adapt to any situation or circumstances in nature and identify the best strategy for survival.
To stay with the same analogy, there can only be a very few examples in the animal kingdom of major projects that aren’t completed on time. A beehive must be ready before the beginning of the flowering period, just like a bird’s nest in time for the insect season.
Or have you ever seen an anthill that’s only half-finished?
Learning from the ants and bees
“Collectives in the animal kingdom, like ant or bee colonies or flocks of birds, set an example here by showing how efficient cooperation is still possible without a leader. Swarm intelligence is based on two complementary principles: decentralized units and self-organization. These concepts have long been discovered and successfully applied in artificial intelligence.”
That’s the gist of an article headed “Nature – a model for agile management” (published in the February 19, 2018 issue of Stuttgarter Zeitung).
Similar concepts have already become established in industrial automation. Globally distributed teams work together on projects in virtual workspaces. Usually with a flat management hierarchy that demands a high degree of individual responsibility. If the goal is clearly defined, the result will (probably) fit.
What has this got to do with Synaptic Business Automation (SBA)?
Yokogawa’s SBA unites traditional requirements and ways of working with modern, agile methods. Tradition and change have been firmly embedded in Yokogawa’s corporate culture all along, and they’ve now been translated into a strategy: SBA. From successful project organization to flexible matrix organization – SBA gives each customer, or partner as we prefer to think of them, exactly what it is they’re looking for.
Module Based Automation Engineering – (all) ready for SBA!
Yokogawa established modular automation in automation engineering back in 2015 with Automation Design Suite (AD Suite), which laid the foundation for SBA. AD Suite did away with the rigid structures of classic engineering tools and created an integrated engineering environment for automation projects. Engineers from different disciplines – such as hardware planning, application software or quality assurance through change management processes – work together on one database without being dependent on one another or getting in each other’s way. Data is only ever entered once and is subsequently available across all disciplines.
What can AD Suite contribute to Synaptic Business Automation?
At the center of SBA is the value creation cycle. Four seemingly simple steps that lead to enduring and sustainable success. The following are just a few possible examples:
|SBA value creation cycle||Typical implementation with AD Suite|
|1. Identify – Define potential improvement areas||AD Suite’s central database (ADMDB*) provides a starting point for specific potential improvements through data analysis.
*Automation Design Master Database
|2. Create & implement – Design and deploy solutions||Owing to its modular architecture, AD Suite supports complex changes to the plant automation at any time, either step by step or through mass processing.|
|3. Operate – Perform safe and stable operations||Change and revision management (history and comparison) deliver visibility and control at all times.|
|4. Sustain and improve – Maintain value creation cycle||Tuning Parameter Management allows the target and actual parameters for a plant (e.g. alarm or control parameters) to be compared online. These parameters can then be tweaked very easily – and continuously – in the plus or minus direction.|
Here, too, the focus is on Yokogawa’s co-innovation philosophy, which asserts that more value can be created together with the customer than is possible alone. The combined expertise of both partners, like the plant owner’s process know-how and Yokogawa’s ability to analyze data, results in an optimized application.
Come visit us in Hall 11.1, Stand E16 at ACHEMA to learn more about Synaptic Business Automation!