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A study of the UK chemical industry’s digital transformation and the building blocks of reliable return on investment from Industry 4.0
The opportunities offered by a successful digital transformation are tremendous, as is spectacularly demonstrated by a Siemens customer from down under. DuluxGroup, Australia’s largest producer of paints relied on consistent, end-to-end digitalization of all processes for its new production plant and can now provide customers exactly those ranges of paint colors they want, when they want it. With this, even the latest trends can be picked up.
Siemens has worked with the multinational paint group to develop state-of-the-art end-to-end digitalization that has made production 8 times faster. Dulux Australia can now offer customized color ranges processing batches 1/50th of their former size.
Virtually eliminating manual interventions enables repeatability and pin-point accuracy of the actual production of highest quality products with minimal raw waste.
At Dulux Merrifield plant, this has also led to a 25 percent reduction in energy consumption over what it was designed for.
The Merrifield plant is both a blend-and-tint (BAT) plant for small batches and a mass production plant for high volume paints.
Comprehensive tests and virtual commissioning of automation applications, and realistic training
environments are made possible with the simulation platform Simit, even before startup. This reduced the time from testing to fully automated paint production by greater than 50 percent.
Digitalization is opening up brand-new opportunities for companies of all sizes to increase their efficiency, flexibility, and product quality and to customize their processes to an unprecedented degree. It’s clear that those who can quickly and successfully implement a digital transformation throughout their entire plant lifecycle will have a definite competitive edge. As a partner to the process industries, Siemens supports its customers on their path to digitalization.
We wanted to make sure our new factory would be future-proofed to respond quickly to the latest trends, create new business opportunities and remain at the leading edge of paint manufacturing.
Kevin Worrell, Project Director for Dulux, Australia
Our portfolio offers everything you need to efficiently record and intelligently leverage the huge quantity of data that processes generate. This is a basic prerequisite for creating a digital twin that you’ll use to map and optimize your entire plant lifecycle.
A common data platform enables all the disciplines involved in a plant project to generate a shared data model. This allows most of the processes that are usually performed sequentially to be executed in parallel, saving valuable time and expenses and at the same time increasing engineering quality.
The digital twin also allows the plant to be simulated prior to the critical commissioning phase, which ensures a reliable implementation. Other benefits of the digital twin – which can also be generated for an existing plant – include the fast and efficient performance of training and modernization measures.
The transition from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations is an important step on the path to Industrie 4.0 for our customers in the process industries. We provide integrated solutions throughout the entire plant lifecycle and are the first to offer a continuous data model.
Jürgen Brandes, CEO of the Process Industries and Drives Division
The operating phase is another area where you can greatly benefit from the digital twin. For example, you can significantly increase the reliability and availability of your plant by continuously monitoring your mechanical assets. Knowing about the current condition of your assets also allows you to intelligently manage maintenance and repair measures and reduce unscheduled downtime to a minimum.
Changes to the plant created by maintenance activities or a component replacement are directly incorporated in the digital twin. All the documents and plans affected are also automatically updated so that the latest plant documentation is available at all times.
In view of the trend toward increasingly individualized customer requirements, products must be produced in smaller and smaller batches and as quickly and economically as possible. In this environment, modular production is growing in importance. It makes it possible to quickly and easily adapt the plant configuration to constantly changing requirements. Process plants are built from modules with their own automation/intelligence that can easily be added to or rearranged. Using the MTP (module type package) interface, all the modules can be efficiently interconnected via a higher-level control system. Siemens not only supports this in automation with the Simatic PCS 7 process control system and the TIA Portal, it also enables modular engineering throughout the entire plant lifecycle using the COMOS engineering tool and the Simit simulation software.
Intelligent processing of huge volumes of data from production facilities in the process industries is playing a crucial role in the digitalization of industry. The challenge is to access these existing and often unused volumes of data (“big data”) without affecting the data itself and without compromising on system security and availability. The NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) describes the requirements for connectivity via the second data channel and in the future will define standardized data structures according to the “NOA information model.” Our range of products includes components that support NOA. They can be used to create a second data channel that permits a direct connection from the field to the apps and to the MindSphere cloud solution.
Thanks to NOA, new monitoring and observation (M+O) functions no longer need to be measured against the stringent demands of core automation. In the future, automation solutions with significantly lower availability requirements can be used.
Perhaps you have data, but it is locked away in data silos, or you have very limited data and you just want to know where to start. Our experts explain.
For industrial companies worldwide that wants to remain competitive, digitalization isn’t a question: It’s a must. But where should you begin your digital journey, and what are the costs? Let us help you design your digital transformation. We created Digitalization Consulting for customers like you in the process industries. Find out about our range of digital options for your entire value chain. We’re happy to help.
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