The use of systems in continuous process industries is one of the strategies in Industry 4.0. Because of the current transformation in the industrial environment, it is essential that companies use the tools available in the market in their benefit.
And even though the demand is growing and new platforms are emerging, there are those systems already consolidated in the market. In any case, the use of either system will depend on each industry and area of operation.
Considering all this, we understand that the path towards the best system is not simple. For this reason, in this article we clarify some of the most recurring doubts on the subject.
After all, what are systems for in continuous process industries? What are the main systems used? And finally, what kind of difficulties should I expect when using these systems?
Continue reading to get your answers.
Industry 4.0 and Systems
The concept behind industry 4.0 encompasses several technologies that mainly aim at the automation of production processes. This makes these processes faster, more flexible and more efficient. And the results achieved include more productivity and lower costs for industrial plants.
In addition, because industry 4.0 has its basis in the data collected in real time, strategic knowledge for assertive decision making grows a lot as well.
However, to achieve these results, industries today are based on 9 different pillars of industry 4.0. Thus, it is possible to articulate adaptation in a more organized way.
The 9 Pillars of Industry 4.0
The internet of things is about connecting the machines and the data they generate with systems which are connected to a network. This way you can analyze the information in real time.
Considering the high volume of data generated all the time by machines, it is necessary to store them in a safe environment. Also, it is essential that people can access this data from anywhere via the internet.
Just generating data and leaving it stored in the cloud is not smart. The data analysis pillar exists to reinforce the importance of truly understanding what is happening at the factory through report analysis and insights.
To protect the information collected, industries must invest in advanced cybersecurity systems. After all, this kind of failure can lead to downtime in production or sharing confidential data.
Simulations allow you to optimize resources (money, time and people) and achieve better performance. Thus, hours and days lost with testing are left behind.
This technology is a revolution in industrial processes, after all it allows machine learning and the constant improvement to have more efficient processes.
You may also like: Understand the history of AI. After all, since when does it exist?
Robotics is one of the most classic ways to modernize an industrial plant. With the use of robots, repetitive and extremely operational tasks become the responsibility of the machines.
With augmented reality, you don’t have to wait for external technicians to do equipment repairs, for example. After all, guidelines can be passed on remotely.
An industry is made up of different systems, processes and departments. And to ensure that all efforts are having the expected results, the first step is to organize and integrate systems. This is because systems are the main agents for facilitating industrial automation.
Continuous Process Industry
As we have mentioned a few times during this article, industry 4.0 and its technologies are very interesting for those factories that work with continuous processes.
However, the decision on an industry’s style of production must take into account several factors.
For companies looking for a strong market presence, it is interesting to use a continuous production process. For those with research objectives or small productions, the best option is batch production.
Even so, we know that even managers of large industries tend to find the second option more interesting. After all, batch production does not require great process automation. And no high investment in raw materials is required either.
But this kind of industry does not hold up if production demand is high, especially during the revolution we are experiencing today.
And to help continuous process industries become more interesting for those managers, industry 4.0 technologies are available. Because in this way, losses are minimized and productivity increases.
The most used systems in continuous process industries
In order to achieve the best results, continuous process industries rely on many system options. For you understand the diverse possibilities that exist, let’s divide them into 4 different groups.
ERP systems are management tools, and the acronym means Enterprise Resource Planning.
Thus, using an ERP, it is possible to perform production planning, understand the need for raw material to be purchased, calculate an expectation of finished product volume, among others.
The two largest ERP systems available on the market are Totvs and SAP. Totvs is a Brazilian company, even though it is already present in 41 countries. On the other hand, SAP was created in Germany, and is the world giant in this area.
PIM (Product Information Management) systems are used for storing information from the most diverse sources in an industry. That way, you no longer need to use spreadsheets and paper notes. Also, you can easily access information from the past and make comparisons with what is happening in the present.
A good quality PIMS is OSIsoft, a system with many features for users, capable of being scalable and very secure.
SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition, and acts as an application that receives various information through sensors.
Therefore, any application that obtains operational data about a system to control or optimize its operation is called SCADA.
Through the data collected by the sensors, it is possible to generate knowledge for the following applications. Trend analysis, alarms, remote process operation and reporting and graphing.
Two great choices for SCADA systems are Elipse (from Elipse Software) and SCADABR (from MCA Systems).
Finally, the last group of systems available for continuous process industries is called LIMS. Also from the English acronym, LIMS stands for a Laboratory Information Management System.
Thus, its application takes place in laboratories to generate greater efficiency and increase the quality of services provided.
Often, it is common for lab technicians to have to make paper notes before entering these results in a computer. However, this is a risk, and in order to eliminate transcription errors, LIMS can and should be used.
Two good references for laboratory management systems are ELab and LABbase.
Difficulties in using systems
As you have already noticed, there are many systems and technologies used at the same time. And because of that, it’s natural that at first challenges arise.
But as in other cases in industry 4.0, it takes more effort and higher initial investment in the first moment, so that soon the positive results can be seen.
How to extract the relevant information
The biggest difficulty related to systems in continuous processes is how to extract the relevant information from them.
Systems run around the clock collecting millions of data every day. And to filter what is most important, one option is to use what we call Business Intelligence, or simply BI.
By using such a solution, you can view data intuitively and visually.
Integrate the different systems
As there are several sources of data collection, a major difficulty is the integration of all systems.
This is one of the most important steps to ensure that decisions are being made considering all the knowledge gained.
To integrate the different systems, we have the IndustriALL platform, which allows optimizing the relationship between the operations and maintenance departments. In addition, the platform keeps all information in one place, so you can achieve better results.
The different systems that exist on the market today make life much easier for industry managers. Therefore, you need to know them, understand which ones are the most interesting to your reality, and start using them.
Only by implementing each of the pillars of industry 4.0 can process improvements be observed.
Do you already use some of these systems for continuous process industries? Share your experience in the comments section below.