Help in answering the value proposition question

#1

How do you demonstrate the value of Ignition to an industry that has never considered a global adoption of operational data collection? We do have some installations of Ignition as it relates to fermentation labs and production scale up labs but these are more classic fit for purpose SCADA architectures. Overall, this industry is served with many equipment vendors who have closed systems (if you integrate them you have to develop your own drivers based upon ActiveX or something else) with RS232 and Ethernet communications and proprietary software to run their instruments(some provide basic hooks into it but nothing beyond that). The biggest question I keep asking myself is: Am I searching for a problem that doesn’t exist because it hasn’t been demonstrated or is it something the industry doesn’t care about? Why bother collecting this data anyway if the only desired data is coming from specific instruments which will show scientific results allowing researchers to make pipeline and product advancement decisions? I’m really interested in what the forum has to say. Why collect this data anyway?

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#2

This is an overrated value proposition !

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#3

I can see your point. What about it makes it overrated? Years ago industry probably thought the same way but now it’s vital to their operations. If you could extract the right data and demonstrate a hidden issue wouldn’t that prove out the value? Here’s a potential\theoretical case:

Let’s assume the devices are easy to network and can be monitored for the 3 P’s (performance, productivity and predictability). Let’s also say that the capital outlay for these devices across the specific area of the enterprise was $10 million(100 instruments for easy math). With the data that is collected it showed that 20% of their instruments were used regularly. That’s $2,000,000 well spent. The other $8,000,000 has had no significant ROI. If I was leadership within that organization I would begin to question our equipment purchasing practices. I could see a savings in that regard which could be funneled toward more advantageous areas of the corporation where product and pipeline development dollars could be spent.
I haven’t even touched on the potential savings of unneeded service contracts for underutilized equipment and predictive maintenance schedules for the instruments that are utilized frequently.

Just throwing ideas out here. Thanks.

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#4

Dang. Sorry. Jeff, I had written this earlier, but got called away before submitting.

The latter. Many industries have the ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality. There have been no controls upgrades done on legacy equipment, because “it just runs”, or we don’t buy comms packages for equipment because “we’ll never use that”. It’s something of an innovation stifler.

The problem with this thinking as that it is difficult to put context to the data. If there is a more systemic problem, you need to grab data from multiple disparate sources, wrestle them into a unified format, and THEN make informed decisions. And, if you’re doing that with Excel, then you have to do that every. single. time. Process improvements, cost savings, and dowtime reduction opportunities are often missed this way.

To quote this case study: “We took them from looking through a peephole into their systems, to having a nice bay window”

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#5

Excellent points. Our industry is stuck in excel hell too. I can’t say I blame the end users, they’re using the resources they have available to them when software engineers can’t accommodate the solution due to project priorities. The article is great. Lots to digest there. My personal goal would be to take a single lab and convert it to a “connected” lab so we can demonstrate the value beyond the peephole. That really would open eyes and minds to the power of data.

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#6

I am sorry that my comment was perhaps out of context, as I didn’t understand which Labs you were talking about. I was in general thinking about use of analytics for analyzing plant floor data to draw tangible and actionable insights and decisions in any process or production plant, as I see it today.

What dilutes the value proposition in my opinion is that for corporates, production is more important than optimization. They don’t mind spending a little more, cost is secondary to them over plant output which is their main objective. Optimization comes later, first they have to meet their demands. Even the savings thru optimizations comes with (a significant) cost and risk, so there is a trade off between the two. (I am not talking about if-it-ain’t-broke syndrome, but a lose-what-ever-we-little-have syndrome).

Regarding putting money in buying more equipment that yields more, argument is a not as practical as it sounds in theory, as the equipment decisions are governed by the process requirements. No equipment is there just as an ornamental add on in a plant, each one has its own role to play in a plant (e.g. Emergency Diesel Generators in a Nuclear plants, which are used once in a blue moon, but no one can undermine their importance, during loss of coolant accident!). I don’t know If I have understood your point!

Regarding using equipment data for predictive analytics , I think more needs to be done at a decentralized level than today’s controllers at PLC or DCS level can do. Perhaps new control system architectures will have to evolve where in each equipment will have a dedicated powerful processor in them taking decision rather than today’s PLC level control. The great SCADA’s like Ignition bring more visibility in plant with their unlimited tags feature as people can connect n-times more tags, with x-times lower cost than legacy systems did, but the onus of utilizing the data still rests with the O&M staff. Its like putting 1000’s of meters and indicators on your car dash board! The driver will get more confused than empowered! That doesn’t undermine the need for number of measurements, in fact more the merrier for diagnosing the health of the engine and extending its life etc. But these decisions have to be taken in real time by the control systems not the driver, he should have minimum interface.

Sorry if I misunderstood your value proposition question, but these are some thoughts that came to my mind when I had a cursory and quick glance at your post first. But certainly things are progressing in that direction (your value proposition) though slowly and Ignition is a great enabler in the whole process.

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