Improved Performance through Digitalization for Downstream Producers

by , | Mar 24, 2020 | Digital Transformation

Jim Cahill

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

At the 2019 Asian Downstream Summit in a PTQ / DigitalRefining publication, Emerson’s Jonas Berge offered his thoughts in an article, How digitalisation is transforming downstream operations.

He opened highlighting some of the challenges for refiners, chemical & petrochemical producers.

PTQ - How digitalisation is transforming downstream operationsThese include:

…unscheduled downtime, increasing maintenance expenditures, loss of asset integrity, escalating energy costs and carbon footprints, safety incidents, and rising operation costs.

He noted that digital transformation (DX):

…means changing from manual, paper-based procedures to new, automatic, digital, software-based, and data-driven ways of working, is a relatively new approach to achieving operational excellence and top quartile performance.

This transformation enables a change from:

…periodic manual inspection and portable testers to identify potential problems…

To an approach where:

…asset management is predictive and more productive for pipe corrosion, pumps, heat exchangers, and other equipment. This allows operators to catch developing issues and correct them before equipment fails.

Beyond increasing reliable operations, digitalization:

…enables plants to collect health, safety, and environment (HS&E) data for situational awareness with full visibility of alerts related to H2S, manual valves, safety showers, and so on, as well as automatic mustering head count, geofencing (which detects personnel straying into unauthorised areas), mandown detection and distress calls, and rescue locating.

From a personnel productivity perspective, DX enables:

Personalised notifications, operational dashboards with real-time performance indexes, and KPI reports are built on the plant historian web interface, but the new information comes from underlying analytics and sensors.

Read the article for more on this digital operational infrastructure and how Industrial Internet of Things-based sensors, combined with sitewide Wi-Fi infrastructure, and built-for-purpose analytics help drive for safe, reliable and efficient operations.

Visit the Plantweb digital ecosystem section on for more on the enabling technologies and work practices to assist your digital transformation initiatives. You can also connect and interact with other digitalization experts in the IIoT & Digital Transformation group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.