Mark Bulanda, executive president of Emerson’s Automation Solutions business and the keynote speaker for this year’s Ovation™ Users’ Group opened the conference with a topic that resonated across all speakers: how automation software is helping companies accomplish their commitments to improved performance and, by association, sustainability.
Mark started by sharing Emerson’s goal to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, a goal shared by many of Emerson’s customers, evidenced by a project funnel for sustainability initiatives of over $1 billion across the next three years. Emerson software is a key component of these projects. As Mark explains,
“We help our customers become more efficient and more productive. And by doing that, you naturally get improved sustainability because you’re using less energy on the input side and producing more on the output side.”
A fast pivot to more digital technologies
Mark also explored how COVID accelerated the movement to digital transformation for many companies. As plants instituted work-from-home and reduced in-facility personnel policies, many organizations were forced to explore new digital solutions to keep critical processes running. Accomplishing this meant understanding and leveraging more of the data that moves around the plant and finding automated solutions to turn that data into actionable information.
“That got many of us much more comfortable with how we go down this digital transformation journey—looking at how we optimize the entire facility. Because you can optimize one or two different applications, but there are big efficiency gains as you raise that up to the facility level.”
Joining Mark were Bob Yeager, president of Emerson’s power and water solutions (PWS), and Rick Kephart, vice president of technology for PWS, who helped put a fine point on why it is so important that Emerson is helping energy companies pursue sustainability. Bob explained that Ovation is the number one control system in North American power automation, supporting more than 50% generation capacity. With that much expertise, customers are looking to Emerson for ways to improve performance and sustainability, especially as the addition of renewable energy sources continue to complicate the grid.
New products, expanded vision
One strategy Bob shared is that Emerson is continuing to expand its renewable capabilities with the acquisition of Mita-Teknik. Mita-Teknik’s deep portfolio of OEM-agnostic software solutions and services for wind power and photovoltaic solar generation provides,
“so much information. With broader visibility into operations, you can do so much more to improve the performance of wind turbines, wind farms or an entire renewable portfolio.”
Jason Blackburn, director of global product marketing for the power and water solutions business expanded upon the benefits of the Mita-Teknik acquisition, digging deeply into its asset management and SCADA tools that collect expansive data from renewable energy generation equipment—often more than the OEM SCADA systems provide.
Rick looked closely at the many exciting innovations in the controller space, including the OMC100—a step change in controller technology. The OMC100 combines both control and I/O, with up to 32 channels of software configurable I/O, allowing teams to assign them as analog or digital on the fly.
Rick also shared how Emerson’s majority purchase of AspenTech has added a wide range of new technologies, including the ability to extend the Ovation digital twin. By adding AspenTech as well as other new simulation models into the portfolio, users have access to new advanced models that they can simply drop into their simulation systems. Rick explains,
“The perfect example of this is what we call smart grid extensions—extensions to models that are targeted more at renewables and a higher-fidelity electrical solving system including solar, batteries, hydrogen handling, and hydro. We’ve spoken with customers who are interested in modeling their entire system.”
Figure 3 Ovation offers digital twin curation software to help prevent data drift in simulations as the physical plant changes.
Bob and Rick also discussed the future arrival of Ovation 4.0 and its new HMI. They shared that the new system will include more integration with asset management and increased web-based and mobile device support. It will also have optimized toolsets for template-driven modules that can easily be repeated to dramatically reduce engineering work.
Visit the Ovation software and automation technologies section on Emerson.com for more on solutions that drive improved performance in the power and water industries.