There are many simulation technologies on the market, which can often make it difficult for teams looking to drive the most value across the lifecycle of a simulation investment to select the right solution. But one strategy can have a significant impact on technology selection—seeking out a holistic automation solution. After all, a project team could use simulation only for one task (training, design, etc.) but why would they do that when they can gain far more benefits with simulation software that will deliver value across every stage of their operation?
“With a more holistic simulation solution, users can deliver value across a facility’s entire lifecycle, from the research and development innovation phase into engineering and construction, continuing into training, and across operations. Today’s most successful teams are choosing best-in-class solutions built with the critical features users need to get the most from their investment, and intentionally designed to integrate and operate seamlessly and intuitively.”
Selecting a holistic solution
To choose a long-lasting solution, Monil and Geeta explain, teams should evaluate the quality of the technology underlying the software. Simulation systems with extensive databases of available physical properties—materials, fluids, and other parameters—model a much wider range of systems. In the earliest stages, they can help engineering teams make more accurate decisions to help ensure operations occur exactly as they expect. Moreover, they can even be used in conjunction with AI tools to minimize feedstock consumption, waste, and energy use.
But those same tools also bring value later in their life as teams use them to develop comprehensive training tools. As Geeta and Monil explain,
“Advanced holistic simulation environments are designed to seamlessly move steady-state engineering models into dynamic process models and integrate them with the control system to accurately replicate actual operations. These process models can be used in a training simulator’s digital twin to not only demonstrate the immediate effects of a process aberration, but also any cascading effects.”
But that training is only effective if the underlying data has the right properties and offers tools that make training easy and intuitive. Once again, it is critical to select a high-quality solution so teams aren’t stuck with systems that cannot create exact replicas of operations.
Keeping systems up to date
Perhaps the most critical element of selecting a holistic simulation solution that will deliver value well across its lifecycle is the ability to extend the lifecycle itself. That’s not always an easy task. As Monil and Geeta illustrate:
“As the plant moves from startup to operation, changes will happen. Teams will add controllers, make process changes, add I/O, tune control loops, and more. As they do, the data in the digital twin will begin to drift from the current operating state of the plant. If the operations team cannot quickly and easily bring the two back in sync without added costs, potential ROI diminishes quickly.”
Teams need a solution that can grow and stay relevant alongside their changing plant. They need tools to help keep simulation systems up to date without having to recreate them every few months.
Fortunately, simulation systems like those available in Emerson’s multi-purpose dynamic simulation solutions help teams easily build a holistic simulation system. Emerson can provide a holistic simulation platform combining AspenTech technologies with its own Mimic and DeltaV™ simulation software solutions to create end-to-end simulation that deliver value from engineering through training and into operations. It’s all based on Emerson and AspenTech’s long history of providing steady state and dynamic simulation technologies across a wide range of industries.
To learn more and to see some real-world examples of holistic simulation in action, you can read the article in its entirety at Efficient Plant. And while you’re here, please leave a comment below letting me know how you use simulation in your operations, and what struggles and strategies have occurred as you have refined your solution!