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State Based Control is Writing the Future of Modern Manufacturing

by , | Dec 6, 2023 | Control & Safety Systems, Digital Transformation

Todd Walden

Todd Walden

Public Relations, Advertising & Social Media Consultant

Modern process manufacturing organizations have to be more competitive than ever. No longer are these companies competing solely against similar businesses in their region or even world area. Today’s most profitable companies are global, and to compete, they must keep up with the efficiencies and performance of plants around the world.

So how are they supposed to accomplish such a feat in an era when teams are shrinking and the plant’s most expert personnel are disappearing into retirement, taking their years or decades of institutional knowledge with them? It’s a complex journey to navigate. But, as Emerson’s Monil Malhotra explains in his recent article in Hydrocarbon Engineering (pages 67-70), it is possible to do—with the help of modern automation.

Embedded expertise

In this context, when Monil refers to modern automation, he is talking about state based control (SBC).

“SBC leverages collected knowledge from decades of successful automation solutions, along with deep embedded expertise, providing an easy mechanism to ensure processes are optimized.”

To maintain competitive advantage, modern manufacturers have designed processes that are much more complicated than they used to be, but human operators are still only able to manage a few objectives by monitoring hundreds of variables. To manage the dozens of operational objectives necessary to handle complex operations requires continuous monitoring of thousands of variables. While humans may not be suited to this task, machines are. Monil explains,

“To drive the most efficient operations, many organizations are now turning to SBC, an approach using a combination of operator-initiated state transitions and automated control logic to continuously drive processes to a desired state. SBC software coordinates interaction among process units, enabling different units to provide and require services to and from one another. The software automates workflows faster than human operators, locking in best practices and adapting as process conditions change. With the most advanced solutions, SBC software learns from the process via artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and it uses the most efficient methodology to keep operations on track.”

Keeping it all together

Anyone can implement SBC, but to make it as efficient as possible requires a plan built around more integrated operation. To accomplish this more integrated infrastructure, today’s most successful manufacturers are embracing a Boundless Automation™ vision for operations.

“These teams are finding ways to apply the core values of SBC not just at individual sites, but also across the enterprise. Teams at these organizations are planning for a future control system deployed enterprise-wide, empowering them to apply the same concepts of safety, reliability, optimization, and advanced control simultaneously across an entire fleet or enterprise.”

Knowing this strategy in advance, Monil explains, can help organizations who are just wading into the world of SBC to build a better foundation from the earliest stages of implementation. Teams should focus on choosing solutions like those in the DeltaV™ automation platform—solutions built from the ground up to standardize data and work seamlessly together. DeltaV platform solutions like the DeltaV Edge Environment provide new capabilities for app development, software deployment and orchestration, remote monitoring, and centralized management.

Embrace the future of automation

You can learn more about how Boundless Automation strategies and SBC are helping modern process manufacturers navigate a new normal by reading Monil’s article in full. You’ll learn more about how SBC works and the benefits it provides, as well as gain some insights into the best ways to deliver and demonstrate fast return on investment to justify an SBC project to management and personnel.

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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.