How to create sustainable competitive advantage

Industries with an objective of achieving efficient, reliable and safe design and controls can make an excellent use of simulation technology,
Ulhas Deshpande, Business Leader, Advanced Solutions, Honeywell Process Solutions
  Increasing market pressures and advances in automation and process technologies are seeking innovative methods to make process engineering and control more efficient and reliable. Ulhas Deshpande, Business Leader of Advanced Solutions at Honeywell Process Solutions explains how the company’s simulation and design technologies provide the foundation for a sustained competitive advantage.
Could you discuss on the need and advantages of simulation technology in a process industry?Today, process industries need to optimise their process designs to achieve more reliable and stable operations. Companies should quickly identify optimum designs with technology that has minimum risk of rework to remain competitive and maximise business performance. Simulation technology is one of the enablers that will help users combat all their challenges and achieve an effective process system. A lot of industries are now adapting to simulation technology designed to enhance plant design, operations and optimisation. Simulation technology supports improved performance throughout the lifecycle of a plant – from offline use in steady state design simulation, control check-out, and operator training, to online use in control and optimisation, performance monitoring and business planning.
Additionally, the industry also faces challenges with regards to project cost savings, risk management, engineering time saving, reducing re-engineering etc. Simulation technology provides the users with solutions to mitigate these challenges thereby allowing them to reduce engineering costs as it provides a common environment to manage consistent use of data and models.
What are the solutions Honeywell offers in this spectrum?Lifecycle modelling solution is a powerful methodology that demonstrates how an investment in simulation technology that can provide comprehensive coverage throughout the lifecycle of a plant, from Front End Engineering Design (FEED), to operator training, to operation optimisation can be utilised for maximising returns. Honeywell’s UniSim Simulation Technology helps improve operator skills, enhance plant performance, plant designs etc.
Honeywell’s UniSim Suite of products includes UniSim Design, a powerful steady-state and dynamic simulation tool that helps engineers create optimal process designs based on critical business objectives; and UniSim Operations, which provides an advanced operator training solution plus capabilities for control system checkout. Further the portfolio provides users with capability to perform studies for plant and energy optimisation.
Who all can use these applications or solutions?Recent trends show a favourable response to adopting simulation applications. The need to innovate in process engineering and control with less resources and time is driving the technology acceptance. In the past process industries like oil and gas, chemicals, petrochemicals, pulp and paper, plastics, power, and minerals, mining and metallurgy and supporting engineering design organisation have been reluctant to adopt new technologies as against legacy tools and calculation, but increasing market pressures and advances in automation and process technologies are seeking innovative methods to make process engineering and control more efficient and reliable. Therefore industries with an objective of achieving efficient, reliable and safe design and controls can make an excellent use of simulation technology.
What sort of hardware and software infrastructure support these solutions need?Honeywell UniSim Suite of products is extremely user friendly and need minimum of hardware footprint. The installation can be done on normal windows based workstation or servers with option to deploy it across multiple offices with a simple licensing architecture. Linkages to process control system can be seamlessly done using the appropriate hardware and software. Deployable over standalone machines, workgroups and corporate networks, these software don’t require any special IT infrastructure
Is it possible to implement these solutions in an old manufacturing process?Honeywell simulation and design technologies are best-in-class dynamic simulation platform for high fidelity process modelling. The principles of engineering and thermodynamic relationships are used to accurately represent plant behaviour. If required, customised modelling capabilities are incorporated with the simulators in order to derive maximum benefit for customers even if the manufacturing process unit is old or new.
How do you see the acceptance of design solutions in India?Fast-paced operating scenarios leave little time to make the right decisions. As incidents remain unchecked, damage can quickly escalate. Production teams rely on procedures, controls and operators to maintain reliable and optimal plant operations through informed decision-making. These assets must be methodically prepared for production prior to initial plant start-up, with training periodically revisited thereafter to reassess performance in lieu of operational experience.
Further variables such as feed quality changes which affect the operating conditions also present a challenge of stable operation which therefore needs prior realistic validation to be done to ensure safe and reliable operations.
Some of the customers have additional design objectives of identifying optimum process and control design, flare system designs which can be constructed and validated using the process simulation tools. In India, what are some of the key technology issues for end users in adopting design solutions? How does Honeywell address them?Market opportunities by implementing simulation technologies can be summarised by certain challenges that the process industries face. These are project cost savings and risk mitigation – assessing the effect of the different process alternatives early in the project lifecycle will have significant impact in the project economics. Further innovation in process technology will require skills to be developed for efficient commissioning and sustained operations.Also, allowing plant operators and engineers to quickly and easily determine the cost implication of their process design choices will reduce the number of hours spent on evaluating expensive process configurations and validating data to support decision trade-offs.
Honeywell’s UniSim Suite is dedicated to helping industrial personnel replicate and assess the operational readiness of plant assets long before they are applied in real world production scenarios. The technology also provides an intuitive and interactive process and control modelling solution that enables plant operators and engineers to develop and optimise operation procedures and control system configurations.
Going forward, what are some of your unique strategies to maintain leadership in this segment?Honeywell’s simulation and design technologies provide the foundation for a sustained competitive advantage. The technology is key to a robust understanding of plant behaviour under normal and abnormal situations. The major strength of Honeywell’s technology is the benefits it extends beyond enhanced operating performance to meet the objectives of safe, reliable and efficient operations. The technology enables and supports sustained and measurable upgrades in plant reliability and operating performance. This can be used by both operations and engineering teams for various purposes throughout a plant’s lifecycle thus boosting plant reliability through informed decision-making.

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