When Co-Innovation creates brilliant Simplicity- Centum Replay

When Co-Innovation creates brilliant Simplicity- Centum Replay

May 5, 2020

Yokogawa, in collaboration with Air Liquide, developed a new solution to dynamically “Replay” past operations in a data driven Centum environment. The new Centum Replay creates “living videos” of past operations, allowing navigation between HIS views, and the addition of comments/subtitles. The solution proved to be a precious tool for root cause analysis and opens a new perspective for operators’ training.

A Challenge: Training without an Operator Training Simulator

Yokogawa and Air Liquide are pursuing a long lasting and fruitful collaboration. Many Air Liquide units are equipped with a Centum DCS and, in constant hunger for improvement, we are regularly challenged.

Most plants in Europe and in the world are facing workforces’ issues: Due to many reasons, skilled resources are lacking, a full generation is leaving the labour market. Millennials are entering the control rooms with new skills, different expectations, and less experience. The question of knowledge transfer and training becomes critical.

Here it comes: How can we train our operators, without a real Operator Training Simulator that we cannot maintain efficiently, but in a realistic and dynamic environment?

Note: Operator Training Simulator

An Operator Training Simulator, or OTS, is a solution based on the simulation of the process, and a full control and education environment. Like a flight simulator for schools, an operator trainee can control a realistic simulated plant, and a trainer can launch scenarios and analyse the trainee behaviour. OTS is the best operator training tool. However, to remain efficient, it requires to maintain the model and to have an operator training organization in place. This can be a constrain for small plants, operated by only a small number of workers.

The concern is widely spread in the process industry: Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are often outdated, incomplete or they did not evolve with the plant and its controls. Lots of operating excellence remains in the brain of some experienced operators.

How to train a new operator to a procedure? How to be sure he’ll learn the actual best procedure? How not to lose the unevaluable experience of operators who will inevitably leave?

That’s the challenge we tried to answer, and we’ll see that we created more value than expected.

A Solution: Centum Replay

What if you could Replay past operations on screens like a video, but not a passive video? A data driven video, where you could decide which HIS view to open, and where you could add comments, subtitles?

Bingo! ビンゴ!

Together with Air Liquide BeNeLux, we defined a minimum viable product that would be tested on Air Liquide plant in Terneuzen. Yokogawa started the development.

Centum Replay

The Centum Replay continuously records a running window of up to 7 days of operating data, communicating with the Centum HIS station via OPC. Creating a video only requires specifying the start and end time of the past operation concerned and press the “save button”. To Replay, just select the file, and open it.

Centum Replay

 

The look and feel are the same as in Centum, only an additional “player ribbon” appears on the top and allows to control the playback of the recording. A red warning “This is a replay window!” was even placed to avoid any confusion.

 

Centum Replay

 

The recording is fully dynamic: Any HIS view can be opened during the playback, and it will show what it would have shown at the time of the actual operation. Finally, the video can be edited to add time-based subtitles.

That creates a brilliant and simple process: A state-of-the-art start-up was performed! Let’s record it and add comments about what we did, why we did it, some recommendations… We’ll have a repository of trainings based on our process, our best practices! And on top of it, it will be surely useful for analyses.

Reality proved that it is true, even more true than expected.

Root Cause Analysis for Centum Replay

The solution was installed on-site and tested by the local team- the final judge! More than a judge, the local team was a crucial link in the development journey: How was it used? How could it be improved? We needed approbation, but also feedback.

To our happy surprise, we didn’t wait long; for sure because our colleagues from Air Liquide are committed and skilled, but also because the solution was quickly utilized to analyse operations. The troubleshooting and analysing became much more efficient and accurate.

The benefit of the tool for analyses is probably even greater than the original objective. But the training capability was also fully recognized.

The tool also proves to be the ideal vehicle for knowledge sharing: to request expertise, to share experiences with other members of the team, or other plants of the group. It makes it easy to review successes, issues, to comment on them, to see what the operator could or couldn’t see.

What about the maintenance concern? Is it so easy to install, to keep up to date? Yes! Besides the configuration of the OPC, the installation is straight forward, using a wizard that will automatically use actual Centum graphics and configuration. The maintenance is very light: run the wizard if changes are made.

Based on this success, a next release is developed, and the solution is installed in other Air Liquide sites.

Conclusion: Centum Replay is bullet-proof

The Centum Replay offers undeniable benefits to maintain operating knowledge, but also to directly improve the plant efficiency. And it is now available for all Centum users!

Yokogawa and Air Liquide proved that value is first created by working together. Technologies are offering incredible possibilities, they are subject to many fantasies and fears: Between pressure to become X.0, questions on what to do, and uncertainty of benefits.

Often, true value comes from a clever usage of existing technologies, coupled with industry challenges understanding, customers listening, and a deep wish to solve our partners’ practical issues. This is co-innovation at its best!

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