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Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy

To help today’s manufacturers gain maximum value from their automation system investments and improve plant performance, the International Society of Automation (ISA) today announces that an educational track at ISA Automation Week 2013 will focus on the proper application of asset maintenance, asset operations, and asset optimization strategies and technologies.

Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy, chaired by Steven Schmitz, Associate Engineering Director responsible for the Process Automation Support and Sustain organization at Dow Chemical Company, will outline the specific tools and approaches that enable manufacturing plants to mitigate risk and operate at peak levels of productivity, safety and efficiency.

Steven Schmitz

Steven Schmitz

As the leader for Dow Chemical’s Process Automation Support and Sustain organization, Schmitz is responsible for all support and lifecycle management services for the company’s global installed base of process control systems. He joined Dow Chemical in 2009, moving from the Rohm and Haas Company, where he had served as Process Control Manager since 2001.

“Automation systems are powerful assets that can help companies meet critical operational objectives,” Schmitz says. “However, this doesn’t happen by chance. Automation systems need to be effectively managed and maintained in order to function properly and deliver ongoing business value.”

A key part of this process, Schmitz explains, is system lifecycle management, which involves keeping system hardware and software in their intended, supportable condition, ensuring the availability of parts, replacing obsolete components, and transitioning off systems at risk of extended failure.

“The other element,” he continues, “involves process optimization, applying those tools and strategies that will improve plant performance—in safety, operability, productivity and quality—and drive higher plant uptime. After all, reliability is essential since any type of system failure can significantly disrupt manufacturing operations.”

Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy is one of six educational tracks offered at ISA Automation Week 2013, the premier annual event for automation and control professionals worldwide, to be held 5-7 November 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Leading automation and control experts, authors, innovators and thought leaders across the globe will come together at the conference to demonstrate how to fully leverage the power and potential of automation solutions.

Schmitz says the Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy educational track is designed to help attendees adopt some proven best practices as well as avoid some common obstacles.

Separate sessions within the track include:

“Everyone involved in automation experiences challenges in their efforts to achieve operational improvements,” he asserts. “The key is taking advantage of the opportunities, learning about what solutions are available, and how they are being implemented by others to deliver business value.”

An area of growing interest in the marketplace is alarm management, he says. “We have three track sessions allocated to this topic. Companies seem eager to discuss their experiences, both good and bad, and to hear from others how they have overcome some challenges in implementing their programs. It’s particularly interesting that alarm management is being regarded not only as a means to enhance plant safety, but also improve overall plant performance.”

One common challenge in seeking to boost system and plant performance, Schmitz points out, is relying too heavily on the technology alone, without properly applying the right planning and processes.

“Today’s technical solutions certainly provide opportunities to keep raising the bar on performance. But, many times, I have seen the implementation of promising technology compromised by inefficient work processes. In the end, success is most often determined by the combination of enabling technologies, adaptive work processes and innovative, insightful people.”

• See also Creating value through Automation

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About Eoin Ó Riain

Sé Read-out iris uaithoibríoch, ionstraim agus stiúradh na hÉireann agus an "Signpost" a áit ar an idirlín! Read-out is Ireland's journal of automation, instrumentation and control and the Instrumentation Signpost is it's web presence.
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