Visibility Is the Aim With Collaboration Software

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With an emphasis on better vision throughout operations, Emerson has expanded its Plantweb digital platform with mobile-ready collaboration software. Called Plantweb Optics, it establishes better connections between people, processes and plant data to enhance customers’ existing asset management portfolios.

With both multi-site and on-premise mobile support, Plantweb Optics provides increased flexibility for deploying and managing mobile access, noted Mani Janardhanan, Plantweb Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) director of product management for Emerson Automation Solutions. “Plantweb Optics enables collaboration at all levels of a plant, from technicians to engineers to management,” he said. “By making that plant health data accessible on PCs and mobile devices, we’re ensuring, no matter where personnel are, they have the data they need.”

Typically today, siloed systems make it difficult to see all the critical data and understand its impact on the broader operation. Using industry-standard, embedded communications protocols, Plantweb Optics can share data with machine learning and analytics software to create new strategies for asset management and reliability. The software provides a platform to integrate more enterprise applications in the future for better reliability and operational performance.

“Plantweb Optics delivers enhanced visibility into the assets that need attention by digesting all the alerts and notifications in the underlying systems and converting them to the asset health dashboard, which drives user productivity, reliability and enhanced operational performance,” Janardhanan said.

The collaboration software improves the user experience with intuitive visualization and customized alerts to reduce or eliminate irrelevant data. On mobile devices, personnel can quickly access equipment health scores any time, from anywhere, and can combine multiple views for easier monitoring of facilities across multiple locations.

It also provides that data in the relevant context through persona-based content delivery, Janardhanan noted. “Example: A safety manager sees safety-critical assets, an I&E engineer sees valves and instrument health, and the reliability manager sees overall asset health status,” he said.

The first release of the software introduces two new connectors, leveraging customers’ existing investments in Emerson’s AMS Device Manager and AMS Machinery Manager, two analytics software applications focused on device and machine health, Janardhanan said. “With all of their machine, device and predictive intelligence data in one place, plant personnel and management will have a holistic view of plant health to help deliver better decision support,” he added. “It also provides a platform to integrate more enterprise applications in the future for better reliability.”

The goal is to help customers achieve status as top-quartile performers, which spend two to four times less on maintenance costs than poorer performers, Emerson says. A key way to do this is to improve workflows through better collaboration, Janardhanan said. “For instance, if an operator notices an issue with a pump, rather than go find the reliability engineer in the plant, the operator can flag it in Plantweb Optics,” he explained. “The reliability engineer receives a notification on their mobile device and can then get data from AMS Machinery Manager to diagnose the problem. In a few clicks, the reliability engineer can provide guidance for a maintenance technician to make the repair. Once repaired, the technician updates the status on their mobile device, causing it to automatically unflag the pump. All this collaboration can accomplish in minutes what would have previously taken hours because they no longer have to go find each other or go back to a workstation to initiate the next action.”