Behind the digital tools that make up the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) in the power generation and chemical process industries are people. The Connected Plant Conference 2021 in Austin, Texas recognized the accomplishments of several individuals and companies who are rapidly advancing in the field. Through their insight and experience, these Game Changer champions have contributed to innovation, solved problems or made extraordinary improvements.
Ontario Power Generation 3D scanning team. When Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a Crown corporation responsible for approximately half of the electricity generation in the province of Ontario, Canada, set out to achieve ambitious sustainability goals, the utility Public Electricity has tasked its 3D scanning team with a leading role in developing an overall digital remote management strategy. The team identified and implemented laser scanning technology in February 2019 with several key objectives. “The technology needed to integrate seamlessly with OPG’s existing governance and workflow,” the team noted. The technology also needed to be easily deployed on their server to provide easy access to all employees, he said. Finally, it had to support and import all third-party laser scan data, and it had to meet precision specifications (less than or equal to 1 millimeter). To enable detailed visualizations, the team integrated 5K imagery with scan data (point clouds), which required a robust system architecture. While the complex task was challenging, the innovative approach to remote digital management has greatly contributed to OPG’s success in its ongoing clean energy transformation.
The Game Changer award is given to all members of OPG’s 3D scanning team: Jaydev Chauhan, Khizar Hamid, Eric Heyen, Dax Patel, Richard Sunnucks, Arnes Turkanovic, and Martin Vanderheyden.
Faro Laboratories. Fero is a startup aiming to improve manufacturing efficiency through machine learning. Fero’s easy-to-use software enables plant personnel to optimize production and address the root causes of quality issues without specific data science knowledge. Fero has demonstrated the effectiveness of its software in companies like Covestro, Henkel, and others, which have relied on limited, hard-to-scale data analysis methods. Fero’s automated ML software suite allowed them to model an entire process without coding, share information with operations teams using visual dashboards, and quickly adapt models to other plants by a few weeks. Once deployed, these models offer real-time optimization suggestions that constantly learn from the latest production data. Recent results shared by customers include improved yield by 11% and reduced raw material costs by 9%.
The Game Changer Award is given to all members of the Fero Labs team: Berk Birand, Alp Kucukelbir, Pamir Ozbay, Todd Gardner, Elisabeth Rosen, Chloe Zeiss, Tim Eschert, Ayo Aridegbe, William Brinkerhoff, Theodore Brundage, Luke Grecki, Alican Mutus, Paris Leaching
Colin Xander, Director of Corporate Turnaround, Chevron Phillips Chemical. As a leader and educator, Xander is especially enthusiastic about championing new technologies and innovations. Seeing digitalization as the only way forward, he attends many conferences and listens to experts and peers so that he can advocate, share and successfully implement digitalization in his company, where he is responsible for its implementation in all adjustments. Colin is a Game Changer due to his vision, strategy and detailed implementation of a connected workforce platform, Mobideo, for his turnarounds at CPChem. Faced with multiple sites around the world, often working independently at the site level, he is currently working on the implementation of digitization in four different sites.
Lorena Souza, Senior Consulting Engineer, Process Systems Engineering. Within two years of starting his industrial career at PSE, Souza played a key role as part of a five-person team deploying an energy system optimizer at a major European refinery. Souza led the digital application activities to deploy a connected plant system on ethylene crackers in the Middle East, detecting hard-to-measure cracker furnace yields and effluent compositions. Its desire for innovation; his ability to motivate his colleagues; her genuine interest and efforts in promoting digital technologies has made Lorena stand out as a game changer.
Victor Ortega, vice president of technical site management at Covestro. A champion of change within his organization, Ortega anticipates and responds to challenges by fostering a new organizational work culture and motivating his teams, placing digitization as the cornerstone of all future process improvements. It adopted a platform to connect its workforce and connect across multiple business systems, to improve work efficiency, time spent on tools, and communications. Digitized maintenance and execution processes provide access to real-time information on job status, from planning to execution. Therefore, just as airport monitors clearly display delays and updates, they enable continuous status monitoring, sharing of updates, and communication of challenges and changes among contractors in the site, employees and their supervisors. Victor is leading Covestro’s maintenance and turnaround programs into the future by utilizing a connected workforce platform and striving to improve processes through digitization.
James Martin, Global Head of Operational Excellence, Allnex. As Head of Global Operational Excellence at Allnex, an industrial coating resins and additives company, James Martin has been instrumental in helping the company improve operations, performance and sustainability through modeling process progress. Allnex’s efforts have reduced the energy consumption of industrial processes by combining variable frequency drives on motors with fans and centrifugal pumps. Efforts have also reduced the use of distillation processes by implementing more efficient solvent recovery systems. Additionally, advanced process modeling has helped the company reduce energy consumption in highly integrated distillation columns. Martin also noted that operational analytics has helped Allnex better understand and monitor energy systems and energy flows, allowing the company to more effectively identify new energy consumption opportunities.
Ihsan Erbil Bayl, CEO, Enerjisa Uretim. Enerjisa Uretim, an electricity provider established in Turkey in 1996, set out to leverage digital tools to leverage the performance of its 3.6 GW diversified fleet. Leading this charge is CEO Ihsan Erbil Bayl, who has demonstrated transformational and inspirational leadership. Bayl led his company’s efforts to set up Senkron, a 24/7 central command and control center in Istanbul, despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic. The command center now allows the company to manage all its hydroelectric plants from a single point. It also allows the company to observe its other assets and analyze their data, increasing the synergies between them.
The Game Changer 2021 competition unveiled several more notable innovative technologies and digitization pioneers. Here are some honorary mentions from the Game Changer Award.
Engineering and Technology Development Team, IHI Terrasun Solutions. This team tackled an energy storage problem and came up with a platform to solve many problems. The team’s platform includes full lifecycle automation integration, a PromQL-based data layer, and forecasting engine for programmatic automated operational automation, programmatic networking, and monitoring .
Kerron Duncan, Director of Architecture and Engineering, Northrop Grumman. Duncan was a key driver of innovation at technology company Northrop Grumman in his role as director of enterprise architecture, data analytics and engineering, a position he he has occupied for more than 20 years.. Among his many accomplishments are the implementation of model-based engineering architectures and best practices in digital power systems for next-generation sensors. Duncan also led the company’s modeling, simulation, and mission analysis team within systems engineering, and served as program manager for its artificial intelligence campaign.
Mahdi Sharif and Ray Simonson, co-founder and CEO, Glove Systems. Glove Systems is a startup that has patented a new 3D laser scanning program that ensures the accuracy of prefabricated modules before they are shipped to customers. The company claims that its software solves costly problems using scanning and empowers anyone who uses its product to make extraordinary improvements.
Larsh Johnson, Chief Technology Officer, Stem Inc. As head of Stem, a state-owned “pure-play” smart energy storage company, Johnson was instrumental in creating significant customer value by helping them reduce energy costs, stabilizing the grid , mitigating intermittency, reducing carbon emissions, addressing power grid constraints, and driving the rapid global transition to zero-carbon and renewable generation. Stem’s customers include Fortune 500 companies, project developers, utilities and independent power producers. Among Stem’s standout digital offerings is its market-leading Athena software, a platform designed to “sit” between distributed energy resources, utility and grid controls. The platform can seamlessly integrate and optimize energy resources, Stem explains.
Thomas Judge, Managing Director, Simtronics. With the leadership of Judge, Simtronics has developed a device-independent touchscreen program that runs on standard web browsers. Encrypted technology is scalable, can be upgraded seamlessly and continuously, and its service levels are guaranteed.
Chris Marek and Josh Greer, Customer Support Engineers, HanAra Software. Marek and Greer were instrumental in creating HanPHI, a collaboration tool that supports its clients’ digital transformation journeys. During the pandemic, collaboration tools have become essential for monitoring factories and operations remotely, Marek and Greer noted. “Asset performance management and predictive maintenance software have been used in centralized monitoring and diagnostic centers for remote operations, but the pandemic has resulted in unexpected remote operations,” the engineers said.
—ENERGY and chemical engineering personnel.