Environment & Safety Gas Processing/LNG Maintenance & Reliability Petrochemicals Process Control Process Optimization Project Management Refining

A cloud-based solution for development systems

Companies with development systems struggle with the resources to keep them up to date. It is a challenge to keep tabs on data accurately reflecting daily operations. Typically, time is lost by spending weeks analyzing differences and keeping development systems current. Companies without a development system usually do not have the capital expenditure (CAPEX) available to invest in one that is hardware based. If the company has a virtual infrastructure, it must invest in engineering resources to it up online, leading to high startup costs.

Honeywell Digital Prime boasts an ecosystem that facilitates a customer’s operational excellence in a cloud-based meta environment, offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The platform provides a virtual engineering platform and built-in security protection. The SaaS model is maintained by Honeywell experts and can be utilized through an annual contract, enabling simple renewal if customers are pleased with the platform.

Users across the globe can access the digital ecosystem through its subscription service using multi-factor authentication, enabling the customers to standardize across the enterprise. The customer owns the Internet Protocol (IP); however, Honeywell experts can be employed to do engineering work and assist on projects.  

The cloud-based digital twin can track, manage, and test process control changes and system modifications. The platform can be used by companies in oil and gas, sheet manufacturing and chemicals industries to test modifications during planned shutdown periods to reduce rework and downtime.

“When we use the word digital prime, that is more for the replica of a system, but then we also create a replica for the plant; we create the artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, where you understand how the emissions are happening, what gases are present and the relationship of emissions with the process,” said Pramesh Maheshwari, President, Honeywell Process Solutions.

“There was a notion earlier that when emissions happen, they are continuous. Drones, helicopters and flying devices detect the emissions, but if you go deeper, you will find that emissions correlate very closely with the process situation of all opening, closing and process changes happening. That is one great use case of digitalization on the sustainability side.”

The digital platform leverages single sign-on (SSO) capabilities, enabling global access, but the virtual infrastructure is behind Honeywell's virtual network and is not on the Internet. It being an offline system keeps the data secure. However, although it is not connected to hardware, customers can test engineering, configuration, and graphics. The technology can scale with companies, meaning as new software or hardware is introduced, the platform can be updated to incorporate them.

“Changes in terms of people and culture and how they adopt digitalization will be very important,” said Maheshwari. “There are always upgrades and migration paths for the technologies to move to the latest solution. The difficult part is: are people ready to adopt? Is the workforce ready to adopt?”

Regarding the training portion of the platform, it enables companies with rookie engineers or new engineers from other companies to become familiarized with the new system. At Honeywell Users Group 2023, Maheshwari delivered a presentation titled, “Digitalization, energy transition and climate change: The megatrends reshaping our world.”

During the presentation, a case study highlighted a U.S. chemical company’s utilization of this technology. The company had an upcoming migration and needed an environment for testing applications where multiple users could interact. The virtual infrastructure provided by Honeywell enabled them to access this environment within two weeks. The company was able to come into its migration much more prepared, not leaving the controls piece for after, resulting in the company wanting more systems.

“I am seeing a more experienced workforce excited to learn new things. The mindset that experienced engineers will not learn new systems, and we need to replace them is not quite true," Maheshwari said. "I see dads playing video games with their kids and using all the latest mobile devices. If they're using the latest gadgets in their home life, why not use them in the plant? I feel everyone is ready to use the latest technologies.”

Story by: Tyler Campbell, Managing Editor, H2Tech

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