Priority put on economic power: Invensys conference builds fire under sustainability


Oct 13, 2009

“Achieving sustainable performance,” began Steve Blair, president of Invensys Operations Management's business in North America, “was chosen as the theme of this year's conference because the global economic climate demands a high priority on sustaining the value of assets.” As Blair kicked off the company's North America Client Conference Sept. 21 in Houston, he thanked the nearly 600 in attendance, a significant increase over last year.

Sustainability isn't just about the environment, it's about economic power, Blair stressed. “And to be most effective, we need to actively seek out existing successes, repeat and enhance,” he explained. Companies need agility, and they need the ability to be productive while adapting to the new. “It's not about delivering one goal, but about delivering consistent performance,” he added.

Blair highlighted a range of new Invensys technology offerings on display at the conference that are designed to do just that, ranging from new cybersecurity and control-in-the-field offerings to an immersive, three-dimensional, virtual reality simulator and the latest version of Avantis.PRO enterprise asset management (EAM) software.

“Avantis.PRO 5.0 enables role-based, online collaboration and features Microsoft Click Once Technology and other enhancements that help users manage the complexities of their business, improve their asset reliability and reduce their overall operating costs,” said Kim Custeau, director of product marketing, Invensys Operations Management.

The new version includes tailorable screen views, innovations in data-type awareness and reference controls, multi-column list controls, and maintenance entity value optimization. A new Maintenance Map displays in real time the maintenance health status of an entire organization, and a Contractor Management module manages contractor expenses, prices and pricing rules, and approval and reconciliation of invoices.

Armed with 3D glasses and a joystick, EYEsim simulation demonstrator Marizio Rovaglio deftly maneuvered through a virtual process plant, closing valves, conjuring work orders and putting out simulated fires. From a hotel conference room, it was easy to be transported by this immersive, game–style simulator that for the first time marries first–principle simulation with “augmented” reality to enable engineers and operators to see and safely interact with the plant and the processes they control.

Augmented reality describes the ability of EYEsim users to call up parts diagrams and work orders, and even peer into process vessels while immersed in the training simulator environment. Trainers can introduce abnormal situations such as a fire, requiring field operators to interact with control room operators to troubleshoot conditions that would be unsafe to recreate in actuality.

The system extends the scope of traditional simulator training to include not only the control room, but the field as well, explained Rovaglio, Invensys Operations Management group leader for innovation technologies and emerging services. Operators and maintenance technicians now can be trained in tandem, interactively solving problems over walkie–talkie under trainer supervision.

“The increasing complexity of plants, combined with a changing workforce, demands next-generation tools that can safely and interactively train new operators and engineers without putting them, the community or the environment at risk,” added Tobias Scheele, vice president, advanced applications, Invensys Operations Management.