Today’s advancing world of industrial automation in various sectors on the world industry sectors requires a wide knowledge of different technologies to make a successful automation project implementation. Automation consultants working within this field must have exposure to hardware and software side of plant operations. Most consultants have knowledge on the IT side of any business processes and lack major understanding and knowledge on the OT side of any business processes.
What is Plant Automation
Plant automation refers to the use of technology and control systems to automate and optimize the processes and equipment in a manufacturing or industrial plant. This can include everything from automated assembly lines and robotic arms to computerized monitoring and control systems for temperature, pressure, and other critical factors. The goal of plant automation is to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase safety and precision in the manufacturing process.
Bringing in the RIGHT Automation in your Plant Operation
When exploring opportunities in implementation of plant automation within any industries, requires working alongside of an Automation Consultant, who has vast technical experience as an Automation Integrator and moved into Automation consultancy career goals. Automation Consultant should have experience and knowledge within the IT and OT [Operational Technology]. It is important to work with the right Automation expert with IT & OT expertise. OT technology plays an important role in modern plant automation system, recommending current networking technologies and industrial protocols for OT networking is important to get various automation control systems talk to each other.
There are many Automation consultants with IT expertise, with knowledge on SAP, ERM, few MES IT side software expertise, but it’s hard to find and work with an Automation consultants with OT expertise also. ControlSoft Canada has this mixed experience working with IT and OT side of any plant production facility.
There is a high demand and market appetite for Automation Consultants
Over the next decade, the adoption of automation will transform the workplace as people increasingly interact with ever-evolving machines, for repeated task being completed at a faster pace and accuracy, and people reliance on smart machines increasingly to met production quality and target.
Demand for automation talent both from operating and maintenance side, outweighs supply due to factors such as an aging workforce, fast pace of technology development, lagging employee training opportunities and minorities underrepresented in the field. The skills gap is continuing to grow. According to a skills gap report by Deloitte, the next decade will see a ratio of 3.4 million jobs that require automation skills, but only 1. 4 million qualified workers. Automation Consultants can and should – use this disparity to their advantage. By focusing on automation, consulting companies can deliver the much-needed automation expertise to organizations that are short-staffed in automation skills. ControlSoft Canada with its vast expertise as systems integrator has the qualifications to represent the industry to provide Automation consultancy services to most of the industries within North America,
Advantages of working with an Automation Consultant:
- Bringing in the right technology to plant requirements
- Make sure automation solutions provided to solve a process requirement works efficiently both within and outside of the systems.
- Interacts with other automation solutions within the production space, via a common industrial network.
- Making sure automation solutions provider has the correct experience and knowledge to work right from specification requirements gathering to startup and commissioning and support going forward.
- Automation solutions provided could be expanded and improved when required in the further development of business.
Typical Automation Solutions an Automation Consultant needs to be experienced and advise clients on
- Selection of right system controller – Industrial computer or PLC controller based.
- Number and types of input and outputs [IO] PLC rack modules
- Types of IO modules, digital or analog
- Industrial network selection for data communications
- Sensor’s connectivity via analog signals or over Ethernet communications
- Data collection methods to back-office IT infrastructure
- System reporting method
- Data recovery if a system crashes.
- Considering safety of personal operating an automation solution system
- Provide redundancy solution approach during system failure.
- Bringing in AI and Machine Learning [ML] capabilities to proposed automation solution undertaken.
- Automation consultants must be up to speed with the latest AI and ML options available in the industry to take the client’s experience to the next level.
- One important expects of a typical Automation solution proposal is to monitor process parameters and data analytics on these data.
Hence, it’s critical to plan on data collection strategy at the design phase of such automation solution being worked on, an experienced automation consultant inputs and detailed involvement will set up the project for a success.
Control systems Data Collection into IT Infrastructure database
Modern automation systems designed to solve any process requirement, it’s vital to have a reliable data collection network, to integrate as much process parameters back into client backend ERP, SAP or MES system, where detailed reports could be generated on daily bases, data analytics could be performed on plant efficiency and quality. This requires automation consultant to have experience with various industrial networking expertise, different modes of industry real time data collection options available, access to customs data collections providers.
Ignition SCADA is one of the most popular options being used in various industries, for data historian into a SEQUEL server database or integrate into most MES or ERP systems. Ignition SCADA communicates directly to most PLC control systems available and data collection is real time and seamless. Automation consultant experience implementing such a technology could bring value to client’s service.
ControlSoft Canada, has more than 15 years’ experience providing Automation Consultancy services, backed with their automation integrator, system integrator expertise within various industry sectors in North America. ControlSoft Canada has worked successfully with clients within automotive, food industry, pharmaceutical, oil & gas and chemical plants.
Implementing a successful automation solution to solve plant requirements requires a well balance design approach, with inputs from all expertise including mechanical, electrical, software and process. Automation in today’s industrial production floor has moved from being a top priority to a necessity. Simply put, companies that don’t automate processes will not survive. Customers’ expectations have changed, and if you don’t meet them where they are, they will move elsewhere. Automated control processes are also likely to reshape the economy. Agility, resiliency, and an automate-first strategy are crucial to determining a business’s economic success and risk in the future.