Remove geographical barriers between sites and access multiple plant data via the cloud


After many years of deliberation and contention, rapidly changing market conditions have shifted the digital and technological landscapes to permit cloud-based software applications to rapidly gain momentum in the production environment. A cloud-based solution removes any unnecessary geographical, departmental or hierarchical barriers, to promote and enable cohesion and cooperation within an organization. From a business perspective, cloud computing and data storage can optimize efficiencies and improve collaboration, enabling organizations to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

Analyze A&E and PID controllers via the cloud

A leading agribusiness group wanted the ability to analyze alarms and PID (proportional integral derivative) controller performance for a number of their production plants worldwide from a cloud-hosted centralized control center. They wanted to analyze alarm performance and improve the operation of their PID controllers from their headquarters, whilst continuing to access plant information locally. This would enable a centralized pool of subject matter experts to share analysis, advice and best practices across sites. At the same time, plant data and information would be available locally to aid plant operations, improve processes and decision-making on the ground.

Cloud enabled solution

Yokogawa developed a unique solution using a cloud-hosted environment, which provides data from multiple production sites to the centralized control center.

For the alarm and events (A&E) data, a process historian collects process data and A&E from each plant’s control system. Data from all plants are consolidated to a single company level historian deployed in the cloud, using a secure and reliable data transfer method. An Alarm Reporting and Analysis software package enables A&E to be collected and monitored for each plant, generating reports and key performance data (KPIs) for further analysis from the centralized control center.

For PID controller performance, a diagnostic tool was used for monitoring, analyzing and reporting information to assist in the tuning of 125 PID loops across the production sites.

For data accessibility, PID loop performance and A&E are displayed in a combined web-based dashboard, providing a single display of key data for each site. With access to data across these plants, it helps to improve the alarm and safety practices and eliminate errors in loop tuning. The global plant management team have a complete overview of each plant’s status and are able to analyze performance and identify operational improvement opportunities.

In the short-term, it was important to ensure alarms and PID data could be accessed allowing analysis and improvements to be realized. In the longer-term, it provides the foundation to further expand the capabilities including alarm reduction, alarm rationalization and PID tuning.

The Benefits

Having access to data across multiple plants helps to improve the alarm and safety practices and eliminate errors in loop tuning. By monitoring and analyzing data, it is possible to implement further improvements which lead to longer term benefits and provide ongoing value, including:

  • Safer alarm management practices

  • Enhanced plant performance

  • Improved operator efficiency

  • Planned maintenance scheduling

  • Cost reductions

A single dashboard displays the current status of alarms and PID controller performance from each site, providing a visual indication of plant performance. This allows better integration across a large number of sites, helping to support the company’s strategic objectives.

By analyzing plant data across multiple sites, it enables processes and equipment to be bench-marked using real plant data for comparison and assessment. Additionally, this information can also be used to establish best practice processes that can be applied across all sites to help identify and set attainable targets and evaluate overall performance.

System Architecture

Alarms & Events and Process Data follows the same system architecture.

System Architecture.png

Key Takeaways

Cloud Deployment

Global plant management wanted to view the current status for all ten sites from a cloud-hosted centralized data center, enabling alarm performance to be monitored and improvements to be made to the operation of their PID controllers.

Corporate Dashboard & Reporting

Essential to the project was a combined dashboard to display both alarms and process data together. Reports can be generated that highlight key performance data that can be shared and distributed within the global management team to assist with plant improvements and allow comparisons to be undertaken. With consistent and standardized data and information from the ten site’s control systems and locations, this really adds value for the customer.