Digitalisation Playing A Major Role In The Process Industries
- Thirumalai Kumar Process Automation Promoter - Southern Region, Siemens Ltd

Process industries are constantly looking for increasing their efficiency and productivity, and thereby, their competitiveness. Higher efficiency and productivity is possible only through higher level of transparency across the whole life-cycle of the plant. Transparency is enabled only through digitalisation. Digitalisation helps in prediction of the plant behaviour and better planning and optimisation of the whole process.

Digitalisation enables the integration of individual process steps over the entire plant lifecycle, from engineering and operation to continuous optimisation. Industries should look for the right automation partners who will help them achieve this continuous optimisation rather than looking for one-time low-cost process automation systems. Thus, the selection of the automation partner is very crucial for the success of the plant.

Data integration and data interchange is the need of the time. We have to ensure that the industry has the right tools to achieve this for example, with the integration of planning for electrical engineering, process engineering and automation.

The challenge that the Indian industry faces is the dependency on the legendary engineering consultancy that follows the traditional automation rather than focusing on proven futuristic technologies. Integrated engineering provides higher transparency - right from the day-one of the idea to end-of the plant life cycle. It ensures higher data integrity between the consultants, the EPCs, the end-customers and all other stake holders of the process plant.

Digitalisation Playing A Major Role In The Process Industries The EPCs embracing the integrated engineering will succeed faster than the other EPCs . This enables EPCs to better control their margins and plan their schedule more effectively and deliver higher value to their end-customers.

Process Industries ensuring the integration of operations through the digitalisation of automation and electrical world is going to have a better control than anyone else. In addition to these software solutions, these process industries need a strong industrial communications network that transfers the necessary information and data between all the areas of the company. This forms the base for Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

It is wise to select an automation partner who has all the necessary building blocks for digitalisation, ranging from industry software to industrial identification to industrial communication. These should enable the implementation of an integrated, high performance data networks that meet the needs of today and tomorrow. The education systems should take the lead in integrated engineering and start practicing this by setting up integrated engineering labs in collaboration with these companies.