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The Well Kept Secret of Successful Automation

Guido ten Hacken

The Well Kept Secret of Successful Automation Ir. G.V. ten Hacken Shell Global Solutions International bv Abstract Automation (used here to describe the various levels of process control and optimization) has always received significant attention in Shell. Many developments resulted in products and many products were implemented. This now sounds easier than it was in practice. No theory will find its way into practice if there are no guidelines how to build and maintain applications. This meant that next to the products we had to build up successful implementation practices.
A first step was to develop (self) training material and courses aimed to bring application engineers to a level where they could build and maintain applications with little assistance. Every new product or enhancement to an existing product now inevitably triggers an update of the training material and if necessary the course structure.
Another important step was the development of methods to calculate benefits. This was necessary to justify the cost of implementation and maintenance and resulted in increased investments.
When applications were implemented repeatedly on similar units it was decided to produce control strategy documents for those units. This helped tremendously to improve the implementation efficiency.
With the number and complexity of applications increasing over time, the users strongly expressed the need for maintenance support in the form of performance monitoring and diagnosis tools. This led to further developments and products. In a further effort to close the loop of the development - implementation cycle a survey is now carried out every two years amongst the users to benchmark the implementation of automation. It provides very useful information for users and developers and helps to direct the efforts toward top performance.

Last modified: 9 June 2004, 14:50 UTC
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