Analytical Instrumentation

IT and Automation Systems in the Petrochemical Industry

Nov 05 2008

Author: Colin Thurston Andrea Carlini on behalf of Thermo Fisher Scientific (USA)

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Data management within the petrochemical industry occurs on different levels at different stages of the production process. Each data layer provides information that is used in the layer above to make decisions within that domain. Industry IT and automation systems can be broadly categorized into three areas: • Real time control and monitoring systems, e.g. SCADA, are used to provide basic control, monitoring and plant safety functions. They provide a continuous flow of data, but have limited reporting and analytics capability. • Plant automation management systems sit on top of the control systems and usually provide additional functions such as data history, mass balance calculations, production accounting, performance management, optimization, HSE (health, safety and environmental) management and laboratory information management systems (LIMS). These systems enhance the plant operations by delivering information to plant management to get more from their plant and assets (e.g. enhance revenue, reduce losses, support in decision making and more). • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems cover functions such as financial management, human resources, supply chain distribution, stock control and material management. Their objective is to provide information that helps manage enterprise and executive business issues, thereby allowing companies to stay competitive and progressive (e.g. decision support, performance management, growth).

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