NAMUR is a widely respected user association of automation technology in the process industries. Nearly 600 industry executives attended its 76th annual general assembly last week in Germany, for which the organization selected the topic of integrated engineering as the focus. This year, Siemens AG, a provider of solutions concepts for the entire plant lifecycle, was selected as this year's conference sponsor.
Integrated engineering requires that a lot of data be made available and shared between functions. Modern industrial plants are distinguished by an extremely high level of complexity. Huge volumes of data need to be managed, so that they are available and up-to-date at all times from the planning to the operational phase. Today, powerful, intelligent tools for the integration of planning, operation and maintenance are decisive when it comes to ensuring integrated engineering over the entire lifecycles of both products and plants.
Siemens presented an interesting view on holistic functional plant engineering. The integration of plant and automation engineering is typically focused on control modules at the tag level. However, efficiency gains can only be reached if the focus is opened up to the equipment level, depicted by a group of tags that represent a process equipment function. According to Siemens, following this strategy allows a comprehensive functional analysis of a production system -- a prerequisite on the way to a holistic digital picture of the plant.