Empowering the next steps into digitalising water

Infrastructure modernisation, sustainability and decarbonisation, digital transformation, and autonomous operations – these are the four megatrends Emerson identified at the Emerson Exchange Asia-Pacific Virtual Edition 2021 last December. Jonas Berge, senior director at Emerson Automation Solutions, shares more with Water & Wastewater Asia on how the company is empowering the water industry into the next Industry 4.0 era.

Emerson offers a range of water treatment solutions such as process valves, control transfer pumps and transmitters for potable water applications.

How is Emerson supporting businesses’ digital transformation into the Industry 4.0 era?
Jonas Berge:
Digital transformation is primarily about new data-driven ways of working; having the information about the condition and performance of the plant down to individual pieces of equipment of all types, to avoid failure and optimise cleaning to reduce maintenance and energy costs while increasing production output.

The goal is to see energy intensity and unaccounted losses of the plant down to individual unit processes so plant operators can stop leaks and reduce energy costs. For instance, they can view the process variability of the plant down to individual loops to tune to ensure quality and operate closer to optimal to increase throughput and reduce operational cost. They can also see corrosion and erosion in the plant down to individual pipe sections so they can avoid loss of containment to reduce clean-up costs and fines, and get a picture of the risk profile of the plant down to individual safety functions to avoid escalation in case of an event, thus making the plant a safer place to work.

Emerson supports digital transformation by providing the software and sensors to enable these new data-driven ways of working.

In your opinion, how will each of the four megatrends Emerson identified have a sustained impact in Asia-Pacific, particularly in the water and wastewater industry?
Asia-Pacific will have its fair share of ageing automation systems. These systems were the best of their kind when they were deployed but now lag behind modern systems so quality issues still happen, and incidents occur.

And there are other challenges. Old automation components are becoming obsolete, cyberattack threats are emerging, and system maintenance costs are increasing. Plants also struggle with knowledge retention as experienced operators retire. Workers now want to be able to check the process from their mobile devices. As part of infrastructure modernisation, plants in Asia-Pacific are now modernising their automation systems to get support for integration using the OPC-UA standard to get data out to other systems that need it. That is, OPC-UA enables data integration while preserving the robustness of the control system at upgrades.

The full article is available in the latest edition of Water & Wastewater Asia May/Jun 2022 issue. To continue reading, click here.