Automation can bring plenty of value to a facility and make it more competitive in its market, but that’s only if it's done right. You don’t have to look too hard to find a story about a facility investing in a new automation program without seeing the returns they expected. Armed with the right information, facilities can mitigate this risk.
Automation Technology and Complexity
Plenty of facilities and automation providers underestimate the complexity of control systems. This issue has grown in recent years with the continued evolution of control system capabilities. Current technologies continue to stretch the limits of what automation systems can achieve.
Still, it’s important for facilities to realize that when it comes to implementing automation technology, investment doesn't equal execution.
Programming Standards for Complex Automation
Adherence to programming standards is essential for the effective execution of industrial automation technology. In order for today’s facilities to remain competitive, they’re relying on modern software techniques to improve productivity, quality, and overall functionality.
Programming standards provide a standard foundation and information for automation engineers to build from. As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains influence in industrial operations and software-intensive systems increase what control technology is capable of, it's more important for facilities to trust a qualified provider with their automation technology upgrades.
A Technology-Focused Approach
Too often, facilities report automation upgrades are not achieving their desired result. This reality can come from a variety of places, including the failure on the provider's part to give enough attention to a facility’s process.
Yes, an adherence to programming standards allows for the automation of complex processes, but no amount of feature-rich software and technology upgrades allows you to skip over the foundations.
Automation providers that front-load the discussion with technological capabilities are not addressing the root need for an automation upgrade. Alternatively, a focus on processes and standards will set a foundation for control technology that provides a true return on investment. Moving straight into technical development runs the risk of trying to automate processes that are inefficient or obsolete. This is almost always a losing hand.
For example, ISA Standards ensure processes, products, services, and materials function as intended, setting the foundation for an integrated design environment. Automation professionals rely on ISA standards to make processes safer, more efficient, and more effective, and these standards are applicable across a wide range of industries. Some of the ways that following ISA standards enable facilities to increase profits include:
- Lowering installation and startup costs
- Enabling interchangeability of components
- Enhancing operability
- Reducing downtime
It may sound simple, but the complexity of programming standards comes from their application. A qualified, experienced industrial programming professional understands how to adapt standards in a wide variety of situations to achieve the desired effect. For this reason, businesses planning to grow their services or expand operations can benefit from implementing ISA standards.
Upgrading an Automation Program
When facilities determine it's time to make upgrades to their automation program, the provider they choose to work with is often the largest determining factor in overall return on investment.
By choosing a provider who puts your facility’s process first and adheres to programming standards, you’ll set yourself up for success—and profit.