February 2022

Focus on: Maintenance 4.0 Maintenance Matters February 2022 www.pwemag.co.uk Plant & Works Engineering | 17 furnaces, compressors, pumps, and forming machines. The opportunities for AI-based optimisers to keep plants running at their best – “as designed” – are many: Air is major amount of contribution of thermal NOx (78% of air is nitrogen); excess air leads to more NOx; lesser air (lean air) leads to CO and methane, which is more potent than CO2. Combustion control is important to lower emissions of NOx, CO2, methane, SOx. Beyond combustion control, pre-treatment of fuel (desulphurisation to remove sulphur to reduce SOx) and post-treatment of flue-stack gas can have an enormous positive impact. Water conservation through optimal water usage, including water recycling, zero liquid discharge, and removing mercury, metal, arsenic and other pollutants. The list goes on and on. We have seen the impact of AI-driven models that deliver sustainability wins across the board. One recent example we can cite is from a large gold mine where we deployed an online AI model to complement the legacy advanced plant control systems at its grinding circuit. We optimized production, achieving net savings on a sustainable daily basis that included over a million litres of water – enough for a small town – and energy reduction of four million electricity units while increasing production throughput of more than 1% for $3m of top-line growth on a yearly basis. Another example is in ammonia production from the petrochemical industry. Ammonia making is a complex process involving high pressures and temperatures. Most times operations remain steady but can behave erratically, especially with changing upstream feedstock and unseen dynamics in the plant. In one of the plants where we had deployed our AI-based optimizers, frequent CO2 spike conditions would trip the plant to avoid damage to the expensive catalyst beds. Each downtime would cost $1m a day in lost production. AI-models solved the problem by running system-level prognostics that fed hundreds of measurements into multi-variate models to capture deviations early and nip problems in the bud. CO2 was kept below threshold limits with no downtime incurred. Sustainability goals are not different or distinct from plant goals. They are both ways to run operations in an efficient manner, day in and day out. I have no doubt that less than 1% of the plants and the world take advantage of the opportunities that AI-based real-time/near real- time adjustments in plant operations can bring. Is it the fault of the people sitting in the control rooms of these plants? Not at all. They are fighting fires every day and are just not armed with the technologies they need. In a recent global sustainability survey conducted by my company, 52% of respondents said that sustainability is a top corporate initiative but is in its early stages in their organisations. The top reasons why AI has not been utilised were a lack of knowledgeable staff to implement the technology (42%) and lack of good data (20%). AI tools that can be easily integrated into plants and deliver actionable insights are now here. Let’s double-down on our priorities. Industrial CEOs, it’s time to save the planet. *Dominic Gallello is Chief Executive Officer of Symphony IndustrialAI The CMMS workmate family is now complete WORKMATE 7 DESKTOP • CMMS so昀ware that works in a Windows environment • Easy to install on your network • One off license cost • WORKMATE 7 CLOUD • Full CMMS applica琀on, in a browser, anywhere • Annual subscrip琀on based • Automa琀c updates/ automa琀c backup • WORKMATE 7 ACTIVE APP • Na琀ve iOS and Android app • Works with or without internet connec琀vity • One off cost for unlimited devices (requires Workmate 7 desktop or cloud) • WORKMATE7.COM | 0 191 296 3816 | INFO@CAYMAN.CO.UK Free on-site demo Cayman - QuarterUpright 92x128.indd 1 8/4/21 9:47 AM