Using technology for sustainable development goals

SUSTAINABILITY has become an imperative for businesses around the world due to its role in improving resource efficiency, enhancing business resilience and ensuring a viable future for all stakeholders. Nine out of ten companies plan to accelerate their sustainability activities in the coming year, according to a recent study sponsored by Aveva. Similarly, 90% of respondents believe that digital transformation is essential to enable their transition to sustainable development.

Companies across all industries are already delivering on the promise of digital technology, leveraging technologies such as big data, cloud computing and predictive analytics. At the recent Aveva PI World Digital conference, attendees heard first-hand from speakers several ways these advanced technologies are contributing to the 1.5 degree Celsius trajectory.

From the conference, here are some key takeaways for businesses looking to integrate digital tools for lasting impacts:

Less downtime in manufacturing

Technology applications such as the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communication have transformed manufacturing and production plants. In the process, systems have been optimized to improve productivity and flexibility, minimize risk, improve profitability and reduce waste. In Batam, Indonesia, Aveva has partnered with Schneider Electric to co-develop lean management software for a group of factories producing energy and industrial automation products, with the aim of increasing the efficiency of performance at a higher level. Putting the data in the hands of the team managing the facility has improved operational efficiency, with real-time performance monitoring and digital escalation for faster decision-making. Downtime dropped by 44%. There was a 40% increase in on-time deliveries to customers and energy savings increased by 21%. The plant has been recognized as one of the most advanced industrial units in the world and named the fourth industrial revolution by the World Economic Forum.

Cross-border collaboration

On its journey to carbon neutrality by 2035, Neste is using digital innovation to drive sustainable results across all of its businesses. One of the main applications of digital technology has been the introduction of Aveva’s unified supply chain solution in the cloud. With several sites and more than 80 processing units, inter-business coordination was complicated. By using the power of the cloud to analyze and structure information, staff at the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and jet fuel can now rely on a single source of truth that teams across the company use to make fast decisions at network-wide from anywhere. Production could be optimized automatically, while decision support and production planning take place in a single digital space. As a result, business performance has increased and waste generation has decreased, bringing Neste closer to its goal and helping it shape the future of energy.

More efficient product design

The industrial connectivity of the Internet of Things makes it possible to collect and aggregate operational data from a wide range of sources. When this data is fed back into the design process, it indicates how new industrial products could be designed to perform more efficiently while using fewer resources. Renewable energy company Ørsted, on track to become carbon neutral by 2025, applies predictive analytics to industrial data from a fleet of more than 1,000 offshore wind turbines. The resulting feedback reveals innovative directions for producing future active ingredients. Innovation is a continuous process of refinement, and advanced technologies such as AI and big data could facilitate this process.

Emergency Response Times

Nava Raipur, India’s first smart city, was designed and built from scratch with the latest and most innovative craftsmanship. An integrated command and control center (ICCC) built around Aveva’s Unified Operations Center technology enables managers to streamline communications, improve collaboration and make faster, more informed decisions for all stakeholders. Municipal staff could directly monitor roads and traffic, water, sewage and electricity use, social activities, security systems, and government and residential energy consumption. This single glass panel interface also significantly benefits residents, integrating all citizen services into one user-friendly mobile app where they can pay bills, apply for new utility connections or planning permits, and receive 24/7 communication updates. The intelligent governance system has minimized downtime and reduced critical response time by an average of 60%. The ICCC has come into its own during the coronavirus lockdown, improving communication between municipal authorities and citizens of Nava Raipur, while supporting containment measures.

Agile and cost-effective on-demand training

As new tools are deployed on the shop floor, more operators need to be trained in more locations around the world. Cloud-based Operator Training Simulators (OTS) offer a scalable, flexible, and cost-effective solution that expands training capabilities without spending millions on travel, while reducing training times for new staff. Oleum, the European training center for the energy business of TotalEnergies, has integrated Aveva OTS solutions based on Microsoft Azure into its corporate learning management system to provide employees with realistic virtual learning programs in which new models, users and geographic regions may be introduced at any time. with little cost. More than 2,000 operators worldwide are now trained nearly every year, instruction time is reduced from months to weeks, travel costs and environmental impacts are minimized, safety is enhanced and downtime reduced.

As global attention increasingly focuses on the environment, companies would be asked to do more to improve sustainability for every stakeholder. Meeting today’s new sustainable operating standards requires a new way of thinking. As these examples show, digital solutions could provide the intelligence needed for sustainable innovation across the entire industrial ecosystem.

Lisa Johnston is director of sustainability at Aveva.

Norma A. Roth