Software systems for utilitiesby Michael Palmer on May 24, 2011
Middle East industries pride themselves on being early adopters of technology and Patrick Gex, VP of Ventyx, is hoping this attitude will see the software company’s GCC expansion a runaway success.
There’s no escaping it – technology is everywhere. To some it’s a burden, overcomplicating our lives and putting our existence into the unfeeling electronic hands of software systems.
But in industry it pays to be ahead of the game; with the Middle East responding to increasing demands on infrastructure, Patrick Gex, Ventyx’s VP, is confident that the region’s conditions are perfect for the company to introduce its plant software solution.
“Right now we are working intensively in the Middle East,” says Gex. “We’ve had a lot of success in the US and in Europe, and we’re trying to bring that success and our unique solution to this region – we’ve had a lot of positive feedback already. What makes us strong and unique is that we can touch every aspect of the utility business as one company.”
The unique solution is eSOMS (Shift Operation Management System), an advanced suite of integrated software modules, which models the processes undertaken at asset-intensive businesses like refineries and power stations on a daily basis.
The idea, drawn from years in the operations management automations field, is to allow a more organised and integrated approach to activities involving equipment configuration and system status and, crucially, to increase efficiency by cutting the level of data entry required.
“It deals mainly with three specific areas – safety, efficiency and compliance,” says Gex. “Everything we do with the software is going to go back to one of those three areas.”
Put simply, eSOMS is the next evolutionary step forward from a paper-based process, allowing staff and management to utilise different modules integrated into a single system, maximising efficiency and levels of safety.
“In a power plant, you have two main groups,” explains Gex. “You have the maintenance group which does the work, and the operations group which is responsible for the system itself.
The maintenance people cannot go and work until the operation people have isolated the system, and to be efficient you need good communication between those groups.
When the system is isolated, that information needs to be transferred quickly to the maintenance team - our electronic log allows information to flow from one group to the other.”
Just one of the modules that make up eSOMS, Narrative Log is driven by regulation and safety. “In a power plant, refinery or any type of plant where safety and regulation are very important, you need to log everything you do,” says Gex.
“Your electronic log book is going to be the key, the main tool for transferring information from one group to another – if you don’t transfer what has happened during your shift, there could be a
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