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Profit-Driven Operation Beyond Automation: Yokogawa Transforms Itself

| Editor: Gerd Kielburger

“The scope of our solution is expanding,” said Takashi Nishijima, president and CEO of Yokagawa Electric Corp. during an afternoon interview with Achema Daily.

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Interview at Achema: PROCESS Editor-in-Chief Gerd Kielburger (right) with Takashi Nishijima and Herman van den Berg (left).
Interview at Achema: PROCESS Editor-in-Chief Gerd Kielburger (right) with Takashi Nishijima and Herman van den Berg (left).
(Source: Yokogawa)

“The customer's business is changing, so we also need to change our solution for the customer,” he said. Nishijima pointed to one example of what this means. Two years ago, Yokogawa acquired KBC, with consulting expertise in the area of ethylene and petrochemical production. By combining the chemical engineering know-how of KBC with the automation expertise of Yokogawa, the company has developed Opre X Profit-driven Operation.

“We noticed that the key performance indicator (KPI) of top management levels (the CEOs and COO) was always profit, which is completely different than the KPIs down at the physical operation level,” explained Satoru Kurosu, executive vice president. “With Opre X, we created a dashboard to have a balance between safety, production, profit, energy, reliability — that means the KPIs from all levels are interconnected," Kurosu said.

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Several hundred metrics, which Yokogawa calls SPIs (synaptic performance indicators), are collected at the plant operations, engineering, and top-management levels in refinery operations, based on deep knowledge of how they affect plant performance. “We balance all this information and can optimize operations of the plant in real time,” said Kurosu. Opre X is already available for petrochemical plants (a demonstration is at the stand).

Next applications are being developed for fertilizer and power plants, Kurosu said. “Besides transforming our existing business, we are also creating new business and new business models,” explained Nishijima. “For example, in April, we strengthened the business structure of our Life Innovation Business. We will focus on the pharmaceutical and food-and-beverage industrie — not just the automation side, but across the entire supply chain, from R&D to production,” he said. This transformation already began about 10 years ago when the company developed a system for imaging live cells, a scientific R&D tool for understanding how drugs affect living cells. The company now also provides a drug-development system.

Yokogawa, Hall 11.1, Stand E16

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