Internationalisation – Challenges and Chances; an Interview With NAMUR Chairman Wilhelm Otten

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PROCESS: And how do you hope to solve this?

OTTEN: Here we must make fundamental changes in the training and assure more mutual understanding. In daily work, added value is today only possible as the result of a team approach. The days are past when one could optimise process development or regulation in isolation. An electrical engineer also needs a good understanding of processes and, conversely, chemical and process engineers need an understanding of dynamics in order to optimise large installations.

But the cooperation between NAMUR and both ProcessNet and Dechema came into being precisely against this background. Can you feel satisfied with the form of cooperation up till now?

OTTEN: No, we cannot.


Where is the snag then?

OTTEN: If, for example, one puts on NAMUR-relevant lectures at the ProcessNet conference, the people one meets there are those one already knows anyway. We have not yet succeeded in creating the link there between process and automation technologies.

“We Must Start Right at the Beginning in the Training”

This is, admittedly, particularly difficult. In my opinion, we must start right back at the beginning in the training. If you do not create a basic understanding of the other side in each case during training, it will be particularly difficult to bring these together at a later date.

Is this view shared equally at ProcessNet or Dechema? Only a few years ago, automaters were considered the preparatory workers for the planners and operations engineers.

OTTEN: Yes, but there has been a substantial change of thought on this. Previously, the classical distribution was as follows: there were operations engineers for process or machine construction matters who had responsibility for budget and availability, and somewhere there was an electrical engineer looking after several installations simultaneously.

But if you look at Evonik today at the Wesseling/Germany location, for example, you will now seen 50 percent electrical engineers responsible for operations. Why? Because process automation technology is the stronger lever when it comes to optimising existing installations regarding operational excellence.