Partnering to add value

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

Choosing the right partner can result in better process automation, higher productivity and greater efficiency. Here, Matthew Hawkridge, chief technology officer at Ovarro, looks at the benefits of working with a Remote Telemetry Unit partner with an eye on the future.

Running a successful business in the 21st century means integrating technology within all aspects of operations. One of the most valuable benefits is that data can be analysed and interpreted to improve operational efficiency — and the most effective was of accessing this resource is with a Remote Telemetry Unit (RTU).

A remote telemetry unit (RTU) is a microprocessor-controlled electronic device that interfaces objects in the physical world to a distributed control system or SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system by transmitting telemetry data to a master system, and by using messages from the master supervisory system to control connected objects.

Choosing the right RTU partner can deliver continuous improvements — yet businesses commonly ask, how should RTUs be implemented? 80 per cent of success in these projects is down to execution, including investments in technology, and your telemetry partner’s knowledge and experience provides the greatest part of the solution. Their insights and understanding can help you achieve your business goals.

Here are five ways in which the right technology partner can help:

1.Monitor processes better

Historically, data from machines was measured manually — a time-consuming process — or not at all. That meant management teams had little visibility of how processes were performing, or how to make improvements.

However, thanks to advances in RTU technology these processes can now be automated so at-a-glance data provides valuable insights. The right technology partner will also help teach your employees how to understand and interpret this data, increasing the skillset within your business and creating a highly effective workforce.

Employees can feel empowered in being able to operate and understand new technology platforms, improving the culture of the whole business. Ultimately, the outcome of these technology platforms is greater efficiency, which feeds through to more profitability and enhanced shareholder value.

2.Better visibility of asset health

A specialist technology partner with access to the appropriate RTU platforms can provide live insights into the health of assets, regardless of location. Your partner should also help you specify a device that operates most-effectively within the most demanding site conditions.

For example, an RTU with multiple, independent communications links, redundant power supplies and redundant process controllers provides another buffer to site conditions and future technological developments. Because they are resilient with layers of redundancy, RTUs are a reliable part of an effective and ongoing management information system.

The RTU monitors day-to-day critical asset information such as fuel and coolant levels, hours of run-time, oil temperature, faults, load levels and more. It monitors the external environment too, for example the local temperature. This is useful in harsh environments: engineers can take pre-emptive actions to prevent LNG assets overheating or freezing, without the need for routine inspections that can be hazardous and time-consuming.

3.Rapid response to changing events

Businesses operate at a fast pace in quickly-changing environments, and those that are most reactive will increase their market share. Communication is vital for this. The internet, laptops and smart devices have facilitated radical improvements in communication and so, too, has the cloud.

The RTU, and a partner like Ovarro that understands these opportunities, can bring all these together. Businesses can implement an integrated approach to communication, even if they are in geographically dispersed locations.

As processing speeds continue to improve, more automation will be introduced into industrial processes. Having this built into your RTU platform will allow you to keep up with developing technology. That’s why it’s always worth checking that your technology partner can provide these kinds of insights and understanding.

These improvements are already facilitating the development of blockchain technology, which is redefining the concept of digital twins. Our customers are beginning to utilise blockchain technology to create a digital store of physical objects, and the RTU is the essential link between these two.

4.Add value to the customer proposition

Evolving RTU technologies within the industrial space can shape how your customers interact with your products and brands. The most successful companies fully-use the data available to understand their customers’ behaviour, and significantly increase their bottom lines.

5.Future-proof your business

RTUs have been used for decades for digitising industrial processes as the data acquisition portion of a SCADA system. While this has improved visualizations for operators, many integration partners have kept their customers up-to-date with latest advances in analytics and in decision-support solutions that apply, for example, Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Through transformative operational improvements and dynamic adaptability, AI can outperform conventional decision-support technologies. Your RTU partner should work with you to develop cost-effective solutions that are more adaptive to constantly changing conditions. The real benefit of AI is automating complex tasks, and providing consistent and precise optimum set points as part of an automated process.

The answer?

Industrial manufacturers that are unable to capture, interpret and act upon asset-generated data will soon lose out to competitors. Advances in RTUs, and the value of choosing the right systems integrator, means that industrial processes are already routinely capturing and storing vast amounts of data.

Businesses can turn this data into a competitive advantage. Manufacturers’ business models are changing as they shift to production of higher-value products or look to provide more services. RTU specialists are critical to this movement, helping deliver more efficient processes and responding quickly to changing conditions.

Ovarro is the new name for Servelec Technologies and Primayer. Ovarro's technology is used throughout the world to monitor, control and manage critical and national infrastructure. Ovarro works with customers across water, oil & gas, broadcast and transportation to help monitor, control and manage their assets.


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