All the action happening on IT-OT integration at Deepak Fertilisers
Deepak Fertilisers And Petrochemicals Corporation is currently running a PoC on the front of IT-OT integration to enhance energy cost savings, improve yield and quality of the produce
In any IIoT implementation, the right handshake of the IT and OT layers is one of the critical aspects to get the right RoI. Invariably, companies have a combination of Operations Technology (OT) platforms, because of the existence of the legacy infrastructure in the factories, setup during the formative years and over a period of time thereafter. Whereas, the factories established recently have advanced OT infrastructure. This challenge is exacerbated with the new products the companies have taken up for manufacturing. These products have again separate OT systems. As a result, over decades, manufacturing companies have ended up with disparate OT platforms. They have to be reconciled in order to fit into the schema of IIoT.
Deepak fertilisers was in a similar quagmire. The company manufactures Industrial chemicals, petrochemicals, fertilisers, etc in the factories, the oldest of which have been running for over three decades. Few manufacturing units are about three to five years old. These are core OT systems. The IT layer sits atop them. Thus because of the type of operations, Deepak Fertilisers was never able to operate on a uniform OT architecture. However, the process for IT and OT integration started about 3-4 years back on the backup of adopting the IIoT.
So at what level does the handshake between the IT and the OT happens ? Where’s the meeting point ? The Distributed Control System (DCS). The data from the OT systems gets transferred here. It acts as a confluence point. But it doesn’t store the data, which eventually gets all rounded off in the ‘historian’. It’s basically a server. Again the DCS and historian are proprietary to the respective OEM provider. They are further synchronised by the open protocol connectivity (OPC) layer. It enables seamless communication between all the applications.
The magic happens once the all round integration has happened to make systems talk to each other. The data lake can be prepared and AI, ML can be run on the data from ERP, logistics, planning, fleet management, etc. “Deepak Fertilisers is currently running a PoC as described, which will enable the company to save on energy costs, enhance the yield and quality of the products,” informs Deepak Keni, Executive Vice President – Special Projects & Enabler Deepak Fertilisers And Petrochemicals Corporation.
At a higher level, the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), is the overall definition of the IT layer, which tracks and monitors the various process parameters beginning with procurement of raw materials to delivering the finished goods and the other side of the spectrum is the SCADA, which is the core of the OT system.
The open kind of IT – OT integration is helpful in getting the overall analytics for the non-critical systems. “Deepak fertilisers is currently evaluating edge computing for the critical assets such as boilers, fans, whose default can bring the production to a grinding halt. Edge computing can do the processing at the device level. The prescriptive analytics insights given out by edge computing can forecast the potential malfunctions in the boilers or fans,” says Keni.
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