Wednesday 13 July 2011

Process management academy for Antwerp

ARC Advisory Group’s 8th annual Process Management Academy (PMA) will be held March 5-6, 2012 in Antwerp, Belgium. With an emphasis on practical strategies, best practices, and maximizing the business benefits of safe and sustainable manufacturing, ARC’s PMA takes the theme “Excellence in Safety and Sustainability” to the next level.

The general session will include presentations by end users who will share their experiences, as well as by leading technology suppliers and other industry experts. In addition, dedicated workshops will focus on the specific issues surrounding cyber security and functional safety, process safety, energy efficiency, and anti-counterfeiting in the process and hybrid industries.

ARC continues to extend, via live internet broadcast, the content of PMA to a broader audience. Participants travelling to Antwerp however have the benefit of networking on a face-to-face basis. Workshop Follows up on Objectives Identified at Previous IT Security Workshop

Information technology and automation are the backbones of most manufacturing operations.  However, production downtime due to IT-related risks is on the rise and, in the coming years, both the rate of technology change and the degree of information integration required will remain high.  How will we manage the associated risks?  What needs to be done to secure automation systems in the future? 

These questions were the topic of the IT Security Workshop held in conjunction with ARC’s previous Process Management Academy. Participants agreed to take action on the conclusions drawn during the workshop and follow up in a second workshop during PMA 2012. This continued discussion will deal with standardisation efforts, custom approaches, the development of intrinsic security design, appropriate levels of protection, and the findings of the IT security investigations conducted in close collaboration with NAMUR.

Trend Change in Functional Safety
End users demand easy and less complex automation solutions.  At this moment in time, more and more smart safety options are competing with traditional ways of safety wiring.  Will this be the start of a new installation standard for safety applications? The combined Cyber Security and Functional Safety workshop will address this trend and present the technical opportunities available.

Excellence in Process Safety
Despite decades of automation effort, human error in operations and maintenance remains a major contributor to industrial risk. Major recent accidents are still fresh in memory, but there are many more ‘near-misses’.  One danger is the unconscious belief that we cannot do much about human unpredictability and unreliability, thus perpetuating industrial incidents and accidents.  The most common root causes for error are lack of competence and failure to follow a procedure.

Herman van Roost, General Manager Industrial Organization and Competences Project at TOTAL Petrochemicals Research performed an analysis of a series of incidents and accidents in the process industry against a checklist of straightforward protective measures that operational management could have implemented. Van Roost concludes that human errors are symptoms of failing organizational defense barriers.  And since operational organizations will only be effective if they are based on human factors, engineering, operational (and higher) managers should be competent in this science.  Van Roost suggests going well beyond separate organizational improvements: Operational excellence should be based on an internally consistent hierarchy of principles and rules.  They should encompass the company’s basic values, formalized organizational fundamentals (the equivalent of an operational “constitution”), general procedures, and even daily instructions.  Such formalized organizational fundamentals, designed to increase human reliability, can be commonly defined for an entire industry branch like the process industry.  They would provide long-term stability to the operational environment despite revolving generations of managers:  such long-term stability is a prerequisite for an effective learning process, which appears to be lacking today in the process industry.  Through benchmarking, companies can compare practices and their respective impacts against the external world.

The workshop is a platform to share experiences, best practices, discuss standardization and cooperation in process safety, as a complement to safety automation.

Workshop on Energy Efficiency

From the 1950s to the 1990s the share of energy costs in the process industries was on average below 7 percent.  In the 2000s the share rose sharply and reached, depending on industry and region, between 15 and 25 percent.  The industry has to face the mounting challenge to counteract increasing energy costs.  While some industries such as chemicals have been working on this issue consistently for over 20 years, others were struck by the 2007/2008 wake-up call.  At the PMA 2009 and 2010 the discussion focused on low hanging fruits, small punctual investments with fast return on investment.  However, there is a limited number of these investments, which raises the question:  How long will there by low hanging fruits and what to do next?

Best Practices in Anti-Counterfeiting
An estimated 10 percent of all goods are counterfeit and 7-8 percent of global pharmaceuticals. The OECD and US government estimate the damage to the global market between $650 billion and $1 trillion. Impacted industries are among others apparel, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, and automotive spare parts.

The internet and the gray market of distributors and re-packers represent real challenges to manufacturers trying to prevent counterfeit drugs from reaching consumers. This implies threats for patient safety, as well as branding and economic threats to the supply chain reaching from pharmaceutical industry down to the pharmacist.  Procedural and technological solutions have seen the light since a few years.

Automotive spare parts and food & beverage industries face similar challenges. In performance chemicals, plastics and rubber, there may be less client safety implications, but the economic implications are significant.

As a result, manufacturers now deploy anti-counterfeiting technologies to protect brands, protect consumers, and allow rapid and effective response to counterfeit products.  These can be visible or invisible, machine or man readable identification and serialization on packaging or the product itself. In Europe the anti-counterfeiting initiatives are strongly stimulated by regulation related to drug safety and managing fraud in the reimbursement processes.

The workshop is a platform to discuss challenges and solutions, both procedural and technological, in reducing counterfeiting.

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