This article, “Transforming the Capital Asset Lifecycle – Part 4: “Keep CALM”, is the 4th part in a blog series by John Lusty, Siemens Digital Industries Software global marketing lead for Energy & Utilities, focusing on the need for greater efficiencies from today’s capital assets – the plants, facilities, factories, and critical infrastructure that are the foundation of an organization’s operations.
Managing the Lifecycle of Capital Projects
In this blog series, we’ve been discussing the many challenges of managing the information lifecycle of capital projects that evolve into high-value capital assets in the Energy & Utility industries. The volume of information can be massive and includes intelligent 2D and 3D CAD models in addition to traditional electronic file formats and related technical documentation. To get full value from the virtual representation of such a complex physical asset, owners need access to its complete digital twin across the complete lifecycle. From the start of CAPEX to OPEX and ultimately through to decommissioning, owners should be able to securely manage and control the complete configuration of the plant in a manner that is ideally arms-length from the underlying master data.
Now for the good news. In the coming weeks, Siemens Digital Industries Software will release a new solution called “Capital Asset Lifecycle Management”, or “CALM,” which delivers the capabilities we discussed in blog #3. The new solution moves the Energy & Utilities industry much closer to closing the loop on the data handover problem that was brilliantly articulated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology back in 2004. Their report, entitled “Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry” (NIST GCR 04-867) concluded that owners of capital projects were conservatively losing 4.2% of their project value on inefficiencies related to inadequate information management and a lack of interoperability. Furthermore, as many of these issues do not get fully resolved once operations commence, the asset owner endures an ongoing annual performance penalty from inefficiencies that originate back at the data handover phase before start-up. Globally the potential savings for the industry is very significant, especially when you consider the explosion in the volume of project information since the NIST report came out, making the magnitude of the problem that much more substantial.
How to Utilize CALM?
The CALM solution can be adapted in different ways and at different rates depending on the owner’s strategy for their digital enterprise. Some may want to start by loading their technical asset information into a single repository and centrally begin the process of validation. Others may choose to digitalize their next major project and specify that all electronic deliverables be uploaded directly into their CALM environment to better-support start-up and routine operations. Alternatively, they may choose to start with comprehensive lifecycle management only for their critical or high value tagged assets, given that’s where most of the cost and risk resides. There are many ways to proceed, depending on the priorities.
Regardless of their approach, owner-operators gain the ability to centralize virtually all their data and documents for a given capital asset or portfolio of assets and connect it to their other enterprise systems. With that, the staff is much better prepared to rigorously manage and control the many changes to that asset information once operations commence, ensuring their repository stays current and reliable. As practices evolve, this impacts how contract requirements are stipulated as owners become more adept at what to ask for from their contractors and suppliers in terms of digital deliverables.
Project teams can assume a more requirement or specification-driven mentality as owners learn to reconcile what was initially contracted versus what was delivered and could also have a positive impact on when payments should be authorized.
We should also see a positive impact on litigation and dispute resolution processes with an improved indication and audit trail of what was known when and by whom going back to the earliest phases of the project.
Stay tuned for more information regarding the upcoming release of the Capital Asset Lifecycle Management solution by Siemens Digital Industries Software in the next few weeks. At a time when the global Energy and Utilities industry is going through an extended period of digital transformation, the integration and consolidation of intelligent asset information, based on international standards, will drive new levels of innovation and efficiency in the pursuit of operational excellence.
About the author:
John Lusty is the global lead for Energy & Utilities Industry Marketing for Siemens Digital Industries Software and is based in Calgary, Canada. John has spent over 25 years working in, or in support of plants and facilities as well as the operators and professionals who are tasked with their ongoing operation. John is particularly interested in technologies and practices that improve the safety, efficiency, and overall sustainability of businesses operating in today’s challenging Energy & Utilities industry.