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Elevate Operator Performance & Improve Overall Effectiveness

Elevate Operator Performance & Improve Overall Effectiveness

Alarm Management is a timely topic for any process control manufacturer whose operators are inundated with alarm flooding, or who is looking to adopt an alarm rationalization strategy. At Apperture, we work with paper mills, chemical plants, life sciences companies, specialty chemical, nuclear facilities, and the mining/processing industry, so we have a breadth of experience to tap into, state-of-the-art tools to support our recommendations, and the experts to ensure that our customers experience a successful outcome.

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This Story May Sound Familiar

Many companies upgrade to more current levels of their DCS for a variety of reasons—to take advantage of more features and modern technologies, as well as better integration and reporting. As part of this manufacturer’s migration journey, their alarm management data carried forward, but since it previously had not been part of an overall alarm philosophy, there was too much data and little prioritization of alarms. This impaired the operators from effectively and consistently responding; therefore, they needed to adopt a rationalization approach. The goal was to adopt a process that would allow them to move closer to the ISA standard, especially since many of their long-term operators (who had ‘tribal knowledge’) were retiring. Newly hired operators could not only benefit from this approach—but also needed adequate training to fully apply these new technologies, stay compliant, and ensure safety.

“Working with Apperture on Alarm Rationalization has been transformational in the sense that we now have our team focused on the alerts that they need to address, rather than be de-sensitized to what is happening.” 
 – Operations Manager

AgileOps™ Operations Management Software was our technology of choice for our client. The software is designed to assist with the process of alarm rationalization—the systematic review and optimization of alarm systems to enhance their effectiveness, reduce alarm fatigue, and improve overall plant safety and efficiency—as well as move them toward the highly desirable ISA 18.2 standard. This software also ensures that our client gets the most value out of the alarm management system because every alarm is actionable; the alarm system loses its appeal when an operator wastes time sifting through nuisance alarms.

The objectives of their program were to:

  • Prevent (and eliminate where possible) alarm floods that can overwhelm operators
  • Increase operator effectiveness, by rationalizing meaningful, relevant, and actionable alarms, eliminating ‘bad actors’ (excessive alarms), and conditionalizing alarm logic
  • Incorporate state-based alarming, allowing them to dynamically manage alarms relative to a state change in the process
  • Focus on critical issues, ensuring that operators are alerted to those issues requiring immediate attention
  • Reduce downtime and maintenance costs
  • Stay compliant with standards and regulations—ensuring the safety of their people and equipment, as well as the community and environment

To address the training issue, Mimic™ Simulation Software allows us to create a real-time, dynamic simulation of plant behaviors, enabling new operators to gain hands-on experience in a controlled environment. Simulation technologies, such as Mimic, empower industrial manufacturers to mitigate the impact of the knowledge gap resulting from the aging workforce, upskill the current workforce, and ensure the continuity of operations and expertise in the long term. This program takes the operators through fifteen different exercises based on actual events—each one demonstrating a real issue they could potentially face in the field.

In the future, our client is considering replacing much of their current training with Digital Twin technology, as well as creating a larger-scale training program across the facility. Mimic can provide that capability, giving them industry exercises in the actual environment where they’ll be running a process.


Apperture Production Optimization Services

We offer a wide range of services to improve process performance and efficiency:

  • Planning, dynamically managing, and consistently measuring equipment utilization
  • Architecting and implementing strategies that deliver optimal control, reducing variability and minimizing disruptions and abnormal situations
  • Enriching the operator environment through digital simulation and assessment tools, while defining a work environment suitable to today’s technologies

Apperture Managed Services

Our Managed Services professionals are an extension of your team—focused on improving operations and lowering costs by minimizing process downtime and risk. That’s why we focus on your objectives, your timetable, your ability to do the work and get trained, and your organization’s appetite for change.

*Sources: ASM Consortium; World Oil, Economic Benefits of Training

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Join Us at ISPE-CaSA on February 28

Apperture Solutions is thrilled to be attending the upcoming ISPE-CaSA Tech Show on Wednesday, February 28th at the Raleigh Convention Center. We invite you to stop by booth #617 to engage with our Life Sciences consultants about the benefits of integrating silos of data across your organization and transforming that data into actionable information. Our goal is to build bridges across the network to get the right information to the right people and transform your business towards greater efficiency, productivity, and success!

Visit us at booth #617 to learn more about our capabilities and solutions.


Cutting-Edge Data Analytics

Discover how our advanced data analytics tools can unlock hidden insights within your operational data. Our consultants will demonstrate how our solutions empower you to make data-driven decisions that drive efficiency and productivity.

Batch Quality Prediction Example: Delayed lab results make it difficult to optimize input of the process to control the batch yield. By creating an on-line model for yield based upon concentration, volume, and temperature, in near real-time, customers have realized millions in cost savings through rapid identification and root cause analyses of abnormal batches.


Streamlined Operations Management

Learn about our comprehensive operations management solutions designed to optimize your processes from end to end. From inventory management to supply chain optimization, our experts will showcase how we can streamline your operations for maximum performance.

Digital Work Instructions: As production processes become more complex and experienced, plant operators retire and customers struggle to train new operators. Our process experts can define efficient work processes and convert them into digital instructions to guide new operators through their process workflow, using computer vision and dynamic interfaces to alert operators if tasks are performed incorrectly and guide them to do the job right the first time.

Alarm Management Best Practices With Apperture as Your Partner

Alarm Management: Critical for Safety and Efficiency

In the era of pneumatic controls, alarms were few and costly. Today, alarms are essentially ‘free’ with an unintended consequence of overuse. This can hinder an operator’s ability to respond to abnormal conditions effectively. Operators often mute speakers to deal with constant interruptions, important alerts go unnoticed, and potential disasters become a looming threat.

With technology advancing and systems growing increasingly complex, effective alarm management is imperative for safety, efficiency, and maintaining order in the digital world.


Alarm Philosophy serves as the cornerstone of the ISA 18.2 Standard. It calls for the creation and upkeep of a guiding document that meticulously outlines the purpose, objectives, roles, responsibilities, and overall strategy concerning alarms. This document acts as the North Star, providing clarity and direction. The Alarm Philosophy establishes a system for prioritizing alarms and includes guidelines for commissioning alarms to ensure seamless integration into the existing system. It also covers training requirements for personnel handling alarms, ensuring proficiency and safety.

Let Apperture be your partner at every stage of your alarm management journey.

Reshape Your Future With Managed Services

What Would Answering All of Your If’s Look Like?

It may be time to take an honest inventory of your organization’s skills, technology capabilities, and operational certainty. Our Managed Services professionals can be an extension of your team—focused on improving operations and lowering costs by minimizing process downtime and risk. That’s why we focus on your objectives, your timetable, your ability to do the work and get trained, and your organization’s appetite for change.

Technology Does Not Stand Still, Nor Should We…Or You

We speak your language—regardless of your process or platform—and we understand your challenges. We listen, ask the right questions, then apply best in class solutions to meet your challenges, based on our team of hands-on, experienced engineers and solutions consultants.


Get to Know Our Practice Leader: Boyd Despard

 “I get the most satisfaction from customer enablement—understanding my customers, interpreting their needs, and applying advanced technologies for their benefit. I appreciate the opportunity to explain the amazing tools they have today and how best to leverage them to gain even more value in the near term.” Learn more about Boyd.

Thought Leadership: MES Mysteries, Solved!

by Steve Murray, MES Practice Leader

“As one of our MES Practice Leaders, I spend my days deeply embedded in my specialty, but I’m also aware that while many of our customers are familiar with the terminology, they do not necessarily know where to start to solve their manufacturing challenges. I hope to pique your interest by addressing some of the most commonly asked questions about MES…in a brief, easy-to-understand manner.”

What Value Can an MES Bring to Any (and Every) Manufacturing Organization?

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) provide governance of the manual activities that are part of a process manufacturing facility. While automation is certainly a part of most process industries, many manufactured products are produced with steps or tasks performed by humans, as well. There are a number of reasons for this: sites that make many products, making it difficult to automate; products that require ‘in-process’ verifications; and products with variable inputs. This is true for most industries—from pharmaceuticals to battery production to yogurt. Wherever steps are performed without automation, it’s the job of someone in a quality-focused role to question all that can possibly go wrong. Did they use the right materials? Did we establish the required accountability for the production steps? Were the materials in good condition (spoiled milk is still milk)?

Ultimately, the manufacturer has to prove that they produce something consistently—so the customer/consumer has less need to test it and is more confident when they buy it. Quality issues can impact price, involve health or safety questions, and in general, impact the business. The integrity of the manufacturing data is critical—and MES drives that integrity. MES systems can also help lay the ‘data foundation’ for a manufacturing dashboard to help discover and address other manufacturing deficiencies, such as excess hold times.

Who Uses MES Systems?

Many industries use MES systems—they can be either discrete or process manufacturers. The requirements of the MES system are different for each and are often served by different vendors. Discrete manufacturing can be thought of as something like an assembly process. For example, a car needs to be assembled with all of the correct parts (SUV fenders do NOT go on a sedan), all of the parts of a particular model need to be assembled the correct way, and the result is a finite number of sellable units.

Process manufacturing is something that cannot be taken apart or sold in different quantities. Whether you are manufacturing food, paint, or pharmaceuticals, the materials/ingredients have to be mixed, reacted, heated/cooled, and ‘processed’ according to a very specific recipe, with a list of input ingredients. Within process manufacturing, MES systems are most common in processes that make ‘batches’ of product and where there are more manual steps. The need for certainty of the repeatability aspect makes it almost a requirement in pharmaceuticals and biotech, but there is growing demand in the chemical and food industries, as well.

All of this information is integrated with company business systems to support those in supply chain, finance, and quality—who drive orders into the MES and get data back—helping them understand the amount of material in production, produced, and collected as scrap material, for instance.

Learn About the State of Digitalization in the Life Sciences Industry

Digital Technologies & Trends Event

You are invited to a day of knowledge-sharing sessions with Apperture, Emerson, and R.E. Mason life sciences experts. This workshop is ideal for operations management professionals, as well as those involved with technology transfer & commercialization, data management & visualization, process development, and manufacturing intelligence & analytics. Download flyer to view agenda.


When:

Wednesday, August 30th
10:00AM – 4:30PM
(lunch, open house, & networking)

Where:

Apperture Solutions/R.E. Mason Offices
5001 South Miami Boulevard,
Durham, NC 27703


Featured Topics & Speakers Include:

Enabling Value Creation Through Digitalization Ron Rossbach, Emerson
Pipeline Acceleration & Digital Lifecycle Engineering Hasit Patel, AspenTech
Advanced Analytics Applications Ron Eastep, Apperture
Dynamic Simulation & Scheduling Jesse Armantrout, Emerson
Digital Operations Management Steve Murray, Apperture

Registration Closed

Expand Your Vision With Apperture

Expand Your Vision With Apperture

Learn About Our Practice Areas

Apperture Solutions helps manufacturing and industrial companies harness data and automation technologies to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0. Through key practice areas and implementation services—led by senior engineers and their dedicated teams—we architect custom solutions using best-in-class tools and techniques, overseeing the entire process in collaboration with our customers.

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Data Enablement

We enable your data to tell better stories—through exploration, analytics, modeling, and visualization—in order to provide valuable insights and help you drive significant improvements in your operations.

Learn More.

Manufacturing Operations Management

We ensure efficient, safe, reliable, and sustainable manufacturing processes—regardless of where you are in your MOM journey. Our solutions improve materials tracking, increase awareness of work-in-progress materials, manage equipment states, and protect your data’s integrity.

Learn More.

Production Optimization

Let us address your production optimization needs with the latest digital simulation tools and advanced process control technologies. Leveraging our experience, we can improve process performance while delivering safer and more cost-effective operations.

Learn More.

Our vision is to help our customers obtain a new perspective or wider viewpoint to optimize their manufacturing or industrial operations. We’d like them to become enlightened with new information, with the ability to gain insights and make more informed decisions. We are focused, expert, and entirely committed to this goal.

CONNECT WITH US

Take the next step to adopt best-in-class tools and techniques to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0.

Contact Us

Continue reading

Process Automation and Factory of the Future Consulting Firm Launches June 1st

Apperture Solutions is a new consulting and implementation firm focused on guiding customers through the myriad of solutions available to leverage factory automation technologies and improve plant operations. Its team of experts are adept at architecting customized solutions using best-in-class tools and techniques, implementing those solutions, and overseeing the entire process—in collaboration with its customers—to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0.

Mark Feldpausch, Senior Vice President, comments on the company name, “The concept behind Apperture is to help customers obtain a new perspective or wider viewpoint in order to optimize their operations. We want them to be able to gain insights and make more informed decisions based on visibility to a wider set of data, within context. Our methodologies are designed to help customers connect with their company’s or plant’s vision by leveraging both existing and burgeoning technologies. We want them to trust that more is possible than they previously thought and that we are the right organization to partner with them for the long term.”

According to Barry Coultas, Apperture’s Business Development Leader, “We are entirely committed to our customers’ success—from ideation through implementation and post-project oversight. Our team of process engineers and technology professionals have decades of experience working with all of the top vendor products, as well as emerging modeling and AI tools, in addition to various industry software products.”

Along with the company’s announcement, it is launching three main areas of solutions delivery: Data Enablement, Manufacturing Operations Management, and Production Optimization. These Practice Areas will be led by senior engineers and their dedicated teams to continue servicing existing customers, as well as provide new solutions to both existing and new customers. The Apperture consulting and implementation teams have specialized expertise in a variety of industries. The company headquarters is located in Durham, North Carolina.

About Apperture

Apperture Solutions is a consulting and implementation services firm for manufacturing companies looking to leverage their data and best-in-class technologies to make more informed decisions—from the plant floor, up through all levels of production. As process experts, we understand the benefits of integrating silos of data across the organization and transforming that data into actionable information. Our goal is to build bridges across the network to get the right information to the right people and ultimately achieve positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

Unlike other system integrators or consultants who are narrowly focused on a single solution or tool, we take a holistic view of operational procedures and critical equipment to achieve a competitive advantage for the long term. Apperture Solutions originated from R.E. Mason, and we possess the financial stability and reach to take on any greenfield, integration, or multi-site project, with confidence.