Insights on Process Analytics

Game-changing industrial revolutions… are usually dead slow

Have you ever been told that in the near future there will be a game-changing system that will revolutionize the process industry? Indicating that things will evolve dramatically and quickly to the next level of performance?

We have.

But when we look back on the history of industrial development in the long-term perspective, the progress is not a series of sudden leaps.

Take steady steps towards better processes

Of course, changes can sometimes happen quickly. Usually as a consequence of a catastrophe or brutal distraction leading to a performance drop and chaos in the short term. These unwanted events can accelerate development, as change becomes necessary for survival.

But you don’t want to wait for a catastrophe to force you to change, do you?

The sustainable way to develop is to do things a little bit better, every day. In this more subtle method, you won’t necessarily see notable results in a day or a week, but you can make a big difference in a year or two. It’s a common misconception to overestimate the impact of change in the short term and underestimate the value of slower, long-term development.

Examples of industrial revolution in process control

One of the early breakthroughs for process control were the water control valves in the 3rd Century BCE. PID (proportional-integral-derivative) control was developed in the 1910s, and computers started to control industrial processes in the 1970s. Today, we are still using valves, PID controllers, and computers, and the process control market continues to grow.

Along with process control and automation development, process analytics is also evolving as part of continuous performance improvement. More and more data is analyzed faster than ever, and data analytics is also more and more automatic. Yet, there are principles that have remained the same for decades, centuries, or even millennia.

Another great example of slow revolution is the huge improvement of energy efficiency in the process industry that has taken place in Europe in the last 40 years. Very little has happened overnight, but very much in the longer term, almost unnoticed. 

Every step towards better performance matters, you just have to take the steps.

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