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№ 10 (October 2007)
Enterprise control systems promise to provide seamless integration and data exchange with Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
By Hartmut Wallraf
Over 90 percent of customers in the process industry use SAP as their ERP system and therefore IPS has predominantly focused its development activities in this area by working closely with SAP.
Enterprise control systems promise to provide seamless integration and data exchange with Enterprise Resource Planning Systems. Over 90 percent of customers in the process industry use SAP as their ERP system and therefore IPS has predominantly focused its development activities in this area by working closely with SAP.
ERP systems today are transaction-based and manage all business-related data exchange within and between many departments, functions and facilities of a corporation. Transaction-based data is used in the monthly reporting cycle. In a typical corporation, Invensys Process Systems (IPS) works closely with both production planning departments and in the real-time management of data related to the production plants.
In this context, “real-time” applies to measurement data, control data, alarm situations and events, and is defined by a time typically less than one second--the data capture frequency. In the typical use of an ERP application, data from production facilities is consolidated over hours, shifts and days into monthly data. Production costs such as material use, utility cost and produced goods are handled in the InFusion system and then reported into the ERP system.
In the process industry, most production plants use applications between the real-time automation of their production plants and the ERP system to consolidate data, to correct or adapt measured values, and to fulfill their reporting needs. InFusion is now capable of standardizing all data management applications in real-time automation with standard functions. These functions are created with application objects which interface with the ERP.
Designing a Packaged Composite Application
In October 2006 Invensys Process Systems announced SAP Netweaver certification. Since then, Invensys and SAP have undertaken a co-innovation program, which has included designing and building Packaged Composite Applications (PCAs). IPS designed a PCA for process plants called Real-time Finance, which was certified by SAP in March 2007. It combines InFusion real-time accounting with elements of real-time finance.
A PCA is the basis for a solution to become an SAP Endorsed Business Solution (EBS). As an EBS, Invensys Process Systems is certified to implement and sell SAP software products to customers. The Real-Time Finance PCA is certified based on the xMII (Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence) product from SAP. xMII allows integration to the plant floor and associated support systems as well as connection to the Enterprise layer.
Addressing limited financial visibility
When Invensys Process Systems introduced InFusion in 2006, one of the value propositions was to address the lack of information clarity to senior executives in the process industry.
There is limited financial visibility from the manufacturing part of the business. Top-level executives often lack awareness as to which areas of a production plant are turning a profit and which are running at a loss at a particular point in time as the data are traditionally not consolidated until some time later – too late to act.
It is also recognized that the time it takes to capture and record daily activities of the plant into the monthly reporting cycle begs for improvement. The nearer to real-time this information is available, simultaneously with the existing real-time plant data, the better business decisions can be made. With InFusion and our relationship with SAP, our aim is to provide a solution to these problems.
To achieve the certification requirements of SAP, Invensys Process Systems developed a demonstration application in its own SAP software environment, focusing on contribution margins from a simulated process plant and including variable costs. All the data produced in the simulation is transferred to the enterprise system – IPS’s own SAP system. Real-time connection is simulated along with the use of real-time data in the reporting environment of SAP.
Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence – xMII
The Real-time Finance PCA is connected to the xMII which is then tied into the SAP ERP environment in the SAP/R3 product, where it interfaces with modules such as finance, production planning, plant maintenance, quality management and health & safety. It enables a customer to plan work orders, check production and human resources, run manufacturing schedules, release work orders, close orders, and implement shipping and logistics. Furthermore, it enables direct reporting of real-time events and alerts, order status, charge rates, life of inventory, yields, completions and usage, start and stop times, quality and lab data, process history, best practice deviations, efficiency, downtime tracking, and rework scrap rates.
Basically Real-time Finance simplifies the exchange of data between InFusion and SAP. In the past, experts with detailed knowledge of the SAP infrastructure had to develop specific business application process interfaces to facilitate data exchange. Now, thanks to the integration of Real-time Finance and xMII, it is much easier and quicker to define the data links between the Industry SQL in the InFusion History Engine and the associated data tables in the SAP/R3 modules. It’s as easy as working with Excel tables.
Visibility, responsiveness and performance
With Real-time Finance, IPS provides a single application to manage production data across traditionally separate domains. It enables customers to align their business objectives and processes with manufacturing operation processes, and increases customer responsiveness and agility for completing the real-time demand & supply chain. It also optimizes customer production scheduling and execution and provides improved customer service and satisfaction due to real-time order status and production consistency.
The bottom line is increased visibility between plant and enterprise and an intelligent foundation for business optimization.
Kazakh Government Sees InFusion Benefits
Ministers from Kazakhstan as well as officials from many other oil producing countries now require oil production data to be expressed in real-time financial terms. This information is valuable to ensure that the government’s production and tax revenue targets are being met. However, the technical challenges of obtaining such information across various operating companies, all of which utilized different production software, have been insurmountable until recently. At the Kioge show, Kazakh ministers were shown how InFusion, the newly launched enterprise control system from Invensys Systems Kazakhstan LLP, has overcome this problem and can provide governments with the real-time financial information they need.
The idea behind InFusion is that data can be seamlessly exchanged between the distributed control systems and the enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) used in oil operating companies. InFusion specifically integrates with SAP and is the most popular ERP software in the process industry. This seamless real-time data exchange means that production data can be expressed in financial terms and reported graphically to both the oil operating company and appropriate government departments. But perhaps the most valuable element of InFusion is its ability to combine the information from numerous oil production plants, allowing a complete overview of business performance. Interestingly, to date such financial information has predominantly been available only on a monthly basis and has not been produced automatically. It therefore required many hours to produce reports.
Invensys Trains Kazakh Future Engineers
Educating Kazakhstan’s future engineers is a responsibility that Invensys takes very seriously. That is why Invensys Systems Kazakhstan LLP, immediately after opening its new office at the beginning of this year, instigated an innovative post-graduate training program targeted at engineers who want to obtain the professional qualifications and experience demanded by oil companies worldwide.
During KIOGE week in Almaty, Zhanna Sadbayeva and Maksat Kerimbayer passed part one of the company’s international five year training program, the first step on the road to professional recognition. Their hard work and dedication was acknowledged by HRH the Duke of York when he awarded their certificates of achievement at the Kioge Exhibition in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
“The Invensys program has given me real practical engineering experience while I study for my professional qualifications,” said Maksat Kerimbayer. Zhanna Sadbayeva added, “After initial training there is a great deal of pressure to generate income. With the Invensys scheme I am paid throughout my training, which helps enormously.”
The Invensys post-graduate training program is open to any Kazakh engineering graduate. The syllabus covers all aspects of control and instrumentation automation and leads to professional qualifications in the engineering discipline of the students' choosing. The practical experience of working on real projects allows students to put theory into practice within a safe mentored environment.
Want to apply?
Applicants for the program, which is free of charge, should contact Invensys Kazakh offices via email at