June 2009

Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

IT/automation convergence revisited

Keeping automation close-coupled to operation is key

Kern, A.G., Tesoro Corp.

In August 2008, two leading process control journals ran cover stories regarding the shared challenges facing information technology (IT) and automation, and of their coming "convergence".1,2 As lead automation engineer at a major oil refinery, this caught me off guard because convergence wasn't even on my radar. After reading the articles more closely, the ideas behind convergence became more clear, and it is indeed a topic of high concern, though in a different light from the August articles. This article argues that what goes on between IT and automation is largely beside the point, while keeping automation close-coupled to operation is key. Mind the gap (or "I'm with Cliff!"). The co

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