September 2000

Process Control/Information Systems

Economics of business process integration and automation

Where along the automated integration continuum should your plant be?

Holden, D. G., Aspen Technology, Inc.

TIs it possible to construct a totally "lights-out," fully automated chemical process plant? Probably, but for such a plant to attain the same safety and reliability levels as today's fully staffed facilities, the costs would almost certainly be prohibitive in all but the most unusual plants. The lights-out facility represents full and complete business process integration and automation. Automation focused on integration and knowledge management is today's opportunity. While not true 10 years ago, today most chemical process plants and refineries have a solid foundation of automation focused on single business processes such as advanced control of a unit operation, automatic process monito

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