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Automation Engineering

A Practitioner's Perspective on ETA Project Delivery

"It's the job of NBE automation and controls engineers to translate the human-defined requirements for process efficiency into mechanically produced outcomes."

The first objective of NBE automation is to address the collective requirements of the people associated with the application; the operator, supervisory staff, senior management, maintenance. Their specific requirements for the automation may differ; but, the function of NBE automation is to contribute to project efficiency at every level. The contributions of NBE automation range from ensuring intuitive, standardized HMI screen layouts across the project, to project-wide fault management and recovery protocols, to providing comprehensive data gathering and reporting.

Collaborative Definition of Automation Requirements; A Best-for-Project Approach

Every project taken on by NBE is put through a pre-launch project review; where all NBE practice leaders gather to assess the project. But, even before that happens, and very often before a project is accepted, the NBE applications engineering team, and the customer's process engineering and operations team, will have already determined the functional specifications and sequence of operations for the project. It's the up-front work, done by the NBE applications engineering team, regarding area classifications, operator interface standards, EH&S influences, rates, data reporting, and security; that, effectively determines the requirements for the automation and controls engineers.

Optimal Automation Performance Ensuring Accurate Mechanical Function

It's not unusual that operational demands and functional requirements placed on NBE projects seem contradictory. We may be asked to build to a continuous-duty performance spec, while also improving process accuracy and reducing changeover times; all while simplifying operator interactions. But, this is where NBE automation engineering and mechanical engineering become inseparable. NBE mechanical engineering ensures the process function while NBE automation engineering ensures the process performance.

Ensuring Clarity and Confidence in Process Automation Project Management

The comprehensive reach and influence of automation and controls throughout an NBE project leaves no room for anything but a proactive, defined, and thorough project management infrastructure. Whether integrating with upstream and downstream legacy automation, or even third-party code, NBE project management services brings clarity and confidence to process automation.

Fabrication and Assembly Giving Physical Function to Automation Engineering

Fabrication and assembly; this is where automation design, engineering, and programming take on a physical presence in the project. What was once only code on a screen now proves itself in operation. NBE FAT protocols, along with available SAT procedures ensure verified, reliable process performance. The perfect alignment of build spec and performance spec.

Tangible Automation Features Are Made Long-term Advantages Through On-going QA

Long after start-up, NBE controls and automation continue to provide our customers with tangible performance advantages. It's the NBE controls and automation service and support team that ensures these advantages remain tangible to every party involved. Operators continue to see their input in action; supervisors see operating improvements and repeatability confidence; management sees their TCO decision-making rationale become reality; and, into the future, maintenance sees predictability, simplicity, and support.

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