Integrating Digital Technology: Ready, Set, Go!

14 June, 2019 | Blog

Marc-André Perron

MARC-ANDRÉ PERRON, P.Eng.

Electrical Engineer, Digital power systems

icon linkedin

One of the biggest challenges to tackle when adopting and integrating new digital technology is knowing where to start. There are so many buzzwords, concepts and technologies when it comes to Industry 4.0 that you need to take a step back when selecting the best solutions for your business.

Adapting to change

Adopting new technologies is part of an innovation process and requires adapting to change.

While digital technologies have many benefits, you also need to adapt to a new way of doing things, which will have a direct impact on:

  • Design methods and tools
  • Personnel tasks and responsibilities
  • Staff training
  • System maintenance

If you’re not ready to make this change right away, know that there are grants and programs available to support the adoption of new technologies.

Triggers

Some might ask: why modernize our systems when everything’s working fine? It’s true that, in the end, some might not benefit because the cost of acquiring and implementing new technologies exceeds the expected return on investment (it’s up to you to analyze the situation).  But the fact remains that there are many triggers that can motivate you to adopt new technologies, including:

  • the desire to increase the company’s competitiveness and profitability
  • a need or limitation (for example, the need for process automation because of the lack of available labour or because your existing system is at end of life)
  • an opportunity to improve (e.g., making real-time diagnostics available on a portable device to react more quickly when there’s an unplanned equipment shutdown and limit downtime and costs)

Getting started

First, you need to prepare an innovation plan that supports the process you want to optimize; then, look for the technology, product or solution that best meets your needs.

Although the risks aren’t always known, there are ways to reduce them at their source. For example:

  • Select proven and sustainable technology
  • Provide proof of concept at the start of the project
  • Work with all partners, from planning through implementation: owners, operators and designers
  • Train future users early in the process
  • Ensure the system is entirely functional before deploying it

Keep in mind that to successfully implement new technology, you’ll need a partner who has experience with the selected technology and the systems into which the technology will be integrated. 

Conclusion

To improve overall system performance, we recommend that you first take advantage of the tools and features that your equipment already offers, but are often ignored or underused.

Then, think about integrating a new technological component at project kick-offs. By knowing the benefits early on and what to watch for in terms of new technology, you can make informed decisions and optimize integration time, investments and project performance.

At BBA, we keep up with the latest digital technologies. We can help you from a project’s preliminary phase to its commissioning and operational support. Give us a call!

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

DO YOU HAVE A SIMILAR CHALLENGE?