BASF is a large global chemical producer operating in more than 80 countries and headquartered in Germany. At the core of their portfolio is Verbund; the physical integration of production, market platforms and technologies which tie the business together1. The company’s manufacturing fleet includes six highly-integrated “Verbund” production sites and 350 additional sites around the world.
The Challenge: Integrating Data Found Across Plants and Geographies
Dr. Michael Krauss, Senior Automation Manager at BASF SE, described some of the barriers BASF encountered when previously attempting to implement other manufacturing intelligence solutions.
- Data Connectivity and Integration – separating data apart from pure process values from the field to the control system. For example, some plants have a hard-wired physical layer (such as intrinsically safe barriers) that makes it difficult to get the data from the plants.
- Smart Data and Common Data Language – data must have context to be useful. A descriptive tag name that provides location, plant, equipment, and process function makes it quicker and more efficient for remote personnel to identify the various assets and apply analytics. Often, these conventions are structured in a hierarchical manner
- Data Transport and Integration – real-time data must be made available across the enterprise. For assets geographically dispersed over large distances, regional replication of the data could speed up these name-and-retrieve searches.
- Data Visualization – data acquired from smart sensors, devices, and applications should be viewed on digital screens and dashboards.
- Scalability & Security – deploying large-scale data platforms present several challenges such as cyber security issues, as does complying with different country regulations.
The Solution: AspenTech Inmation Connects Real-time Data from Hundreds of Sources
Ultimately, BASF selected AspenTech Inmation, a software solution that provides real-time, bi-directional connections that aligned well with the BASF’s IT organization and its system integration standards. The solution prioritizes the transport of compressed and encrypted data in near real-time to handle a wide array of data types (time series, text information, alarms or events, etc.) and can be set up and replicated very quickly in different world regions to speed up access for local users. In addition to this core capability, the solution embeds technologies such as data-driven digital dashboards, HTML5 and streaming analytics.
"The AspenTech Inmation solution is currently installed and working at BASF sites on four continents, distributed over 50 computers, services dozens of facilities worldwide, and connects with hundreds of different distributed BASF data sources."
Dr. Michael Krauss, Senior Automation Manager at BASF SE
AspenTech Inmation provides multi-layered information that brokers BASF’s multitude of data sources from the array of data-consuming applications. Using digitization and data, BASF was able to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its processes while creating additional value for its customers.
(Image source: BASF)