All you need to stay in the KNO
The highly demanding environment of a constantly evolving, state-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure has inspired a solution that transforms the way a pioneering PIPE-FLO customer designs, builds, operates, and maintains its facilities.
The solution leverages the powerful hydraulic modeling, predictive analytics, and Digital Twin-enabling capabilities of PIPE-FLO®. Through this solution, the company can continuously adapt its facilities—changing its infrastructure to meet needs on a daily basis, if necessary—and maintain its competitive leadership.
The Fortune 50 company’s architectural and engineering firms first used PIPE-FLO to design the systems that transport fluids and gases at its manufacturing facilities. But, over time, the company has harnessed PIPE-FLO’s predictive analytics power in new ways. By integrating it with its demand forecasts, the company can develop superior strategies for capacity expansion based on modeling multiple demand scenarios. It can also use PIPE-FLO for troubleshooting and addressing performance issues. PIPE-FLO has become an interactive, predictive tool that helps the company optimally manage the full lifecycle of its facilities’ piping systems.
What’s more, by joining PIPE-FLO to SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) data, the company envisions PIPE-FLO as part of a Digital Twin: a dashboard and virtual model of its physical systems that offers actionable insights in real time throughout those systems’ lifecycles.
As a nimble and highly competitive global organization, the company had always been scrupulous about designing its systems to accommodate the dynamism of its manufacturing processes. For over two decades, it relied on PIPE-FLO as a key hydraulics modeling tool that enabled them to design and build those systems. Then, something happened that was totally unprecedented: a process change caused a capacity overload.
The technical team responsible for tackling the issue identified a need for a proactive, predictive capacity management system driven by load management forecasts to “constantly stay in front of demand” and satisfy the changing needs of the internal customers that depend on the manufacturing environment. The team developed an automation roadmap to do “a better job of tracking demands on our systems and modeling the capabilities of those systems,” says its senior engineer. “We saw, overnight, that PIPE-FLO was going to be central to making that happen.
The company’s highly complex environments include thousands of facilities systems, with each system characterized by hundreds of connections. Its front-end load management database manages these systems, but it doesn’t perform hydraulic modeling.
So, the company linked PIPE-FLO to its load forecast database. PIPE-FLO analyzes demand projections and helps determine whether demand will exceed the system’s capabilities, and when. Its insights help the technical team identify gap-closing options, and recommend system and process reconfiguration and optimization strategies, answering the critical question “will our current system support anticipated increases in demand—or is significant retrofitting or even a new system required?”
“With PIPE-FLO,” the lead engineer says, “we’re doing predictive, forward-looking capacity analysis.”
What’s more, the company is planning to create a real-time solution leveraging PIPE-FLO’s predictive analytics that’s able to process capacity demand as it changes, as part of a Digital Twin that virtually models real-time system performance. The plan has three major objectives: reduce engineering costs, better utilize staff, and optimize systems operation and maintenance.
A significant return on investment is already apparent since the solution’s deployment. “We’ve avoided millions of dollars in capital costs,” says the lead engineer. “The amount of money we’ve saved in capital expenses far exceeds the investment we made.” Moreover, the company has moved from standards-driven “recipe-book design” to data-driven, modeling-enabled “intelligent engineering design.”
With its innovative use of PIPE-FLO, the company demonstrates how industries with dynamic, constantly churning manufacturing environments—such as pharmaceutical companies, automobile and heavy equipment manufacturers, and aerospace companies—can use powerful predictive analytics tools as a major weapon in the day-to-day, interactive optimization of the total lifecycle of systems and infrastructure.
`“Using PIPE-FLO as a proactive capacity analysis tool really pays off,” the team leader says. “It’s helping us navigate through this ever-changing environment.”