Talking Digital Transformation at WCEAM 2018

Adrian Park leads the global business development for Hexagon PPM’s information management solutions. He will give a keynote speech at the World Congress on Engineering Asset Management (WCEAM 2018) on the topic “Digital Transformation and Leveraging the Digital Twin through the Asset Lifecycle.”

Our GetSmart! Blog Team recently spoke to Adrian about his upcoming presentation.


GetSmart Blog: You will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming World Congress on Engineering Asset Management in Stavanger next week. Could tell us a little bit about the conference and about your presentation?

Adrian: The 13th annual World Congress on Engineering Asset Management is being held Sept. 24-26 with the theme “Digital Assets and Public Infrastructures in the Age of Digitalization.” The conference will be organized together with the International Society of Engineering Asset Management (ISEAM), which is a worldwide interest organization in this field. This is a renowned conference with participants from all over the world, representing both scientific institutions and commercial companies.

My presentation is going to highlight how a high-quality, digital description of the facility design and configuration, the “digital twin”, providesa cornerstone for digital transformation and the introduction of data centric, new way of working. I will be looking at how this can be provided for brownfield facilities that might be 10 – 20 years or even older and have little structureddata by capturing information from existing documents and data sources. For new projects I will be looking at international standardization efforts and best practices to establish a cloud-based, digital twin from day one on projects that can be used by operations and eliminate the costly handover process.

I will be looking at how the digital twin can be augmented through interoperability with other systems, such as CMMS, data historians etc. These can promote Operational Excellence, reduce errors and enable better and faster decision making by providing the correct information in context to enable improved ways of working, improving efficiency and reducing risk. I will also look at how cloud-based orchestration and mobility platforms can enable plant floor workers to undertake work efficiently with cross-application compound applications. I will also examine how the maturing and convergence of many technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Sensor & Data Fusion, Image and Video Analytics, Visualization, Robotics and Drones, Edge Computing, and many more are enablers for radical change to the way work is performed on operating assets.

Digital Transformation and Digital Twin are both indeed quite the buzz words in the industry currently. What do these terms mean in the context of engineering asset management?

Digital transformation achieves step changes inbusiness efficiencies through fundamental improvements in the way business is done across the value chain, involving people, processes and technology. It requires us to break down the traditional walls that exist both between and within organizations, so that collaboration can occur across all stakeholders.

The Digital Twin is simply a digital representation of a physical asset. At a minimum, the digital twin may simply be a set of structured data and documents that fully describe the facility configuration, but can contain more sophisticated components, like 3D visualization, integration with operational systems, advanced analytics, and more. The goal of the digital twin is to provide a virtual representation of both the current and historic facility configuration along with related performance data.

Why is Digital Twin approach key for digital transformation?

The Digital Twin is a cornerstone for digital transformation. Without a complete, correct and consistent virtual description of the physical facility that can be trusted it is not possible to successfully implement new ways of working and new digital business models. If workers cannot rust the digital description of the facility they fall back on physical walk downs and private sources of information in their desk draws.

What future innovations are you looking forward to when it comes to asset management (AI, robotics, etc.)?

We are already working with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applied to identifying information for brownfield facilities.
OCR technology has limitations, especially when it comes to the digitizing of symbols in schematic drawings. Recognizing symbols in an image file is an ideal challenge for machine learning, and that’s just what we’re working on.

As a first step, we trained an algorithm to recognize symbols. Running this over a PID will tell us where we will find symbols, in general. As a second step, another machine learning process takes place and enables the algorithm to identify symbol classifications, comparing them against a catalog.

The next step we will do is to define a method to identify labels that belong to a symbol, to be able to transfer tag number labels into symbol properties. We are also planning to identify topologies in PIDs, which will provide further intelligence into Brownfield PIDs.

We’re also researching the use of artificial intelligence to classify plant components in a laser scan. After feeding it with examples, an algorithm searches the scans and identifies components such as valves and pressure gauges. It is amazing what AI can do in a point cloud where light conditions don’t play a role.  These are the first step towards what we eventually may enable us to automate the location of tags within laser point clouds assisted by the topology identified in P&IDs. 

These are just a few of the areas where we see the potential to implement AI.

Besides digital transformation, what would you name as the next top three trends in engineering asset information management?

There is increased focus on standardization of requirements to reduce costs and risks, especially in the oil and gas sector. One area that has been successful has been the standardization of asset lifecycle information handover requirements via the CFIHOS (Capital Facilities Information Handover Specification) initiative. With handover typically costing 2-4% of total investment costs, it is not surprising that this has got the attention of the industry. We at Hexagon PPM have been playing an active role in the CFIHOS standardization efforts for over 2 years and are proud that our HxGN SDx™ platform is the first and, so far, only Asset Lifecycle Information Management System to formally claim compliance.

Enterprise workforce mobility, providing immediate access to information on the plant floor where it is needed in the context of the work being executed, is another major trend. Cloud based orchestration can typically pull data from multiple backend enterprise systems such as the Digital Twin, maintenance management and data historians, to provide relevant data to support the specific task being executed. This trend is driven by the maturing of relevant technologies and the “big shift handover”, with the entry of millennials into theworkforce with clear expectations of how work should be done. We already can already provide online mobile access and offline apps will follow.

IT/OT convergence will be another trend and arguably another cornerstone for digital transformation in the process industries. This will enable us to couple the increasing numbers of sensors in the field with the Digital Twin, processing information at the Edge where needed to only send the resulting alert to the field center. We in Hexagon PPM are well placed here being able to deploy the Hexagon Xalt framework for digital transformation that includes Edge connectivity for devices; Edge computing and Analytics and Edge Networking.

Adrian Park
Adrian leads the global business development for Hexagon PPM’s information management solutions. He will be giving a keynote speech at the WCEAM 2018 on the topic “Digital Transformation and Leveraging the Digital Twin through the Asset Lifecycle.”



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