Yokogawa Solution Service Corporation, a subsidiary of Yokogawa Electric Corporation that is responsible for the company's control business in Japan, announces the commencement in February 2022 of a joint research project with the Osaka City Waterworks Bureau that will verify and evaluate the effectiveness of anomaly detection, operational support, and semi-autonomous operations by utilizing Yokogawa simulation and AI technology at water treatment and distribution facilities. This research will also aim to establish effective methods for the use of simulators in human resources training.
With the aim of improving its responsiveness to accidents and other incidents, the Osaka City Waterworks Bureau has been working to establish the centralized management and monitoring of operations at its water treatment and distribution facilities. As this requires advanced skills and capabilities, there is a need for the development of an effective operator support system that will enable swift anomaly detection, and methods to accelerate the training of plant personnel.
This project will entail the use of Yokogawa simulation technology to construct a virtual plant called a digital twin* that will utilize actual process data, analytical data, and facility information. Data from this digital twin and the actual plant will be compared to increase the accuracy of the simulation, and to verify whether it is possible to detect any anomalies with AI and notify operators before such a malfunction actually occurs. It will also be verified whether it is possible to predict important indicators and give appropriate operation instructions after an anomaly is detected, and whether semi-autonomous operations are feasible. In addition, the research will focus on the establishment of effective methods for human resources training using the simulator's instructor function. This joint research will continue until the end of March 2024.
The research will explore how to provide operational support through workload reduction, work optimization, and risk avoidance, and look for ways to build an emergency-response training environment that will utilize a simulator for self-training and automatic evaluation. Together with the Osaka City Waterworks Bureau, the company will build an optimized operating model for water treatment and distribution facilities. And by verifying the effectiveness of semi-autonomous operations of treatment and distribution facilities, Yokogawa will facilitate the transition from industrial automation to industrial autonomy (IA2IA).
Utilizing the results obtained through this research and the company’s extensive experience and know-how in water supply and water treatment, Yokogawa will help to find solutions to problems faced by the water industry, including aging facilities, deteriorating profitability, and a declining number of engineers.
* A model in which a real-world situation is reproduced through the statistical and data analysis of a range of data gathered in the real world
Yokogawa technologies and products used
- Dynamic simulator technology and education/operational training technology: OmegaLand integrated dynamic simulation environment, Mirror Plant online plant simulator
- AI technology
- Operational support technology: Digital Plant Operation Intelligence (DPI) quality stabilization system and Exapilot operational efficiency improvement support package
- Untreated water analysis technology: FlowCam8000 flow imaging microscope