Digital twin collaboration advances brownfield process operations management

Siemens and Bentley's collaboration of PlantSight links the design/build and operate/maintain aspects of oil and gas assets and other brownfield applications.

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media October 15, 2018

Siemens and Bentley Systems have worked to bring plant operational data and 3-D modeling together. They announced the latest incarnation of that effort Oct. 15 at the annual Bentley Year In Infrastructure event in London.

PlantSight creates a digital twin for the design and operation of brownfield process plants to, as company officials said in a press release, “Synchronize with both physical reality and engineering data, creating a holistic digital context for consistently understood digital components across disparate data sources, for any operating plant.”

The key opportunity, officials from both companies stressed, was the chance to turn design data into an operational model that could be updated in real time. This provides an operation model that continues to evolve as new assets are added or as operational conditions change. It was one of several technology announcements during the press conference that precedes the opening of Year In Infrastructure, Bentley’s annual event that celebrates global engineering and construction achievements around the world.

“On the total plant lifecycle, 90% of the costs are in operations. This is where PlantSight can help,” said Eckard Eberle, CEO of process automation for Siemens. “We can really create even more value for our customers when we can combine engineering data with operations data.”That combination of data for process manufacturing brings the concept of design/build and operate/maintain aspects closer together. While officials from both companies agree adoption is still lagging, they believe PlantSight creates opportunities, particularly in brownfield operations.

“A digital twin really does provide insights into plant operations,” said Bentley executive Ken Adamson. “We have Siemens’ expertise on the functional side and Bentley’s experience on the 3-D side. This is a new solution built from the ground up.

“Eberle added,” Now on the virtual side, we can go into the brownfield solutions much more efficiently.

“In a joint press release, company officials said the introduction of PlantSight will “be hosted on Siemens’ cloud-based open IoT operating system, MindSphere. (It) will combine Bentley’s advanced asset performance software capabilities with Siemens’ complementary technology and service expertise to empower power plant owners to take full advantage of digitalization, which helps improve maintenance operations and planning.”

Siemens and Bentley Systems have extended their strategic alliance, with a $100 million investment by Siemens in Bentley operation and a cooperation on a number of operational fronts. For example, Bentley and Siemens also have announced an integrated advanced performance management solution for power plants.

“Using intelligent models based on predictive analytics, the solution takes data from multiple sources, applies domain and analytical expertise, and then seamlessly integrates into a customer’s existing computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)/enterprise asset management (EAM) environment to improve maintenance planning, reduce outages, and increase workforce efficiency,” officials from both companies said in a press release.Bentley Systems also announced an expanded collaboration with Microsoft. Bentley’s ProjectWise platform is now integrated with Microsoft 365. The collaboration will help automate workflows across projects that utilize Microsoft 365 and the Azure cloud service.

Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineering, CFE Media,