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KBC announces Co-Pilot – a second pair of expert eyes on process performance

Feb 6, 2017

KBC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yokogawa Electric Corporation, is today pleased to announce the launch of the KBC Co-Pilot Program. Just as the co-pilot of an aircraft is there to assist the pilot with additional knowledge and to step in and help at times of intense activity, the KBC Co-Pilot is there to remotely support the plant with expertise and insight supplementing the plant’s own capabilities and resources, thus assuring that it achieves its full potential.

This is tangible evidence of the KBC Production Core vision, which entails automation of all aspects of production operations with integrated technology and consulting best practices that leverage the cloud. The KBC Co-Pilot Program will assure asset owners and operators that their simulation and planning tools are always up to date, and that the actions taken by their operators result in best possible process performance and safe operation of equipment within recognized limits now and into the future.

The KBC Co-Pilot Program is ideally suited to a process operation where one or more of the following is true:

  • An inexperienced work force causes the operation to miss plan
  • The plant is not confident that their operating plan is always realistic and achievable
  • Engineers do not always have the tools and knowledge to maximize profit or reduce risk
  • Operators do not always automatically know when they are deviating from plan

The value created and the risk mitigated from a KBC Co-Pilot Program will result in significant economic returns of between five (5) and ten (10) times that of the investment from a combination of increased throughput, higher value yields, improved plant reliability and lower operating costs.

KBC has recently integrated its operations with those of two other Yokogawa business units – Industrial Knowledge and Soteica Visual Mesa – to bring together all KBC Co-Pilot Program capabilities under one organization. The first KBC Co-Pilot solution is for the remote performance monitoring of oil refinery facilities such as crude distillation units, fluid catalytic crackers, and catalytic reformers. Key elements of this solution are:

  • Real-time data connection to the plant using Web*Technician data-as-a-service
  • Automatic recalibration of Petro-SIM rigorous simulation model against actual plant data
  • Automatic LP vector updates from recalibrated model
  • Regular health check of unit performance vs plan and vs potential
  • Consulting and assistance to implement recommended changes
  • Reset of baseline operating plan due to major changes in external impacts such as economics, demand, asset capabilities.

A number of other KBC Co-Pilot Programs will be released shortly that focus on the likes of supply chain optimization, production optimization, energy management, operator effectiveness and automation. They will apply across all process operations including oil and gas production, oil refining, LNG and gas processing, petrochemicals, bulk and specialty chemicals and power generation.

“This is a particularly exciting time for us at KBC. We have always taken a holistic approach in harnessing people, processes, and technology to deliver a strong competitive advantage to our clients. We can now do this at a completely different and sustainable scale independent of time and location by combining KBC’s core technologies and expertise with Yokogawa’s automation technology and recent investments in KBC’s cloud-based technologies,” said Andy Howell, CEO at KBC. “Helping and empowering our clients to meet their business goals is KBC’s mission. With KBC Co-Pilot we are taking a real step closer to delivering to clients the true potential that the KBC Production Core holds. That is a great feeling.”

“The unique capabilities of the KBC Co-Pilot Program means for the first time, clients can be confident that the investments they make today will pay off instantly and be sustained for the long term,” said Simon Wright, Executive Vice President of IT and IIoT Services at KBC. “We have successfully provided real-time data as a cloud service for over 15 years as Industrial Evolution and we are now part of the enlarged KBC. Hundreds of the world’s leading process companies already connect to our Web*Technician service to share live process data with their partners to meet their business goals. We know how to navigate the new world of “cloud” in an industrial environment, how to securely and reliably manage client data, and how to apply it to knowledge-based systems and experts. This combination brings new value by giving our customers anytime and anywhere access to KBC technologies and consultants.”

Read more about Co-Pilot.

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