The Case for Cloud-Based Engineering and Simulation Software

July 12, 2022
By providing low-risk training, always up-to-date cybersecurity, and no need to manage on-site technology, Emerson’s DeltaV Simulation Cloud illustrates why more industrial companies are moving to cloud-based operations technology software.

Not so long ago, the use of cloud-based software for production operations was not considered viable by most manufacturers. But as more manufacturers move front-office technologies to the cloud and become more familiar with cloud-based software such as Salesforce, Dropbox, and data analytics, industry’s acceptance of cloud software has grown.

To learn more about this, Automation World connected with Chris Radebaugh, lifecycle program services manager at Emerson, to better understand how industrial companies are expanding their use of cloud-based software in the operations technology (OT) space.

Sharing Emerson’s experience in this area with the company’s DeltaV Simulation Cloud software, Radebaugh said, “The need to train personnel on complex plant processes is critical. However, training directly on production systems is very risky and, in many cases, not possible. Due to these circumstances, offline simulation and engineering is a key strategy to manage configurations and train personnel safely and effectively on production processes. DeltaV Simulation Cloud is the solution of choice for training and simulation before changes are rolled out to production, providing an offline, globally accessible, 24x7x365 solution for DeltaV Simulate and DeltaV Simulate with Mimic.”

Radebaugh noted that DeltaV Simulation Cloud can be used by companies in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical, specialty chemical, pulp and paper, and mining industries. “All of the modules and function blocks available in on-premises DeltaV software are available on DeltaV Simulation cloud,” he said, “whether you are modifying a control module connected to a valve on your continuous process or an equipment module to organize and execute a segment of your batch process.”

Listen to the full podcast discussion with Emerson's Chris Radebaugh about DeltaV Simulation Cloud.

Pharmaceutical and oil & gas applications

In the pharmaceutical industry, a key business factor is adherence to tight production schedules to ensure the timely release of products to the public. This means that verifying configurations and training operators can be an unseen aspect of successful product releases and can add time to the schedule. “DeltaV Simulation Cloud is the right choice for such needs because it’s a scalable, flexible, always-on environment to change and train when you are,” said Radebaugh.

For the oil and gas industries, DeltaV Simulation Cloud can be used to modify configurations and act as a standards library reference for individual production plants, he said. Also, Emerson’s soon-to-be released SIS (safety instrumented systems) support will allow oil and gas companies to manage their safety configuration in the same secure cloud environment.

Specific cloud-based benefits

A major driver behind industry’s growing acceptance of cloud-based software is the fact that on-premises systems require plant managers and training personnel to manage system access and maintain the hardware and software themselves, which may divert focus from the direct business objectives of the company.

“With DeltaV Simulation Cloud, users are freed from many of the costly access, security, and maintenance concerns of an on-premises system,” Radebaugh said. “Installation, setup, and access are standard. This means there are no physical infrastructure costs, no engineering design and build, no need to manage virtual machines or workstations, and no need to worry about power consumption or hardware end-of-life strategies. As your hosting provider, Emerson takes care of all of these for you. We’ve gone to great lengths to make DeltaV Simulation Cloud a turnkey solution, alleviating the complexities of traditional DeltaV on-premises ownership concerns. As a DeltaV Simulation Cloud user, simply order from a set of capabilities and our team will work with you to ensure we architect and maintain the solution to your expectations.”

Another benefit to cloud-based software is its scalability to adapt to business requirements. Explaining the scalability of DeltaV Simulation Cloud, Radebaugh said the software is structured around three offerings: “DeltaV Simulate, DeltaV Simulate with Mimic, and Standalone. All are offered as one-year subscriptions. The first two offerings are scalable systems that can accommodate up to 15,000 device signal tags (DSTs) and up to 16 concurrent users.  DeltaV Simulation Cloud Standalone is designed for those customers seeking a smaller system with full DeltaV Simulate with Mimic capabilities in a small environment at our lowest cost. This system allows for one concurrent user and up to 1,000 DSTs.”

As for security—a concern with any connected technology—Radebaugh said the security of DeltaV Simulation Cloud is “ensured by our hosting facility’s ISO 27001 security certificate. ISO 27001 is a comprehensive cybersecurity certification, renewed annually, that ensures protection via a set of user access and defense-in depth policies and procedures, as well as monitoring and response requirements.”

Follow this link for more information on DeltaV Simulation Cloud.

Listen to the full podcast discussion with Emerson's Chris Radebaugh about DeltaV Simulation Cloud.
About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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