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Nova Systems Insights - Digitalisation and Safety

Nova Systems Insights - Digitalisation and Safety

  • Nov 15, 2018

Digital strategies are a hot topic these days, with every business and industrial sector striving to determine how digitalisation can impact the bottom line.

Doug Hollett, Senior Energy Advisor, & BJ Martin, Safety & Certification Lead – Co-Lead Authors

The technology can be ripe, but if it is not integrated it can result in fast and expensive value erosion.  Integrating across different functions and operations might seem daunting, but if done correctly, the prize is streamlined operations, multi-layered efficiencies, and big bottom-line financial benefits.

“Digitalisation is a key enabler to even higher safety standards”

Laurent Troger, President of Bombardier Transportation, International Transport Forum at the OECD, March 2018

Perhaps less talked about is the potential for impact of effective operational digitalisation on safety.  Safety is at the top of every company priority list, but we often lack the durable tools and insight to make robust, lasting decisions.  Precise opportunities depend on the sector, but fundamentally improving safety results means removing people from harm’s way wherever practicable. This means giving personnel the right data and analysis to make informed decisions, balancing multiple operational factors and considerations.  It also requires a firm commitment to a systems based understanding of how the entire operation fits and works together, using sensor data and information simultaneously fused from multiple trusted and diverse sources.  Done correctly, integrated digital operations using fit for purpose data will enhance situational awareness, leading to improved safety-related decisions.

“Companies need to set a strategic ambition for digital, challenge orthodoxies in the way they work, invest in building digital capabilities while focusing on ROI, and shift cultures and ways of working.”

Digital Australia: Seizing opportunities from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, By Simon Blackburn, Michaela Freeland, and Dorian Gärtner, McKinsey & Company Report, May 2017

By example, the underground mining sector is more rapidly moving towards autonomous underground systems, with attendant challenges in communications, tracking and personnel positioning.   Integrated and trusted digital implementation means architecting and assuring multiple sensors and connected systems, with the ability to rapidly and remotely re-task equipment to highest-value operations and routing.  By minimising human operators in trucks, and removing personnel from physical operating zones, there is less risk of injury and accident.

In oil and gas plant operations, digitalisation of multiple systems can include flow rate, pressure, and volume measurements and calculations.  Digital models and remote management of compressors, wellheads and gathering systems means fewer people on the road doing scheduled and often unneeded physical checkups; you only send staff out when needed and can instead focus on the highest value work. The list of digital control potential goes on – importantly, the safety benefits reverberate throughout your business and with your reputation.

Learnings can be applied from the aerospace industry, where leading companies such as Boeing have gained long-standing benefits by assuring complex systems to engineered requirements and operational concepts before successfully deploying them into the field.  From our test pilot co-founder through to our clients in the high hazard industries we now serve – Nova Systems appreciates, better than most, that safety has to be done right the first time.  Done correctly, digitalisation can help to enable this to happen.

The above Insight has been published from Nova Systems Energy & Resources program. For further information regarding Digitalisation and Safety, contact Tim Anderson, Program Manager – Energy & Resources


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NOVA SYSTEMS INSIGHTS – Digitalisation and Safety

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