Yokogawa Electric Corporation revealed the results of its latest survey to gain further insights into the current and future state of industrial autonomy in process manufacturing. The survey highlights that the number of manufacturers moving forward with industrial autonomy is clearly increasing, and that there is a high awareness of the expected benefits on environmental sustainability.
The global survey was conducted in seven markets (China, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, SE Asia and the US) amongst 534 respondents from 390 companies in the chemical & petrochemical, life sciences, oil & gas, power generation, and renewable energy industry sectors.
Regarding environmental sustainability, 45% of the respondents anticipate that industrial autonomy will have a significant impact and another 36% expect a moderate impact in the areas of dynamic energy optimization, water management, and emissions reduction. In contrast, only 6% expect industrial autonomy to have no impact at all on environmental sustainability.
The implementation of industrial autonomy projects is starting to gather pace, with 51% of the respondents surveyed now scaling deployment across multiple facilities and business functions and another 19% reporting they have deployed in at least one facility or business function.
While productivity improvements in production and manufacturing processes are expected to deliver the highest return on investment (ROI) in digital transformation over the next three years – with 31% ranking this area first and a further 20% ranking it second – health, safety and environment is emerging as a key area of ROI, with 26% ranking it first (13%) or second (13%).
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, increasing remote operations capabilities represents a key factor in industrial autonomy. The survey reveals that one-third (33%) of manufacturers have deployed remote operations in single sites and 31% have implemented across multi-sites in connection to industrial autonomy.
C-level executives play a key role in plant-level autonomous planning, with the survey respondents saying that the Chief Executive Officer (38%), Chief Technical Officer (34%), and Chief Information Officer (31%) are the primary final decision-makers. These decision-makers are supported by senior level technical professionals, with 43% saying the Chief Digital Officer has significant influence on plant level autonomy decisions.
“It is gratifying to see from our latest survey that environmental sustainability is emerging as an area in which the shift from industrial automation to industrial autonomy, which we call IA2IA, is expected to make a significant positive impact,” explained Tsuyoshi Abe, senior vice president and head of the Marketing Headquarters at Yokogawa Electric. “Overall, however, our survey also indicates that one of the biggest challenges in implementing industrial autonomy is the lack of a clear roadmap, with almost half seeing it as their most significant challenge. This underlines the importance of a defined roadmap to industrial autonomy and finding the right partner to develop it.”
The survey report can be downloaded from the following website: https://www.yokogawa.com/ia2ia/