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Bringing Physical Assets Online: A Beginner’s Guide

August 24, 2022 4 minute read

Have you noticed how almost no one asks for directions anymore?

It’s because we’re no longer lost. The digitalisation of our daily lives is becoming second nature, to the extent, one could almost forget we ever had it different. With smartphones, code and data weaved into the fabric of modern life, the analogue ways of only a few years ago seem like ancient history.

But not all parts of society have kept up with the developments. Take a trip offshore, and you’ll realise how heavily many energy assets still rely on manual processes. These megastructures have the substantial potential not to become digital laggards.

Realising what huge gains the industry could get, Aize was born. The goal: To fundamentally change how capital-intensive projects and operations are performed.

Digitalise to empower the worker

Going digital is however not our goal in itself. Empowering the worker is.

Coming from the industry ourselves, we know just how much time is spent looking for information. We believe workers should be able to focus on critical tasks. In digitalised processes, every industry worker stays in the know, much better positioned to excel at their job.

So what does “digitalise” actually mean?

The heavy-asset industry needs a digital revolution because of the sheer scale of the structures. With conventional tools, it’s impossible to get a quick overview like you would on, say, a car, where you pop open the hood and instantly get a read. The assets are too big, too complex.

A lack of data is not the problem – it’s about finding meaningful connections. The average energy asset comes with countless sensors, ample instrumentation and a wide range of third-party apps. But for the most part, there’s little or no interaction between the separate data sources. It can sometimes feel like a crossing between a mosaic and a Rubik’s cube.

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Above: The digital twin - Assets at your fingertips

Getting full use of the digital twin is the remedy. A new world opens up by having your asset at your fingertips – sensor data included. In the Aize workspace, the 3D visualisation, advanced information modelling and a Google-like search experience help workers understand data in their actual context.

Beyond the digital twin

A digital twin is a virtual representation of your asset. Not only is it a 3D model, but it also displays real-time sensor data for every connected component. It’s essentially a mirror image of your physical asset.

The digital twin can be accessed via PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other internet-connected devices.

Getting there involves a phase of digital onboarding, where step 1 is to gather all the asset’s information. Then the search begins: Identifying meaningful connections. Filling in the gaps. Manually, it can feel like organising a bowl of spaghetti. But with the right software and know-how, it’s done in days.

At Aize we tend to focus less on defining what the digital twin is, and more on how we can utilise it to help industrial people get their job done - more efficiently.

The shared workspace unlocks the workforce (and the savings)

There’s no harmony when orchestra members read from different pages. The same is true for the heavy-asset industry. In an environment where spreadsheets often circulate as email attachments, staying on top of the latest developments can be hopeless. Time is money at sea, too, and the costs that come with out-of-sync team members are enormous.

Again, Aize comes to the rescue. The interface is a cloud-based environment shared by the entire organisation. It means you get a workspace where your data and people can collaborate in real-time. All the needed information is transparent and accessible. Everybody has access to the same data, which is kept up-to-date and synced across the entire organisation.

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Above: Single view, single source of truth.

Among the more tangible payoffs are the elimination of unnecessary paperwork and physical meetings. It frees up time for every industry worker to do their actual job. Whether in projects or operations: You can now let workers coordinate capital-intensive projects together in real time.

The digital twin empowers contractors, vendors and partners to make unified decisions based on the same information. This shift to a “single source of truth” is a big deal, as it eliminates much of the confusion and inefficiencies that bogged down operations earlier.

So, why start with the oil and gas industry? We focus on our domain because we genuinely believe the change in the oil and gas industry is essential to changing the energy sector. The technology behind Aize can be adapted to work for all kinds of energy production and will be crucial for the renewables industry.

Building a more sustainable future will take time. We’re doing our part in speeding up the process by starting in the industry we believe is most influential at the moment.

Real-time monitoring of asset health

Running an operating facility can be capital-intensive and requires solid control over maintenance and safety. A collaborative, shared workspace brings entire heavy assets to your operator’s fingertips.

Aize gives you a revolutionary insight into your assets’ health. Side by side, you can compare real-world footage with your digital replica to record and assess corrosion levels and how it impacts components. The same maintenance and inspection concept applies for all systems, areas and processes of your asset, with various layers of information.

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This is massively helpful for maintenance planning. You can set alarms to go off at certain thresholds, you can predict when a component needs replacing, and you can tag your coworkers and initiate a dialogue – within the system you’re dealing with. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you were going to survey the foundation of a house, you’d gather around the foundation. A collaborative workspace allows you to do just that, only virtually.

Digitalisation is here to stay

Much like you and I engage with the physical and technical infrastructure of a city, so can industry workers engage with their work environment. The ball is already rolling, and those who have pioneered the development will not go back to the old ways.

It might sound like a big move, but it is easy to transition to the digital twin. Just team up with a digitalisation partner, and they will do most of the hard work.

You’ll soon be up and running with a potent workspace, where you can easily search and collaborate on any device. Enjoy detailed visualisations that create tremendous time savings for engineers, planners, and others. Let your team focus their attention on high-value tasks.

Digitalisation is here and now, transforming every stage of heavy asset lifecycles to build and operate efficiently, sustainably and profitably. Welcome to an energy industry that works better.

Do you have any questions?

We would love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to us at any time.

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Mads Gudim Burheim

Post written by Mads Gudim Burheim

Mads worked as a journalist and project manager in Aller Media and Schibsted for 15 years before joining Aize as Content Manager in 2021. He loves writing, travelling and living in Oslo.

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