"We see higher demand for advanced simulation technologies in the R&D, engineering and operations space."

Could you introduce your role at Siemens in a few words?

My role is to manage our lead business unit, Process Automation, for the ASEAN economic region, out of Singapore. My second responsibility is to oversee our dedicated software portfolio for customers in the process industries, and this extends beyond ASEAN to also include Australia, Korea, and Japan.

Siemens and Bentley Systems will build the first petrochemical digital twin in Indonesia for Chandra Asri. Could you share more details about this milestone?

Chandra Asri is the largest integrated petrochemical complex in Indonesia, the plant being over 20 years old. Together with our partner, Bentley Systems, in 2020 we began a project of brownfield enablement transforming the mostly analog and paper-based documentation at the plant into a holistic, integrated digital framework. The so-called digital twin is a digital application of the physical asset; to create a 3D model of the plant, we used laser scanning technologies to capture the assets and convert them to a digital format. Once the data is collected, organized, contextualized and visualized, Chandra Asri will benefit from improved asset performance, reduced costs and greater operations transparency leading to better and faster decision-making processes.

Could you dive into what the process automation portfolio covers?

Siemens is one of the few, if not the only one, that offers our customers in process industries a comprehensive portfolio along the entire plant lifecycle, bridging the physical with the virtual world. Under the business unit of Process Automation, we offer Automation Systems and Software, Measurement Intelligence (Process Instrumentation and Analytics), Industrial Communication and Identification, and Power Supply Systems. Increasingly more important in terms of the value-add to our customers is also our lifecycle services’ portfolio, including consulting, implementation and optimization services. This is complemented with a powerful layer of digital solutions helping our customers to leverage data collected from their operations for performance improvement. Through this holistic portfolio, we support customers both in their horizontal integration across the value chain, and in their vertical integration, from the bottom field level, up to operating, control, engineering, management, and data integration. Siemens has undergone its own digital transformation to become one of the 10 largest software companies in the world and massively growing our digital offer. For the process industry, we help customers integrate the different stages of the plant lifecyle and introduce a “digital thread” to bridge the physical asset with the digital twin and establish a continuous feedback loop to enhance asset reliability and performance.

What are some growth pillars judging from a demand perspective?

There are several interesting trends. For starters, we see higher demand for advanced simulation technologies in the R&D, engineering and operations space. Siemens acquired PSE in 2019, a UK-based, highly specialized software firm providing sophisticated models for simulation and optimization purposes. Furthermore, our engineering and asset lifecycle management platform, called COMOS, also sees a very positive response. Besides these established software products, we also noted higher demand for microservices that we call “digi apps,” addressing very specific challenges: if a customer is interested only in how their pumps are performing or in process instrumentation data intelligence, these niche applications are fast and easy to deploy, bringing a quick return on investment.

What are some key adoption drivers?

The pandemic led to a big jump forward in awareness and appreciation of digital technologies. Our customers’ main prioritise are safety and business continuity. Those who had invested in digital solutions early enough also managed to overcome the crisis. Furthermore, dependence on specific individuals who may reach their retirement age or pursue new career opportunities outside of the current organization is a risk to many customers if such individuals hold key operational knowledge. Relevant information therefore needs to be secured and digitally stored to ensure its containment and protection. As for other drivers, efficiency and safety have always been relevant and perhaps are becoming even more so today. Compliance and increased awareness of environmental regulations is also driving digital adoption, as companies need to document, track, and ideally have real-time access to spot issues or even prevent potential deviations.

How can Siemens help Jurong Island players stay competitive?

Jurong Island is a typical brownfield scenario with few greenfield investments. Siemens collaborates with many of the Jurong Island players to drive brownfield enablement and transformation with the purpose of enhancing plant performance. In Singapore, a big concern for the industry is also to improve environmental efficiencies and sustainability, and here we help customers reduce emissions and optimize resource consumption. Together with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), we have also been involved in developing SIRI (Smart Industry Readiness Index), introducing a structured approach to help customers transform their operations towards Industry 4.0.