The Benefits of Virtual Environments

While the ARDI server is intended to provide asset information to all levels of your business, our ARDI-VE virtual environment client designed for operators, engineers and management.

The main objective of ARDI-VE is to help interpret the large amounts of data you have coming in to your system, and to understand how that data is changing.

It’s specific advantages are…

Improved Awareness

Although traditional HMIs/SCADA systems are still invaluable, they tend to have some limitations…

  • They can only be efficiently used if someone already knows the page layout – if you’re new to site, it takes a lot of process knowledge to find a particular asset on your HMI system.
  • They show limited windows on your site – an operator may spend 90% of their time on two or three different screens that cover 20% of the plant, while in the mean time something major is building on the other screens they aren’t observing
  • 2D visualisations aren’t always great at showing 3D information, or physical properties on moving equipment, which can make information difficult to interpret.
  • They have very limited access to history – they usually can only present historical information as charts, which can be difficult to interpret in complex systems.

ARDI-VE gets around these issues by…

  • Being completely searchable – if you know a couple of details about an asset, you should be able to locate it.
  • Allowing users full control of their perspective – they can view a single item, a circuit, or the entire plant. They can also choose which of the process variables they want to see, and filter out objects they don’t.
  • Providing information in its proper context and position, allowing it to be absorbed much faster and understood easily.
  • Allowing users to travel back in time, taking the entire virtual environment with them on their journey. Every asset returns to its recorded state – even your feeds from security cameras.

The Power to Playback, Summarise and Compare

  • Users can not only travel to a point in time, but play recordings back at their choice of speed. You want to review everything that happened during the night shift? You can play the whole thing back in two minutes. Want to review what went wrong with a start up sequence? Play it back at 1/4 speed to fine-tune your timings.
  • ARDI-VE allows you to compare properties against one-another. Want to see how your assets are performing compared to their name-plate ratings? To see how close drives are to pulling maximum current? To see how far valves are off setpoint? ARDI makes it easy to compare.
  • As well as comparing properties against one another, you can compare times. The plant not performing today? Why not compare it to a great shift last week – the differences between the two days will be highlighted for you to review.
  • You can also compare against contexts. Do you have or are you building a process simulator? You can compare actual results vs the predicted values. Compare your real-world actions against the plan, or against your best day. These quick visual comparisons can make it trivial to spot the causes of downtime and bottle-necks.

Powerful Training

ARDI-VE is scriptable – there is a simple XML-based language to control a users VE experience. You can use this to create process training modules, moving the camera, playing voice-overs, showing images, ramping values up and down – you can train staff in exactly how your process works and what it does.

While training videos are very effective, they have to be re-made and re-edited every time you change your procedures or process. ARDI-VEs scripts are simply text files – take a couple of minutes to make some changes, and your training module is up-to-date and significantly more effective than reading content from a manual.

Improved Communication

ARDI-VE is an extremely valuable communication tool. By gathering around  your virtual environment (physically or virtually), people are visually prompted to discuss and discover.

Users – often even new staff with no experience with the process – see discrepancies in the virtual environment and can identify and discuss them, improving inter-team and inter-department communication.

Not just that, it helps communicating with management too. Rather than having to explain problems or suggest solutions using historical graphs, you can go back in time and replay events, and even inject data to show proposed solutions. 

By visualising your assets the way they really are rather than simply through data-points on paper, your audience is more engaged and has a deeper, easier understanding what is being discussed.