Research following last year’s Computers in Manufacturing (CIM) Show forecasts that industry will invest over £3.1billion in IT in 1997 – the highest spend since 1990.
85% of visitors to the Show said that integration of their computer and control systems with industrial hardware would now be the major focus. However, process IT applications were less well developed than those of discrete manufacturing.
Mark Napier, from CIM, says: `The challenge for the process industries is to produce quality products on time, in full, with minimum stocks, whilst integrating with the whole supply chain’.
Terry Lazenby, from BP International, says: `Working together to invent new methodologies is the way forward. We’ve just come up with a way of optimising process flow design for oil and gas pipes.
`The visualisation technology comes from an IT vendor, the process modelling from BP and the optimisation tools from Imperial College. This is how we want IT suppliers to work’.
Ian Parks, from Benchmark Research, says: `Individual tailoring and user involvement with MRP packages in the user industry are the key enablers’.