Practical Industry 4.0: Just Do One Thing!

2 min. read

Practical Industry 4.0 says that you should look around the plant for your pain points. What are the things that cause the plant to shut down unexpectedly, or cause products to be made incorrectly.


The pundits are at it again. Industry 4.0 is coming! The Industrial Internet of Things will change the way you do business. You will see many changes. Industry 4.0 will make the company more money, make the business run more smoothly, and probably make beer run from the taps instead of water for all we know.

The problem is that getting from where you are to where the pundits promise you should be is hard, maybe impossible. This is because while you would like to do the things that Industry 4.0 says you should do; you still have to meet production targets that don’t allow you to stop running and change what you do and the way you do it.

You really don’t know what the concrete benefits of Industry 4.0 are, and you are being told that the only way to really achieve them is to do a big change project. This is not going to be approved at your level, and anyway it will take a long time to do, and probably be much like the mating of elephants, all stamping and bellowing for a couple of years. If you’re lucky when the project engineers have finished, you can hope you will see some real benefits from implementing Industry 4.0.

Inside a factory with a layout of digitalization

What you have to do is to identify something that you can apply the principles of Industry 4.0 to, that is simple enough and clear enough to give you a win with real added value. You want to implement Practical Industry 4.0.

Practical Industry 4.0 says that you should look around the plant for your pain points. What are the things that cause the plant to shut down unexpectedly, or cause products to be made incorrectly. If you are in either a batch or a continuous process plant, look around you: it’s mostly the valves.

Plants have all sorts of valves. There are shut-off valves, solenoid valves, stopcocks, Safety Instrumented System valves, and the all-important final control element—control valves. Control valve failure is one of the greatest single causes of unplanned plant shutdowns. If your plant shuts down unexpectedly, many things happen. In a batch plant, the batch that is running may be ruined. In a pharmaceutical plant, a batch might run for 30 days, and be worth many millions of dollars, and if the batch shuts down prematurely, all that money will be lost. In a continuous process plant, you can have missed production targets, and in both kinds of plants you can have concatenating failures—a failed valve causes another failure, which in turn, causes another failure. In a plastics plant, you may have a polymer reactor that becomes solidly filled with polymer and which must either be chipped out or replaced. The cost of these concatenated failures is enormous, and the time to restore the plant’s operation may be extraordinarily long.

A plant staff holding a valve in his hands to check it

So what can you do about your valves? You actually can do a lot. Most valves aren’t inspected frequently enough, and some are tested by partial-stroking. You can’t always tell whether it is the valve trim, or the actuator, or corrosion or abrasion inside the valve. And if you don’t inspect the valves, you will not be able to tell when they are about to fail. So, here’s how you implement Practical Industry 4.0. You know what the basic valve data is.

You can use UReason’s Control Valve App —a simple, stand-alone app that will take the data you already have and use it in an AI-based analysis engine to tell you which control valves will fail soon and when they fail. 

The Control Valve App (CVA) is based on UReason’s extensive expertise in valves, actuators, and the relevant processes. It uses intelligent models that combine domain knowledge and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide immediate detailed analysis of the process and recommendations for control valves. In the basic app, a PDF report is the output, while the premium version can have an online dashboard and provide job orders in the maintenance management system of the plant.

Are you interested to learn more about the benefits and functionalities of the app? You can download the brochure by filling in the form below.

Download Control Valve App brochure

Get more information about how Control Valve App can optimize your valve maintenance and operations.

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