Yokogawa’s Africa User’s Conference 2016 took place at the end of October with resounding success expressed by both delegates attending the event and exhibitors participating in the Automation Exhibition. With the last User’s Conference taking place in 2012, Yokogawa South Africa believed the time was right to stage another 3 day event with the aim of communicating and networking with their customer base, listening to their concerns, and providing the latest updates regarding their products, systems and advanced solutions.
Over 160 people took part in the 3 day event from 19 to 21 October at The Fairway Hotel, Spa and golf resort and were treated to 14 breakout sessions, 11 plenary sessions, 2 industry keynotes from independent subject matter experts in the Oil & Gas and Mining and Minerals industries, 1 panel discussion, 1 training workshop and a banquet dinner with guest speaker and economist, Mr Dawie Roodt. In addition, an Automation Exhibition included demos of all Yokogawa platforms and solutions along with 11 partner exhibits for a complete Yokogawa automation experience.
Takashi Nishijima, President and CEO of the Yokogawa Electric Corporation, based in Tokyo, opened the event by emphasizing the importance of business in Africa highlighting growth industries such as mining & minerals, sugar, petrochemicals and oil & gas which Yokogawa is so entrenched in. He also Masopha Moshoeshoe, QHSE Manager from Yokogawa South Africa, explained the theme of the event, Gemba Kaizen. “Gemba” and “Kaizen” are Japanese words with the former meaning “real place” and the latter meaning “improvement” or “change for the better.” Kaizen practices focus on continuous improvement in specific business areas like manufacturing, business processes, management and engineering. “Combining the two words in the business context means that Gemba is where the real, value-adding activities of improvement take place,” said Moshoeshoe. “Yokogawa believes this is indicative of the current state of the company – always striving for continuous improvement.”
“The Middle East and Africa region employs a highly skilled workforce of 1,700 employees” explained Pierre de Vuyst, Senior Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Services for Yokogawa Middle East and Africa. “In the spirit of Gemba Kaizen, Continuous Improvement, Yokogawa is committed to reinventing itself to serve our customers on the African Continent.”
Kersi Aspar, Vice President and Head of Global Sales Centre from Yokogawa Electric Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, reflected on Yokogawa’s glorious past, highlighting the many “World First” technologies by the company in order to contribute to society and industry in general. These included the Optical Spectrum Analyser, the 8 channel Digital Oscilloscope, the Digital Power Meter, the Digital Transmitter with Silicon Resonant Sensor Technology, the Vortex Flowmeter and the CENTUM Distributed Control System with 99.99999% availability. He hinted at how these technologies will be developed further to offer our customers more advanced solutions in future.
Mark Anderson from KBC Advanced Technologies, which was recently acquired by Yokogawa, mentioned their innovation of over 36 years in the process industry. “Whereas Yokogawa is focused on implementing and controlling the plant, so KBC is there to analyze and advise on the activities taking place in the plant which results in sustained operational excellence throughout the whole value chain and complete business cycle,” says Anderson. KBC operates primarily in the Level 3 (MES Level), Level 4 (Simulation Level) and Level 5 (Consulting Level) areas of the business to create sustained value. Their mission is to make and keep their clients world-class in terms of operational excellence and profitability through actions of their people and the application of their technology.
Other key highlights of the event focused on Yokogawa’s solutions offerings with Bradley Ford, Global Business Development and Marketing Manager for Advanced Solutions highlighting how data analytics is positively impacting our world and how these differentiating technologies can bring benefit to Yokogawa’s customers. He pointed out that all of Yokogawa’s advanced solutions are realised through deep integration and co-innovation with their customers.
This was followed by a panel discussion about how to get the return of capital invested and how to utilise training and development of people in industry. The panel discussed the required skills sets of South Africans and what business can do to improve these skills. Guest panellist, Geoff Ritson, Associate Lecturer of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University explained the current South African education performance which showed that the country spends more than most other peers but with worse outcomes. “Because academic programmes don’t deliver vocationally prepared graduates, NMMU has re-engineered their learning programmes to create a process environment for young students to receive exposure to industry technologies and receive real hands-on experience,” explained Ritson.
Three parallel break-out sessions took place on the afternoons of 20th and 21st October covering topics including documentation required for projects, boiler combustion optimisation, Yokogawa’s new DCS technology as employed in the sugar industry, securing your plant with cybersecurity measures and an update on SABS TC065 & TC165 with regards to the impact of access points and mobile devices for hazardous areas. Delegates also got to hear from experienced speakers on the Main Automation Contractor (MAC) approach on large capital projects, boiler control, ISA-106, how to choose between a PLC versus a DCS, how to improve Zirconia Analyser performance and the new RotaMass Coriolis, which was recently launched worldwide.
Yokogawa organises User’s Conferences globally in order to stimulate interaction between the company and its end users in the areas of technology (hardware & software), applications, services, solutions and specific ad-hoc programmes and projects. The event enables Yokogawa to build even stronger bonds of trust as they work with customers to create value and stimulate growth. This is in line with Yokogawa’s corporate brand slogan of “Co-innovating tomorrow”. For more information about this event, please email email@example.com
Yokogawa’s global network of 92 companies spans 59 countries. Founded in 1915, the US$3.7 billion company engages in cutting-edge research and innovation. Yokogawa is active in the industrial automation and control (IA), test and measurement, and aviation and other businesses segments. The IA segment plays a vital role in a wide range of industries including oil, chemicals, natural gas, power, iron and steel, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, and food. For more information about Yokogawa, please visit www.yokogawa.com/za