Reliability and process safety
Suncor is implementing advanced analytics to improve personal and process safety, asset reliability, operations optimization and environmental performance. Representing a broad range of solutions, advanced analytics allows for sophisticated data mining that produces deeper insights into patterns and trends across our assets and workforce.
An example of this work is the application of analytics of process hazards analyses to support the focus on quality and prioritization of improvement opportunities. As a result, we can make faster, more proactive decisions and system changes that can prevent incidents. We expect this increased ability to make evidence-based predictions should improve reliability, reduce maintenance costs and optimize facility throughput.
Connecting frontline staff
We are connecting frontline staff to digital solutions – enabling maintenance and operations workers to create, and have access information in the field. These initiatives will enhance safety and productivity by facilitating better and immediate data-based decisions that improve our operations.
An example of this is the use of operation performance management (OPM) dashboards at our Firebag facility. Until the introduction of OPM, most energy intensity updates for day-to-day decision-makers were only available on quarterly scorecards, and field supervisors did not have access to real-time performance in the field.
With the new OPM dashboards, field supervisors are able to review performance indicators and calculations, understand performance gaps, and help the supervisors make real-time decisions to improve energy intensity performance. The results from process changes are seen instantly and easily measured and reported, resulting in cost and emissions improvements.
Remote sensing technologies
Opportunities to reduce safety risks are always a priority, and remote sensing technologies provide solutions that are quick, safe and cost-efficient.
Drones are used in our operations to assist with equipment inspection, maintenance and turnaround planning, and earthworks surveying. Their use has resulted in reduction of safety risks by decreasing worker exposure to hazardous tasks, e.g. survey crews working in remote areas, and the improvement of operations and project outcomes.
Wireless employee monitors allow us to remove obstacles that may inhibit an employee’s work and empowers us to provide faster emergency response. The devices are equipped with sophisticated gas detection monitors, which can detect hazardous levels of certain gases or solvent vapours. This allows us to identify dangerous conditions and move employees out of those areas to secure locations. The monitors are also equipped with a man down and panic button that can be used in an emergency.
Wireless employee monitors have been implemented at three sites, and the data is used to perform analytics for lower-level safety exposures and to help us identify plant integrity issues - enabling us to respond to issues, both in real time and proactively.
Implementation at three additional downstream assets is planned for 2020, and we are evaluating other uses for the devices. These include, internal inspection of confined space, fugitive emission monitoring and leak detection.
Streamlining processes with robotic process automation
We continue to explore more opportunities using robotic process automation (RPA). To date, we have employed RPA for high-volume, rule-based and routine work. We currently have 19 bots operating across the company in Finance, Human Resources, Supply Chain and Field Logistics, Environment Health & Safety, and Maintenance and Reliability, with several more bots in development.
These new automation solutions are helping streamline our business processes, making it easier for our employees to get their jobs done so they can focus on higher-value work.
We see intelligent business process automation as a key digital enabler to deliver high-value business transformation.