Oracle's integrated platform: a holistic view for teams
Niche solutions, often easy to set up and quick to establish, are tempting to business units and departments when facing their specific challenges. But we're aware these days that digitisation at the strategic level makes it imperative to make full use of the rich data sources available to utilities. Any proliferation of niche products, prompting the adoption of Excel tools to overcome deficiencies in data availability, only serves to undermine the establishment of holistic thinking within a business. It can impede the progress of broader digital evolution, which now more than ever needs to be fast-tracked, and ultimately of project outcomes.
While the use of niche products can be partially resolved with a highly integrated environment, says Oracle Construction and Engineering's director of energy industry strategy Geoff Roberts, those tangled “spider web” approaches deployed to business solutions are a thing of the past. Oracle’s Primavera platform has been available for decades for complex and resource management but over the last 10 years it has been continually enhanced by acquisitions, moving into the space, until today Oracle has a truly integrated platform with solutions such as Oracle Aconex that enable disparate parts of the supply chain to blend and work effectively. “It is all about business processes, workflow, a two-way flow of information during the life-cycle of the project, from strategic investment planning right through to execution.” he says.
supports owner organisations, their project delivery teams, and supply chains to manage their data in a single platform. Primavera Unifier is a purpose-built platform that supports, automates, and tracks project delivery processes through complex workflows. In addition, Primavera Unifier acts as a perfect vehicle to remove Excel from the delivery teams and ensure data visibility and transparency – not only across the project team, but throughout the entire organisation and supply chain. Primavera Unifier also supports mobility, Roberts emphasises, to ensure that any project delivery process, including document reviews/redlining, photo capture and the like, managed remotely through a mobile application can be supported without the need for IT deployment.
A project delivery platform enhances and is highly complementary to an owner organisation’s ERP solution, providing the project team with a vehicle to efficiently deliver projects. A cloud-based platform significantly reduces the need for integration, as well as the software portfolio required, and ensures one common place to manage all project data, ensuring a digital data thread. The Oracle fully integrated solution is further integrated with the entire business ecosystem. “We integrate smoothly with any major ERP system, not just our own!” adds Roberts.
Spurred by necessity in this time of COVID-19 disruption, every company is looking to technology to help it run its business better. Bringing customers and partners together, Oracle is a pioneer with its : partners are essential to further enhance Oracle's ecosystem, demonstrating innovations in, for example, IoT in smart materials tracking, vehicle and people management or understanding edge technologies like virtual and augmented reality.
Accelerating solar transition with robotics and automation
Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, shares his views on how robotics and automation can deliver a real impact in leading the Middle East’s transition to solar energy and in advancing the overall sustainability agenda
As the world grapples with diminishing supplies of oil and the need to reduce carbon emissions, the adoption of disruptive technologies such as robotics and automation can be an important catalyst for the proliferation of renewable energy. Current applications and research show that robotics and automation help simplify the processes involved in support of renewable energy generation, especially for solar energy sources, which results in increased productivity, and cost savings.
Solar panel placement
Robots and automation can help unload and place solar panels onto racks at huge utility-scale sites. Thanks to outdoor, autonomous robotic technology, the process for solar field assembly can be made more efficient. Moreover, due to the fragile nature of solar cells and wafers, high-speed impact robots are more suitable and gentler than manual handling which helps ensure higher throughputs with better yield. Robots support solar construction crews, not replace them which means utility-scale contractors are able to reduce large amounts of repetitive tasks and improve productivity, bolster worker safety, and produce more MegaWatt-hours, faster.
Solar panel cleaning and maintenance
Crucial tasks such as removing dust from solar cells can be automated with the help of self-cleaning robots which is otherwise risky for people. Dust removal is critical in high dust-density regions such as the Middle East to maximise the irradiance incident on the panel and to ensure the solar panels provide maximum power output and energy yield. Water-free autonomous cleaning system can save billions of litres of water over the lifetime of a plant situated in arid regions.
Manufacturing of solar power systems
Robots in the PV manufacturing process make a significant contribution due to their ability to reduce costs considerably and enhancing precision and accuracy when compared with human intervention. Manufacturers can deploy robots and automation to make smarter and swifter production decisions, which ultimately increase precision, reduces the cost of production, and improves productivity. Silicon ingot, silicon modules, solar cells, and silicon wafers are some examples of delicate components that can be produced with high precision through robotic automation.
Integrating robotics into the renewable energy industry comes with a few of challenges too. One of the largest challenges being the power grid itself which is primarily designed to transport energy from large, centralized power plants fuelled by non-renewable sources such as natural gas and oil. Hence, the current power grid requires an overhaul before solar and other forms of distributed renewable energy can be truly integrated as a viable source of power.
Fresh power grid designs
Propelling the energy industry into the future requires fresh approaches to the power grid design. The answer lies with smart power grids that can integrate various renewable energy sources and help utility companies achieve greater efficiency and sustainability.
An increase in the integration of robotics and automation in the renewable energy industry could lead to an eventual total shift from other sources of energies such as oil to greener alternatives such as solar. Finally, this will spur the creation of “jobs of the future” – especially in high-growth data, digital and robotics engineering.