Easy as PI: Asset Framework

Posted: January 15, 2021

“Context is to data what water is to a dolphin,” wrote American author Dan Simmons. Without context, data can only get you so far, and that's why the makers of PI System™ created Asset Framework.  After over a decade collecting feedback and continually improving the product, we thought we’d answer some common questions about Asset Framework: how it works, what problems it's solving and how it will continue to evolve.

What is Asset Framework?

Asset Framework is a tool that allows you to model either physical or logical objects in the way that best suits the way you wish to view those assets and the data associated with them. With Asset Framework, you can identify the components or elements that make up a process, specify relationships between those objects and organize them in whichever way most aligns with your business.

For example, let's say you have a pump. It generates multiple data streams—power consumption, vibration, fluid volume, impeller speed, oil temperature and pressure—all based on different parameters. Asset Framework allows you to see them all at once via visualization tools, pretty much like how a studio mixing board lets you hear a symphony rather than different instrumental tracks. High energy consumption alone can indicate a lot of things. Combining it with low water flow, however, can narrow down the problem to a worn-out impeller. With the right data streams, an Asset Framework model can be its own analytics.

Is Asset Framework a digital twin?

Asset Framework is a tool that starts as a blank canvas: you use it to represent or create the basis of a digital twin of your assets.

How long does it take to create an Asset Framework model?

That all depends on the level of detail and the level of complexity that you want to put into it. You can build an Asset Framework representation of a single asset (like a pump) in just a few minutes. If you're building a representation of your entire plant or a complete production line, that would take significantly longer. The level of complexity and detail is entirely based on what problems you're trying to solve. 

How does Asset Framework interact with other components of AVEVA™ PI System™?

At its core, Asset Framework gives you context—is something large, small, blue, red, hot, cold, etc. The rest of AVEVA™ PI Server, such as Data Archive, is providing real-time historical data. By combining Asset Framework with Data Archive, you now have data and context together, which gives you a better understanding of how your assets are functioning.

For instance, if you're in AVEVA™ PI Vision™, you can find the temperature of a given pump. However, when you utilize Asset Framework in conjunction with PI Vision, you can find the temperature of the fluid coming out of pump X which is in the northwest corner of plant Y. It makes for much richer information.

AVEVA visualization tools also take advantage of the context available in Asset Framework templates. With Asset Framework templates, you can create a single template that represents multiple related assets (say, wind turbines that are all the same), and this allows users to easily switch between assets without having to build out new displays each time.

What are some features of Asset Framework?

  • You can create relationships between assets.
  • You can have multiple representations of an asset.
  • Asset Framework supports templates, which allow users to create commonalities between different objects.
  • You can easily adopt to changes over time. When you update templates, they immediately reflect all the updates in all instances, thereby ensuring your digital twins are up to date.
  • Asset Framework supports a rich set of units of measure, so that users can easily convert between units. That means fewer miscalculations due to differing measurement units.
  • Real-time streaming calculation engine.
  • You can capture important events with related data and context in near real time.
  • System notifications can be sent to users or other third-party systems.
  • Asset Framework is accessible via programmatic and other standard means for custom applications.


Who are some of the bigger users of Asset Framework?

Shell has over 15,000 users monitoring 7.5 million data streams from industrial sensors, running 100,000 real-time calculations per minute.

Devon Energy deploys over 50 smart asset Asset Framework templates across its exploration and production operations, which consist of more than 50,000 assets. The energy company uses Asset Framework as an “OT Chart of Accounts,” aggregating and normalizing data via data references/abstraction and then using Asset Framework for real-time analytics.

MOL, one of the largest oil and gas companies in Central Europe, uses Asset Framework to track over 80 billion data points a year. They've deployed 21,000 Asset Framework templates across multiple refineries, which has led to an estimated EBITDA earnings increase of $1 billion over a five-year period.

You can also use Asset Framework to make larger digital twins. BP is making digital twins of all 40 of its offshore platforms. BP will ultimately model over 1 million data streams into Asset Framework models.

What's on the horizon for Asset Framework?

Currently, the team is collecting information from customers about how they use the system and what improvements would be most meaningful to them. There have been a number of releases over the last five years, so the current focus is on gathering feedback to determine what customers truly want and need.

Learn more about AVEVA PI System and how companies are using it to achieve digital transformation.

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