Total, Tata create digital innovation centre in India, initially focused on smart refining

Total headquarters. Image: JWN

Total and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will create a digital innovation centre in India to explore what the companies call disruptive technologies and solutions.

The partnership will initially focus on refining. With the intensive use of digital technology, the various building blocks of refining (production units, processes, the supply chain and petroleum product markets) will be driven in a wide-ranging way to improve refinery performance.

Real-time data analytics, the Internet of Things, automation, artificial intelligence and agile methodology will be used to improve industrial efficiency, energy performance and availability rates, the companies said.

“For a large industrial group like Total, it is essential to always stay ahead of these topics,” Marie-Noëlle Semeria, senior vice president and group chief technology officer at Total, said in a statement. “After having integrated digital solutions within the Group, we now want to invent those of tomorrow by combining Total's know-how with the agility of TCS.”

Based on the TCS concept of “entrepreneurship-in-residence,” Total will work with TCS technology and domains experts. TCS will also bring to Total its network, its structured co-innovation approach and its Business 4.0 cooperation framework. Part of the Tata group, India's largest multinational business group, TCS employs over 400,000 consultants in 46 countries.

Industrial digital technology is divided into four main areas: connected, augmented operators, with the help of digital technology such as mobile apps, drones and robots to optimize the way operators work; digital representation of plants, such as virtual factories created using 3D imaging; analysis of data collected, such as by the numerous sensors installed throughout production sites; and collaboration environments, with smart rooms that make it possible for production sites to remotely access the knowledge and skills of experts in various disciplines.

“With the digital innovation centre, we are positioning ourselves as a pioneer working to develop a smart, connected refinery that will allow us to improve our industrial competitiveness. We want to invent the Refinery 4.0,” said Bernard Pinatel, president, Refining & Chemicals at Total.