Arturo Vargas
Regional Marketing Manager for Latin America and Canada
National Instruments
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View from the Top

Interconnectivity to Boost Security

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 12:26

Q: What pushed National Instruments to expand outside of the US, and how will the company be successful in Mexico?

A: We are industry leaders in providing platforms to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to the oil and gas industry, and one of the most relevant applications for our solutions is the implementation of the IoT in oil wells. This process implies the interconnection of machine condition monitoring, asset monitoring, and quality assurance, among other services, within the whole productive chain. Another important application is the detection and location of leakages, one of the most urgently needed services within the Mexican market.

Q: How is National Instruments contributing to the enhancement of the level of technological sophistication of the Mexican oil industry?

A: All our solutions are woven together and built upon a platform-based approach that allows our clients to develop, test, and prototype every solution they can imagine. Our platform permits the integration of IoT into industry operations, the added value of which is that it not only allows interconnection of all the systems of a company, but it also permits secure verification that complies with the security and environmental regulations and the needed certifications. Our platform can handle every demand regarding robustness and connectivity, while offering the client the flexibility to develop additional solutions according to individual requirements. We have some products that work like this, like a blender control that regulates the chemical mix that is injected into an oil well, which is commercialized by one of our partners in Canada and is designed using our platform. Nonetheless, we prefer to offer the platform directly to the customers so they can develop solutions according to the particular needs of their processes.

Q: What strategy are you following to position National Instruments as a leading company within the Mexican oil and gas industry?

A: We believe that working with PEMEX is key to securing a leading position within the industry, but despite having more than 40 years of experience, National Instruments is considered a new company for many people working at the NOC. We are therefore focusing our strategy on offering an added value to the companies that are working with or will work with the productive enterprise of the state. These companies have already earned PEMEX’s trust and can help open the door for us by using our technology. National Instruments has already provided solutions, such as SCADA systems, directly to PEMEX, which was a groundbreaking moment for the company as it was our first large-scale project in the country. Before then, we had only installed small-size systems for trial testing. Moreover, we believe that times of limited budgets are the perfect opportunity to invest in solutions that will increase profitability.

Q: What are the characteristics of LabVIEW that made it so popular with PEMEX?

A: LabVIEW is a programming software for engineering applications and offers a wide spectrum of functions. For instance, it is possible to use LabVIEW to control a robot or to run a complex SCADA system. LabVIEW provides the user with a graphic real-time representation of the functioning of the bombs, pipelines, and valves involved in the analyzed system to represent a control distribution system instead of coding lines. Moreover, in the same environment, the conditions that require testing can be programmed, and this is also displayed graphically as interconnected blocks allowing the user to follow the different signals. In this way, programming is possible without the need to code text lines.

Another advantage of LabVIEW is its ability to connect with different systems. We can offer an interconnection solution for the HART protocol common in the oil and gas industry. Our clients can enjoy a module and software that allows the interconnection process for the user, who only needs to configure the port and run the program. Oil companies with many years of experience tend to have outdated infrastructure that is still functional, so we needed to develop a tool that can be interconnected to this kind of equipment to expand its lifespan cost-effectively. In this sense, the capacity of LabVIEW to connect with existent infrastructure is one of the greatest advantages that we offer.