Aramco engineer wins prize for excellence in Kingdom first

Soliman M. Almadi, a senior engineer with the Process and Control Systems Department (P&CSD), has won the International Society of Automation (ISA) Excellence in Technical Innovation Award.

Aramco engineer wins prize for excellence in Kingdom first

The award recognizes Almadi’s contributions to the development of an edge computing device prototype, which acquires and controls data from remote and in-plant subsystems as part of an automated industrial process.

The prototype was successfully tested at Aramco’s IR4.0 Center in Dhahran, and is considered one of the leading initiatives incubated in the new facility, named for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The device, considered a disruptive digital transformation technology for instrumentation and industrial automation, was based on one of Almadi’s shared U.S. patents.

Edge computing is performed at or near a data source, reducing data volume and distance transportation. This proximity improves response times, saves bandwidth and storage costs, and strengthens security. An edge computing device is a piece of hardware, and its accompanying software, granting access to a network.

Founded in 1945, the ISA is a global, nonprofit organization that sets the standard for automation. Based in North Carolina, USA, the society develops standards, certifies industry professionals, and provides education and training to promote innovation.

Almadi’s win is the first awarded by the ISA Saudi Arabia Section, which was formed in October 1980 by Aramco instrumentation engineers.

Jamil J. Al-Bagawi, the chief engineer with Engineering Services, congratulated Almadi on his award and praised the work of all the company’s engineers.

Digital transformation has inspired many new concepts in the technology domain and our engineers are the catalyst to innovate above and beyond what is possible.
— Jamil J. Al-Bagawi, chief engineer Engineering Services

The IR4.0 Center is the home of many new concepts. Testing of the edge computing device was conducted virtually in 2020 to capitalize on the latest real-time collaboration capabilities.

“It is a great win to see IR4.0 Center capabilities facilitate the testing and bridge the gap — not to mention overcoming COVID-19 — in conducting hardware and software development tests,” said Bassam M. Al-Dossary, manager of P&CSD.

The device has significant potential for many applications in Aramco plants’ sensing and controlling applications, as well as in utilities, transportation, and power systems. 

“The edge computing device has the potential to be the foundation for smart plants of the future,” said Bander R. Al Yousef, general supervisor of the Process Automation Systems Division and leader of the Smart Plant Track.


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