Software Platforms, Internet of Things, Digital Transformation at Hannover Messe 2017

Software platforms, Internet of Things, Digital Transformation and many more manufacturing technologies brought 225,000 people to Hannover last April. I think I got the last available hotel room in the Hannover as I prepared for an intense three days of meetings. I’ve written a couple of posts already. But there is much more. My trip to Dell EMC World out of the way, I’m back to finishing some Hannover thoughts.

Check out these posts on IoT Platform Architecture, Augmented Reality, and a review of IoT platforms.

ABB and IBM partner for industrial artificial intelligence

ABB and IBM announced a strategic collaboration that brings together ABB’s ABB Ability with IBM Watson.

Customers will benefit from ABB’s deep domain knowledge and extensive portfolio of digital solutions combined with IBM’s expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as different industry verticals. The first two joint industry solutions powered by ABB Ability and Watson will bring real-time cognitive insights to the factory floor and smart grids.

“This powerful combination marks truly the next level of industrial technology, moving beyond current connected systems that simply gather data, to industrial operations and machines that use data to sense, analyze, optimize and take actions that drive greater uptime, speed and yield for industrial customers,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “With an installed base of 70 million connected devices, 70,000 digital control systems and 6,000 enterprise software solutions, ABB is a trusted leader in the industrial space, and has a four decade long history of creating digital solutions for customers. IBM is a leader in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. Together, IBM and ABB will create powerful solutions for customers to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Another quick note about ABB. It has been a leader in high voltage DC technology (HVDC). At Hannover it announced the latest development in high voltage direct current (HVDC) Light making it possible to reliably transmit large amounts of electricity over ever greater distances, economically and efficiently. The next level of ABB’s HVDC Light will enable more than doubling the power capacity to 3,000 megawatts (MW).

“We pioneered HVDC technology in the 1950’s as a game changer, and the birth of HVDC Light in 1997 was one of the most significant milestones in our innovation journey” said Claudio Facchin, President, ABB Power Grids. “As we mark 20 years of this breakthrough, we are ready to write the next chapter of this technology, with significant enhancements that will help transmit power further with minimum losses and bring major benefits to our customers. HVDC is a cornerstone of our Next Level strategy, reinforcing our position as a partner of choice in enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

GE Digital

I had several discussions with GE Digital and GE Automation & Control. Here is an announcement from GE.

GE Digital announced a major release of its Plant Applications Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solution for hybrid manufacturing industries, designed to manage highly automated production processes. This new version features a new user interface, using GE’s advanced UX design, to better enable operations staff to analyze equipment effectiveness and identify root causes of downtime. The first phase of the Plant Applications user interface enhancement makes it easier for plant personnel to utilize MES systems in their day to day work.

Plant Applications holistically automates and integrates data collection from assets on the plant floor used to manage production execution and performance optimization in hybrid manufacturers in industries such as Food & Beverage, Consumer Packaged Goods and Chemical.

And from GE Automation & Controls, it announced its Control Server and Control System Health App. These innovations are a part of GE’s Industrial Internet Control System (IICS). IICS is an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution that reliably, safely and securely connects thousands of machines to the power of the cloud and brings computing to the edge.

Utilizing GE’s Field Agent platform, Control Server also enables intensive optimizing apps like Model-based Optimizing Control (MBOC) to inject performance improvements that deliver greater profitability. In addition, the operating and maintenance costs are reduced through consolidation of PC functions provided by virtualization technology on a server-grade platform. With built-in security features, this innovation reduces the cyber-security attack surface and improves compliance with industry regulations.

As part of the industrial app economy, GE also launched the Control System Health App which allows customers to monitor the status of their control hardware from any location with internet access. The app collects real-time data in a time-series database and uses the power of analytics to recommend corrective actions based on faults.

“We are excited to unveil the next round of powerful analytics tools as part of our IICS system,” said Rob McKeel, President and CEO of GE’s Automation and Controls business. “These two innovations will not only help our customers continue to optimize business and asset performance, but now, with the app, they’ll be able to check in on their system in the palm of their hands from anywhere in the world.”

Honeywell Introduces IIoT SDK Utilizing OPC UA

Honeywell Process Solutions announced a software toolkit that simplifies the interconnection of industrial software systems, enabling them to communicate with each other regardless of platform, operating system or size. The Matrikon FLEX OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) Software Development Kit (SDK) is ideal for applications where minimal memory and processing resources are common.

“Honeywell Connected Plant is our holistic approach to anticipating and meeting the needs of customers by leveraging the power of the IIoT,” said Shree Dandekar, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Connected Plant. “Within this environment, OPC UA plays a key role in enabling outcome-based business solutions. Our introduction of Matrikon FLEX underscores the importance of this technology.”

Tom Burke, president and executive director, OPC Foundation, commented, “In order to quickly and efficiently implement OPC UA, suppliers need a toolkit to minimize development time and effort, and deliver secure and reliable products. Honeywell’s new SDK is ideal for companies getting started with OPC UA to take advantage of the growth of the IIoT. It provides a way to launch OPC UA-enabled products faster and with fewer changes.”

Parker Hannifin Unveils Voice of the Machine

Parker Hannifin Corp. unveiled the Voice of the Machine IoT platform, an open, interoperable and scalable ecosystem of connected products and services.

“From online platforms that enable users to engage with our broad portfolio of products, systems and engineering talent; to global monitoring and asset integrity management services that keep critical systems productive, we are creating better outcomes for our customers,” said Bob Bond, Vice President – eBusiness, IoT and Services. “Our Voice of the Machine offering operates at the sweet spot of our core competency at the component and system level. Parker is creating discrete insights across our broad range of motion and control products that we can then connect to enterprise IoT solutions.”

Parker is using a center-led approach and has adopted a common set of IoT standards and best practices for use across all its operating groups and technologies. Every connected product uses the same repository of digital services with an exchange-based platform architecture, designed by software experts at Exosite. The Exosite IoT architecture makes it easy to deploy a diverse set of connected solutions leveraging that same set of digital services and to integrate.

ODVA Launches Project to Develop Its Next Generation Platform for Device Description

ODVA has announced that it has embarked on a major new technical activity to develop standards and tools for its next generation of digitized descriptions for device data. ODVA has named the activity “Project xDS.”  The project will focus on the development of specifications for workflow-driven device description files for device integration and digitized business models.

Project xDS will define the technologies and standards for “xDS” device description files that are based on a common format and syntax to enable workflow-driven device integration. Typical workflows include network and security configuration, network and security diagnostics, device configuration, and device diagnostics.

Another aspect of Project xDS is to further the realization of applications for a digitized industrial world.  Digitization will require the virtual representation of physical devices as digital twins, and xDS device description files will be able to provide the device data needed for this virtual representation.  The result will help enable services for configuration, command, monitoring, diagnostics, prognostics and simulation via asset management systems, cloud based analytics, and new command-control architectures for industrial control systems.

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