Siemens Automation held its annual Users Conference the end of June at the Boca Raton Resort in Florida. Digitalization comprised the underlying theme, however connectivity technologies highlighted the important announcements and discussions.
MindSphere holds the top place as the most important Siemens technology at this time. Users and Siemens professionals highlighted two use cases at the conference both centering on condition monitoring / predictive maintenance.
The other connectivity announcement concerned PCS 7, the Siemens DCS. The company unveiled new I/O featuring Profinet connectivity. The new, denser I/O includes a user-configurable product, as well as traditional digital and analog modules. Ethernet connectivity featuring Profinet held center stage in the press announcement.
Siemens introduced MindSphere to me at Hannover 2016. Its evolution has been swift. Now dubbed an Internet of Things platform, it includes a set of APIs and libraries. It includes an “App Store” open to 3rd party developers in addition to Siemens apps. If you are a developer, just register and app and pay a royalty based on data or connections.
MindSphere placed in context is similar to what I’ve seen from Cisco, Dell EMC, GE, Microsoft, and SAP. I’m sure there are more and that we’ll see more in the future. Dell EMC’s platform is open source. MIMOSA, an industry standards organization provides a similar platform called the OIIE based on standards containing no proprietary components.
All of these platforms are important for maintenance and reliability professionals, as well as for plant management, engineering, and operations because of the increased data and visibility into operations and assets. This will result in improved planning, more efficient operations, and increased percentage of uptime.
Components of the platform include:
• MindSphere Apps – Siemens and 3rd party ; data analytics
• MindSphere Sphere – Azure, SAP, AWS, etc.
• MindSphere Connect – open standards, right now OPC UA, gateway, integrated with S7, build your own connectivity