For today, I’ve accumulated a bunch of relevant news from around the automation and operations management areas.

SCADA in the Cloud

[picture]ABB, the power and automation technology group, announced a partnership with GlobaLogix to provide a new SCADA Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that is based on ABB’s SCADAvantage product. The partnership is aimed at providing a robust and open SCADA service to reduce operation risks and maintenance burden, while also lowering upfront costs.

GlobaLogix has built a highly secure and redundant cloud-based infrastructure to host ABB’s SCADA platform. The infrastructure provides access to 53 Data Centers in North America with 2048 bit encryption that exceeds the current Department of Defense standards. The infrastructure also complies with the most stringent Tier 4 data center standards from the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for mission critical computer systems. The standard requires fully redundant subsystems and compartmentalized security zones.

“This cloud-based SCADA infrastructure can save companies money and time by eliminating the need to build and maintain their own dedicated server rooms, while reducing SCADA administration costs and overall risks,” said Sandy Taylor, Head of ABB’s Oil, Gas and Petrochemical business unit. “The overall return on investment time can be reduced by 25-30% or more.”

Future Manufacturing Software Platforms

Mark Davidson of LNS Research writes on Future of Manufacturing Operations Software.

He notes, “Today, many companies are faced with a complex application landscape that has resulted in a variety of hurdles. These include:

Multiple databases and configuration tools that don’t communicate with one another
Difficulty expanding functionality given existing and disparate implementations
Inconsistent user interfaces and visualization tools
Difficulty for vendors to rapidly develop and evolve functionality
Traditional approaches are not comprehensive and agile enough to support today’s and tomorrow’s manufacturing strategy challenges

He predicts platform-based architectures that have incorporated open standards-based integration and collaboration capabilities at their core. “These platform-based offerings provide underlying software services that enable a highly modular solution approach that reduces the traditional challenge with duplicative functionality across a broad set of available MOM software ‘apps.’ By having a common services approach for all MOM applications to integrate to Enterprise and Industrial Automation applications, this greatly eases data/information and workflow integration across all software domains in the manufacturing enterprise.”

Mitsubishi Goes Process

Think of Mitsubishi as only supplying automation for factory automation? Think again. Mitsubishi Electric Automation has launched a web site to provide solutions specifically for the oil and gas, water and wastewater, and power generation industries. The new site is a dedicated resource that identifies common process industry challenges and how Mitsubishi Electric’s reliable, flexible and cost-efficient solutions are designed to overcome them.

Fieldbus Foundation Makes Fieldbus Easier

The Fieldbus Foundation announced a new technology development initiative—Project Gemstone—intended to make the digital fieldbus automation experience easier than conventional analog control systems in every conceivable way, from device setup to device replacement and daily maintenance practices. This includes FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM), Field Device Integration (FDI) Cooperation, and ISA108 intelligent device management. The foundation’s new usability team is also focusing on how to make fieldbus devices easier to specify, set up, configure and maintain.

Project Gemstone will drive an innovation strategy enabling plant owners to focus more on what technology can do for them and their business, versus how they manage the technology itself. The project’s focus on standards-based solutions will also make it easier for automation suppliers to develop new fieldbus-based products and applications. In addition, the Fieldbus Foundation’s testing and registration process is designed to ensure FOUNDATION fieldbus devices, systems and components all work together as they should.

Global MOM Best Practices

MESA International has released its Global Best Practice white paper. This paper explores the four main perceptions and obstacles that “best in class” progressive companies had to overcome to gain enterprise-wide acceptance of their MOM systems architecture as a corporate strategy.

These are:
Why MOM and Not MES?
Why Service-oriented Architecture (SOA) in Manufacturing?
Why MDM for Manufacturing?
Is EMI Best Positioned Against or With Business Intelligence (BI)?

For each of these concepts, what they mean and where they fit are explored individually to expose manufacturing technologists to the concepts and the benefits of accepting and working toward this vision. The paper concludes by evaluating the different integration approaches used over the years and comparing them to the current proposed “best practice” and Mfg 2.0 vision.

This paper was produced as part of the MESA/ISA-95 Best Practices Working Group through an international peer review process involving 5 or more subject matter reviewers. This MESA White Paper is also be published in the methodology best practices collection, The MOM Chronicles: ISA-95 Best Practices Book 3.0 (Published by ISA, February 2013)

This white paper is available to premium MESA members here as one of the benefits of membership.

Ethernet Switch Translates IP from OEM Machine to Factory System

Network Address Translation (NAT) feature in Rockwell Automation switch helps simplify assigning IP addresses when integrating machines into a plant network.

The integration of machines onto a plant’s network architecture can prove difficult as OEM IP-address assignments rarely match those of the end-user network IP-address requirements. The Allen-Bradley Stratix 5700 managed industrial Ethernet switch now includes an optional integrated Network Address Translation (NAT) feature. The hardware-based NAT feature allows for high performance and simplified integration of IP-address mapping from a set of local, machine-level IP addresses to the end user’s broader plant-process network.

Invensys Adds Service Capability

Invensys has created an alliance with Callisto Integration, a global leader in manufacturing consulting and systems integration. Callisto was formed in 2012 through a merger of Aseco Integrated Systems and Progressive Software Solutions, both award-winning Invensys endorsed system integrators since the program’s inception in 2009.

Through the alliance, Invensys and Callisto will operate as a seamless services organization optimized for project design and delivery, providing customers in the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industries with a scalable team and extended solutions capability, leveraging sustainable, standardized solution sets while maintaining a low total cost of ownership for customers.

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