I found this press release from GE Intelligent Platforms somewhat confusing, but if I got it right (they will comment if I didn’t) this GE division is acting in support of the corporate emphasis on the Industrial Internet. The gist of the corporate speak in the press release seems to be that managers and engineers have finally taken a comprehensive of the various industrial control platforms and moved to bring them together.
This, of course, would be a great thing for the company’s customers—and prospective customers. Meanwhile, the marketing folks hit just about every industry buzzword to explain what’s happening.
The press release stated, “GE Intelligent Platforms announced progress against plans for consolidation of the company’s control platforms to enable the Industrial Internet. The company’s convergence strategy starts with standardization on open systems across the platforms to provide customers with interoperability, secure communications and an optimal user experience (UX).”
The new architecture features modular components, an Ethernet backbone and software applications all based on industry standards. As convergence continues, “Connected Controls devices will enable more power at the point of control, while software applications provide local intelligence to deliver on the principles of the Industrial Internet and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications.”
“Seamless communications, more efficient configuration and a great human experience are the foundation of the Industrial Internet,” said Bernie Anger, General Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms’ Controls & Communications Systems business. “Open standard protocols, high-performance controllers, shared system-level configuration tools and file formats that enable self-assembling nodes, and UX standards for tool and application development are going to allow customers to get connected faster and easier.”
OPC-UA is the first open systems standard to be deployed across GE’s control platforms. It is the next generation Open Productivity & Connectivity standard that provides a cohesive, secure and reliable cross platform framework for access to real time and historical data and events. GE’s Connected Controls platforms, featuring the PACSystems and Mark*VIe controllers, as well as Proficy CIMPLICITY HMI/SCADA software are rolling out with the OPC-UA standard. Additionally, PROFINET and Foundation Fieldbus (Mark*VIe only), have been fully integrated in the controllers.
“A focus on standards keeps us positioned for continuous evolution,” said Anger. “OPC-UA provides flexibility of configuration and device interoperability, and smart and secure communications across solutions. This enables the analytics that fuel the brilliant machines in today’s connected world.”