This week Honeywell Process Solutions held its 41st annual Honeywell Users Group (HUG) for the Americas in San Antonio. Speakers were all over the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) trend.
I did not make it. There are too many places to go, and I no longer work for a larger company with a financial base for lots of travel. So, I stayed in Sidney. News came via HPS’s PR agency and Control Global. Walt Boyes posted some cryptic notes on his blog one or two days.
Vimal Kapur, president of HPS, told attendees, “The Industrial Internet of Things will allow manufacturers to more efficiently gather and analyze a broader range of data across multiple operations and plants to use data to transform entire enterprises.”
Showing how IIoT is working in real-world scenarios is especially critical this year. A recent survey of North American manufacturing executives suggests that investments in data analytics are rising. However, companies are still grappling to better understand its benefits.
The Honeywell-commissioned survey, conducted by KRC Research, found the majority of respondents (between 60 and 70 percent) believe data analytics can help reduce equipment breakdowns and unplanned downtime. It can also help reduce supply chain management issues. This is noteworthy because around 40 percent of the executives see unscheduled downtime and supply chain management issues as the top two threats to maximizing revenue.
At the same time, though, nearly half of the respondents said they don’t fully understand the benefits of data analytics. More than a quarter say more proof is needed to show that data analytics work.
IIoT to Analytics
I find it fascinating how quickly the news from HUG transitioned from IIoT to data analytics. Some people look at the IIoT phenomenon as connected edge devices often through a network using the IP protocol. Increasingly analysts are broadening the scope to include the entire system of connected sensors, data collection, analytics, visualization.
That automation companies, such as HPS, are now emphasizing data science over control and instrumentation is an intriguing proposition to ponder over the future.
Just as I witnessed in Hannover, the real technology and term people are concerned with is digitalization.
“We are seeing a lot of interest from our customers attending this conference on how best to manage this digital transformation within their companies. They are looking to get more production out of existing assets and determine the best areas for investment for the long-term success of their operations – to improve process safety, reliability, security and sustainability,” said Kapur.
“HPS has been providing solutions and technologies to help manufacturers leverage critical operational data on a site by site basis for years,” said Andrew Hird, vice president and general manager of HPS’ Digital Transformation business. “Today, with the increased connectivity and the IIoT by Honeywell, they are able to gather and analyze data across multiple sites to find and implement best practices. The results of the IIoT survey of manufacturers reflect very closely the areas where Honeywell has been investing in solutions.”
Honeywell’s newest industrial automation technologies unveiled at HUG included:
- Data acquisition and analytics: The expanded Uniformance Suite software provides real-time digital intelligence through advanced process and event data collection, asset-centric analytics and powerful visualization technology, turning plant data into actionable information to enable smart operations. This solution is a backbone for the IIoT by Honeywell. New this year is Uniformance Insight, which allows customers to visualize process conditions and investigate events from any web browser.
- Control: ControlEdge PLC, one of Honeywell’s first IIoT-ready controller, is part of Honeywell’s next generation of controllers providing unprecedented connectivity through all levels of process and business operations. When combined with Experion, ControlEdge PLC provides secure connectivity and tight integration to devices from multiple vendors and works with any SCADA system. Also showcased is the newest version of Experion Orion that will help industrial plants further optimize automation project execution, reduce loop commissioning time, minimize operational risk and protect intellectual investments while keeping current with today’s technology.
- Natural gas measurement: Honeywell’s new IIoT-ready gas measurement and data management solutions for North American gas transmission and distribution from the wellhead to the burner tip. The portfolio includes the EC 350 PTZ Gas Volume Corrector, Honeywell Elster Rotary Gas Meter, the Cloud Link 4G Modem, MasterLink and PowerSpring.
- Connectivity: MatrikonOPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) extends the highly successful OPC communication protocol, enabling data acquisition and information modeling and communication between the plant floor and the enterprise reliably and securely, accelerating the IIoT.
- Mobility: Honeywell Pulse is a new mobile app used to remotely connect plant managers, supervisors and engineering staff to customized real-time plant performance notifications sent from HPS’ industrial automation software. It brings relevant metrics and the tools to resolve issues directly to their mobile device.