This is “TechED” week for Rockwell Automation with “Shelby” the chat bot collaboration tool featured prominently at the opening keynote presentations–a software startup within the organization.
TeamONE was one of two new products featured this week. The other an appliance to help manage an EtherNet/IP network.
More than 2,000 people gathered in Orlando for the 20th edition of this distributor and customer learning event. Most of the sessions were deep dives into product and technology. I’ve sat in a few sessions, and they reminded me of how much I miss the deep dives into how to use products and technology instead of the usual marketing overviews that I receive.
The goals seem to be offering new workforce additions tools that they’ll be familiar with, enabling quicker setup and troubleshooting, and supporting teams.
One other maintenance-oriented product I’ll touch on is a support service for predictive maintenance.
The new products are FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices appliance and a FactoryTalk TeamONE Standard Edition app. These off-the-shelf offerings require minimal configuration and can help solve common maintenance problems faster, which keeps unplanned downtime at a minimum. The appliance and app quickly help improve reaction time for maintenance teams and assist decision makers with health and diagnostics analytics for industrial devices and systems.
“These offerings were built with ease-of-use as a primary goal,” said Michael Pantaleano, global business manager, Rockwell Automation. “We’ve worked closely with our customers on these solutions, proving that an instantly available app and a scalable analytical appliance that work out-of-the-box can deliver immediate value. At Rockwell Automation, we are committed to building tools that are approachable for our customers’ current teams. These two new offerings help maintenance teams easily discover the health of their devices and better collaborate in context with insightful information.”
These offerings are some of the first subscription offerings from Rockwell Automation. To further streamline the adoption process, a new e-commerce portal is used to manage the new offerings. All subscriptions and management can take place within a single, self-service portal.
FactoryTalk TeamONE App
Focused on reducing mean time to repair, Rockwell Automation is releasing a new edition, dubbed the Standard Edition, of the FactoryTalk TeamONE app. The new edition adds an alarm module, enabling teams to collaborate with live alarm details. This gives users the ability to easily view all active alarms. They can also view, share and post new details, delivering better team collaboration by adding context with alarm information. Alarms requiring immediate action can be shared with specific team members or posted to the entire team for group management and resolution.
As a smart node, the FactoryTalk TeamONE app requires no server, device to cloud gateways, or IT setup for manufacturers to realize value, which expands as they go through their digital transformation. The app is currently available on the Apple App Store and Google Play store, and a new user account takes just minutes to set up.
The new Standard Edition is a paid yearly subscription and expands the features available in the free edition of the app. Released in 2016, the FactoryTalk TeamONE Free Edition app provides near-instantaneous incident and device data to plant-floor maintenance teams that include engineering, trades and IT workers. The free edition removes the barriers for industrial teams to collaborate and quickly solve issues with contextualized plant-floor data like trends and device status. Modules in this free edition include Incident, Device Status, Teamboard, Knowledgebase, Pinboard, Chat and Trend modules. Within the FactoryTalk TeamONE app, customers can even have a mix of free and subscription users on their teams.
FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices Appliance
FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices is a hardened appliance that helps avoid costly downtime and improve productivity by proactively identifying device health. With just a connection to power and a local control system network, the appliance begins providing analytics within minutes.
After the connections are made, the application detects automation devices on the network without disrupting performance. Plant-floor teams then gain access to specific calls-to-action, instant device displays and an advanced machine-learning-based chat bot, which are all available from within the appliance. The appliance learns what is important to users by continuously analyzing the devices on the network and delivering recommendations to help maintenance and engineering teams prevent unplanned downtime and repair systems more quickly.
“Our customers are trying to figure out how to take their first steps toward analytics and the industrial Internet of Things,” said Pantaleano. “This appliance is an excellent start to their journey, with tangible results that can help our customers within minutes.”
The FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices appliance can detect and perform a basic analysis on any EtherNet/IP device. The appliance also has detailed analytics for over 2,000 Allen-Bradley devices. The first year’s subscription is included for each appliance. Subsequent subscriptions are encouraged for customers to progressively receive updated analytics, features and device support, including third-party devices.
I attended a session on predictive maintenance. The topic was a support service from Rockwell Automation–some of which is ready to go now and some still under development. It combines software tools and human experts.
Research has revealed that about 74% of total downtime is figuring out what the problem is and developing a workflow to fix it. The goal of this service by Rockwell Automation is to shorten this time through application of predictive analytics combined with expert analysis.
They have set up a system to collect device data into a Microsoft Azure cloud–aka FactoryTalk Cloud–where analytics apps reside and then port the information into the services organization.
The team has been developing a series of software agents to look at a variety of situations from pattern recognition to anomaly detection to machine learning to help customers get their predictive program up and running “in weeks, not years.”