Continual Market Development Pays Off For Process Control Supplier

Continual Market Development Pays Off For Process Control Supplier

I have known Eddie Habibi, founder and CEO of PAS (now PAS Global) for about 20 years. So I’ve followed the development of his company for that long. There was alarm management, and process safety, and process asset management. And the company grew at a typical pace for the market.

Then he went all-in on process control system cybersecurity. He accepted some investment money, hired some pros in the field, and combined security with what the company was already known for.

The results are in the latest press release from PAS Global LLC where it announced a 45% increase in term revenue year-over-year and increased market recognition of its solutions.

In March 2019, the company introduced an expanded Cyber Integrity offering with risk analytics for continuous operational technology (OT) endpoint security. Following this milestone, the company marked record growth in the adoption of this solution across multiple geographies and verticals including the United States, Europe, and the Middle East with leading organizations in the chemicals and oil & gas industries, in particular.

A Fortune 50 independent petroleum refiner was challenged with increasing cybersecurity risks as they deployed connected technology to achieve faster and more efficient production operations. PAS Cyber Integrity was deployed as the foundation for the refiner’s OT cybersecurity program to create an automated, comprehensive, evergreen OT asset inventory and to more quickly identify and remediate security vulnerabilities. What used to take the company months to assess “critical” or “high” ICS-CERT vulnerabilities can now be done in minutes across all refineries.

A global, integrated oil & gas company operating across five continents is pursuing digital transformation to grow its business, enter new markets, and compete more effectively. Underpinning this initiative is a cloud-based analytics platform. The team chartered with this program sought to leverage their multi-vendor industrial control system (ICS) data and ensure reliable data flows from field-level devices to their data lake. They sought a platform-independent solution that could not only deliver this data, but also provide a topological view of assets and site connections, monitor configuration baselines, and manage change. Additionally, the company’s cybersecurity team sought a solution that could provide comprehensive OT asset inventory and rapid vulnerability assessment capabilities. PAS Automation Integrity and Cyber Integrity were selected to address these needs.

A major electronic materials firm with operations in North America and Asia sought to establish an enterprise-wide cybersecurity program on an aggressive schedule to eliminate gaps in visibility and security controls. Cyber Integrity was selected to automatically build a detailed OT asset inventory for each site, identify patch levels across systems, and implement change management workflows. The company now has the inventory and configuration visibility it needs to support digitalization efforts including data lake, 5G, and artificial intelligence initiatives.

“Industrial organizations are increasing investment in cybersecurity solutions specifically built for OT not only to reduce their overall cyber risk but to ensure they can accelerate their digital transformation efforts safely,” said Eddie Habibi, Founder and CEO of PAS. “We are pleased to be working with a growing list of global companies who are leveraging PAS Cyber Integrity to give them the foundation they need for managing industrial cyber risk.”

The company also saw significant year-over-year growth in purchases of its operations management and process safety solution, PlantState Suite.

“Of equal importance is the work we do to help companies improve process safety through effective operations management,” Habibi added. “We are pleased to have been recognized once again as the market leader for both alarm management and safety lifecycle management. This is a testament to the hard work of the PAS team over many years and the confidence our customers place in our solutions.”

PAS cybersecurity and process safety management solutions are installed in more than 70 countries in over 1,450 industrial facilities for over 535 customers, including 13 of the top 15 chemical companies, 13 of the top 15 refining companies, 7 of the top 20 power generation companies, 4 of the top 5 pulp and paper companies, and 3 of the top 5 mining companies in the world.

Continual Market Development Pays Off For Process Control Supplier

Podcasts–Working Smarter and Intelligent Use of Technology

Ways of organizing a company and organizing work fascinate me. I loved Jason Fried’s book, now almost seven years old, Remote: Office Not Required. Much work can be organized so that a worker does not need to commute to an office. Even in manufacturing we have technologies such as connected AR and remote vision and apps where engineering experts need not even be in the plant to troubleshoot a problem.

Matt Mullenweg founded Automattic and WordPress. His bi-weekly Distributed podcast explores the world of distributed work. The latest is an interview with Jason Fried. It’s worth a listen.

Jason Fried, the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, collects mechanical watches. He appreciates their simplicity. He once wrote in a blog post, “When I look at my watch, it gives me the time. It asks nothing in return. It’s a loyal companion without demands. In contrast, if I look at my phone for the time, it takes my time. It tempts me.”

Speaking of podcasts, here is my latest, number 201. You are an engineer in a factory or plant. The machine or process is down. Production has stopped. The general manager is yelling. The CEO has vowed to investors, customers, and media that he’ll sleep in the plant until production is back up. I’ve never had it as bad as the people at Tesla with Elon Musk beating on them, but I’ve lived that life.

I helped start a magazine with the stated editorial goal of writing about the intelligent application of automation.

After several years of Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems, Industry 4.0, digital twins, digital transformation, I think it is past time to look at our projects in terms of how do we employ technology intelligently for improved profitability, work conditions, quality, customer satisfaction, supplier satisfaction, and environmental sustainability.

Thank you to my sponsor for another year–Inductive Automation.

Also on YouTube.

Continual Market Development Pays Off For Process Control Supplier

Financial Services Leasing Program For Cobots

Collaborative robots, known as cobots, fill a really nice niche in the overall robot and automation market. Among the first I physically saw were those from Universal Robots. I’ve liked its products from the way they are implemented to the way they are designed.

Despite a flurry of press releases discussing how great sales in the space are, I remain skeptical about adoption. This program for leasing robots tells me that the market needs a spur. Once again, a good program, but will this give sales a shot in the arm?

Here is the news.

Universal Robots (UR) launched its new cobot leasing program in collaboration with DLL, a global vendor finance company. The new partnership enables all manufacturers, regardless of size or capital equipment budgets, to reap the benefits of automation without worrying about cash flow and seasonal fluctuations.

“We’re leveling the playing field by enabling all manufacturers to immediately put cobots to work without an upfront capital investment,” said Klaus Vestergaard, CFO at Universal Robots. “UR Financial Services offers end-users a fast, low-risk and financially-friendly model to accelerate automation in their factories. The partnership makes it easy to upgrade existing cobots, add additional units or test cobots for the first time – and equips end-users to maximize productivity, quality and profitability, without increasing costs or cash outlay.”

DLL offers UR’s customers tailor-made financing and leasing programs designed to meet the needs of the modern manufacturing business. As business needs change, customers will have the option to schedule payments to fit fluctuations in cash flow, upgrade to new equipment, or add cobots anytime during the contract term. At the end of the finance term, customers will have the option to buy the equipment for a fraction of the original cost, upgrade to newer technology, extend the finance term or simply return the equipment.

“We are delighted to establish a global partnership with Universal Robots,” said Neal Garnett, President of Construction, Transportation & Industrial (CT&I) Global Business Unit at DLL. “The market we operate in is evolving rapidly. Through this partnership we can now offer financial solutions for a wide variety of automation equipment. Cobots are transforming the industry and UR is clearly the market leader. Our tailored financial solutions give UR’s end-users an easy way to reduce the risk of deploying cobots by shifting from ownership to flexible, usage-based financing. Manufacturers can build the operations they need to compete and thrive, while people work on strategic tasks.”

UR’s distributor network will work directly with DLL’s dedicated finance experts in each country to provide new payment and leasing options for interested customers. Through the experts’ specialized asset knowledge, flexible financing solutions and strategic marketing resources, they will support UR to execute the growth strategy. End users will continue to experience the benefits of working with UR, including its global reach, local support, service and maintenance, training offerings through its online UR Academy and global network of Authorized Training Centers, and UR’s extensive UR+ Ecosystem.

Continual Market Development Pays Off For Process Control Supplier

Software Partnerships Boosts Digital Engineering

Next to acquisitions, partnerships are driving actions among major digital industrial supplier players. With today’s announcement, Aras, who labels itself “the only resilient platform provider for digital industrial applications,” announced a strategic partnership with ANSYS that includes the licensing of the Aras platform technology to enable the next generation of digital engineering practices.

When we last saw ANSYS on this blog, Rockwell Automation had announced a partnership to enhance its digital twin and simulation offering.

ANSYS will leverage the underlying Aras platform technologies such as configuration management, PDM/PLM interoperability, API integration, and add simulation specific capabilities to deliver highly scalable and configurable products that connect simulation and optimization to the business of engineering — creating new ways of exploring and improving product performance.

Organizations increasingly expect to leverage simulation throughout the product lifecycle to interoperate with their existing PLM, ALM, and ERP applications. Additionally, customers must address scale and complexity challenges with data and process management, traceability and availability of simulation results across the lifecycle.

ANSYS is leveraging Aras’ resilient platform services combined with its simulation domain expertise and technology for new product offerings to improve productivity and maximize business value from simulation investments. ANSYS will deliver commercial offerings for simulation process and data management, process integration, design optimization, and simulation-driven data science.

“With our open ecosystem approach, this unique collaboration combines the strengths of ANSYS’ industry-leading multiphysics portfolio and the resilient platform from Aras for digital connectivity to dramatically enhance customer value,” said Navin Budhiraja, vice president of cloud and platform business unit, ANSYS. “As simulation technologies impact every product decision, we see the ability of ANSYS solutions to interoperate and link with heterogeneous systems as an important step to accelerate the digital transformation for our customers.”

“We believe that simulation is essential to developing tomorrow’s next generation products, and that better data and process management of simulations is required to enable the digital processes of the future which will support these products,” said Peter Schroer, president and CEO, Aras. “We see the ANSYS and Aras partnership as a potential game changer in connecting simulation to engineering processes for traceability, access and reuse across the product lifecycle.”

A Tablet Computer for Hazardous Environments

A Tablet Computer for Hazardous Environments

When Dell developed an Internet of Things (IoT) group, I began following it. The team developed a gateway compute device, brought together various groups within the company, along with many partners. But the market was evidently not large enough to sustain a group. Eventually IoT was moved into the OEM business and the entire team was either laid off or shuffled over to other groups.

Therefore, I found it refreshing that a large IT company not only could spell Class I, Div 2, but develop a product for hazardous areas within petrochemical (and other) plants.

Dell positions its new rugged tablet as an element of digital transformation (of course), but the Latitude 7220EX Rugged Extreme Tablet has ATEX and IECEx certification for use in potentially explosive environments that will give technicians, operators, and engineers a mobile view into operations.

Dell customers in North America and Canada can expect to see Class 1, div 2 certifications on the existing Dell Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme tablet in the coming months. With these additional ATEX and IECEx certifications which meet EU and International standards respectively, the Latitude 7220EX Rugged Extreme tablet will make it easier for customers to procure and deploy one platform across various regions.

The Latitude 7220EX Rugged Extreme is an 11.6” fully-rugged tablet featuring the brightest-screen in an ATEX-certified tablet, for use in potentially explosive environments. It includes a 1000-nit screen, which increases direct sunlight viewability, and also offers glove-touch capacity. To balance the security of the device with user accessibility, the Latitude 7220EX Rugged Extreme features a built-in infrared camera with “Windows Hello” facial recognition and an optional next-generation fingerprint reader.

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