Strategic Partnership to Deliver a Digital Reliability Platform

If I receive a press release without either “partnership” or “AI” in it, it will be the featured news for a week. Of course, I’m all about digital. Now that we’re past all the releases about what technology companies are doing to help protect workers from Covid, those are the keywords. This news highlights an interesting partnership between AVEVA and Chemical Business SCG to promote something called “digital reliability.” And reliability is a key requirement for technologies ever since the invention of the plow.

Strategic collaboration between the organizations extends the Engineering Digital Twin and harnesses AI-Infused Asset Performance Management to prevent unplanned downtime

AVEVA and  Chemicals Business, SCG, one of the largest petrochemical companies in Thailand and a key industry player in Asia, have announced their strategic partnership to develop a Digital Reliability Platform (DRP), a complete asset performance management (APM) solution to predict equipment health, monitor performance, and enable advanced maintenance across its operations to eliminate unplanned downtime. The DRP was completed through collaborative effort. This partnership matched the company’s broader digital transformation imperative to become a data-driven organization to advance its position as a leader in the petrochemical industry and to also take the DRP solutions to the market

Asset reliability is critical for asset intensive businesses such as petrochemicals. Unplanned shutdowns cause significant negative impacts on petrochemical value chains. Digital transformation initiatives enable businesses to address this risk by harnessing data to build and deploy an advanced APM solution to monitor critical assets and predict failure towards a goal of zero unplanned shutdowns. The solution integrates online and offline equipment data to visualize plant performance, enhance workforce efficiency, and apply artificial intelligence (AI) for predictive maintenance and resolution.

“This is a great achievement for Chemicals Business, SCG since reliability is a critical element to our business. With the innovative approach of the Digital Reliability Platform, we will ensure that we can eliminate the business risks posed by unplanned downtime. In our quest for a partner, AVEVA was the only company to provide an end-to-end solution spanning engineering, operations, and maintenance. With the DRP, we have successfully brought together big data, AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics into a practical solution that will empower our workers and improve our performance,” said Mr. Mongkol Hengrojanasophon, Vice President – Olefins Business and Operations, Chemicals Business, SCG.

“Moreover, this partnership will include launching the Digital Reliability Platform Solutions to the market. This would be the first complete and unique digital solutions which combine both breakthrough technology and industrial specific information,” added Mr. Mongkol.

“Our strategic partnership with Chemicals Business, SCG is a major milestone for us in leveraging the strength of our portfolio to deliver value through digital transformation. We are proud to be part of this collaboration that improves operational efficiency and reliability to achieve zero unplanned downtime by maximizing asset availability with predictive and prescriptive maintenance. The standardized systems and processes defined through this collaboration will also result in improved workforce efficiency,” said Ravi Gopinath, Chief Cloud Officer and Chief Product Officer at AVEVA

The Digital Reliability Platform will bring together digital innovations and practitioner knowledge to increase work efficiency and safety to establish a new competitive standard within the industry.

Podcast 215 – Pursuing Quality

Podcast 215–I moved to a new state a few months ago and have been searching for a good local, independent coffee shop with ethically traded coffee–in vain. So, I go to Starbucks a few times a week. The concept of quality at Starbucks is not the coffee, which is probably why people doctor it with flavored sugars and milk. Its quality has always been environment. One of my first jobs was with Airstream, manufacturer of quality recreation vehicles. Everyone in the company was aware of the need for quality.

The question for you today is are you contributing to building quality, ethical products that serve your customers and society?

On a personal development note, I leave you with Seven Daily Habits from Richard Koch in The 80/20 Principle.

Open Source Meets DataOps

I had been talking Open Source with Bill Lydon, who, like me, has been around many places in manufacturing and media in his career most recently as editor of InTech. He referred me to an article he wrote on

This release actually points to two important technologies that will combine to improve management’s ability to operate a more profitable and efficient plant. One is the open source. The other is DataOps. I had begun hearing about that from IT companies and was just beginning to wonder about applications specifically to industry when I was approached by John Harrington, one of the founders, with the initial story of HighByte.

I have written several things about DataOps. Here is one from my visit last year to the Hitachi Vantara conference, and the other reports on lack of leveraging data.

On to the actual news:

HighByte announced the release of HighByte Intelligence Hub version 1.2. The release expands the software’s support for open standards and open platforms, including MQTT, Sparkplug, and OpenJDK. Open standards and platforms simplify industrial data integrations and accelerate the time-to-value for Industry 4.0 solutions.
“The MQTT Sparkplug specification is critical to ensuring information interoperability and governance in the plant and throughout the enterprise,” said HighByte CEO Tony Paine. “By deploying HighByte Intelligence Hub with Sparkplug support, our customers are able to standardize and streamline their data infrastructures from factory to cloud.”
HighByte Intelligence Hub is the first DataOps solution purpose-built for industrial environments. DataOps is a new approach to data integration and security that aims to improve data quality, reduce time spent preparing data for analysis, and encourage cross-functional collaboration within data-driven organizations.
In addition to MQTT Sparkplug and Open JDK support, HighByte Intelligence Hub version 1.2 includes model and instance categorization, enhanced security, and more flexible presentation of information models and output formats.
The software is available as an annual subscription and is priced per instance or per site.  

From The HighByte Blog

The future of Industry 4.0 is open: open standards, open platforms, and open thinking. In today’s ecosystem, realizing the full potential of Industry 4.0 requires a mesh of products working together to fulfill each layer of the technology stack. Open standards and platforms simplify these integrations and speed up the time-to-value for Industry 4.0 solutions.

Open Standards. This release adds Sparkplug support over MQTT. Sparkplug is an open standard built on top of MQTT that defines the message format for Sparkplug-enabled applications. Many industrial sensors and systems have adopted the Sparkplug specification with MQTT as a means of integrating systems due to Sparkplug’s prescriptive topic namespace, payload definition, and state management. Using Sparkplug, customers can instantly consume and publish data models to and from other Sparkplug-enabled systems.
Open Platform. This release also supports OpenJDK v14, a free and open-source implementation of Java, extending the reach of HighByte Intelligence Hub to any OpenJDK-enabled platform. OpenJDK support for the underlying JAVA virtual machine ensures the longevity of the solution and reduces the cost of ownership of the solution for our customers.
Key Features 
HighByte Intelligence Hub version 1.2 offers the following new features:

  • Enhanced security. Securely connect and configure HighByte Intelligence Hub using HTTPS.
  • More flexible output formats. JSON output can now be further customized, allowing users to flatten or expand the hierarchy. Flexible presentation of information models is essential when supporting multiple use cases and target applications. While MQTT is becoming the de facto protocol for IoT data and many applications support it, each application has nuances in how they expect JSON to be structured. Applications and data storage engines also have unique needs regarding update frequency and how much information is included in the update. Flexible presentation of information models addresses these interoperability challenges.
  • Publish only data that changes. Enable a flow to only publish model data that has changed, reducing the amount of data sent to applications.
  • Easily organize models and instances. Models and model instances can now be organized into categories, making it easier to manage hundreds or thousands of models across your enterprise. The organization of models and instances is critical as companies scale the size of their deployments.

Tony Paine Blog Post

Communication within a start-up is pretty straightforward. If you have a question about a new product launch, you go directly to the owner or CEO. Problems with a design flaw? Talk to your lead engineer. As that business scales, your lines of communication become more complex. You may need to send information through multiple channels to get an answer. Without an easy way to send or retrieve information, it might get lost or misinterpreted or you may wait days for an answer. Anyone who has worked in that environment knows the inherent challenges.

Similarly, when organizations implement new industrial IoT solutions, they may work fine at first but become less effective as the project or company scales. The more capabilities you add, the more connections you create throughout your data systems.
For example, today you might need one or two pieces of production data, such as downtime or line speed, from a machine that feeds information into a business intelligence system and an analytics software package from different vendors. As your organization grows, accessing this information becomes more complex because you now have thousands of connection points. Each time you add an application to the system, you need to build connections between the new software and the other systems with which it must communicate. This dramatically increases integration costs and slows deployments.
To scale your industrial IoT implementation, you need a unified namespace. A unified namespace is a software solution that acts as a centralized repository of data, information, and context where any application or device can consume or publish data needed for a specific action. Without a centralized data repository, it could take months to deploy a new analytics application across the entire enterprise versus hours with a unified namespace.
For nearly two decades, MQTT has served as an effective messaging protocol that allows any program or device to publish data but doesn’t offer interoperability between third-party devices and applications. Technology companies have brought data interoperability to MQTT devices and applications through the development of the Sparkplug specification.
At HighByte, we view our unified namespace as a middleware solution that allows users to collect data from various sources, add context so there’s meaning to it, and transform it to a format that other systems can understand. That is why we are adding support for Sparkplug in the upcoming October release of HighByte Intelligence Hub.

This is where you begin to unlock the real value of machine learning because you now have the connectivity you need to optimize your systems, devices, and processes in real time and scale your IoT capabilities without costly, time-consuming implementations.

Collaboration Helps Employees Return Safely to the Workplace

Collaboration continues to be one of the key words in this pandemic season for operations in industrial plant safety—which includes Covid awareness. This collaboration targets employees in asset-intensive industries.

  • Collaboration will combine Honeywell’s IIoT connected devices and safety software with Wolters Kluwer’s risk and environmental, health and safety management software 
  • Offerings will help customers in asset-intensive industries protect workers, adhere to compliance requirements and facilitate business continuity 

Honeywell and Wolters Kluwer announced a collaboration to integrate Honeywell’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connected devices and safety software with the risk and environmental, health and safety (EHS) software from Enablon, a Wolters Kluwerbusiness. The collaboration is designed to enable enterprises in asset-intensive industries to improve their risk, safety, and operational excellence programs.

The collaboration enables customers to monitor their EHS performance, receive early warnings about issues from their Honeywell equipment, and take proactive steps to help prevent incidents and improve safety compliance.

“With companies concerned about making a safe return to their facilities, we are offering a solution that aims to provide peace of mind to management in terms of both safety and compliance to keep up with ever-changing health and environmental regulations,” said John Rudolph, president, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Our new reality requires innovative solutions that enable both business continuity and help protect the health of their employees.”

Given the heightened uncertainty of today’s business environment, companies have an urgent need for a more holistic, integrated, enterprise platform to operationalize real-time data collected from human and machine input. By leveraging this data, companies can use actionable intelligence through the integration of technologies to mitigate safety risk and remain compliant with regulations.  

Scenario – How it could work in today’s environment:

  • Before visiting the facility, Honeywell’s Digitized Workforce Management software provides an electronic questionnaire which, when complete, provides an access code and time of arrival to reduce the need for transfer of paper documents and improve social distancing.
  • At the entryway, the connected safety software solutions allow Honeywell’s artificial intelligence-driven elevated body temperature monitoring solutions to conduct non-invasive, preliminary screenings of personnel entering a facility. 
  • The system also detects if individuals are wearing the required personal protective equipment needed for entering the building and if they are doing so properly, in compliance with safety regulations.
  • These data points and other manual data points are then reported to the Enablon EHS software. 
  • Through a dashboard view, management can monitor workers to ensure that they remain compliant with rapidly changing health and safety regulations. The EHS solution also allows frontline operations employees to carry out measurements, checks and recordings directly in the field, without the need to walk back and forth to a control room.

By combining Honeywell’s connected safety portfolio and with Enablon’s software suite, customers can eliminate errors in recorded data and improve hands-on-tool time for operators.

“Our goal is to help predict and prevent accidents and out-of-compliance events before they happen,” said Chirag Shah, senior director, Product Management at Wolters Kluwer’s Enablon business. “To do this, companies need to act on data that comes directly from equipment and assets as well as data from workers and contractors in the field. Combining real-time human and machine data in an integrated solution will enable our joint customers to achieve the benefits of a digitized operation. By joining forces with Honeywell, we are helping our customers leverage the benefits of a true Industry 4.0 solution.”

Besides monitoring the health and safety of employees, the solution can also deliver environmental benefits. Today, industries must comply with environmental permits containing hundreds of specific requirements. The technology can monitor, control and report back on the health of these controls. Honeywell’s stationary and mobile solutions can be configured directly from the local environmental and regulatory permit conditions within local jurisdictions, providing early warning alerts to prevent non-compliance.

Agile MES With Microservices Architecture Streamlines System Integration

Here it is, yet another press release of an “industry-first” or “world’s-first” product. I can’t verify that, but this looks like an attack on a fundamental problem of manufacturing execution solutions software (MES)—the many components of it that only add to complexity and confusion. I don’t know, but this may be the first time I’ve written about iBASEt although I have known a few executives there.

The company has launched Solumina iSeries, an agile platform for industrial manufacturers that leverages dozens of pre-configured microservices to simplify how complex manufacturing operations are executed. The iSeries Software Developer Kit (SDK), a new feature to easily create Application Protocol Interfaces (APIs), offers a critical capability when it comes to simplifying how to manage and expand a digital ecosystem. 

“Unlike traditional applications on a three-tier architecture, the iSeries leverages microservices to deliver superior flexibility in design and integration while enabling continuous delivery of new features and capabilities,” said Sung Kim, Chief Technology Officer, iBASEt. 

“The iSeries captures our vision of helping manufacturers better adapt, add performance, and roll out new features faster,” said Naveen Poonian, CEO, iBASEt. “Solumina has leap-frogged the competition by delivering a way to simplify how complex manufacturing is performed as part of a larger enterprise digital ecosystem – capturing the essence of an Industry 4.0 strategy.”

As a cloud-native solution, Solumina iSeries offers benefits beyond easing how new features and updates are deployed. The iSeries can accelerate adoption of new transformative technologies, including augmented reality and artificial intelligence, as an operations platform to continuously drive performance and efficiency on an ongoing basis. 

The Solumina iSeries version i030 will be Generally Available on December 4, 2020.