iBASEt Transitions to ‘Cloud First’ Development Cycle

The rush to the cloud continues. Companies that have not transitioned their products to the cloud in at least one of its guises lag the industry. Here is an MES company announcing its transition.

iBASEt, the company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained, announced availability of the latest version of Solumina iSeries version i070, a critical update marking the company’s successful transition to a cloud-first development cycle.

The latest version of iSeries also features a host of security features, including rigorous security testing based on OWASP Top 10 web application security risks to enable manufacturers to identify and patch vulnerabilities quickly. 

Updates include:

  • Interactive UI
  • Reimagined Supplier Quality Inspection interface
  • Corrective Actions functionality
  • Ability to create standalone inspection orders
  • Move serialized units from one operation to another

Reliable Degassing in Battery Cell Production

The rise of electric vehicle sales increased demand for battery manufacturing. Many applications come my way. This example is something Festo can do with pneumatic and electric actuators.

In an active demonstration, as shown in this YouTube video of the demo, pneumatic and electric actuators from Festo handle and pierce battery cells.

At the center of a degassing demonstration is the process chamber. A cantilever handling system based on Festo’s spindle axes ELGT ensures dynamic and safe loading and unloading of the process chambers. The compact and cost-effective spindle axes ELGT, with integrated double guide, is ideal for creating 2D and 3D cantilever systems. As a 3D delivery system, for example, it packs up to 20 kg at speeds of up to 0.5 m/s. With a copper and zinc content of less than one percent, the axis is perfect for use in assembly systems in battery production or in small parts handling.

During the degassing process, the process chamber is evacuated using VZQA process valves. The VZQA’s open architecture makes these valves durable, energy-efficient, easy to maintain, and flexible. They are a suitable alternative to conventional valves such as diaphragm valves or ball valves. The pressure switch SPAN-B from Festo monitors the pressure in the process chamber.

Introducing Velta Technology–Cyber Risk Management

Craig Duckworth, President and Co-Founder of Velta Technology, spoke with me shortly before I left for two conferences. I’m catching up, slowly. You may not have heard of Velta Technology. It’s just four years old. They are trying to find a niche within the cybersecurity market without being just another packet sniffing or intrusion detection company.

The company doesn’t sell just one product family. It relies on working with partners such as Claroty and Cisco to bring solutions to customers. It is comprised of multi-disciplinary industrial manufacturing and critical infrastructure experts. “We understand the differences between industrial and IT infrastructures, as well as the toolsets required to secure them.” In this regard, they are one of the companies attempting to bring IT and OT to the same table.

“Our experience and partnerships with the world’s leading solution providers in the industrial space allow us to integrate cybersecurity solutions with existing technologies. We bridge the gap in expertise and understanding from industrial assets on the plant floor across to the enterprise.”

Much of our conversation focused on risk. He talked about the role of the customer company’s board of directors as the key leadership element in focusing management on cybersecurity in order to mitigate risks of cyber intrusions. Velta works with customers to implement solutions to retrieve data and organize risk. They recognize that many IT trusted tools simply are not effective or even possible in the operations environment.

Here’s a summary of the company’s offering:

  • Technology & Tools
  • End-to-End Protection
  • Industrial Hardened Platforms : Appliances, Enclosures, Networking
  • Continuous Monitoring : Ability to see real time performance and threats
  • Secure Remote Access : With full Audit Tracking and Controls
  • Industrial Endpoint Protection : The definitive protection in the industry
  • Connected Devices Vulnerability Index (CDV Index): Identify your supply chain risks

Solutions

  • Visibility & Digital Safety
  • Velta Technology Visibility Program : Real-time visibility into the assets in your industrial environment, behavior anomalies, security threats and vulnerabilities. More than simply a moment-in-time Risk Assessment.
  • Velta Technology Digital Safety Standards : A continuous improvement methodology that supports protection of industrial assets. Covers everything from cybersecurity threats to process integrity issues that can impact environmental and human harm.

Services

  • Service and Support Options
  • Strategy & Advisory Support : Recommendations, designs and roadmaps to navigate safety maturity for industrial asset networks.
  • Deployment : From onsite Basic installation and configuration to Enhanced assistance for a full year.
  • Operationalize : Build programs for existing or new platforms to improve value and mitigation in your local environment
  • Managed Services : Basic/Standard/Premier options to deliver full-platform and resources for your organization.

 

IMTS / Hannover Messe Chicago Recap

I didn’t have time to finish this about IMTS/Hannover Messe when I found myself in rainy Folsom, CA at the Inductive Automation’s Ignition Community Conference. More on that later.

Here is a quick recap of my tour around two of the four full halls that comprised the event. I heard that there were more than 100,000 people who also toured the trade show floors.

Robotics

OnRobot — OnRobot Previews D:PLOY for Machine Tending at IMTS. D:PLOY automatically discovers and configures all the components in a robotic cell – including any leading collaborative or light industrial robot arm and tools – while also integrating external I/O from sensors and machines. D:PLOY will be available for all common robotic applications, making deployment up to 80% faster. See more.

Universal Robots—The booth featured nine partners with vertical industry applications and a new 20 kg cobot.

The UR20, the first of next-generation high performance cobots, has been redesigned from the ground up to provide up to 30% more speed and torque, advanced motion control capabilities, and first-class user experience. Its 20 kg payload and 1750 mm reach make it a match for applications ranging from palletizing to machine loading.

These partners exhibited within the booth. Click for more information. Cobot Systems, Hirebotics, Kane Robotics, MidAtlantic Machinery, PCC Robotics, Robotiq, Schunk, Vectis Automation, VersaBuilt.

ABB—Highlights include versatile industrial and collaborative robots, software advancements that reduce programming complexity, and a selection of interactive robotic educational systems and training programs.

• ABB has developed over 30 new robot, software digital and educational products and educational tools in the last year, designed to help industrial manufacturers of all sizes increase their operational performance and gain better access to a well-trained workforce

• ABB helps businesses of all sizes embrace the flexibility afforded by robotics to efficiently adapt production to satisfy their customer’s most pressing needs, especially as reshoring becomes a prominent means to address ongoing supply chain backlogs

For more information.

CNC

Siemens—Accelerating the digital transformation of the machine tool industry with Siemens Xcelerator 

• Siemens Xcelerator includes selected portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware, software and digital offerings for the machine tool industry

• Software applications for cloud, edge and customer servers with numerous innovations for the machine tool business

• First partner applications based upon Industrial Edge for Machine Tools, the open ecosystem for IoT

New technology functions for the SINUMERIK ONE CNC simplify operation and increase productivity

• Y-turning and Advanced Rapid Movement for greater machine tool productivity, 

up to 10% faster machining

• Reduced Dynamic Mode reduces wear and increases availability

• End-to-end keyboard and machine control panel portfolio from 15 to 24 inches

The introduction of Mcenter, a new manufacturing and resource management platform, designed to enhance the preparation of tool scheduling, workflow supervision and NC program  management — plus Mcenter will smartly and seamlessly network the machine tools with the company’s IT / OT landscape.  

For more information.

Automation

MFA Alliance — You may have noticed several items about private 5G networks for manufacturing and industrial applications. Several companies have joined this private network alliance

Find out which features you need to implement for your 5G private network device with Uni5G Technology Blueprints. Discover available spectrum options (locally licensed, shared, unlicensed) around the world for your private network. Gain access to MFA’s shared global PLMN-ID which can uniquely identify your private network.

GE Digital — Announced it has achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Industrial Software Competency status. GE Digital is also expanding its offerings in the AWS Marketplace with new cloud-based operational intelligence and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software.

For more information.

Deacom (ECI Software)—With a deep awareness of the challenges faced by process manufacturers and distributors, Deacom has been developed as an ERP solution tailored to the needs of medium-sized enterprises within industries such as Food & Beverage, Chemical and Coatings, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, and Nutraceuticals to name a few. Hyper-Tight Process Control enables you to easily identify issues within your supply chain, production, and order-to-cash processes early and fix – or eliminate – them before they turn into costly mistakes.

For more information.

HighByte — I talked with two of the founders of this DataOps company. It has a new release coming, teaser about future releases. My takeaway, DataOps has found customer footing. Watch for growth. For more information.

Artek 3D scanning — Perhaps the coolest demos of the show—handheld 3D scanning, built-in screen so that you don’t have to move it around and juggle a computer at the same time. Quickly transform your object into 3D graphics. For more information.

ATT —  The takeaway from my conversation at the AT&T booth was that 5G private networks are really in use. Also, you can go to the AT&T Business LinkedIn page for a “chat” that I participated in about smart factory. For more information.

Beckhoff Automation—The XPlanar magnetic conveyor was the hot thing in this booth. The XPlanar planar motor system combines the advantages of conventional transport technologies with magnetic levitation. The levitating 2D product transport enables a wide range of new options for handling products within a machine and also between several machines.

Similar to automated guided vehicle systems, the user benefits from the freedom of movement of the object carriers: Individual goods can be transported to any location via any route. XPlanar combines this flexibility with the dynamics of conventional linear motors and offers added value through cycle-time-optimized linking of individual production steps. XPlanar significantly simplifies individual production steps because the degrees of freedom and accuracy familiar from robotics can be used for 6D product handling. The concept of product positioning during processing is applied to the transport system. The floating effect replaces all mechanical guide components and drastically reduces cleaning and maintenance costs.

For more information.

Syntax — As I walked through the AWS booth, a woman at one of the kiosks called out, want to learn about predictive maintenance? This enterprise software company touts a better UI difference—one dashboard, one interface, predict material usage. For more information.

Return of the Large Trade Show

IMTS / Hannover Messe invaded Chicago this week. I drove down a couple of days. It was huge. Booths populated all four halls. I did not see everything. Or even half.

Hannover Messe (in Chicago) has co-located for the past three or four events. As in the past, the automation / Hannover Messe part encompassed a few aisles in the East hall.

I’ll have more news items in the next post.

Best of what I saw:

Nokia. What?! I was approached for an appointment. I said yes figuring on a 5G private network discussion. I was partly right.

Let me back up for context.

  • Enterprises crave data to feed their information systems.
  • Data from industrial / manufacturing operations were bottled in isolated, siloed systems
  • Networking became robust
  • Interoperable protocols grew
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) became a thing
  • Suddenly data could go where and when needed

Solutions.

  • Automation vendors claimed connectivity to enterprise but that fell short
  • IT suppliers, supporters of the enterprise, tried to enter the market with gateways, networking, partnerships and ecosystems to get the data.
  • They couldn’t find the formula to sell to manufacturing (known as OT)
  • We have gateways, databases, networking, but still no enterprise solution

Nokia.

  • Builds off networking technology which has progressed to 5G Private Networks
  • Has added edge compute devices
  • Partnership with PTC (Kepware / Thingworx) for software connectivity
  • Attacking this open market from a new perspective–both the enterprise IT side and the operations OT side

I am not predicting success. I never do. What I love about trade shows is finding this nugget of original thinking cloaked in the mundane. They have the foundation. Can they sell?

Check out this page on the Nokia site.

IoT Vulnerability Disclosures Grew 57 percent from 2H 2021 to 1H 2022

Security, risk, and vulnerability to digital hacks consume half of my bandwidth—or so it feels. Part of the security trends includes each supplier performing research and writing reports. Here is a report from Claroty’s Team82 revealing a rise in IoT vulnerabilities, vendor self-disclosures, and fully or partially remediated firmware vulnerabilities 

Vulnerability disclosures impacting IoT devices increased by 57% in the first half (1H) of 2022 compared to the previous six months, according to new research released in August by Claroty, the cyber-physical systems protection company. The State of XIoT Security Report: 1H 2022 also found that over the same time period, vendor self-disclosures increased by 69%, becoming more prolific reporters than independent research outfits for the first time, and fully or partially remediated firmware vulnerabilities increased by 79%, a notable improvement given the relative challenges in patching firmware versus software vulnerabilities. 

Compiled by Team82, the report is an examination and analysis of vulnerabilities impacting the Extended Internet of Things (XIoT), a vast network of cyber-physical systems including operational technology and industrial control systems (OT/ICS), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), building management systems, and enterprise IoT. The data set comprises vulnerabilities discovered by Team82 and from trusted open sources including the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), [email protected], MITRE, and industrial automation vendors Schneider Electric and Siemens.  

Key Findings 

IoT Devices: 15% of vulnerabilities were found in IoT devices, a significant increase from 9% in Team82’s last report covering the second half (2H) of 2021. Additionally, for the first time, the combination of IoT and IoMT vulnerabilities (18.2%) exceeded IT vulnerabilities (16.5%). This indicates enhanced understanding on the part of vendors and researchers to secure these connected devices as they can be a gateway to deeper network penetration.  

Vendor Self-Disclosures: For the first time, vendor self-disclosures (29%) have surpassed independent research outfits (19%) as the second most prolific vulnerability reporters, after third-party security companies (45%). The 214 published CVEs almost doubles the total in Team82’s 2H 2021 report of 127. This indicates that more OT, IoT, and IoMT vendors are establishing vulnerability disclosure programs and dedicating more resources to examining the security and safety of their products than ever before. 

Firmware: Published firmware vulnerabilities were nearly on par with software vulnerabilities (46% and 48% respectively), a huge jump from the 2H 2021 report when there was almost a 2:1 disparity between software (62%) and firmware (37%). The report also revealed a significant increase in fully or partially remediated firmware vulnerabilities (40% in 1H 2022, up from 21% in 2H 2021), which is notable given the relative challenges in patching firmware due to longer update cycles and infrequent maintenance windows. This indicates researchers’ growing interest in safeguarding devices at lower levels of the Purdue Model, which are more directly connected to the process itself and thus a more attractive target for attackers.  

Volume and Criticality: On average, XIoT vulnerabilities are being published and addressed at a rate of 125 per month, reaching a total of 747 in 1H 2022. The vast majority have CVSS scores of either critical (19%) or high severity (46%). 

Impacts: Nearly three-quarters (71%) have a high impact on system and device availability, the impact metric most applicable to XIoT devices. The leading potential impact is unauthorized remote code or command execution (prevalent in 54% of vulnerabilities), followed by denial-of-service conditions (crash, exit, or restart) at 43%. 

Mitigations: The top mitigation step is network segmentation (recommended in 45% of vulnerability disclosures), followed by secure remote access (38%) and ransomware, phishing, and spam protection (15%).  

The primary authors of this report are Bar Ofner, security researcher at Claroty, and Chen Fradkin, data scientist. Contributors include: Rotem Mesika, threat and risk group lead, Nadav Erez, director of innovation, Sharon Brizinov, director of research, and Amir Preminger, vice president of research. Special thanks to the entirety of Team82 for providing exceptional support to various aspects of this report and research efforts that fueled it. 

Gas Analysis Solutions Center to Help Plants Meet Sustainability Goals

As surely as security has been a significant 2022 trend, so also has sustainability. Since early June, I’ve been in several conversations regarding work technology firms are accomplishing in this arena. I’ve talked in the past about Emerson and hydrogen. This Emerson news concerns sensing technologies for emissions monitoring.

New Scotland-based center will develop and provide training for next-generation gas sensing technologies used for emissions monitoring, process control and safety.

For those interested in what we can do on a personal level about this important work, check out the work of hundreds of volunteers of The Carbon Almanac. 

Emerson announced August 29, 2022 the opening of a facility in Cumbernauld, Scotland, equipped with engineering, development and manufacturing resources for sensor, mechanical, electronics and software design for the company’s gas analysis portfolio. Spurred by demand to reduce the environmental impact of industrial process facilities, the new gas analysis solutions center will produce more than 10 different sensing technologies that can measure more than 60 different gas components, delivering on Emerson’s commitment to supporting customers’ decarbonization efforts.

As a global hub for the production and distribution of gas sensing technologies, the 62,000-square-foot facility will engineer and manufacture Emerson’s Rosemount continuous gas analyzers and gas chromatographs, which are used to improve emissions monitoring, plant safety, quality control and operational efficiency. These tools are critical to helping process plants meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations and ensuring process control in hydrogen, biofuel, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and aerosol manufacturing, as well as reducing waste and scrappage to foster sustainability.

The center includes a training space and offers training options for customers, including classroom, onsite and web-based courses, giving Emerson greater ability to demonstrate how the latest gas analysis technologies can help customers run their operations reliably, safely and efficiently. It is certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and complements Emerson’s global network of facilities certified by ISO standards for quality, occupational health and safety, and environmental management systems.

The facility is also equipped with a gas extraction system, an environmental chamber and an external gas storage to facilitate gas analyzer testing and application research and development. Combined with calibration capabilities, a dedicated area for performing factory acceptance testing, and a customer collaboration space, these capabilities will help assure product performance and integrity and streamline the customer experience.

Shields Up Against Cyber Attacks Due to War in Ukraine

At the start of the Ukraine conflict, CISA issued a “Shields Up” alert to all critical infrastructure in an effort to stave off potential cyber attacks from Russia. 6 months later, the proverbial “shields” are still up but is the U.S. critical infrastructure more secure because of it?

I was wondering if I should have more security than I have being a manufacturing and industrial site. Indeed I saw a sharp peak of hits from Russia and Ukraine at the outset of the war. But it was only a blip. But what if I weren’t a media site but a critical infrastructure site?

Security information comes at me faster than to my friend Greg Hale who specializes on the subject at Industrial Safety and Security Source. Recently I talked with Ron Fabela, CTO of critical infrastructure cybersecurity firm, SynSaber. This company is working directly with operators across oil & gas, electric, water infrastructure and nuclear to maintain a “Shields Up” posture.

More than six months has passed since the initial flurry of war and increased cyber attacks in the US. I wondered what the state of “Shields Up” was these days. Have we kept up the urgency? Or have we learned to live with it?

Rob suggested that astute executives should have used the directives to get some much needed budget. He pointed out that one cannot sustain a high alert indefinitely. And that IT and security executives should not over hype the situation. Still, when attention is suddenly focused on a risk area, it makes sense to lay a plan and ask for budget to implement strategies. Plus, sometimes the government brings money with its directives, something that is always a big help.

Expanding on the topic, like its peers, SynSaber initiated a study to discover what reported Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) could tell us from the 681 CVEs reported via the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) ICS Advisories in the first half of 2022.

Breaking up the reported CVEs into remediation categories (i.e., can it be patched with software, a firmware update, or something more complex requiring protocol or whole system changes) or taking a look at attack vector requirements can provide critical insights for teams to assess these and future CVEs as they are reported.

We hope that by analyzing and counting these vulnerabilities with new methods, this context can be used by all industrial security teams to better understand and remediate future vulnerabilities.

Key Findings

● For the CVEs reported in 2022, 13% have no patch or remediation currently available from the vendor (and 34% require a firmware update)

● While 56% of the CVEs have been reported by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), 42% have been submitted by security vendors and independent researchers (remaining 2% were reported directly by an asset owner and a government CERT)

● 23% of the CVEs require local or physical access to the system in order to exploit

● Of the CVEs reported thus far in 2022, 41% can and should be prioritized and addressed first (with organization and vendor planning)

Identify Data Sets With Orphaned Data Enabling Appropriate Actions

Steve Leeper, VP Systems Engineering and Marketing, and Carl D’Halluin, Chief Technology Officer of Datadobi, met with me recently to discuss data, unstructured data management, data migration, the company, and those poor little orphaned files and data left in storage long after they had useful life.

I’ve been writing about the company’s products for about two years. Datadobi is about to celebrate its 13th birthday. Organically funded, management expects it to be around for some time to come.

The occasion of this conversation was release 6.2 and an upgrade to the recently announced StorageMAP product—a multi-vendor, multi-cloud data management platform with the introduction of capabilities to discover and remediate orphaned data.

Orphaned data is owned by employees of a company that are inactive but still enabled on an organization’s network or systems. These datasets, which can amount to a significant part of a company’s total data stored, represent risk and cost to every organization. Any enterprise with a large employee base, normal to high attrition rates, or undertaking merger and acquisition (M&A) activities will be vulnerable to orphaned data. Orphaned data is mostly not of value to the organization and creates liability due to its unknown content. Eliminating orphaned data enables IT leaders to reduce cost, lower carbon footprint, and lower risk while maximizing value out of relevant unstructured data used by active users.

With the new capabilities, StorageMAP can identify data sets with high amounts of orphaned data, allowing IT leaders to group and organize the data independent of the business organization. The orphaned datasets can then be migrated, archived to a lower-cost platform, or deleted by StorageMAP. The platform provides an easy-to-read, granular report on the top users with orphaned data and for additional detail, a search function allows targeted searches to be executed across part of or the entire data estate.

The 6.2 release comes after Datadobi launched its StorageMAP platform earlier this year. StorageMAP provides a single pane of glass for organizations to manage unstructured data across their complete data storage estate on-premises and in the cloud. This latest update enables IT leaders to fully take control of orphaned data on their networks.

“Due to the scale and complexity of unstructured data in today’s heterogeneous storage environments, enterprises can easily lose track of orphaned data within networks and open themselves up to excess storage costs and risk,” said Carl D’Halluin, CTO, Datadobi. “StorageMAP’s new capabilities allow for a seamless experience identifying and taking the appropriate action on orphaned data to give IT leaders peace of mind.”

“As data proliferation continues, IT leaders are going to see more orphaned data on their networks. This is why it is so important that organizations turn to unstructured data management solutions like StorageMAP to find datasets associated with inactive users and take the appropriate action,” said Craig Ledo, IT Validation Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “Combined with a high level of cross-vendor knowledge, years of real-life experience, and great customer support, enterprises can let StorageMAP do the heavy lifting when it comes to orphaned data.”

Collaboration Boosts Process Automation Device Information Model

August was a month of collaboration news. After years of organizations aligning into opposing groups backing similar, but different, technologies, things are coming together. You cannot count this one on the fingers of one hand.

ISA100 WCI, NAMUR, ODVA, PI, VDMA, and ZVEI Plan to Partner with FieldComm Group and OPC Foundation to Collaboratively Develop the Process Automation Device Information Model Standard

The goal—something end users are asking for:

Collaboration promises to simplify integration of OT and IT systems by optimizing process automation end users’ management of data from field devices.

From the news release:

Major standards development and end user organizations serving the process automation industry announce August 23, 2022 ongoing collaboration work on the specification for a standardized Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM). Participating organizations plan to share ownership of the specification and collaboratively participate in the PA-DIM working group, hosted at FieldComm Group, creating enhancements and extensions to the PA-DIM specification.

Expanding ownership to these organizations and their members will further solidify the adoption of the OPC UA-based standard model for core field device information in process automation plants today and new products going forward. 

New co-owners of the PA-DIM specification include ISA100 WCI, ODVA, PROFIBUS/PROFINET International, NAMUR, VDMA, and ZVEI.

Following are all the requisite statements of support from each of the affected organizations along with a description of them all.

Andre Ristaino, Managing Director of ISA100 WCI: “As a standards-driven organization, the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute has been supporting the ISA100 Wireless (IEC 62734) standard with its core mission of assuring device interoperability. The PA-DIM specification fits into our mission and we have adopted it as the foundation for standardized data exchange in our ISA100 Wireless ecosystem.”

Ted Masters, President & CEO FieldComm Group: “PA-DIM helps bridge the gap between IT and OT systems in a protocol agnostic way.  This coupled with the extensive use of semantic identifiers provides an ideal solution to allow end users to access instrumentation data from both the installed base and newly installed instruments.  We are delighted that the major standards bodies and end user organizations in the process automation industry have agreed to collaborate on this important standard.”

Michael Pelz, Vice President, Christine Oro Saveedra, General Manager, NAMUR (User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries): 

“NAMUR bundles end-user competencies for automation and digitalization within the process industry to enable more efficient, sustainable, and secure processes. NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) aims to make stranded production data easily and securely accessible and more importantly usable for plant and asset monitoring as well as optimization. NOA enables this without compromising the availability or OT-Infrastructure of a production facility. In order to use NOA effectively, standardized information models are essential. For this reason, NAMUR, in cooperation with ZVEI, supported the PA-DIM activities at a very early stage in order to develop a common data model as an interoperable, non-proprietary interface. It is a great signal that the future development of PA-DIM is now supported and adapted by further organizations. A signal that with this broadly supported standard, investment-safe (NOA) projects can be realized in the long term.”

Dr. Al Beydoun, President & Executive Director of ODVA: “ODVA is pleased to support the PA-DIM profile to enable greater information standardization within process automation, which will allow for more seamless data analysis and prognostics. End users of EtherNet/IP networks will be able to leverage PA-DIM to move data from the field to the cloud and to realize improved data standardization across networks.”

Stefan Hoppe, OPCF President & Executive Director: “Digitization needs a secure transfer of globally accepted information models across industries, technologies, and applications. No single organization can achieve this alone! OPCF, as a co-owner from the beginning, welcomes to extend the ownership of PA-DIM to ensure this necessary global acceptance. OPC UA over MQTT is the only accepted field-to-multi-cloud solution – the combination with PA-DIM plus 70+ additional information models is unique.”

Karsten Schneider, Chairman PROFIBUS & PROFINET International: “For us at PI, standardized information models like PA-DIM are a key enabler for the digital transformation. Since PROFINET is based on standard Ethernet, it can be used as the infrastructure in plants for all data exchange needs. With OPC UA being a perfect match for vertical communication in addition to PROFINET’s powerful and rich feature set, your automation solution will be ready for Industry 4.0.” 

Andreas Faath, VDMA Head of Machine Information Interoperability: “Interoperability is one of the major pillars for intelligent production. The VDMA’s vision is to achieve interoperability not only within the machine building industry but also across industries. VDMA will support the PA-DIM standard with its experience out of 60+ released or in development domain-specific and cross-domain harmonized OPC UA-based information models, including models for the area of process industry, for example, pumps and motors. We like to share this knowledge and are delighted to be part of PA-DIM and to support this new collaboration between mechanical engineering and process industry.”

Felix Seibl, ZVEI Managing Director: “Automation and Process Automation are the Key enablers to face the Major Challenges of the Future: Sustainable, efficient, and interoperable production. By creating and introducing smart digitalization concepts, for example NOA (NAMUR Open Architecture), together with the end users of NAMUR, ZVEI and its member companies help process and discrete industries to master these challenges. We are happy and feel privileged to become a co-owner of PA-DIM, which is a great basis for our digitalization efforts.”

Since 2017, FieldComm Group and OPC Foundation, as original co-owners and co-developers, have collaborated with standards organizations and users to create the PA-DIM specification to address end user use cases and requirements as outlined in NAMUR’s recommendations (NE 175, NE 176), also known as the NAMUR Open Architecture. The first version of the specification was published on 31 March 2020 and includes an information model and semantic identifiers for common process automation instrument types including pressure, differential pressure, temperature, level, flow, and valve positioners. Current activity within the working group is focused on extending the model to include process analyzers.

Benefits of PA-DIM

The Process Automation Device Information Model is a specification that allows for protocol agnostic communication of common process automation instrument parameters, including semantic IDs as defined by IEC 61987, using OPC UA information modeling techniques. Eliminating automation protocol dependencies simplifies the integration of IT and OT systems. Including semantic device information enables unambiguous machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Fieldbus-specific implementations are converted into the address space of the PA-DIM Information Model.

Products using PA-DIM can easily support the NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) use cases including automated as built, unique identification, device dimensioning, multivariable possibility check, read multivariable process values, device life cycle backup, health monitoring, and diagnosis.

About ISA100 WCI

ISA100 Wireless (IEC 62734) is an international industrial wireless network standard designed to meet the field needs of the process automation field. ISA100 Wireless is open and interoperable, enabling multi-vendors to build highly reliable large-scale wireless networks.  The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute promotes ISA100 Wireless technology, provides technical support, and performs conformance testing services to ensure interoperability among ISA100 Wireless certified technology.

Contact: Andre Ristaino, [email protected]

About FieldComm Group

The FieldComm Group is a global standards-based organization consisting of leading process end users, manufacturers, universities, and research organizations that work together to direct the development, incorporation, and implementation of new and overlapping technologies and serves as the source for FDI technology. FieldComm Group’s mission is to develop, manage, and promote global standards for integrating digital devices to on-site, mobile, and cloud-based systems; provide services for standards conformance and implementation of process automation devices and systems that enable and improve reliability and multi-vendor interoperability; lead the development of a unified information model of process automation field devices while building upon industry investment in the HART®, FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus, and FDI® standards. Membership is open to anyone interested in the use of the technologies.

Contact: Paul Sereiko, [email protected]

About NAMUR

NAMUR, the “User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries”, is an international association of user companies (established in 1949) and represents their interests concerning automation technology. NAMUR has over 170 member companies. The achievement of added value through automation engineering is at the forefront in all NAMUR member company activities. 

NAMUR represents several thousand process control technology specialists, with around 300 participating in almost 40 working groups involved in all areas regarding the process industry.

Contact: Christine Oro Saavedra, General Manager,  [email protected]

About ODVA

ODVA is an international standards development and trade organization with members from the world’s leading automation suppliers. ODVA’s mission is to advance open, interoperable information and communication technologies for industrial automation. Its standards include the Common Industrial Protocol or “CIP™,” ODVA’s media independent network protocol – and industrial communication technologies including EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, and others. For interoperability of production systems and their integration with other systems, ODVA embraces the adoption of commercial-off-the-shelf, standard Internet, and Ethernet technologies as a guiding principle. This principle is exemplified by EtherNet/IP – today’s leading industrial Ethernet network.

Contact: Steve Fales, [email protected]  

About The OPC Foundation

Since 1996, the OPC Foundation has facilitated the development and adoption of the OPC information exchange standards. As both advocate and custodian of these specifications, the Foundation’s mission is to help industry vendors, end-users, and software developers maintain interoperability in their manufacturing and automation assets. The OPC Foundation is dedicated to providing the best specifications, technology, process, and certification to achieve multivendor, multiplatform, secure, reliable, interoperability for moving data and information from the embedded world to the enterprise cloud. The Foundation serves over 880 members worldwide in the Industrial Automation, IT, IoT, IIoT, M2M, Industrie 4.0, Building Automation, machine tools, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, oil & gas, water treatment, and Smart Energy sectors.  

Contact: Stefan Hoppe, President and Executive Director, [email protected]

About PROFIBUS & PROFINET International

Over 30 years ago, the PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO) initiated the foundation of a large, global community which has come together under the PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) umbrella organization. With 25 regional user organizations in every international market, around 1,700 member companies and many thousands of different products, PI is the largest interest group for industrial automation technology. Its global network includes most manufacturers and users from every industry. The technologies cover every key market of industrial automation, from production automation to process automation to motion control and safety applications. PROFIBUS, the leading fieldbus – PROFINET, the leading Ethernet standard – IO-Link, the leading sensor/actuator communication system – and omlox, the open and interoperable standard for real-time locating – are available automation technologies with future potential enabling production in the “Industry 4.0” generation.

Contact: Barbara Weber, [email protected]

About VDMA

The VDMA represents around 3,500 German and European mechanical and plant engineering companies. The industry stands for innovation, export orientation and medium-sized businesses. The companies employ around four million people in Europe, more than one million of them in Germany alone. Mechanical and plant engineering represents a European turnover volume of around 800 billion euros. In the entire manufacturing sector, it contributes the highest share to the European gross domestic product with a value added of around 270 billion euros.

Contact: Andreas Faath, [email protected]

About ZVEI

The ZVEI promotes the industry’s joint economic, technological and environmental policy interests on a national, European and global level. The association has more than 1,100 member companies, and 170 employees work in the ZVEI Group.

The sector has about 879,000 employees in Germany (July 2022). In 2021 the turnover was Euro 200 billion. 

The electro and digital industry is the most innovative industry sector in Germany. One-third of the industry’s sales are based on new products. Every third innovation in Germany´s manufacturing sector stems from solutions of this sector. More than 20 percent of all industrial R+D spending comes from this industry. Every year, the industry spends 20 billion euros on R+D, more than 6 billion euros on investments and two billion euros on training and further education.