This week is another week on the road—five out of the last six—and now I’m in Chicago at Pack Expo. Much like IMTS, Pack Expo fills three halls of McCormick Place with machines. And machine components such as controls, drives, software, instrumentation, and the like.
Two weeks ago was Emerson Global Users Exchange. I wandered into the Emerson Automation Solutions booth not expecting much that was new. OK, got that one wrong.
If you want an indicator that Emerson has seriously expanded beyond oil & gas, keep on reading. It is now a serious player in this space, as well.
I once was an executive with a company that designed and built automated assembly machines. One interesting niche we had was an expert in helium mass spectrometry leak testing. I can give the sales pitch on the value of in-line, 100% testing of products.
Well, not as good as when Emerson explained its new food and beverage leak detection system.
Emerson’s RosemountTM CT4215 uses laser technology to detect leaks, reject defective packages with no production slowdown.
The Rosemount CT4215 is the first quantum cascade laser/tunable diode laser (QCL/TDL) continuous, inline detection system designed to help assure quality and safety, maximize production volume and decrease product waste for food and beverage products. The Rosemount CT4215 tests the seal and integrity of every bottle or package on a production line, detecting leaks at a sensitivity as low as 0.3 mm and automatically rejecting any defective bottle or package without slowing down production. This is in contrast to the traditional practice of testing occasional grab samples, which can leave a manufacturer vulnerable to low quality, unsafe food or beverages, reduced profitability and damaged reputation.
“In an industry being driven by an increasing consumer awareness of freshness and safety, manufacturers need solutions that allow them to assure these qualities while maintaining, or even increasing, efficiency,” said Peter Watmough, global leak detection product manager, Emerson Automation Solutions. “The Rosemount CT4215 provides packagers with an easy-to-install, easy-to-use assurance of freshness and safety. For the first time, food and beverage packagers can measure every package and bottle for leaks without having to compromise their production speed.”
Emerson further unveiled a new line of transmitters designed specifically for hygienic applications in the food and beverage industry with a compact form factor that will enable manufacturers to minimize downtime and lower production costs.
The new line of transmitters—Rosemount 326P Pressure, Rosemount 326T Temperature, Rosemount 327T Temperature and Rosemount 326L Level instruments—are designed to operate in the hygienic environments required by food and beverage manufacturers:
All comply with 3-A and FDA specifications, and are available with nine common industry process connections to ensure the right fit for new tanks and pipe fittings, as well as capability to be retrofitted on legacy systems. The new, small transmitters also can be mounted in tighter locations common on packaging machinery. Conventional 4-20 mA outputs and IO-Link connectivity make the transmitters easy to integrate with automation systems.
To give a sense of the breadth of Emerson Automation Solutions commitment to the space, following are some summaries of products.
Emerson’s ASCO G3 Fieldbus Electronics completely modular system plugs together via mechanical clips that allow easy assembly and field changes without dismantling the entire manifold, and its modules can be used in centralized or distributed applications.
One particular demonstration that will feature G3 Fieldbus Electronics is Emerson’s ASCO Bread Packing Machine. This state-of-the-art system provides full pneumatic automation control to ensure high-speed, repeatable packaging of food products. Its G3 Fieldbus integrates pneumatic control and provides real-time diagnostic data via an integrated webserver. It demonstrates flexible and energy-efficient design through proper sizing of pneumatic systems to fit any food packaging operation.
Emerson’s SolaHD Power Quality solutions remove limitations in the power architecture, allowing machine designers and operators to safely put power where they need it. These power supplies can be mounted directly on a machine, freeing packaging lines from design constraints; eliminating the complexity and cost of unnecessary enclosures and excess wiring; and providing the power for current and future automation capabilities.
Emerson’s Branson Ultrasonic Automated Cutting System provides precise food portioning with an almost frictionless cutting surface resulting in cleaner cuts, faster processing, minimal waste, longer blade life, higher productivity for greater throughput, and reduced downtime for cleaning.
Emerson helps packaging operations reduce process variation and decrease costly losses through technologies that deliver real-time insight into machine and process performance. With the accurate, relevant data in hand, packaging operations can achieve better reliability, reduce losses and contamination as well as ensure long-term performance.
With Emerson’s Micro Motion Filling Mass Transmitter (FMT), high-value packaging lines can accurately fill a wide range of container sizes and products with a single meter, eliminating the cumulative error associated with multiple-device measurement solutions. The Micro Motion FMT reliably measures fluids with entrained solids or gases or with changing viscosities, making it ideal for high-speed filling and dosing applications. Its Coriolis mass-based measurement is immune to variations in process fluid, temperature or pressure, and Automatic Overshoot Compensation (AOC) ensures repeatable fills even under valve performance changes. In addition, the Micro Motion FMT enables operators to track quality control and filling valve-performance data in real time to reduce filler maintenance and cost.
In addition, Emerson’s Micro Motion Multiphase Flow Meter technology can help complex process operations reliably log Gas Void Fraction and liquid density and concentration measurements. Utilizing Micro Motion Advanced Phase Measurement software, these meters also tolerate “real life” conditions of foaming, end-of-batch cavitation or slug flows to enable consistent measurements in challenging multiphase conditions. In addition, Smart Meter Verification delivers detection of coating or fouling within the meter for added clean-in-place efficiency and insight.
An interactive display illustrating pneumatics and IIoT features Emerson’s AVENTICS Smart Pneumatics Monitor, an IIoT hub allowing local data collection and analysis independent of the controller. The pick-and-place display illustrates “predictive maintenance” by showing the health and performance of valves, cylinders and shocks, which can minimize the risk of unplanned machine downtime to increase ROI.
To demonstrate how operators can protect personnel and reduce risk without impacting productivity. the Emerson booth will feature the Emerson ASCO 503 Series Zoned Safety Manifold (with G3 fieldbus electronics). It simplifies the design of a redundant pneumatic safety circuit with a manifold system that can be configured to shut down air and power only to the group of valves that controls the machine’s motion in the operator’s vicinity while the rest of the machine remains in operation. Multiple independent safety circuits can easily and cost-effectively be designed into a single pneumatic valve manifold, reducing the number of safety system components by up to 35 percent, requiring less plumbing, and shrinking the size of a safety system so that valuable real estate within the machine and manifold can be used for other purposes while still providing enhanced operator safety.
The ODVA held its Industry Conference and 19th Annual meeting this week in Atlanta. Perhaps more than the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP), the topic of conversation was Michael—the hurricane. We started getting rain from its outer bands in the late afternoon Wednesday. By the time I awoke at 5:30 am to get ready to catch my flight out, it was all over. Not so fortunate were the millions directly impacted. My prayers go out to them.
I have missed the last two or three of these. It was good to get an update. There was no announcement while I was there, but there were some people from Honeywell Process Solutions present who talked about using EtherNet/IP for process automation applications. These switching industry alignments are fascinating to watch. Foundation Fieldbus seems to have lost momentum recently. Will EtherNet/IP, the CIP network, absorb some of the market share?
A well organized series of speakers started Wednesday morning tech sessions with a quick update from all of the SIGs. There are many volunteers putting out an incredible amount of hours developing and updating the various specifications. I can‘t report on them all here—it would be too deep into the weeds anyway. But let‘s just say that ODVA is alive and well.
As even casual readers here know, I am a fan of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN). Yes, I know that it‘s not ready for prime time, yet. Products are beginning to appear in the market, and interest is building across the industry.
I sat in two sessions focused on TSN and CIP. There is technical work going on. The sessions and ensuing questions laid bare the engineering challenges involved in developing CIP over TSN. It‘s non-trivial, but doable. Some may still question TSN, but I‘m even more bullish.
On another front, work has begun on updating the ODVA product data sheet specifications. This work will eventually provide for more and better information to users.
There was plenty of cool new products unveiled at last week’s Emerson Global Users Exchange. As a former product development manager, I liked the “peanut butter and chocolate” moment when Emerson’s engineers were trying to solve the human location in a plant problem. They realized that many customers already have a WirelessHART mesh network. Why don’t we use location tags with WirelessHART as the communications service? Cool.
Topping the news released during the week was announcement that Emerson has agreed to acquire Intelligent Platforms, a division of General Electric. Intelligent Platforms’ programmable logic controller (PLC) technologies will enable Emerson, a leader in automation for process and industrial applications, to provide its customers broader control and management of their operations.
This is a great acquisition. It reveals Emerson as a company that has its act together. This is the consolidation trend in the industry. Siemens has a complete portfolio (well, mostly). ABB recently acquired B+R Automation in a similar move. Schneider Electric added Foxboro and Triconex from Invensys to its mostly factory automation portfolio. So there are four major companies aligning their competitive offerings. And all are focused on digital transformation for their customers.
Even Rockwell Automation has built a process automation business over time. It recently shunned acquisition with its money and instead invested $1 billion for a little over 8% of PTC in order to achieve a closer partnership with ThingWorx (and a seat on the board). Maybe having an executive on the board, it can learn how Jim Hepplemann managed to build a company through acquisition.
Back to Emerson. GE IP (formerly know as GE Fanuc) has a line of PLCs, motion control, and HMIs. It hasn’t promoted its products for years, but they are still alive and well in Charlottesville, VA. This is a great strategic move.
As for GE? Well, we know that it is having a fire sale. I’d wondered about this part of the business. Now we all wonder about what’s left of GE Digital. We know from a Wall Street Journal article that it’s for sale. And also we know that the board just replaced the CEO evidently for not moving quickly enough. But…will anyone want GE Digital? I’m sure everyone has looked. Here’s a thought. What if it wound up with an IT company to complement these burgeoning IoT practices?
Last week was where industrial automation and information technology met along with my vice–soccer.
Emerson Automation Solutions–Digital Transformation, IT/OT collaboration, corporate acquisitions (GE Intelligent Platforms, once known as GE Fanuc, joins the fold), WirelessHART applications expand, flow control data becomes an integral part of digital transformation.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)–Refinery of the Future tour of the Texmark refinery that I’ve written about before and CenterPoint Energy where digital boosts the electrical utility industry.
Marketers may still talk of IT/OT convergence as something coming. In many forward thinking plants it is here. Texmark CEO Doug Smith talks freely about the kick in the pants delivered by his insurance carrier that propelled him and his team toward finding innovative solutions to operations challenges.
I sometimes joke that “I’m the point of convergence of IT and OT”, or at least my blog and writing are.
Don’t believe hype or nay-sayers. The collaboration is real–among suppliers, partner ecosystems, managers, engineers. And real benefits are accruing.
Have you joined the 21st Century?
Dreamforce, the Salesforce annual customer conference, was this week in San Francisco. I should have been there. Along with 100,000 of my closest IT friends. But, my project hit a crisis and I didn’t travel. All is not lost, however, since I received this information about ABB and Salesforce partnering.
The first item of interest is that I went to Salesforce’s “small” summer conference in Chicago with 3x-5x the attendees of a typical industrial technology conference. Then there is the big one with 30x or more the size. It blows the mind.
Then I consider the strategic moves that the largest industrial players are making. Siemens nailed a couple of acquisitions to bolster its MindSphere IoT platform. Schneider takes a majority stake in AVEVA to integrate design to process. ABB aligns with Salesforce (see below). And Rockwell Automation spends major dollars for a small stake in PTC evidently for a tighter integration with ThingWorx and Kepware.
Although there was a lot of marketing buzz to sort through, what ABB gets with a partnership with Salesforce is substantial. The company under the leadership of Ulrich Spiesshofer for the past five years has staged a remarkable turnaround. Don’t forget it also bolstered its machine control / discrete manufacturing portfolio with the acquisition of B+R Automation.
You can see more by watching this Fireside Chat with ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff on the future of work and Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The stated objective of the partnership is for Salesforce to provide a single view of customers across ABB’s global sales, service and marketing operations.
The partnership will combine the power of Salesforce IoT, Einstein artificial intelligence, and ABB Ability, the cross-industry digital offering supporting an installed base of 70 million connected devices worldwide, to drive enhanced service and faster solutions for customers
Explaining Industry 4.0, otherwise known as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Salesforce states it is a wave of innovation and technology that is radically transforming every business and industry. It’s no longer enough for manufacturers to differentiate on product—they must also predict customer needs and deliver smarter, more personalized customer experiences. With Salesforce, ABB is unifying its CRM globally, across every region, brand and department, to embrace the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and help its customers pursue important, new openings for service, innovation and growth.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating massive opportunities for our customers, making the work we do with them to drive innovation and create value more important than ever,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. “That’s why we’re growing our relationship with Salesforce. The wealth of information we’ll get by unifying our data on Salesforce and combining it with our ABB Ability digital offering will allow us to use artificial intelligence and IoT more effectively, so we can anticipate our customer’s needs and write the future together.”
“ABB is undergoing incredible digital transformation and connecting with their customers in revolutionary ways,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce. “Our relationship with ABB is another example of the extraordinary power of artificial intelligence and IoT technologies to drive customer success.”
ABB’s expansion of Salesforce includes Einstein, Salesforce IoT, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud and Success Cloud advisory services.
Einstein will enable ABB to drive smarter sales and service with artificial intelligence. For example, ABB will use Sales Cloud Einstein for intelligence-driven decision making, automated data entry, identification of potential opportunities and predictive forecasting. Einstein Vision, used with Service Cloud Field Service Lightning, will be used to give ABB’s 15,000 field service technicians the ability to take a photo of an ABB product or component when they arrive onsite to automatically surface information about the product on their screens, resulting in faster, more accurate service.
Salesforce IoT will allow ABB to make data from its connected devices actionable and measurable. The company’s vision is to combine Salesforce IoT with ABB Ability so that its installed base of 70 million connected devices can use predictive intelligence, powered by Einstein, to generate and trigger actions directly into Salesforce. With Salesforce IoT and ABB Ability together, ABB will be able to improve customer experiences by getting ahead of performance and maintenance needs.
Once upon a time, people made useful things in the shop under their apartment or in the shed out back.
The product of their labor was very much a piece of themselves. A little bit of their soul went into their creation.
This was a podcast originally scripted for Labor Day, but it morphed into a discussion of labor, automation, and how automation is / can be an assistant to humans.
Here’s a shout out to my sponsors: Ignition from Inductive Automation and Manufacturing Day.
By 2025, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte project that manufacturers must fill 3.5 million skilled jobs. The workforce skills gap is very real.
On October 5th, Manufacturing Day, thousands of manufacturers will do something about this by opening their doors to those interested in manufacturing careers.
Give students and educators in your area a chance to discover modern manufacturing.