Research Reveals Defending Digital Supply Chains Remains a Business Challenge

Research conduced world-wide initiated by BlueVoyant, a cyber defense company, revealed that 98% of firms surveyed have been negatively impacted by a cybersecurity breach that occurred in their supply chain. This is up slightly from 97% of respondents last year. Digital supply chains are made of the external vendors and suppliers who have network access that could be compromised.

“The survey shows that supply chain cybersecurity risk has not decreased and, in fact, more enterprises than ever have reported being negatively impacted by a cybersecurity disturbance in their supply chain,” said Adam Bixler, BlueVoyant’s global head of supply chain defense. “The good news is that across industries and regions, organizations are making supply chain defense a priority, but these organizations need to better monitor suppliers and work with them to remediate issues to reduce their supply chain risk.”

  • Study finds 98% of surveyed enterprises say they have been negatively impacted by a cybersecurity breach in their supply chain, an increase from 2021.
  • 40% of respondents rely on the third-party vendor or supplier to ensure adequate security.
  • In 2021, 53% of companies said they audited or reported on supplier security more than twice per year; that number has improved to 67% in 2022. These numbers include enterprises monitoring in real time.
  • Budgets from supply chain defense are increasing with 84% of respondents saying their budget has increased in the past 12 months.
  • The top pain points reported are internal understanding across the enterprise that suppliers are part of their cybersecurity posture, meeting regulatory requirements, and working with suppliers to improve their security.
  • In manufacturing, 64% of respondents say that supply chain cyber risk is on their radar and 44% say they have established an integrated enterprise risk management program.

300,000 Tons in Carbon Emissions to be Saved by Autonomous Oil and Gas Operations

Taking environmental issues and carbon reduction out of the political arena and placing among those who can actually do something promotes good stewardship—and good business. Check out The Carbon Almanac (click the photo on the web page). This book contains a wealth of facts and action items for us all.

The major automation technology providers have invented and unleashed many ways customers can reduce carbon footprint. This research from ABB shows how offshore companies can reduce global carbon emissions by 300,000 tons per site per year, the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.

  • Moving to autonomous operations increases reliability and predictability of energy supply
  • Annual savings of up to $30 million can be achieved  

ABB has published another of its ‘Energy Transition Equation’ reports that shows how industrial customers can reduce carbon emissions and manage the energy transition for a more sustainable future.

Based on nine months of research and modelling, the report highlights how early adoption and integration of automation, digitalization, and electrification technologies to enable autonomous operations can deliver savings of over 300,000 tons of carbon emissions per annum for offshore sites (approximately 25 percent reduction). This is the equivalent of removing 150,000 combustion cars from the road and is the same volume of CO2 responsible for five million tons of glacier mass lost each year.

The report also demonstrates how companies can realize production efficiencies of up to $30 million in annual savings, while delivering net revenue increases of up to $120,000, thanks to autonomous operations.

A key part of this is redeploying companies’ offshore workforces, moving them from hazardous roles into new ones onshore. In doing so, employers can offer safer working environments, a better work-life balance and fill industry talents gaps by reskilling employees to support a data-led approach to oil and gas exploration and production.

In 2021, ABB reduced its own CO2 emissions by 39 percent as part of its Sustainability Strategy 2030 and expects to be fully carbon neutral by decade’s end. The strategy details how ABB will support its global customers in reducing their annual CO2 emissions by at least 100 megatons by 2030, the equivalent of removing 30 million combustion cars from the roads.

The report’s economic modelling was undertaken by independent economist Steve Lucas of Developmental Economics, in conjunction with ABB Energy Industries and supported with desktop research of academic and industry sources. ABB will publish reports focused on the power and chemicals markets in 2023.

Notes to editors

These figures are based upon hypothetical scenarios of a 1 x 150000 barrel a day (oil) FPSO and a 1 x 150000 barrel (oil) Fixed Platform. Both assume an operational life cycle of 15 years with a 5-year development phase. Some have been rounded out for the purpose of the press release – exact calculations and figures can be found in the report or can be downloaded here.

Epson Robots Expands VT6L 6-Axis Robot Series and RC+ Express Software

Robotic innovation continues apace emphasizing ease-of-use and reduced pricing. I had thought that the technology had matured for industrial applications. A conversation with Epson product people recently revealed some new tricks that remain to innovate within the SCARA robotic technology.

How about adapting a 6-axis robot for mounting in an autonomous mobile robot (AMR)? This DC-powered version of the Epson VT6L robot shows the essence of creativity—bringing two ideas together to form something new and useful.

The VT6L-DC offers the same powerful features found in Epson’s high-end robots. With a built-in controller, reach of up to 900 mm and a payload of up to 6 kg, it enables high throughput and operational flexibility in a space-saving design. The VT6L-DC comes equipped with two development environments – Epson RC+ for full-featured, easy-to-learn programming and Epson RC+ Express for no-code programming.

Additional VTL6-DC features include:

  • SlimLine Design – compact wrist pitch enables access to hard-to-reach areas in confined spaces
  • Fast, Easy Integration – installs in minutes; requires less time and money for system integration
  • Integrated Vision Guidance Option – designed specifically for robot guidance; makes it easy to automate simple applications when vision is required
  • Simplified Cabling – hollow end-of-arm design makes end-of-arm tooling easier than ever
  • No Battery Required for Encoder – minimizes downtime and reduces overall cost of ownership
  • Application Versatility – ideal for machine-tool and injection-molding load/unload, pick-and-place, dispensing and mobile applications

Additional RC+ Express features include:

  • Simple to Navigate – clear, intuitive, visual user interface makes it easy to learn and manage key functions like jogging, gripper control and motion
  • Common Application Templates Included – quickly create common pick-and-place, palletizing and depalletizing applications with ready-to-use template programs and tutorials
  • Develop Applications with Low Risk – built-in 3D simulator lets you conveniently program and fine-tune applications before hardware setup; run robot at low power and speed in rehearsal mode when testing new programs
  • Tablet-Based Windows OS Environment –compatible with touchscreen devices, in addition to PCs, to easily create robot applications 
  • Low Total Cost of Ownership – Epson RC+ Express is included with robot purchases and no recurring licensing fees

Bosch Rexroth Expands ctrlX Ecosystem

  • Salesforce supports digital service concepts 
  • SICK contributes sensor data integration and sensor apps 
  • Partner world ctrlX World now includes over 60 third-party providers 

Ecosystems and partnerships are the current rage. The idea has been building for several years. I’ve seen them with software platforms and also with some hardware. Success with the execution has been spotty. It is a good way to spread the word about a new platform. Bosch Rexroth has been busy bringing partners to augment its new ctrlX control platform. They have accumulated an eclectic mix of partners. Recently Salesforce and Sick have joined up.

With ctrlX AUTOMATION, Bosch Rexroth has created a world of automation in which the specialist knowledge of companies from various domains is combined for the purpose of co-creation. The partner network, ctrlX World, is expanding the automation toolkit –adding hardware and new apps. More than 60 third-party providers have already joined the partner world – most recently Salesforce and SICK.

Why Salesforce?

“Our joint solutions with Bosch Rexroth and other ctrlX World partners enable data-based decision making and business automation in mechanical engineering and other industries. For example, manufacturers can quickly visualize and analyze all of the data coming from ctrlX AUTOMATION. Another use case is the preventive maintenance of machines or the automation of spare parts orders. Our Manufacturing Cloud enables business and service automation based on business intelligence. ctrlX AUTOMATION provides the important data for this,” said Juergen Brixel, Regional Vice President Industry Solutions & Strategy at Salesforce.

Sick is a leading sensor company. Here is an explanation of why it joined the ecosystem.

“By integrating our solutions into the ctrlX AUTOMATION partner world, we can provide sensor and application data in the easiest way possible. We do this via the ctrlX Data Layer. It offers secure, managed access to the data. Machine manufacturers for example can easily benefit from valuable data and use these data in order to meet IoT and Industry 4.0 requirements,” said Walter Reithofer, Senior Vice President R&D at SICK.

And some other partners.

Other partners that have joined the ctrlX World in recent months include: 36ZERO Vision by Deutschdata Karamat und Ziesche GmbH, Dataprophet, FANUC Deutschland GmbH, Hailo Technologies Ltd., i-flow GmbH, KEBA Industrial Automation GmbH, SIMON Modellierungen GmbH, Timecho Europe GmbH, WEPALL ROBOT EASY TOOLS, S.L. and Balluff GmbH.

Emerson Exchange 2022

The control and automation market I’ve been in since the late 90s has definitely become a software market. Yes, the main players that remain do still have their legacy controllers, instrumentation, sensors, and networking. The excitement that remains is mainly software and services. Domain expertise within the supplier community becomes increasingly important. 

I was coming off a vacation (not planned by me) and couldn’t work out the logistics of making it to Dallas. I kept up with things through press releases and reports from social media guru Jim Cahill. I survived missing presentations by the inimitable CTO Peter Zornio. News came through, anyway.

Announcement summaries follow. 

Boundless Automation

This next-generation architecture will empower companies through “boundless automation” to manage, connect and deliver operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) data seamlessly and easily across the enterprise. Moving data freely and securely across OT and IT domains – from the intelligent field to the edge and cloud – will enable operational and business performance optimization across the enterprise.

It really is all about the data.

Check out Jim Cahill’s report.

DeltaV

  • Emerson’s Latest Control System Update Lays Foundation for Software-Driven, Data-Centric Automation Platform
  • DeltaV version 15 helps drive faster, easier digital transformation to accelerate IT/OT convergence, enabling easy upgrades and modernization

Intelligent Field

PlantWeb plus recent acquisition AspenTech = Emerson’s Plantweb digital ecosystem, optimized by AspenTech, enables industrial manufacturers across all industries to “See, Decide, Act and Optimize” their operations. Leveraging a robust suite of sensors, software and control technologies, Plantweb now enables companies to optimize the business and sustainability performance of their plants and enterprise through advanced asset and business optimization software.

SCADA

Movicon.NExT 4.2 is a flexible, modular platform that provides local HMI, supervision and analytics that scale from small IIoT or WebHMI applications on embedded Linux devices to large Windows server systems, allowing users to achieve sustainability and performance improvements, one step at a time, easily and cost effectively.

I/O Interface

Emerson has released DeltaV IO.CONNECT, a new subscription software service designed to help plants simplify modernization with an open architecture pathway that makes it possible to transition to more efficient control schemes without the need to completely overhaul existing infrastructure. In a traditional plant with tens of thousands of I/O points and many controllers, this can save hundreds or thousands of hours of labor and up to 40% of the capital required for a total rip-and-replace upgrade.

Hydrogen Production

Southern California Gas (SoCalGas), a regulated subsidiary of Sempra, has selected Emerson’s digital technologies, software and services to demonstrate the resiliency and reliability of its new [H2] Innovation Experience in Southern California. One of the first microgrid projects of its kind in the United States, the [H2] Innovation Experience is a technology demonstration that aims to show how carbon-free gas made from renewable electricity can be used in pure form or as a blend to fuel clean energy systems of the future.

A Pair of Rockwell Automation Announcements

Rockwell Automation Expands Threat Detection Offering through Managed Services

In many ways the tech industry—consumer and industrial including even Apple—is moving from product-centric to finding ways to promote continuing revenue through service offerings. This example comes via Rockwell Automation. 

Rockwell Automation launched the new Threat Detection Managed Services offering in early 2022 providing customers with application-level, real-time monitoring, and response services to help detect, identify, contain, eradicate, and recover from a cyber incident. This is a cloud-based service focusing on both Cisco and Claroty threat detection software.

  • 24/7 security alert monitoring
  • 24/7 hardware health monitoring
  • System tuning
  • Software update administration
  • Backup administration
  • Value reporting
  • Training

Rockwell Automation Simplifies Sizing, Selection of Motion Control Components with New FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer

I appreciate the efforts of companies to automate and optimize everyday activities such as all the work involved with designing and implementing motion control. This is a new release from Rockwell Automation.

FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer software enables users to select, analyze and validate their system components using new intuitive workflows and comparison tools. It is now available for download on the Rockwell Automation website.

FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer consists of a comprehensive component library that allows the analysis of a wide-variety of user-defined applications. Designers can select their system using a combination of Kinetix motors, Kinetix drives, select PowerFlex drives and third-party components such as gearboxes from Rockwell Automation Technology Partners. They can choose from pre-built application templates or by start with a blank template adding components and motion profiles to define the ideal machine.