Harting Becomes ODVA’s Latest Principal Member

I am going to be catching up on a lot of late 2020 news. There certainly seemed to be more news in a pandemic-laden year than in a typical year. It was crazy. And the proliferation of virtual conferences was amazing.

So, ODVA is heading for growth at the physical layer. It has announced that Harting has become a principal member of ODVA alongside Cisco Systems, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell, Omron, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider Electric. The primary focus of Harting’s activities in ODVA will be through Harting of North America.

Harting is working to drive the advancement of industrial Ethernet as a part of IIoT and Industry 4.0, and its increased participation in ODVA will aid efforts to identify and standardize different technologies and devices that will be needed for the automation industry to successfully implement IIoT.

Harting has worked through ODVA and with its fellow ODVA Members for many years to promote the adoption of industrial automation communications network standards, to engage in technical development and enhancement activities, and to promote conforming products. It supports both EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet technologies with cable and connector solutions. Its products include heavy duty connectors, interface/board connectors, custom cabling, and a wide portfolio of solutions for industrial communications, especially Industrial Ethernet. Key served market segments include machinery/robotics, automation, transportation, wind energy, and power generation & distribution. The company provides data, signal, and power via complete connector installation concepts for industrial infrastructures, setting new standards with connectors such as the Han series. It has helped drive the adoption of industrial Ethernet over the past years, especially with the launch of their T1 Industrial connector for Industrial Single Pair Ethernet.

“EtherNet/IP is a critical communication network for the future of discrete and process industries, especially with the advent of Industrial Single Pair Ethernet and Ethernet-APL,” stated Jon DeSouza, President and CEO of Harting Americas. “Harting is looking forward to continuing to provide enhanced smart connectivity solutions for EtherNet/IP networks to drive faster decision making and error correction as well as prevention. By joining ODVA as a principal member, HARTING is increasing its contribution to the advancement of EtherNet/IP and related ODVA technology and standards to prepare for OT and IT convergence. IIoT and Industry 4.0 continue to gain traction and drive industry advancement, making now the perfect time for Harting to increase its commitment to ODVA.” 

“ODVA welcomes the increased contribution of HARTING as a principal member as well as their expertise in smart connectivity,” said Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director of ODVA. “Their participation as a principal member will contribute to and grow ODVA’s ability to move the connectivity of the industrial enterprise forward to meet the increased demands of IIoT and Industry 4.0.”

Nokia Delivers Private 5G Network

Nokia delivers private 5G network to MYNXG for secure IoT solutions development 

  • 5G connectivity enables MYNXG testing and development of secure end-to-end IoT solutions for high-performance industrial applications
  • Network deployed at MYNXG headquarters in Nuremburg, Germany

The Apple-oriented tech podcasters that I listen to—Daring Fireball-The Talk Show with John Gruber and Accidental Tech Podcast—kept complaining about not seeing a noticeable improvement in cellular reception with their new iPhone 12s. Thing is, the true benefits of 5G have little to do with the ordinary consumer. Here is an early peek at a use case. There will be more and better to come.

Nokia has deployed an industrial-grade private wireless 5G campus network at the Nuremburg development center of secure industrial IoT specialist MYNXG

MYNXG will use the Nokia 5G network at its new industrial IoT interoperability test center to develop new secure solutions for the industrial Internet of Things, as well as perform real-life testing of equipment and sensors for a range of OEM and customer projects. 

MYNXG’s operational technology functions using 5G’s full capability from both a performance and quality of service perspective. MYNXG has integrated the Nokia 5G solution into its end-to-end secure MYNXG IoT Platform. As the deployment progresses, the companies will identify potential opportunities for joint solution development.

Bernd Möller, CEO of MYNXG, said: “Our goal is to be able to offer our customers robust, and certified end-to-end secure industrial IoT solutions, so that they can drive the automation and digitalization of their processes. By integrating Nokia’s 5G technology into our overall industrial IoT technology platform, we have not only found an ideal solution for testing IoT systems, but also the basis for further marketplace development.”

Nokia’s private 5G campus wireless solution is based on Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC). Scalable according to needs, Nokia DAC is an industrial-grade digital automation platform that provides a reliable, secure, high-performance private wireless network.  Combining edge computing capability and low latency to support data-intensive applications, DAC users can securely collect, process and host all generated proprietary data on site.

Thomas Hainzel, Head of EMEA Manufacturing & Logistics, Nokia Enterprise, said: “For industrial companies to realize their Industry 4.0 ambitions, it is crucial that they can test IoT solutions and applications in real-life conditions. This requires not only a proven, resilient IoT platform, but also a powerful and secure high bandwidth network. In this case, Nokia provides MYNXG and its ecosystem with the ideal platform for its testing and development work.”

MYNXG operates a globally unique, real-time and secure IoT platform for industrial solutions. The MYNXG platform is designed to protect devices, physical infrastructures and related data to the highest cybersecurity standards. This is achieved by its consistent hardware-based, end-to-end security architecture. It supports all industrial interfaces at the device level, industry protocols and automation standards. 

In addition to scalable cloud services, the MYNXG platform provides straightforward, direct integration into existing business systems and processes. Industrial solutions include condition monitoring for shop floor equipment, product life cycle and process automation, supply chain asset management and access control to sites, processes and data.

Nokia has the most comprehensive portfolio of campus networks on the market, ranging from 4.9G/LTE to 5G non-standalone and 5G standalone. Nokia has more than 220 enterprise customers with private wireless networks worldwide. 5G customers include Deutsche Bahn, Lufthansa Technik and Toyota Production Engineering. Customers can choose between the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud with a range of click and deploy applications or they can customize their network to their needs with Nokia Modular Private Wireless.

Bosch Rexroth Explores New Avenues in Automation

Bringing together control, IT, and the IoT to create an open, scalable system

The idea of “softPLCs”, software-defined control, decoupling software and hardware for control, and the like revisited my thinking thanks to commenting on a paper on that subject by IoT-Analytics. In the discrete, machine automation world, this is an old topic dating back more than 22 years.

It still hasn’t happened. Yes, the marketing arms of some companies trumpet the idea. The Open Process Automation Forum is pushing the idea in the continuous and batch process world. I have yet to see any disruption occurring because of it. Some of the companies that analysts think are disruptive have been around for upwards of 30 years and the three main incumbents are still leading—Siemens in German/Italy, Rockwell Automation in North America, Mitsubishi in Asia.

That doesn’t mean the idea has been shelved completely. There must be some sort of cycle where Bosch Rexroth recurs on my radar with a new platform. I don’t understand all the parts of this new “ctrlX Automation”, but it looks interesting. 


These are quotes from Bosch Rexroth.

ctrlX AUTOMATION is based on a completely new software and engineering approach and means a complete departure from proprietary structures and systems. The automation platform includes all necessary software and hardware components for complete system solutions: high-performance controllers, compact drives, industrial PCs, safety solutions, I/O modules and HMIs.

ctrlX AUTOMATION enhanced with an open I/O range

The ctrlX I/O range from Bosch Rexroth offers new possibilities for users in terms of connectivity and networking. The solution represents a functional extension of the ctrlX CORE control platform and also enables horizontal and vertical integration. In the future, ctrlX I/O will offer comprehensive communication and performance enhancements as well as I/O modules geared towards future technologies such as 5G, TSN and AI.

Embedded controller ctrlX CORE now available

In addition, the embedded controller ctrlX CORE is ready to ship with the start of the fair. The modular, compact control is suitable for any automation application and, with its openness, offers users completely new degrees of freedom in setting up the functions. ctrlX CORE’s full scope of functions has already been tested by selected customers.

ctrlX SAFETY: redefining safe automation

With the safety solution ctrlX SAFETY, Bosch Rexroth is setting new standards for safe automation. The product is regarded as the fastest and most compact safety solution on the automation market. Its reaction time allows a more compact design and maximum safety during production.

ctrlX SERVICES for the automation of the future

The automation platform ctrlX AUTOMATION has recently been expanded to include ctrlX SERVICES. The ctrlX App Store now enables downloading of individually required software, while the ctrlX Device Portal facilitates easy and centralized administration of controls. The ctrlX AUTOMATION Community offers numerous functions such as support, know-how transfer and further training. Bosch Rexroth also guarantees 25 years of service availability for classic services.

ctrlX World for third party providers

Users can use apps from Bosch Rexroth, applications from third parties or apps they have produced themselves. ctrlX AUTOMATION users can access a broad portfolio of applications and download them easily via the App Store. In addition, more and more third-party providers are currently joining the ctrlX World, as they can provide their own apps on the platform and thus tap into new business potential.

Siemens AG Global SD-WAN Migration Project

Delivering what is possibly one of the largest global SD-WAN deals, [Orange] have successfully migrated 80% of Siemens AG’s global sites to the network as part of its large-scale digital transformation program.

This era of technology could be called the “software-defined” era. The push for software-defined control has re-ignited with the Open Process Automation efforts. The discrete-side effort sort of fizzled, although many in Germany believe that the companies building controllers with CODESYS software platform qualifies. I think much work remains to fulfill that vision.

Software-defined has also invaded networking. Orange Business Services, the European telecom company, sent a blog post by Axel Hinze regarding a project for Siemens AG about implementing a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN).

This project has proceeded at pace even during the global pandemic, where the demands on the Siemens WAN have increased with virtual teams and teleworkers collaborating on global projects. We have met Siemens’ requirements by combining SD-WAN technology with cloud- and web-based services and solutions.

As a global business with subsidiaries and divisions all over the world, Siemens “needs a reliable and flexible communication network that is a critical business enabler and can evolve with our growing business”, as its VP of IT Strategy & Governance Frederik Janssen has said.

Siemens has put SD-WAN at the heart of its Siemens Digitalization Network (SDN), which is designed to strengthen its’ IT infrastructure and increase network performance across the organization. It provides centralized cloud control with combined communication capabilities, enabling customers to increase flexibility and performance alongside cost efficiencies. SDN will also allow the multinational to take advantage of advances in digitalization to enhance Industry 4.0 processes.

Flexible SD-WAN also provides the foundation of the Siemens “zero trust” security framework, which improves security by authenticating and authorizing every device wanting to connect to the network irrespective of its location. This will enable Siemens to effectively mitigate, detect and respond to risks across its entire infrastructure.

Business benefits already being seen

The Siemens locations that have been connected to the SD-WAN network are already seeing the benefits of this new approach, including greater business flexibility and agility. They can use bandwidth more efficiently, helping ensure high levels of performance for critical applications without forfeiting on security. In addition, operational costs have been reduced through internet-centric traffic management.

Greater network visibility also makes it easier for Siemens to see where upgrades are necessary to ensure its connectivity is always optimized. Three large sites in Brazil have seen substantial cost savings switching to SD-WAN, for example, while sites in the UK and Mexico have noted a reduction in the load on the MPLS Siemens intranet.

Global network integration and delivery

Orange Business Services was engaged to migrate Siemens’ entire global infrastructure to a dynamic and flexible SD-WAN network to connect cloud applications and IoT devices in 2018 in a six-year contract worth 240 million Euros. The contract spans 94 countries on five continents, and the scope has been streamlined to connect 1,000 sites and campuses.

By consolidating network design and maintenance with a single digital services provider, Siemens has been able to reduce overall complexity and improve application competences and agility. We work closely together as trusted partners to deliver seamless worldwide SD-WAN coverage with the highest degree of security.

As a trailblazer in innovation and technologies, Siemens set the highest benchmarks for this project. Our success in delivering, migrating and implementing this huge digital transformation project and managing Siemens’ critical global communications infrastructure highlights our end-to-end integration expertise to deliver global projects at scale.

Siemens Year-End Releases for IoT and Robot Integration

Several Siemens news items have accumulated in my blog folder. Speaking broadly of Industrial Internet of Things applications, Siemens has added to its Industrial Edge portfolio and released a 5G router. It also has evolved its integration of robot libraries into its Totally Integrated Automaton (TIA) Portal.

Despite reports to the contrary, Siemens continues to innovate on its platform in order to stay abreast or even ahead of its smaller competitors. But it does confirm the idea that competition keeps companies on their toes ready to innovate in new directions.

Ready-to-use industrial edge platform for data processing on the production level

  • Industrial Edge V1.0 comprising the Edge Management system, edge apps, and edge devices with container-based runtime
  • Edge Management system provides central management for edge devices and apps over the entire lifecycle
  • Apps that increase productivity can be integrated into industrial environments quickly, with little effort and minimal risk

Siemens is expanding its offer for industrial IoT solutions, adding to its Industrial Edge portfolio a central and company-wide scalable infrastructure for managing connected edge devices and apps. With the new Industrial Edge Management system, users can remotely monitor the status of every connected device and remotely install edge apps and software functions on distributed edge devices. 

In combination with existing hardware and software products, this Industrial Edge V1.0 open platform provides users with a ready-to-use and seamless solution for data processing on the production level with integrated device and app lifecycle management.

With the new Industrial Edge Management system, distributed edge devices and their states can be monitored centrally, diagnosed, and managed by IT administrators and manufacturing engineers. This means that new software apps can be rolled out company-wide and securely on all connected Industrial Edge devices. Central software management minimizes or even completely eliminates the effort involved in maintenance and updates for distributed software instances. 

Existing, already containerized software (Docker) can be used applied to Industrial Edge. In addition, users can always develop their own edge apps to meet company-specific requirements. Functional and security-related updates are provided by Siemens via the Edge Management system, which can then be scheduled for roll-out to connected edge devices to meet the security requirements of an industrial IoT solution. With this ready-to-use management platform, IT administrators can roll out edge apps highly automated and reliably in manufacturing and manage them over the entire lifecycle. In addition, the freedom from retroactive effects between automation and edge systems helps them to ensure high system availability of the automation solution. 

The Edge Management system can be operated in Version 1.0 within the company infrastructure, for example in manufacturing, and is specifically tailored to the requirements of users who particularly value data security. In future, it will also be possible to operate the Management system in cloud infrastructures.

With the Siemens Industrial Edge V1.0 offer, Siemens is simplifying the collection and analysis of machine data and bringing IT standards such as container-based apps (Docker), high-level language-based data analysis and processing, and central software and device management directly to manufacturing – integrated in automation systems.

Siemens presents first industrial 5G router 

  • Growing demand for remote access via public 5G networks for remote maintenance 
  • Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to the public 5G network 
  • Sinema Remote Connect management platform provides secure access to remote plants and machines 

Siemens presents the first industrial 5G router for connecting local industrial applications to a public 5G network. The device will be available in spring 2021. Using the newly developed Scalance MUM856-1, industrial applications such as machines, control elements, and other devices can be accessed remotely via a public 5G network, providing a simple remote maintenance option for these applications using the high data rates offered by 5G. The Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections can be used to provide easy and secure access to these remote plants or machines – even if they are integrated in other networks. 

In industry, in addition to the need for local wireless connectivity, there is increasing demand for remote access to machines and plants. In these cases, communication needs to bridge long distances. Public mobile networks can be used to access devices that are located at a considerable distance, for example in other countries. In addition, service technicians can connect to the machines they need to service via the mobile network while on the go. 

Public 5G networks are therefore an important element of remote access and remote maintenance solutions. They can be used, for example, to provide users with very high bandwidths in urban areas with small radio cells and high frequencies. In rural areas, radio cells have to cover a large area, which is why lower frequencies are used. Particularly at the edges of radio cells, for example for LTE or UMTS, there are often significant losses in terms of both the bandwidth and stability of the communication connection. And it is exactly in these remote areas where stable bandwidth transmission is required for remote maintenance or video transmission, for example for water stations. With innovative 5G communications technologies, considerably more bandwidth with greater reliability is available at the edges of radio cells and the average data rate for users within a radio cell increases. 

The new Scalance MUM856-1 also supports 4G so that operation is possible even if a 5G mobile network is not available. The device can also be integrated in private local 5G campus networks. Siemens is testing this use case in their own Automotive Test Center in a private standalone 5G test network, which is based on Siemens components. There, automated guided vehicle systems are connected using 5G in order to test current and future industrial applications and to drive forward the use of 5G technology in industry.

Cooperation for the multi-vendor integration of industrial robots into the TIA Portal

  • Simatic Robot Integrator with Simatic Robot Library makes engineering easy for robots in the TIA Portal
  • Universal interface supports integration by all robot manufacturers
  • Re-usable program codes thanks to standard programming language
  • Time savings of up to 30 percent for engineering

Siemens presents the Simatic Robot Library for the Simatic Robot Integrator – a new universal robot library for the TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal, which replaces the previous manufacturer-specific libraries. The specification has been developed in close cooperation with robot manufacturers ABB Robotics, Comau, Epson, FANUC, Kawasaki Robotics, KUKA, Panasonic Industry, STÄUBLI, Techman Robot, Yamaha, and YASKAWA. 

In future, users will be able to program most of the robots available on the market in the TIA Portal using the Simatic Robot Library and make use of standard operating concepts based on the Simatic Robot Integrator and Simatic HMI. This means that created program codes and program packages will be re-usable, saving both time and money on a change of robot manufacturer. 

Integration into the TIA Portal also offers the option of easily combining robots with other technologies such as Simatic technology, cloud services, Edge data analyses or AI-based automation. Thanks to the standard environment in the TIA Portal, users achieve time savings of up to 30 percent when engineering new complete systems. The improved handling also increases efficiency, while identical faceplates for different manufacturers simplify operation. With the Simatic Robot Library, users do not require specific programming knowledge for a robot type; they only need to have knowledge of the TIA Portal.

Simatic Robot Integrator is a ready-to-use application, which is directly integrated into a TIA Portal machine project. Combined with the new Simatic Robot Library, it enables users to download programming examples for operation and to control robots immediately after configuration. Simatic HMI offers popular online programming functions – regardless of the robot manufacturer – for inching, teach-in or path creation.

ABB confirmed as DCS market leader

OK, so I’m on an ABB kick, it seems. Today is the annual report from the ARC Advisory Group on Distributed Control Systems (DCS) market share. And for the 21st consecutive year, the leader is ABB. 

When you are older, you have memories. I remember a time when it was just A and BB. The BB part purchased our building when a certain company president drove us into Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. (Not me, I tried to get us out.) Then A+BB=ABB, then ABB consolidating the DCS market by acquiring a number of companies. And ABB has managed not only to not screw up the acquisitions (which many companies do) but build a sustainable product line. Following is the release from ABB:

ARC estimates the global market valued at $15 billion. Holding an overall share of 19.2%, ABB leads the field thanks to its domain knowledge in multiple industries, extensive service network and a continued investment in technology and digital solutions that meet rapidly changing customer requirements. This puts ABB more than two points ahead of the nearest DCS competitor.

The largest share of 2019 DCS market growth came from oil and gas, chemicals, mining, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, followed by food & beverage, metals, cement, and pulp & paper. With its two main DCS offerings, ABB Ability System 800xA and ABB Ability Symphony Plus, ABB has a strong presence in each of these segments. ABB is also a leader in several of the key DCS trends identified in the report, including Modular Automation, Batch, Characterizable I/O, and Remote Services. 

As the DCS leader, ABB continuously develops new control benefits for customers. For example, by processing the massive amounts of data generated by the DCS, ABB continues to develop new data analytics that help customers to increase production efficiency, and leverage machine learning capabilities that improve problem predictability and extend asset life.

“I want to thank our customers for their longstanding support, helping us to shape ABB’s automation offering and expertise into what it is today,” said Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, ABB Industrial Automation. “Automation makes a difference in the world around us. The DCS is the backbone for much of the digitalization transforming our customers’ industries. It helps to provide many of the elements essential to modern society, such as the water we drink, the energy we consume, or the materials used to build our homes.”  

“During more robust economic times, process industry producers often rely on new production machinery to increase output. In the current highly demanding economic environment, customers are squeezing as much value as they can out of existing assets, running as efficiently as possible to protect profit margins. Maximizing assets and efficiencies is what DCS do,” he said. “We see it as our duty to continue to develop solutions that offer these benefits and more for our customers.”

A key focus of ABB’s annual $1.5 billion research & development investment is the further expansion of DCS and other digital and automation capabilities in the context of Industry 4.0. In July, ABB brought two new offerings to market that use DCS data with value-added applications to improve customer production availability, process performance and product quality. The ABB Ability Edgenius Operations Data Manager gleans value from DCS data, while the ABB Ability GenixIndustrial Analytics and AI Suite combines data from operations (e.g. DCS), engineering and information technology for multi-dimensional data analytics and decision support.

Services saw the highest growth in relation to software and hardware in the ARC report. This trend accelerated in 2020, which created a high need for remote services.  One such service, ABB Ability Collaborative Operations, a remote-enabled network of ABB experts and technologies, uses many ABB DCS technologies to remotely monitor and support customer assets and processes. ABB experts in ABB Collaborative Operations centers globally are available 24/7 to assist customers. The Collaborative Operations network continues to provide remote support for customers in travel-restricted situations.


Underground mining future

ABB electrification and automation knowledge and solutions have been employed in a pioneering mine of the future project, which has ultimate ambitions to demonstrate zero carbon dioxide emissions and productivity increases of 50 percent.

ABB has provided electrification, connected control and operations management systems, high-visualization and mobile operator workplaces as part of a global mining partnership to visualize a once-in-a-generation technology shift and reduce climate impact.

Devised by LKAB, the Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project has the goal of setting a new world standard for sustainable mining at great depths in partnership with ABB, Combitech, Epiroc, and Sandvik. The framework outlines ambitions for zero carbon dioxide emissions, completely safe mines for humans, productivity increases of 50 per cent and deeper mining.

ABB will continue to contribute its knowledge in electrification, automation and workplaces together with other suppliers to the mining industry. The collaboration aims to find new methods and smarter solutions for mining operations in the future. Test work in LKAB’s Kiruna mine, northern Sweden, as well as a virtual test mine will study the best way to build a carbon dioxide free and autonomous production system. 

Within the mine, the Konsuln orebody is used to demonstrate future workplaces in a decentralized environment with efficient use of an autonomous electrical mobile transport system in a mixed environment. Real time process information is available to all organizations involved. When combined with the wider efforts of the SUM partnership, this shows a way of bringing completely new technology solutions to market for safer, more sustainable and more efficient mining production processes. 

“We are taking significant strides towards a vision of the future operator environment through smarter working and demonstrable results,” said Jan Nyqvist, Global Product Manager for Underground Mining Automation at ABB, and one of the leaders in the project. “Electrification and automation are two important factors for the mining industry to continue its rapid, but effective, modernization. Sharing of information and data is crucial to reach substantial end goals.

“It is becoming increasingly common for suppliers to create dedicated collaboration groups to reach the best possible solutions for their customers. Collective successes and progress and the meeting of key targets for SUM, are initial evidence of the mutual benefits of collaboration.”

ABB has a relatively large team committing time to the project, with experts in digitalization and research, as well as electrification and automation. 

By 2022, the ABB electrification and automation solutions will be fully installed, and the aim is that a new standard for mining production will be set globally by 2030.