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.
I have accumulated several pieces of news from ABB. The company has spent the Covid months quite busy.
Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB Industrial Automation becomes executive member of the EU Alliance established to kick-start the European hydrogen industry.
ABB supports India’s Koppal district to ease water shortages with digital water management solutions.
ABB launches ABB Ability Safety Plus for hoists ensuring the highest level of personnel and equipment safety.
Clean Hydrogen Industry
ABB has been granted membership into the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECH2A), the official EU body focused on an ambitious deployment of hydrogen (H2) technologies by 2030, as a means to reduce carbon emissions and help achieve European carbon neutrality by 2050.
Peter Terwiesch will be ABB’s executive sponsor in the Alliance and will be actively working with governments and other Alliance members to scale up the hydrogen value chain across Europe.
The use of hydrogen has been identified as crucial to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal and Europe’s clean energy transition. It has several uses, from storing renewable energy to fuelling heavy transport, and as energy and feedstock in energy-intensive industry, such as in the steel or chemical sectors.
Most importantly, hydrogen only emits water and heat when used, no carbon. In fact, if H2 is produced from renewable sources, the whole hydrogen value chain is carbon-free. Hydrogen thereby is an excellent complement to electricity and offers a solution to decarbonize industrial processes and economic sectors where reducing carbon emissions is both urgent and hard to achieve.
“Europe’s opportunity to reduce carbon emissions by scaling up the production, transport and use of hydrogen is significant. Automation, electrification and digitalization will play an important role in unlocking this potential. At ABB we are proud to be joining the ECH2A, to continue our collaborations with governments, industries, regulators and academia to further accelerate the implementation of hydrogen,” said Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB Industrial Automation. “We have a unique mix of relevant domain expertise and solutions to support industry and make a real difference in deploying new clean hydrogen technologies.”
ABB enables the transition from carbon-based fuels to hydrogen through its expertise and portfolio of systems, products, services and digital solutions. The company is collaborating with customers, partners and legislators to build the hydrogen ecosystem – from key technology collaborations to explore large-scale green production systems, to a new hydrogen production facility in France, and the development of megawatt-scale fuel cells to power large ocean-going ships.
In a unique project led by L&T Construction Water & Effluent Treatment IC for the Government of Kartanaka, ABB’s end-to-end solutions will help the local water authority to track, measure, and optimize water use in this drought-stricken region of southwest India, as well as pump and distribute clean treated river water to village homes. The solution includes 635 digital flowmeters and technologies to improve control at pumping stations and reservoirs.
With a population of around one million people, the Koppal district is regularly challenged by water shortages. Until now, responses have ranged from preserving ancient wells to following age-old water conservation practices, but thanks to digital technologies, the Kushtagi and Yelburga villages will soon benefit from ABB’s digital water management solutions as part of a multi-village clean drinking water scheme.
Koppal needed solutions that could effectively monitor water flow and manage leaks to reduce non-revenue water and achieve overall productivity improvement in a widely dispersed water distribution network set-up. L&T Construction Water & Effluent Treatment IC, the lead contractor for the project, chose ABB Ability Symphony Plus SCADA and ABB’s AquaMaster 4 flowmeters for the project, sanctioned by the Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Department, Koppal, Karnataka.
ABB’s engagement spans the end-to-end automation and instrumentation of the project, from the pumping station at the river to the treatment of clean drinking water. The route comprises 620 overhead tanks and 16 reservoirs. The project involves putting in place a network of RTUs (remote terminal units) for remote locations and pumping stations and ABB Ability Symphony Plus SCADA to supervise and control the operation. ABB Ability Symphony Plus SCADA is designed to maximize reliability and availability of water plants and networks through integrated information management, integration of equipment, and process optimization based on the entire water network data for safer and enhanced operations.
The SCADA solutions help monitor and analyze daily flow consumption patterns thereby identifying possible leaks and sending the information in real-time to the central control room. This helps to avert water loss because it means that leaks are identified and can be repaired swiftly.
ABB’s AquaMaster 4 elctromagnetic flowmeters, running on battery power, will offer reliability even in low flow conditions, in areas where most mechanical flowmeters would fail. They offer measurement accuracy down to flow velocities lower than 0.1m/s where most meters struggle to even detect flow. As the vast majority of leaks are small but continuous, the ability of AquaMaster to detect small variations in flow is crucial in combating the water shortage challenge in the Koppal district.
G Srinivas Rao, Head of ABB Measurement & Analytics in India, said: “As India moves swiftly towards smart and sustainable villages, towns and cities, one of the key challenges is water management. This project shows how ABB’s digital water management solutions can be deployed not only in cities but also to provide clean, drinking water in the villages that are crucial to our agrarian economy. We are proud partners in this project in the state where ABB India is headquartered, and in the district which contributes so significantly to our agricultural output.”
ABB Ability Safety Plus for hoists
Global technology company ABB is launching ABB Ability Safety Plus for hoists, a suite of mine hoist safety products that brings the highest level of personnel and equipment safety available to the mining industry. The products include Safety Plus Hoist Monitor (SPHM), Safety Plus Hoist Protector (SPHP) and Safety Plus Brake System (SPBS) including Safety Brake Hydraulics (SBH).
Designed in accordance with the international ‘safety of machinery’ standard (IEC62061), the products have been independently certified by research institute RISE (Research Institute of Sweden) which works with companies, academia and the public sector in industrialization, quality assurance and certification.
ABB Ability Safety Plus for hoists includes the new ABB SIL 3 Safety Plus Brake System (SPBS), which is the mining industry’s first fully independently certified Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3) mine hoist brake system. SPBS will increase the safety of personnel riding mine hoists as well as the safety of the equipment, hoist and shaft infrastructure. The new SPHP provides enhanced protection for the mine hoist and mine shaft infrastructure equipment.
ABB SIL 3 SPBS handles the application of the safety brakes during emergency stops and the prevention of brake lift. ABB SIL 3 SPHP monitors the speed and position of the hoists. It also monitors the instrumentation used by personnel accessing or using the hoist from different levels, for example, at gates and maintenance platforms, emergency stop buttons and remote lockout points. The ABB SIL 3 SPHP interfaces with the safety brake system to bring or keep the hoist to a safe state. It also interfaces with the drive and hoist control system.
“This is a significant milestone in mine hoist safety representing a world first for fully certified Safety Integrity Level 3 hoisting,” said Oswald Deuchar, Global Product Line Manager for Hoisting, ABB. “Labor safety is a key priority for mine operators and increasing legislation underlines this imperative. The ABB Ability Safety Plus for hoists suite of products, SIL 3-rated components and self-diagnostics will ensure high availability of the mine hoist while providing the highest level of safety. These products are ready-made safety solutions, which are exhaustively tested in house, and designed for tough mine environments.”
Another day, another two virtual experiences. The good thing about working from home enforced by the pandemic is that I can get more information virtually than if I had to travel to each venue. On the other hand, so far this year, I have two trips, leaving my frequent flier miles just a bit short.
Today’s kickoff was the second day of the Emerson Exchange Virtual Event. There will be three more monthly events for this round of Emerson Exchange. The first round was November, and I wrote about it here. It is anticipating a live event in September in Washington, D.C. for 2021. I look forward to returning to that venue. The last time, I was in the media business and running the “show daily newspaper.”
This was measurement day, and measurement, as introduced by Emerson Automation Group President for Measurement, Jon Stokes, is the source of digital data—the fundamental building block of the digital transformation.
The keynote was a conversation between Stokes and Technology Vice President Dave Wahls.
Some of the key points:
Wireless keeps growing in importance to customers
Emerson has added strength to analytics as a companion to collecting all that data
Wahls discussed “Smart Meter Verification”, another solution that helps reduce trips to the field, which is a big assist to maintenance and operations personnel workflows
The group continues to work on product consistency, especially displays making their interface more common across the product line (this was introduced to me in detail by Marketing VP Bill Morrison quite some time ago as Emerson made this a priority)
Interestingly, QR codes are a big thing, as Emerson has been adding as many as possible—point a smart device at the QR code and retrieve valuable documentation immediately
Emerson has also prioritized cybersecurity throughout its product line
Finally, they discussed people and workflow and how they can do things to enable new behaviors and workflows to help customers in this age of reduced staffing and bringing in a new generation
The session concluded with a conversation between Stokes and Scott Pendegrass, Control Systems Team Lead for Motiva in Port Arthur, the country’s largest refinery.
What has been the immediate consequence of response to Covid-19?
Immediately, all personnel not required for actual operations were sent home to work from there. Then there was the financial impact. The corporation shut down as much spending as possible. Engineers and operations and even maintenance needed to find creative ways to get things done spending as little as possible. They found that wireless instrumentation was a great help for getting things done and sourcing important data at a low cost. Speaking of data, when making critical decisions about plant operations with minimal staffing and expenditures, it is a crucial element. The investments previously made in digital control systems revealed their true value.
The first Emerson Exchange session emphasized digital transformation. I was surprised at how quickly and readily Emerson has jumped on the latest digital and IT technologies—even to acknowledging the importance of servers and the cloud. Heck, the next time I might even hear them talk about High Performance Compute platforms! Who knows?
There will be sessions in January, February and March. Check it out.
Before Artificial Intelligence (AI) became such a marketing hype-word, process automation suppliers had versions of it in a variety of guises. I always felt that Aspen Technology, aka AspenTech, was at the engineering forefront if not quite there financially and in the market. The company has turned around over the past few years. It seems to be back on track.
This announcement discusses the latest release of its flagship aspenONE V12. Before diving in, I digress to look at the AspenTech definition of hybrid as it applies to this announcement.
Hybrid Modeling uniquely combines the first principles of engineering and mathematics and the built-in industry experience (as encapsulated in Aspen Plus and Aspen HYSYS) with empirical relationships derived from plant data, employing the latest advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. This combination enables the best of both worlds (rigorous and first principles) to provide effective modeling of complex units that cannot be easily modeled today. It also speeds up model construction, applies AI to plant data to streamline data cleansing and model calibration, and can substitute for engineering experience in developing predictive insight into process units and complex assets.
Then on to the meat of the release:
Aspen Technology announced the general availability of the aspenONE V12 software release, which embeds artificial intelligence (AI) across the portfolio and uses the cloud for delivery of enterprise-wide analytics and insights for increased safety, sustainability, and improved margins. AspenTech’s Industrial AI solutions democratize the application of AI where it can deliver most value and is a vital step towards the Self-Optimizing Plant.
“Aspen Hybrid Models are a major advance in the field of chemical engineering. Hybrid models are a major step forward in bringing together AspenTech’s process models and machine learning and are a game changer in process engineering and plant improvement,” said Dr. Karuna Potdar, Vice President, Technology Centre of Excellence, Reliance Industries Limited.
aspenONE V12 solutions have the first Industrial AI hybrid model capability that is purpose-built for the process industries and other capital-intensive industries. Aspen Hybrid Models capture data from assets across the enterprise, and then apply AI, engineering first principles and AspenTech’s domain expertise to deliver comprehensive, more accurate models at enterprise speed and scale. With AspenTech’s four decades of knowledge about the unique challenges of building solutions for process industries and other capital-intensive industries, aspenONE V12 enables customers to apply AI to critical processes without additional data science expertise and offers better support for new users without deep process knowledge or experience.
“The process industries and other capital-intensive industries are experiencing new levels of volatility in supply and demand, and the need to be agile in response to all market conditions requires a new approach to asset optimization,” said Antonio Pietri, President and CEO, Aspen Technology. “In addition, they face higher expectations for efficiency and profitability, and increasing pressure to meet sustainability targets. This next generation of Industrial AI solutions will change how process industries work. The Self-Optimizing Plant represents the future of operational excellence, and we continue our commitment to innovate and deliver solutions that can accelerate our customers’ journey toward it.”
Francesco Mura, Digital Platform Manager, Process and Technology for Saras, sees the advantage for updating planning models. “Aspen Hybrid Models provide very efficient nonlinear planning model generation, taking information from Aspen HYSYS rigorous refining reactor models and offering a great deal of promise as a new approach for updating planning models.”
New Features of aspenONE V12 software include:
Aspen Maestro – new capability for Aspen DMC3and Aspen Mtell which automates the development of better models faster by guiding a less experienced user on how to build a particular model or agent.
Aspen Deep-Learning IQ – enables the building of more accurate models and predictions.
Aspen Verify for Planning – uses AI to capture knowledge and check against plan to prevent costly mistakes.
Aspen Multi-Case – easily runs thousands of simulations cases concurrently, on-premise or in the cloud, allowing a more complete analysis so results can be used to navigate operational complexity and make more accurate decisions faster.
Aspen Event Analytics – provides rapid insight into production events. Fast, easy investigation of unexpected production events accelerates corrective action decision-making. Monitors and detects real-time events to enable rapid early intervention.
Aspen MES Collaborative – delivers the connected enterprise. Aggregates data with an enterprise-level historian and connects small sites to eliminate stranded data.
Aspen Cloud Connect – provides flexible connectivity with high performance and security to transfer data from edge to cloud.
Aspen Capital Cost Estimator Insights (ACCE) – streamlines the user experience with out-of-the-box integration with ACCE and Aspen Enterprise Insights to provide visualization and collaborative workflow within a hybrid cloud environment.
The thought visited that some time has elapsed since I have heard anything from the Open Process Automation people (OPAF). Then this news of the successful conclusion of a digital infrastructure orchestration pilot project within the scope of the project. A nice step forward on the journey.
CPLANE.ai and ExxonMobil have published the results and findings of their digital infrastructure orchestration pilot. As IT/OT Convergence and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) adoption accelerates, new system management challenges must be addressed. This pilot demonstrated how orchestration can simplify the management of these new, multi-vendor systems while improving security and reliability. The whitepaper describing the methods and results of the pilot can be downloaded HERE.
Key findings from the pilot include:
1. Multi-vendor, open process automation can be integrated into a wholistic system using system orchestration technology.
2. Open standards, such as the Open Process Automation Standard, make inter-operability orders of magnitude easier to manage and more reliable to implement.
3. An integrated hybrid-architecture of IT/OT digital assets can be managed in one cohesive framework with limited or no IT expertise.
4. System orchestration is critical for accelerating innovation and adoption of converged IT/OT systems, particularly in an open, multi-vendor and interoperable control system.
Don Bartusiak, Chief Engineer for Process Control at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering said, “CPLANE.ai exceeded our expectations on what is possible in demonstrating the management of a converged IT/OT industrial control system. System orchestration is growing in visibility and importance within the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) and many of the findings of this pilot will help us shape the evolution of our standards.”
Digital infrastructure orchestration automates the provisioning, monitoring, failure-recovery, and evolution of OPA systems while maintaining continuous operations and network-based cybersecurity. Steve Bitar, an automation leader at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, said “this was an ambitious project from the beginning. And the results have really given us a vision for how complex open industrial control systems can be managed and automated.”
CPLANE.ai is now conducting demonstrations of its Digital Infrastructure Test Bed with partners and members of OPAF. Going forward, CPLANE.ai will be applying the learnings from this pilot project to other OPAF related test beds and pilots globally.
CPLANE.ai automates the orchestration of distributed edge computing across a diverse landscape of hardware and software components. CPLANE.ai removes the complexity of provisioning, managing, securing, and evolving distributed systems. CPLANE.ai’s intelligent software platform automates the coordination and configuration of policies and procedures across multiple layers of distributed cloud infrastructure.
One conference I’m attending from the comfort of my office this week is Honeywell Virtual Technology Experience. Thanks to the pandemic, no Honeywell User Group (HUG) this year.
This remote conference technology constantly improves. This is my fourth of the season. Technical glitches have been rare. Speakers overall have ranged from good to outstanding. Jason Urso, Honeywell Process Solutions Chief Technology Officer gave his usual great technology roundup even dialing in demos from Australia.
Interesting that I used the word remote, because that is the word of the year. Any of us who can work from home are. That includes process control where many engineers can work from home and avoid getting sick.
Urso pointed to disruptions in the economy including disturbances to supply chains, postponed maintenance checks, and restricted travel combining to increase operational risks for critical manufacturers. Simultaneously, demand for key products like toilet paper for hygiene, filter paper for purification products, and packaging materials for shipping is peaking, making reliable, high-quality production even more important.
“Living in this new reality, manufacturers are faced with having to find new ways of operating, balancing the need to keep critical processes and plants running while ensuring the safety of their employees,” noted Urso. ”Here are three critical steps manufacturers can take to navigate this unprecedented situation:
Focus on essential work onsite to minimize the potential exposure of workers
Adopt proven and secure remote solutions for operations
Receive aid remotely through collaboration with on-call experts”
The bulk of the keynote reviewed three remote solutions Honeywell Process has developed for situations just like this.
Remote Project Engineering
Honeywell is continuing project operations by using software and digital twin technology. Project engineers from around the world continue working on Honeywell projects from home or in locations where offices are still operating with social distancing.
“We do so by utilizing digital twin technology that makes a digital replica of the customer’s equipment and processes which allows our project engineers to work on the ‘digital copy’ of the project versus on the actual equipment itself,” says Urso. “Critical infrastructure projects in oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and power can proceed without interruption.”
Customers increasingly have fewer individuals working onsite to follow stay-at-home orders. In some cases, quarantines of key individuals are also affecting the availability of skilled resources at the site. In response, Honeywell has issued new software that enables process operations to be monitored or even executed from remote locations outside of the facility. Remote support staff in other facilities or at home can be utilized as if they are working directly at the process location.
We recently deployed remote operations solutions to one of our own specialty additives plants in Orange, Texas, that produces polyethylenes, allowing us to operate and ensure business continuity even with reduced onsite staffing. A virtual remote-control workstation duplicates the operator’s distributed control system stations in the main control room and can fully take over in case of further restrictions or illness. Our engineers can now support operations and execute essential tasks from remote locations, maintaining social distancing while keeping the same number of eyes on the plant.
According to Urso, “software was up and running in less than two hours and is protected by the highest levels of cybersecurity protocols and best practices.”
Remote Services and Support
Our customers are also looking for Honeywell to provide remote support in light of restrictions on personnel traveling and entering a site. Honeywell has deployed multiple remote service options to continue providing expert support via remote connectivity to our equipment. These remote options also use the power of Honeywell Forge offerings to proactively detect issues and bring them to the attention of both the customer and Honeywell experts.
Because our remote offerings help our customers in essential industries maintain critical activities in a safe manner during this crisis, Honeywell Process Solutions has trained all service technicians to build awareness of this capability and collaborate with our customers through this challenging time.