When Cybersecurity meets Safety–Podcast Conversation with Rockwell Automation

When Cybersecurity meets Safety–Podcast Conversation with Rockwell Automation

Cybersecurity and safety in an industrial environment complement each other.  People may think that these are separate disciplines, but such is definitely not the case.

That is the message we explore in this Gary on Manufacturing podcast featuring a conversation with two Rockwell Automation experts–Lee Lane, chief product security officer, and George Schuster, functional safety expert.

The first class I took from Rockwell on safety was most likely around 1995. Since that time, I’ve seen the growth of safety products and services grow steadily. During that time, I’ve featured Rockwell safety experts twice on these podcasts.

The first was Podcast 125 on the Safety Automation Builder software with OEM Technical Consultant Jonathan Johnson. We learn that the tool is part of trend of providing easy-to-use tools for engineers to help them improve design, get projects done faster and provide end-of-project documentation.

The second was Podcast 138 on the Safety Maturity Index a conversation with Rockwell’s Steve Ludwig, Safety Programs Manager, and Mark Eitzman, Safety Market Development Manager, who provide an update on acceptance of the SAB and discuss the Safety Maturity Index.

Here is Podcast 165–Safet and Security

Mobility, Augmented Reality, Application Suites–New Technologies Coming

Mobility, Augmented Reality, Application Suites–New Technologies Coming

Connections, services, augmented reality. Three technology directions and three companies that contacted me last month to point out some cool things going on, often beneath the radar. One of them just raised a bunch of VC money, though. I think you’ll be hearing more.

Now that I’m catching my breath from a couple of intense weeks with the ARC Forum and then the Industry of Things Conference, I have time to look at some new directions.

Knowledge Connected

Omnity uses the tagline Knowledge, connected. It accelerates the discovery of otherwise hidden, high-value patterns of interconnection within and between fields of knowledge as diverse as science, medicine, engineering, law and finance.

More than 2,500 scientific papers and 2,200 patent applications are published every day. Just the last five years of most scientific and engineering fields have produced on the scale of 100,000 documents. Reading these one an hour would take 50 years, a professional lifetime. Pair-wise comparison of these documents at three minutes per comparison would take more than 9,000 years, nearly the length of recorded human civilization. It is impossible to stay current in any field, much less the boundaries between two or more different fields, where most innovation occurs.

Omnity enables research and development professionals in all fields to rapidly and efficiently detect otherwise hidden patterns of relevant document interconnections. Whether for basic research or advanced product development, Omnity allows real-time insight into complex document sets, enabling research and development professionals to efficiently and systematically answer a wide range of questions. Read more here.

I heard about it on the podcast/radio show Tech Nation.

Augmenting Field of Vision

Safety Compass overlays information on your smartphone camera view, enhancing your field of vision. Warnings when and where you need it most—it is with you at work whenever and wherever you are, with coverage for the entire team. Simple, clear functionality with interactive hazard information suits any workplace size.

  1. Sign in and Select Your Site
  • Supervisors can add a site or specific area on site within minutes.
  • Adding hazard information is easy, simply follow the prompts to identify issues quickly.
  • Workers can then sign in with secure login details and select from any number of relevant worksites.
  1. Scan Your Location for Hazards Using Augmented Reality
  • The Safety Compass uses intuitive augmented reality to communicate hazard information to users in the field.
  • Using the phone’s GPS and accelerometers the app superimposes real time information onto the camera view that adapts and compensates for worker’s field of vision.
  1. View Hazards Site-Wide
  • By accessing the worker’s physical location, the app presents vital information on present dangers straight to the worker’s phone, avoiding the necessity of bulky safety manuals to locate and manage risk.
  • A worker’s position is shown in relation to hazards, and workers can zoom, tilt and pan across a detailed site map.
  1. Access In-Depth Safety Information
  • Workers receive critical site information well before they enter a hazardous area, allowing them time to prepare for safe work practices and overcoming the challenges of reading large volumes of complicated text in dark, shifting, loud or crowded environments.
  • Additional safety information including video content can be added for more detail.

Frameworks of Applications

MuleSoft Agility starts with an application network according to MuleSoft. Mobility, Cloud services, the Internet of Things are creating incredible opportunities for business — but they’re raising customers’ expectations. MuleSoft builds application networks: seamless frameworks of applications, data sources, and devices connected by APIs, whether on-premises or in the cloud. They speed up app launch and modification cycles, make it easier to secure and manage access, and ultimately enable companies to do more — and faster — with less.

Leverage the power of API-led connectivity for a complete connectivity solution for digital business. Connect and orchestrate data on IoT devices, across devices, or with back-end applications. Leverage open standards and developer-friendly tools for speed and productivity. Connect to devices using out-of-the-box transport protocols like Zigbee and MQTT. Adapt Anypoint Platform to fit IoT architecture, not the other way around. Achieve full flexibility with a hybrid architecture and extensibility to connect future technologies.

MuleSoft recently received a large investment. Look for more from it.

Mobility, Augmented Reality, Application Suites–New Technologies Coming

Safe Machine Technology Brings Production, Engineering, EHS Together

This is another of a series of posts from the Rockwell Automation show Automation Fair last week. This stop on the tour concerned Safe Machines. The safety team has been active for many years now developing new products and initiatives. Not everything they do is expressly pointed at selling a product. Often they are out in public teaching safe machine practices, risk assessment, and safe machine design.

They showed a BevCorp machine that had been designed with the latest safety advances in mind. The idea involved removing incentives to defeating safeties. One feature is an ultra-wide door that allows access to more of the machine.

The safety system has a “request to enter” function. This is a high inertia filler machine. Activating the function begins with guiding the machine to a slow stop at a repeatable location. Therefore the controls always know status without requiring a reboot. Of course, there is a safe reduced speed mode to allow maintenance without a shutdown.

Integral with the Connected Enterprise philosophy of Rockwell Automation, the HMI and software collects data on who/what stopped the machine, which safety devices were triggered, and the like. From this data, employee behavior can be ascertained.

This leads to the real value of Connected Enterprise–production, engineering and EH&S can come together to evaluate the entire system from all points of view. The goal is to maintain productivity through use of a safe machine.

I’ve followed Rockwell Automation safety for years. In fact, I can remember classes in the 90s before becoming an editor on risk assessment and the launch of safety products. There have been two popular podcast interviews at Automation Minutes one on Safety Automation Builder and the other on the Safety Maturity Index.

This is the last stand where I had a deep dive. Following will be a review of partners who also exhibited at the Fair. Then it will be on to the next conference–which I couldn’t visit in person, but I have some interviews.

Mobility, Augmented Reality, Application Suites–New Technologies Coming

Acquisitions And New Products Feature Predictive Technologies

I have a little batch of process automation and industry news involving predictive technologies—two acquisitions and a new safety product. Congratulations to Mike Brooks and the team at Mtell for a good exit. Also congratulations to the MaxEAM folks. Finally, an important new take on process automation safety from PAS.

MTell Acquired by Aspen Technology

Aspen Technology Inc., a provider of software and services to the process industries, announced it has acquired Mtelligence Corp. (known as Mtell), a San Diego, California-based pioneer in the field of predictive and prescriptive maintenance for asset performance optimization.

Mtell products enable companies to increase asset utilization and avoid unplanned downtime by accurately predicting when equipment failures will occur, understanding why they will occur, and prescribing what to do to avoid the failure.

The products provide a low-touch, rapidly deployable, end-to-end solution that combines a deep understanding of operations and maintenance processes, real-time and historical equipment data and cutting-edge machine learning technologies. As a result, customers can:

  • Monitor the health of equipment, detect early failure symptoms, diagnose their root-cause and recommend the best responses to avoid the failure
  • Continually learn and automatically adapt to changing equipment and process behaviors
  • Automatically share findings across a network of similar equipment to improve the overall process performance.

Some of the world’s largest process manufacturing companies use Mtell. Customer results have shown significant benefits including improved industrial safety, removal of risk, reduced failures, enhanced productivity and increased profitability.

Mtell products include:

  • Previse – Mtell’s flagship end-to-end machine learning solution that monitors equipment health 24/7, detects early indicators of degradation or failures, diagnoses the root cause and prescribes responses that prevent breakdowns and unplanned downtime.
  • Basis – A connected condition monitoring application that facilitates collaboration between operations and maintenance organizations to determine the best course of action for equipment alert conditions.
  • Reservoir – A high performance, scalable, big data repository that captures, manages and synchronizes large volumes of time series, event and asset data from multiple sources.
  • Summit – A remote monitoring center application for monitoring, analyzing and benchmarking asset performance.

The purchase price of the transaction was $37M. Additional terms are disclosed in AspenTech’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the first quarter of Fiscal 2017 filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Schneider Electric Adds to Asset Management Portfolio

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, announced the acquisition of MaxEAM, a software company with complementary applications that extend Avantis.PRO Enterprise Asset Management. The acquisition further solidifies the portfolio and adds valuable domain expertise to Schneider Electric’s existing team.

Schneider Electric and MaxEAM have a long standing business relationship working together to deliver successful customer projects on a global scale. The acquisition gives customers a single point of contact for support and delivery services, and more closely aligns future product development.

“The strength of our asset management portfolio continues to grow, both organically and through acquisition. MaxEAM enhances the functionality of our Avantis.PRO offering, securing the investment our customers have made in our products,” said Rob McGreevy, Global Vice President, Software at Schneider Electric. “The addition of MaxEAM subject matter expertise and technology will allow us continued expansion of our industry-leading Enterprise APM platform.”

“Our advanced technology linked to mobile work execution streamlines processes, adding tremendous capabilities for mobile workers,” said Eric Stern, President of MaxEAM. “Schneider Electric’s Enterprise APM platform is the broadest in the market today. I’m excited that our people and technology will be an integral component to the overall offering.”

Two years ago Schneider Electric acquired InStep Software, adding advanced predictive analytics. That acquisition furthered its delivery of Enterprise APM solutions leveraging the Industrial IoT, helping to close the gap between IT and OT.

PAS Launches Process Safety Analytics Software

PAS Inc., the solution provider of process safety, cybersecurity, and asset reliability for the energy, power, and process industries announces the general availability of its newest product, PAS IPL Assurance. The software provides real-time predictive analytics on the health and availability of the safety instrumented systems (SIS), Alarm Management Systems, and other Independent Protection Layers (IPL). In addition to managing operational risk, IPL Assurance reduces compliance costs by automatically reporting on the SIS performance during a demand on the safety system.

PAS IPL Assurance delivers actionable information on safety instrumented systems, alarm systems, control loops, and operational boundaries to streamline compliance activities and expose operational risk. As a result, plant personnel can mitigate abnormal situations before they impact plant safety, reliability, and profitability.

IPL Assurance provides the following analytics, alert, and visualization features:

•    Safety instrumented function (SIF) performance management,

•    Testing and maintenance management,

•    Demand on safety system rate tracking,

•    Status of safety related alarms,

•    Safety system bypass management, and

•    Safety and operational risk dashboard.

“IPL Assurance provides up-to-date IPL lifecycle management so that operations can immediately ascertain the overall risk profile of any facility,” said Mark Carrigan, Senior Vice President of Global Operations at PAS. “This visibility from an automated single source of truth is essential to preventing critical safety incidents and supporting IEC and OSHA compliance requirements.”

New Products Introduced by Schneider Electric at Connect 2016

New Products Introduced by Schneider Electric at Connect 2016

Gary Freburger SchneiderSchneider Electric automation President Gary Freburger talked about living in a time of immense change in the industry. Sandy Vasser of ExxonMobil (my last report) discussed some of the disruptions his team is working on. One of the disruptions relates to configurable I/O.

At the conference, Schneider Electric announced an update to its Intelligent Marshalling solution. It now contains redundancy capabilities. Likewise the Tricon CX compact safety system has been enhanced with the addition of the 3902X TMR universal I/O module.

The Foxboro Evo FBM 248 and Tricon CX 3902X remove the dependency among control and safety system design and the installation of I/O systems. Universal I/O offerings for Foxboro Evo and Triconex enable process automation professionals to seamlessly adapt to last-minute I/O design changes and provide backup to eliminate the impact of any process downtime.

Schneider Intelligent Marshalling“Upgrading our award-winning Intelligent Marshalling solution to include redundancy and safety capabilities demonstrates our commitment to providing the connected solutions our customers need to improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of their plants and business operations,” said Chris Lyden, senior vice president of strategy, Process Automation, Schneider Electric. “Configuring control and safety systems I/O can be costly, labor-intensive and subject to change. With their additional flexibility, the Foxboro FBM 248 and Tricon CX 3902X I/O offerings allow our customers to adjust to unforeseen module changes and errors with little impact to installation time. That can drive huge savings when it comes to project execution and operations.”

With its universal I/O and software-configurable modules, Intelligent Marshalling allows users to configure I/O points from anywhere in the plant or in the world. It also enables flexible options for future expansions and upgrades, as well as significant cost savings by reducing marshalling infrastructure, increasing I/O density per cabinet, reducing field and maintenance labor costs and drastically reducing the need for onsite replacement inventory.

Modicon Finds a Home

Modicon, and factory automation in general, has been a bit like an orphan step child for years at Schneider. The group now reports into the automation group under Freburger. It’s a learning experience for the process automation people—new language, new distribution, new service options. But things seem to coalescing well.

The PlantStruxure PES hybrid control system, build on a Modicon PLC platform, received its moment in the sun at the conference. Schneider Electric has added redundant controllers to the PlantStruxure PES system. Today, 50 percent of PlantStruxure PES projects require at least one pair of redundant controllers within the configuration. PES V4.2 meets the next generation of requirements with the M580 ePAC and the ability to lock down ports within a single configuration environment. With the highest levels of cybersecurity available on the market, PES V4.2 ensures nearly 100 percent uptime for customer systems.

“As IT and OT converge, we need solutions that boost plant connectivity and security,” said Lyden. “PlantStruxure PES enhances the ability of plant operators, engineers and managers to take better advantage of process and energy management data, which better enables them to improve maintenance, increase asset reliability and uncover additional operational efficiencies, all in a more secure environment. By making our PlantStruxure PES automation system secure and future proof by design, we are meeting the needs of tomorrow’s production facilities, today.”

A core feature of the Modicon M580 ePAC is its Ethernet-based architecture. Integration into the PES solution improves system management and provides customers with a level of standard communication, guaranteeing a future-proof system. Additionally, new services will be available for engineering and commissioning, which will make navigating a control program easier, as well as improve performance when making project changes. PlantStruxure PES V4.2 is also equipped with ready-to-use application and industry libraries, allowing systems to be built more quickly and with lower engineering costs. And by integrating energy-management features from other Schneider Electric automation and power devices, such as Altivar drives, the system will help users realize higher energy cost savings.

Enabling The Industrial Internet of Things From The Plant Floor

Enabling The Industrial Internet of Things From The Plant Floor

Enabling Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Reliability, Scalability, and pursuing Real ROI encompass the current mantra of Fluke. Maybe you only know that company for its multimeters or infrared cameras. Well, there is much more behind the curtain.

The company has focused product development on mobile solutions, wireless communications, and data. This quarter’s product releases reflect all of that.


F-ti450_03a_cThe new Fluke Ti450 Infrared Camera takes focus to a new level of clarity with MultiSharp Focus. An out-of-focus thermal image can give you data that may lead to misdiagnosis — potentially costing you thousands — with no way to correct it once it has been captured, short of taking new images. This new infrared camera solves this problem by delivering images automatically focused throughout the field of view.

“We are excited to announce this new technology, because it makes a real difference in situations where you have objects at multiple distances that you want in focus. Places like substations, motors driving a long production line, or electrical panels with components at varying depths,” notes Chris Rayburn, thermography business director.

MultiSharp Focus is a new technology that rapidly takes multiple images and combines them to produce one in-focus image. The advanced focusing system enables users to capture an automated, focused image of multiple targets at once, delivering the image clarity needed by professional thermographers and maintenance managers to produce top-quality results and avoid costly rework.


F-125b_01a_c Waveform to Industrial Internet of ThingsToday’s industrial machinery is more reliable and efficient, but can also be more difficult to troubleshoot because of the complexities of its advanced systems. The new Fluke ScopeMeter 120B Series Industrial Handheld Oscilloscope features Connect-and-View technology that recognizes signal patterns and automatically sets up the scope’s triggering, amplitude, and time base eliminating the typical trial-and-error setup process. Once the waveform is captured, the new IntellaSet intelligent measurement detection automatically selects key measurements based on the acquired waveform type and displays the most relevant measurement values (for example, Vrms and Hz for a line voltage signal, or Vpeak-peak and Hz for a square wave), helping technicians easily identify and characterize potential signal faults.

The 120B Series also features Event Capture function that captures and identifies elusive intermittent events and lists all those events that exceed a predetermined threshold. This lets technicians identify key events quickly, rather than combing through large data sets, reading by reading.

Fluke Connect

The Industrial Internet of Things is all about connections and data. As part of Fluke Connect— a system of wireless test tools that communicate via the Fluke Connect app, or Fluke Connect Assets software, a cloud-based solution that gathers measurements to provide a comprehensive view of critical equipment status — the 120B Series can automatically record waveform data to the Fluke Connect app on smartphones or tablets ensuring accuracy and eliminating manual recording of data. Those measurements are then wirelessly uploaded to the cloud and can be combined with measurement data from multiple Fluke Connect test tools to create and share reports from the job site via email and collaborate in real time with other colleagues, increasing productivity in the field. Storing then comparing and contrasting waveforms of specific asset test points over time enables maintenance engineers to better identify and troubleshoot conditions that can lead to failures.

Work Orders

6007307a-en-fca-work-order-list to the Industrial Internet of ThingsFluke introduces Work Orders, the latest enhancement to the Fluke Connect Assets, an asset management software solution that works with the Fluke Connect system of wireless test tools. Using this new Fluke Connect Assets feature maintenance managers can:

  • View complete work order history coupled with measurement data related to a specific plant asset
  • Create work orders from anywhere
  • Confidently assign the job to the appropriate technician and balance the task with other work orders in the system.

Technicians are provided with actual measurement data right in the work order allowing them to better understand the problem and work instructions.

The Fluke Connect system allows entire maintenance teams to capture and wirelessly share data via their smartphones.  Using the AutoRecord feature measurements are transferred directly from Fluke Connect wireless test tools – eliminating transcription errors – and can be uploaded to FlukeCloud storage. Measurements can be assigned to a specific asset for sharing and analysis. Technicians can collaborate with their colleagues to discuss problems while sharing data and images in real time with ShareLive video calls, which speeds problem solving, decision-making and approvals.

Clamp Meters

F-125b_10a_cOften the most frustrating task for electricians and maintenance technicians is to troubleshoot intermittent faults because they rarely occur at convenient times. The new Fluke Connect-enabled 370 FC Series Clamp Meters log measurements to pinpoint intermittent faults precisely without the need for the technician to be present. Those measurements are then wirelessly transmitted to the Fluke Connect app on smartphones or tablets and automatically uploaded to the cloud, keeping technicians outside the arc flash zone and away from dangerous moving machinery, improving safety.

The CAT IV 600 V, CAT III 1000 V safety-rated clamp meters offer advanced troubleshooting performance to capture a wide range of measurements with a single tool, including:

  • Proprietary in-rush measurement technology to filter out noise and capture motor starting current exactly as the circuit protection sees it;
  • Integrated variable frequency drive low pass filter (376 FC and 375 FC models only) for accurate motor drive measurements;
  • True-rms voltage and current for accurate measurements on non-linear signals;
  • 500 mV dc measurement range to interface with other accessories (376 FC and 375 FC models only);
  • Expanded measurement range to 2500 A ac with the iFlex flexible current probes, which provide access to large conductors in tight spaces.

As part of Fluke Connect— the industry’s largest system of software and more than 30 wireless test tools — technicians can wirelessly transmit measurement data from the 370 FC Series clamp meters and other test tools to their smartphones for secure storage on the Fluke Cloud and team access from the field. With the Fluke Connect smartphone app, technicians can combine measurement data from multiple Fluke Connect test tools to create and share reports from the job site via email and collaborate in real time with other colleagues with ShareLive video calls, increasing productivity in the field.