Hitachi Vantara Expands Digital Manufacturing Portfolio

Many companies emphasize their response to the current Covid-19 pandemic and some leave behind the core announcements or benefits. This announcement (and a interview and webinar) from Hitachi Vantara, the digital infrastructure and solutions subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., is an example. The company has brought in another company group, Hitachi Consulting, and has organized expanded offerings specifically relating to manufacturing.

The new consulting and software group within Hitachi Vantara help manufacturers accelerate Manufacturing 4.0 (or Industrie 4.0, or Smart Manufacturing, or name your brand) initiatives. One other strategy I’ve briefly touched on is the difficulty of safely restarting production in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will not be easy and will require thought, planning, and changes to policies, procedures, layouts, and workflow.

Hitachi Vantara’s new manufacturing practice and its expanded portfolio of digital manufacturing solutions, services and consulting services aims to help manufacturers adapt to these immediate challenges. It also promises to help manufacturers lay the foundations for the digitalization of health, safety and environment (HS&E), asset insights, predictive quality, and operations optimization.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing a litany of challenges for manufacturers that highlight how important unlocking data and digital industrial innovation is to the industry’s future,” said James Destro, general manager, Manufacturing Practice, Hitachi Vantara. “With our powerful IT and OT experience, Hitachi Vantara can uniquely inspire, envision, architect and accelerate digital transformation that solves today’s challenges and prepares manufacturers for the challenges of tomorrow.”

Lumada Video Analytics for Smart Spaces Address a Safe Return to Production

Worker health and safety are primary concerns for manufacturers restarting their operations. The expanded portfolio of digital solutions for manufacturing from Hitachi Vantara includes health, safety and environment solutions leveraging Lumada Video Insights technologies which can be configured for safety applications such as elevated body temperature identification and hand washing detection.

Thermal cameras and Lidar technology can detect the temperature of a person from a distance, so that workers can non-intrusively be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and workspaces can be monitored for compliance with distancing recommendations.

Practice Helps Manufacturers Lay Foundations for Digital Transformation

COVID-19 has revealed many manufacturers’ overreliance on manual processes and operations, and the lack of visibility that many manufacturing line managers and executives have into their supply chains. Modernizing and digitalizing such capabilities will be essential for manufacturers to recover from the pandemic quickly, and to creating the more agile and resilient manufacturing operations needed in the future. This is another focus of Hitachi Vantara’s new manufacturing practice.

Hitachi’s manufacturing innovations, enterprise-class information technology, and intellectual property – coupled with deep, industry-specific consulting expertise and proven methods to accelerate time to value– enable customers to operationalize digital innovation in a secure, deployment-agnostic, and end-to-end approach. Hitachi Vantara’s outcome-focused consulting process breaks down barriers between OT and IT teams to craft comprehensive solutions that deliver transformative outcomes.

Hitachi Vantara Expands Lumada Manufacturing Insights Portfolio

Hitachi Vantara further announced the expansion of Lumada Manufacturing Insights solutions with new domains that help manufacturers address health, safety and environment, supply chain optimization, asset insights, predictive quality, and operations optimization.

Lumada Manufacturing Insights is a portfolio of industrial internet-of-things (IoT) solutions that empowers manufacturers to achieve operational improvements through data-driven insights. The portfolio delivers benefits such as improved overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), superior operations efficiency, and product quality optimization through predictive and prescriptive insights.

The new solutions introduced today, coupled to Hitachi Vantara’s advisory and consulting services, enable manufacturers to connect production floor Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to create a ‘digital thread’ that provides complete visibility into the data of the organization.

Harting A Partner for Industry 4.0 and IioT

Once again, in lieu of attending Hannover Messe in person, we attended a Web briefing. Harting held this one last week. I picked deeper information about a couple of technologies—especially “single-pair Ethernet (SPE).” It’s hard to do a complete Industrial Internet of Things (IioT) installation without connectors, cables, and the like. Harting has been a leader in this field.

“The industrial arena is undergoing far-reaching change: For Harting, this transformation means leveraging our key technologies and entering into targeted partnerships in order to pool skills and competencies capable of creating new solutions within the framework of our entire technology network,” explained Philip Harting, CEO Harting Technology Group. “Our ultimate goal here is to develop these solutions in larger contexts and create ecosystems that generate significant added value for our customers.”

Small Ethernet Infrastructures

Evolution of the Ethernet connector. Harting turned the RJ45 into the “RJ Industrial”, created modular M12 interfaces with X-coding and PushPull locking, and set the next major milestone in Industrial Ethernet with the miniaturized “ix Industrial interface” – which is 70% smaller than an RJ45, yet significantly more robust. ix Industrial is one of the most important components in the Harting solution portfolio for its All for Ethernet segment.

For more information, check out our Industrial Ethernet Trends 2020 webinar series.

Industrial standard interface for SPE

Users can now make investments with a reassuring measure of security: IEC 63171-6, published on 23 January 2020, sets the basis for future IIoT networks. The international standards bodies ISO/IEC and TIA have declared the IEC 63171-6 interface as the standard for SPE in industrial applications. On this foundation, a comprehensive portfolio for the Single Pair Ethernet market is now emerging.

SPE Industrial Partner Network grows to 20 members

Last year saw the foundation of the bhttps://www.single-pair-ethernet.com. As a registered association, the Network is more than just a loose association of companies with shared interests – it is a strong, legally binding community of partners. Consequently, it provides the security required to implement this new physical layer. All the companies in the network are technology leaders in their own right; between them, they specialise in the various fields needed to strengthen and complete the SPE ecosystem. The common, unifying basis of their work is the international standardisation for SPE infrastructure in accordance with IEC 11801-x, IEEE 802.3 and IEC 63171-6. In the space of just a few months, numerous strong partner companies from various fields of industrial production have expressed their support for IEC 63171-6 and joined the SPE Industrial Partner Network.

Han S: Safe contacting of modular energy storage systems

In Han S, Harting is – for the first time – introducing a special connector for battery storage modules. Global demand for electricity storage systems is booming. The new series meets the technical requirements of the latest standards for stationary energy storage systems (including UL 4128) and offers users optimum safety for the connected units. The single-pole connector solution with a 200A high-current contact is mechanically coded, is coloured red and black for easy identification, and locks intuitively. In this way, Han S enables fast, reliable contacting of storage modules and enables the processing of large volumes.

Han 1A: Miniaturised rectangular connector ideal for networking

The Ethernet networks sensors, machines, controllers, computers and data centres. Harting is now offering interfaces tailored to these applications as part of the miniaturized Han 1A industrial connector series.

The Han 1A features two new inserts for fast and secure data transmission. This can be used to supply end devices with up to 100 Mbit/s Cat. 5 Fast Ethernet for Profinet-based communication; a 10 Gbit/s, Cat. 6A version for High-Speed Ethernet is also available. The latter is used for live camera system applications.

High-performance switch with robust ix Industrial Interface

Imaging processes are becoming increasingly important for quality assurance and monitoring in all industry sectors. New camera technologies offer higher resolution despite their increasingly compact dimensions.

The new eCon 2000GX-I-A unmanaged Ethernet switches from Harting are high-performance Gigabit switches, enabling consistent networking of machine-monitoring and diagnostic systems via ix Industrial.

Focus on user-optimised DC power transmission

One current trend – particularly challenging from a technical perspective – lies in the field of DC power transmission, where demand is forecast to rise sharply. To equip the field of application with the appropriate installation technology, Harting is promoting technology concepts that offer increased personal and plant protection. A novel connector for industrial applications transmits voltages of up to 800V and currents of up to 40A and cannot be removed when under load. In addition to the DC Industries working groups, Harting is also engaged in the activities of the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (DKE) geared to drafting new standards. The project is based on cooperation with the SmartFactory KL.

Software solutions for cloud and edge: Partnership with PerFact

Harting are keenly focused on establishing optimal connections between the field level and software solutions in cloud and edge computing. Harting RFID solutions, digital twin, and the MICA edge computing gateway operate at this interface. What’s more, intelligent sensor technology solutions – which ensure seamless data exchange within networks – are also becoming increasingly important.

The partnership with PerFact, which Harting announced at the SPS trade fair in Nuremberg in November 2019, will be expanded in the field of software. PerFact develops customisable modules for servicing, maintenance, logistics and process management as IT solutions for industry.

“The market environment of the MICA edge computer, RFID, and IIoT is developing at an incredibly fast pace. Rapid, agile and entrepreneurial action is imperative,“ emphasized Philip Harting. In this context, the three companies peraMIC, PerFact, and Perinet will be advancing solutions in the field of digitalisation and will be cooperating closely with the Harting Technology Group.

PerFact develops individual, customization modules for service and maintenance, logistics, and process management as IT solutions for industrial clients. Perinet (Berlin) concentrates on the seamless connection of sensors and actuators with IT systems (ERP, for example), in order to improve the transparency and analytical performance throughout the value creation chain.

HPE Technology and Finance Counter COVID-19 Impacts

  • Partners benefit from HPE Partner Ready revenue threshold suspension, accelerated liquidity for distributors, as well as virtual training, demonstrations and briefings
  • High-performance computing (HPC) is playing a leading role in our fight against COVID-19 to support the urgent need to find a vaccine that will save lives and reduce suffering worldwide.

I have already written about several companies pitching in to do what they can in support of people and companies impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any glance at the history of pandemics and plagues of the past compared to today unveils just how advanced we have become in corporate research and response to this easily communicable virus infection.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has actively responded within its scope to contribute to the cause.

The first announcement I received related to dedicated relief initiatives for partners in support of business continuity in the wake of COVID-19.

These new interim initiatives have been specifically designed to relieve financial pressure on HPE partners and assist with business continuity planning. They join a number of new financial relief programs offered by HPE Financial Services as part of a $2 billion allocation to help customers and partners.

“Our partners are at the core of HPE, so when they are facing potential challenges, it’s our duty to step up and be a pillar of support,” said Paul Hunter, HPE Worldwide Head of Partner Sales. “Whether it’s helping them drive business as usual, relieve financial pressure, or simply giving them peace of mind during this time, our aim is to have a thriving ecosystem better able to meet customer needs”

Financial and support initiatives available to HPE partners include:

Program Changes to Support Financial Planning

  • HPE Partner Ready Revenue Threshold Suspension – To provide stability for partners facing financial uncertainty, HPE has suspended the revenue targets required for partners to maintain their status in the HPE Hybrid IT Partner Ready program for 2021 eligibility, as well as the Aruba Partner Ready for Networking Program. During 2020, both of these programs will focus on enabling partners and helping them meet training and certification goals.


Providing Buying Partners with Liquidity

  • Improvement in Early Pay Discount Terms – To alleviate COVID-related liquidity pressures, from May 1 until July 31, 2020 distributors and service providers in North America that do not participate in factoring programs can take advantage of extended Early Pay Discount terms to improve their working capital and cash positions.
  • Improvement in Factoring Terms – Within the same timeframe, HPE will extend payment terms from 60 to 90 days in North America and Europe for participants in existing enhanced factoring programs.
  • Suspending SDI Targets – To improve predictability of earnings, HPE has temporarily suspended or significantly reduced Strategic Development Initiative (SDI) targets in most geographies, thus providing a pay-out for distributors from $1 at or near the full percentage rebate target.

Hybrid IT Partner Propositions for Customers

  • Free Remote Server Management – For the remainder of 2020, HPE will offer its remote server management software Integrated Lights-Out (iLo) Advanced to partners and customers free of charge, enabling users to configure, monitor and update HPE servers seamlessly from anywhere, with minimal resources.
  • New Cloud28+ Spotlight Page – Today, HPE is working to support our service provider partners’ efforts by offering increased business continuity services to customers via a central Spotlight Page hosted on Cloud28+. This new site provides customers with a means to quickly find the right HPE partner and cloud services capable of supporting their needs. Business continuity services could include, but are not limited to, remote working solutions, extra IT capacity, connectivity, and/or any other complementary offerings.
  • Fast-tracked HPE GreenLake Options – Partners can leverage HPE GreenLake Quick Quote and targeted mid-market offers to rapidly respond to customer business challenges such as cash preservation and planning for unpredictable IT needs. HPE has developed additional pre-configured reference architectures at pre-agreed pricing that speed time to implementation.

Continuing Partner Enablement with Virtual Solutions

To support partners’ continued learning, HPE is introducing the HPE Sales Pro Learning Center in May, a new sales enablement experience with trainings and micro-learnings, helping sales leaders develop the sophisticated skills needed to sell consumption propositions and solutions.

Partners also benefit from HPE’s newly developed, industry-first practical exam methodology – an innovative virtual delivery that won this year’s IT Certification Council Innovation Award. Moreover, partners can continue to participate in HPE events that have been converted into virtual experiences. Moving forward, as announced by Antonio Neri, HPE Discover 2020 and HPE Partner Growth Summit (PGS) will convert from an in-person event to HPE Discover 2020 Digital Experience on June 22, with a global audience.

Virtual demonstrations and Proofs of Concept are now possible via the no-cost, self-serve Demonstration Portal – including a number of short, pre-recorded lab demos for partners and customers – and virtual tours of the HPE Briefing Centers.

Covid research

Accelerating vaccine research for COVID-19 with high-performance computing and artificial intelligence

High-performance computing (HPC) is playing a leading role in our fight against COVID-19 to support the urgent need to find a vaccine that will save lives and reduce suffering worldwide.

Scientists in labs around the globe rely on the massive computing power of HPC and supercomputers to run complex mathematical models, which transform vast volumes of evolving COVID-19 data into simulations of biological and chemical processes. These simulations advance our understanding of the new strain of virus and the complex interactions of the human body down to the molecular level, to accelerate the development of new treatments and preventative measures.

By combining modeling and simulation capabilities with new techniques in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, these simulations are now becoming even more accurate. That is why through our collaborations with worldwide leading research centers that are using our HPC and AI solutions, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the HPC industry are supporting scientists tackling complex research that will unlock insights and bring us closer to drug discovery.

These initiatives, which represent both public and private sector investments, are driven by a global network of scientists, researchers, AI and supercomputing specialists, who in many cases are working together to share data, collaborate, and make vital contributions in the overall effort.

HPE is proud to play a leading role in supporting many of these initiatives with HPE HPC systems and expertise. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) together with GENCI, the French national infrastructure for HPC resources and facilities, are using HPC and AI to speed up discovery of antibody and drug candidates that can be tested for new vaccine treatments.

Each of these research teams are separately applying AI and machine learning to modeling and simulation to increase accuracy and predictions – something we describe as the emerging convergence of modeling and simulation with AI and analytics. These efforts further accelerate discovery of new antibodies, which are blood proteins produced to fight toxins or other foreign substances that induce immune response, or potential drug candidates based on existing catalogs of data. Researchers are then able to test these for potential countermeasures to the virus that can be developed into drug therapies.

Argonne researchers apply AI-enabled modeling and simulation to significantly speed discovery of antiviral agents

At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have taken on a mission to dramatically accelerate the pace in discovering antiviral agents to counterattack the new virus, reducing the potential timeframe from years to just couple of months.

Researchers are using the Theta supercomputer, powered by HPE, and housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate the process of simulating billions of different small molecules from a publicly available database of drug candidates. The goal is to improve predictions on how molecules in drug candidates interact with each other and bind to viral proteins. Successful binding means these drug candidates can be used for further testing for a vaccine treatment.

LLNL uses a first-of-its-kind AI-driven modeling platform to design 20 initial antibody candidates among 1040 possibilities

LLNL has already made significant progress narrowing down the number of potential antibody candidates from 1040 to an initial set of just 20!  That’s a dramatic process of elimination. On top of that, this inspiring breakthrough was achieved in just weeks, compared to a typical lead time of years using other approaches.

LLNL’s COVID-19 response team, which includes researchers from various disciplines with deep expertise in vaccine and countermeasure development, used LLNL’s Catalyst, an HPC cluster powered by HPE, to improve predictions and speed up this discovery process by using a first-of-its-kind modeling platform. The platform integrates important components to generate high-quality predictions, such as experimental data and structural biology data, with bioinformatics modeling, molecular simulations and machine learning algorithms.

CNRS and GENCI offer a faster approach to perform molecular dynamics simulations

Similarly, GENCI, together with CNRS, has extended its Jean Zay supercomputer, which is installed in IDRIS, one of CNRS’ data centers, to power converged modeling, simulation, AI and machine learning workloads, to a number of research centers also focused on increasing accuracy and outcomes of antibodies. GENCI’s Jean Zay was designed by HPE in direct response to President Emmanuel Macron’s significant AI initiative to propel France’s R&D in AI with a new supercomputer.
We are extending our HPC efforts to address COVID-19 research on a greater, national scale by recently partnering with the White House as part of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing consortium.

Industrial Products and Services News Briefs

We might be on various types of stay-at-home orders globally, but companies continued to churn out new products and services for the industrial market. These cover the month of April. I’ve gotten behind, there has been so much coming out. These all deserve some time.

In this post:

  • ABB Launches Augmented Field Procedures
  • OPC Foundation Announces North American Director
  • Zebra Technologies Unveiled Results of a Field Service Study
  • Swift Sensors Releases Water-Resistant Power over Ethernet Bridge
  • Aveva Partners For Micro-Learning Service

ABB Ability Augmented Field Procedures

ABB has developed an augmenting technology aimed at digitalizing the field operator experience and improving interaction between field and control room operations.

ABB Ability Augmented Field Procedures will enable consistency when executing manual procedures, standardizing operating procedures and maintenance or repair techniques in the field, tightening field to control room integration and digitally recording notes to ensure operational knowledge is captured and utilized.

Unlike traditional paper-based operating procedures, the technology enables interactive execution of procedures using a mobile device to guide operators through each step in a consistent, effective, and safe way.

Operatives will be able to access hands-free, real-time data related to plant assets, processes or procedures using industrial tablets, smart phones and Microsoft HoloLens glasses, increasing real-time collaboration and enabling immediate data entry from the user interface in the field.

Created in collaboration with industry majors, the system can be used in any industrial environment, in greenfield and brownfield sites, for start-up, routine maintenance, and shutdown activities.

OPC Foundation Appoints Director of OPC North America

Michael Clark has been appointed Director of OPC Foundation North America. Clark will support OPC North American membership and function as a spokesperson for the Foundation throughout the region.

Looking for someone who can expand penetration into the process market, Clark is internationally recognized in the process automation sector for his expertise in Industrial Control System (ICS) fieldbus protocols. He also has been a contributor to the Open Process Automation Standard (OPAS) since its inception. He was Founding Director of BusCorp Inc., a Canadian-based consulting firm dedicated to design, implementation, commissioning, and training in the competencies of ICS networks and fieldbus systems. He has supported industrial sectors across the globe including, refining & upgrading, chemicals, food & beverage, gas exploration, offshore production, water & waste-water treatment, power generation, and nuclear remediation.

Zebra Technologies Studied Field Service Providers

Zebra Technologies Corporation  announced study findings that reveal field service providers in the telecommunications and technical industries globally will increase the use of mobile technologies to optimize and transform workflows in the field.

The number of organizations that will implement predictive solutions as part of their mobile strategies is set to double in five years, according to respondents to Zebra’s three-part Future of Field Operations vision study on the telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture industries. Today, just 16 percent of organizations use predictive solutions to assign the right resource to the right task at the right time with the use of mobile devices, and this will jump to 32 percent by 2025.

“With increased focus on streamlining workflows and getting tasks done right the first time, service providers in the telecommunications and technical industries are increasingly equipping their front-line workers with mobile technologies such as rugged tabletsmobile printers and handheld mobile computers,” said Alex Cooper, Director of Government and Critical Field Service Strategy, Zebra Technologies. “Faster mobile connectivity, combined with purpose-built rugged devices and advanced applications, will enable enterprises to keep essential services uninterrupted, safe, and efficient.”

In the study, 76 percent of respondents from service providers say their field operation strategies now focus on mobile devices instead of desktops, especially with 86 percent agreeing that the availability of faster 4G and 5G networks will drive greater investments in new field operations technologies. The use of mobile devices will quickly boost productivity with 87 percent in the study indicating that they expect to see positive impact within the next year.

While the study indicates email (62 percent), real-time database access (60 percent) and dispatch management (57 percent) are ranked as today’s three most important applications, about nine in ten service providers plan to expand their use of remote monitoring and reporting as well as advanced analytics and machine learning as part of their mobile strategies over the next five years.

Swift Sensors Adds Water-Resistant Power Over Ethernet Bridge

Swift Sensors Inc., a supplier of plug-and-play cloud-based wireless sensor systems for Industrial IoT, has released a water-resistant Power over Ethernet (PoE) bridge for use in manufacturing plants, restaurants, and other spaces where water, cleaning solutions, and other chemicals come into contact with monitoring equipment.

“Many of our industrial customers have requested a water-resistant PoE bridge, specifically for use in wet and harsh environments,” said Ray Almgren, COO of Swift Sensors. “Our new bridge delivers a ruggedized and cost-effective IoT networking solution for applications such as industrial manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, wastewater treatment facilities, refineries and restaurants.”

The Swift Sensors PoE Standard Bridge 1011 is built to withstand washdown procedures and exposure to chemicals. Key features include: 

  • an IP54-rated dust- and water-resistant enclosure to protect against ingress from all directions.
  • a space-saving, mountable design and form factor used in Swift Sensors 1020 and 1030 bridges.
  • a single cable for power and ethernet to eliminate the need for additional hardwiring and to ensure a consistent power supply.
  • Compliant with Active 802.3af and 802.3at PoE standards for use in PoE systems.
  • 256-bit AES enterprise encryption to deliver the same level of security found in all Swift Sensors bridges.

AI-powered Microlearning

AVEVA announced that it has strategically partnered with Axonify to offer adaptive AI- microlearning as part of AVEVA Unified Learning.

This strategic partnership with Axonify makes AVEVA the first leading digitalization company to deliver microlearning solutions for industrial operations staff. This is part of an overarching framework designed to help companies build competence, improve worker performance and drive behavioral change. The training program drives measurable outcomes for organizational competency needs, all enabled by three key aspects:

  • A single integrated platform from one vendor encompassing simulation for training with rich extended reality capabilities, and tools for designing learning and development programs
  • Flexible deployment enabling customers to choose cloud, hybrid, or on-premises implementation.
  • Harnessing of AI to fill knowledge gaps with personalized training.

ODVA Hannover Report, Busy Year For Partnerships and IIoT

ODVA held its annual Hannover Messe press conference today (April 20), however, we all sat at desks in our homes to attend this year. ODVA looks forward to in-person meetings at SPS in November and at Hannover in April 2021. Working with other organizations and enhancing IIoT capabilities.

In brief:

  • ODVA LOOKS TO THE FUTURE AT ITS 20TH ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS
  • OPC UA COMPANION SPECIFICATION TO BE DEVELOPED FOR CIP 
  • ETHERNET/IP Enhanced to further address industry 4.0 and IIoT
  • ODVA ENTERS INTO AGREEMENTS WITH FDT AND FIELDCOMM GROUP AND CONTINUES XDS DEVELOPMENT TO EXPAND ETHERNET/IP TECHNOLOGY ECOSYSTEM

Specifics from the press releases and comments in the conference:

ODVA LOOKS TO THE FUTURE AT ITS 20TH ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS

ODVA held its 20th Annual Meeting of Members in Palm Harbor, Florida, USA on March 5, 2020. With over 120 industry professionals from over 50 companies in attendance, highlights of the Annual Meeting included a panel discussion titled “Can 5G and WiFi 6 Deliver on the Factory Floor?”, a keynote speech from Amazon Web Services titled “The Effect of Digital Transformation on the Industrial Automation Product Ecosystem at the Edge and Beyond,” and an update from the organization’s leadership on the strength of and opportunities for ODVA as a whole.  

Notable topics covered at the conference included Network Diagnostics, TSN, OPC UA, Constrained Devices, Ethernet-APL, FDI packages, and PA-DIM.

The leadership for the organization was elected and announced at the Annual Meeting. ODVA’s Board of Directors has top level responsibility for strategic planning and governance and is composed of senior executives from major industrial automation device and system vendors across the globe. In the 21st term, ODVA’s Board of Directors are:  

  • Dr. Rolf Birkhofer, managing director of Endress+Hauser Process Solutions for Endress+Hauser
  • Mr. Satoshi Kojima, general manager of network product management group, controller division for OMRON
  • Mr. David Lagerstrom, president and CEO of Turck USA for Hans Turck Company
  • Mr. Raja Ramana Macha, senior vice president for innovation and technology and CTO, industrial automation for Schneider Electric
  • Mr. Samuel Pasquier, senior director of product management for IoT industrial networking and security for Cisco Systems
  • Mr. Thomas Petersen, senior director of fieldbus and system integration for Danfoss
  • Mr. Brian Reynolds, senior director of engineering, projects and automation solutions for Honeywell
  • Dr. Jürgen Weinhofer, vice-president of common architecture and technology for Rockwell Automation 

The corporate leadership of the organization collectively defines and executes the strategic plan, oversees development and publication of technology and specifications, and is responsible for governance of the organization. In the 21st term, ODVA’s corporate officers are:  

  • Dr. Al Beydoun, President & Executive Director
  • Mr. Joakim Wiberg, Chief Technology Officer
  • Ms. Adrienne Meyer, Vice President of Operations and Membership 
  • Mr. Christopher Lynch, Corporate Secretary
  • Dr. Jürgen Weinhofer, Treasurer

ODVA’s Technical Review Board (TRB) oversees the development of technology and standards for the organization including approval of technology enhancements for inclusion in the ODVA specifications which encompass the Common Industrial Protocol or “CIP” and its network adaptations of CIP – including EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet. In its 21st term, ODVA’s TRB representatives are:

  • Mr. Joakim Wiberg, Chairman, of HMS Industrial Networks
  • Mr. Raj Bandekar of Honeywell
  • Mr. Rudy Belliardi of Schneider Electric
  • Mr. Mirko Brcic of Endress+Hauser
  • Mr. Paul Didier of Cisco Systems
  • Mr. Gregory Majcher of Rockwell Automation
  • Mr. Shinji Murayama of Omron
  • Ms. Roxana Sudrijan of Molex

OPC UA COMPANION SPECIFICATION TO BE DEVELOPED FOR CIP 

ODVA has launched a joint working group with the OPC Foundation to develop an OPC UA companion specification to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP). The collaboration between ODVA and the OPC Foundation will result in reliable, secure communications between devices that are a part of a CIP-enabled Industrial Control System (ICS) and other OPC UA enabled applications allowing communication between CIP devices and OPC UA devices as well as with cloud and enterprise level services. Common tasks required for cloud gateway appliance management will be enabled, and CIP devices will have unimpeded access to leading cloud services. The OPC UA companion specification will address the challenge of moving industrial communication and control data from the factory floor to the cloud via gateways. “Connecting manufacturing process and control data from EtherNet/IP devices to OPC UA servers will enable valuable factory floor information to be made available at the edge and beyond for enterprise wide analysis,” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA. 

The OPC UA companion specification will map CIP objects to the appropriate OPC UA information models and profiles and vice-versa. Sending data to and from the cloud from EtherNet/IP to OPC UA will be accomplished by providing useful information including discovery, identity, diagnostics, status, parameter and much more from CIP devices. Allowing critical automation information to be easily transferred from EtherNet/IP to OPC UA will lower the effort required to enable access from higher level systems, such as Analytics, ERP, or MES. The OPC UA companion specification to CIP will ensure that data will be available to Enterprise and IT systems with proper context and semantics (i.e. meaning) for quick trend analysis and insight generation. 

A joint working group, composed of members of ODVA and the OPC Foundation, will work to identify critical device to cloud use cases, such as tying warranty costs back to production variations, that will drive the scope of the work to be done. In parallel work to the joint development of the OPC UA companion specification to CIP, CIP and EtherNet/IP will be enhanced by ODVA SIGs, as needed, to ensure that all of the pertinent data is able to be understood by OPC UA without any additional work needed by end users. “The time is right for the OPC UA Companion Specification to CIP to ensure that EtherNet/IP is prepared to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0 and IIoT,” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA. 

ETHERNET/IP Enhanced to further address industry 4.0 and IIoT

The latest enhancements to The EtherNet/IP Specification provide improved network diagnostics, new methods to lower bandwidth and resource requirements for devices, and the addition of IIoT building block infrastructure. “EtherNet/IP’s continued leadership in the industrial communication space will be assured by adding new tools to manage the network, removing roadblocks to adding EtherNet/IP to the simplest of devices, and preparing for TSN with LLDP,” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA.

In addition to the recent enhancements to EtherNet/IP to allow users to obtain device diagnostics pursuant to the NE107 standard, ODVA has enhanced EtherNet/IP further to provide overall system diagnostics. The additional EtherNet/IP system diagnostics will enable a better understanding of the number of connections, resource usage, the number of Ethernet errors, missed packets, and overall CPU utilization. A common, scalable network diagnostic assembly definition for diagnostic connection points defined by other objects will enable these new statistics to help assist in network troubleshooting. Additionally, new provisions for aggregation of multiple I/O connections will provide a mechanism to multiplex many individual connections into one, which will significantly reduce network bandwidth. Runtime reconfiguration will be seamless and efficiency will be improved across the board, especially in instances where IO-Link or HART translation or modular I/O is utilized.

Updates to allow for constrained devices running on EtherNet/IP will enable UDP-only device communication with the goal of lowering resource and hardware requirements. Constrained devices are anticipated to significantly lower the cost barrier thereby further strengthening the business case to add EtherNet/IP to in-cabinet, small sensors, and other simple devices. Ethernet will be possible all the way to edge devices, including use of Single Pair Ethernet (10BASE-T1S), enabling end to end IIoT communication. EtherNet/IP, including CIP Security, has been enhanced to include constrained device definitions. Furthermore, the addition of the option to use Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) will enable nodes and infrastructure to detect other devices in near proximity, and for the physical network topology to be discovered and visualized. As a required component for TSN, the addition of LLDP lays the groundwork for easier adoption of TSN into the EtherNet/IP Specification. Along with existing network extensions, the TSN standards for sending time critical data via industrial Ethernet will be an option to meet the needs of high determinism applications, to add network design options, and to plan for the significant future increases in data traffic brought about by IT and OT convergence.

The latest enhancements to the EtherNet/IP Specificationare enabling enhanced understanding and therefore performance of the broader network, driving EtherNet/IP down to the lowest capacity devices through reducing resource requirements, and are laying the foundation for TSN. ODVA is continuing to drive the advancement of EtherNet/IP to meet the evolving requirements of IIoT and Industry 4.0 to meet the needs of CIP technology users both today and tomorrow. 

ODVA ENTERS INTO AGREEMENTS WITH FDT AND FIELDCOMM GROUP AND CONTINUES XDS DEVELOPMENT TO EXPAND ETHERNET/IP TECHNOLOGY ECOSYSTEM

ODVA  has entered into separate agreements to further integrate FDT and FDI technologies into EtherNeat/IP. Additional device description work on the next generation xDS for CIP devices also continues to move forward.  “ODVA is committed to making EtherNet/IP a best in class communication network for both the discrete and process industries and this is another significant step in that journey” said Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director of ODVA.

Joint ODVA and FDT Group activities are underway to develop an FDT communications annex to support the ODVA Common Industrial Protocol (“CIP”) on the new FDT 3.0/FITS (“FITS”) platform. The FDT Group has agreed to form an annex project group to develop a communications annex for FITS to support CIP based networks such as EtherNet/IP. FITS extends the client server / architecture concept that was available in FDT2 to now enable full access via the edge, the cloud, the Web and OPC UA. FITS is platform independent through the use of an open .NET Core as well as HTML 5 and JavaScript. 

FDT technology standardizes the configuration interface between field devices and control systems, independent of communication protocol, allowing streamlined access to device parameters.  When FITS is used with CIP and network adaptations such as EtherNet/IP, the resulting system provides users with a feature-rich interoperable environment for commissioning, control, and diagnostics. FITS also extends the interoperability of CIP Networks with other network technologies by enabling the development of network independent common software tools.

Separately, members of ODVA and the Fieldcomm Group (FCG) are working together to enhance the FDI Package Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and FDI Host Components to support EtherNet/IP. The goal is to allow EtherNet/IP to work more efficiently and seamlessly with FDI technology for the benefit of implementers. The FDI Device Package IDE makes writing, running and testing FDI Device Packages easier and more efficient by providing the tools for industrial communication devices across multiple communication protocols in one application. 

With easier creation of FDI Device Packages for vendors, more end users will see significant improvement in configuration, commissioning, diagnosis, and calibration as more EtherNet/IP devices support FDI. Control systems, configurators, and asset management software that supports FDI will be able to take advantage of EtherNet/IP devices with FDI Device Packages. The inclusion of FDI Device Packages improves the interoperability and lowers the commissioning burden on end users for EtherNet/IP devices.

ODVA is also engaged in another device configuration enhancement effort via a Special Interest Group (SIG) that is making progress on a new specification for the next generation of digitized descriptions for EtherNet/IP device data, known as xDS. xDS will allow for workflow-driven device description files for device integration such as network and security configuration and digitized business models such as digital twins and cloud-based analytics. In addition to the specification efforts, ODVA is working on tools to simplify development of xDS device description files and their consumption by device integration tools, as well as conformance tests for xDS files.

The xDS device description for CIP devices will ultimately serve as a replacement for EDS files. xDS will enable the use of a wide array of tools and systems for both the process and discrete industries using established technologies. The rich information from the xDS customized device information file can be exposed to both FITS and FDI Device Packages. The work on xDS along with the activities outlined with the FDT Group and FCG ensures ODVA is in alignment with the next generation of value-added user interface, business logic, and device information technologies. ODVA’s partnership with FDT and FCG will ensure that both vendors and end users have the desired solutions and options to best meet their needs.  

ODVA is continuing to enhance EtherNet/IP to best meet the needs of industrial automation customers across the spectrum of vertical markets. These joint efforts with the FDT Group and FCG along with the xDS specification enhancement work are a part of the expansion of the EtherNet/IP technology ecosystem which will result in improving the experience of both device vendors and end users as well as to prepare for a future driven by Industry 4.0 and IIoT. The joint efforts between ODVA and the FDT Group and between ODVA and FCG will both benefit from the robust CIP information model presented by xDS.

204 Wireless Power for IoT Devices via Light Podcast Interview

In a turnaround, this time I’m doing an interview. First one in years. This episode is an interview with Yuval Boger, CMO of Wi-Charge, who talks about wireless remote power for charging IoT devices with light. There was a gap between this and my last podcast. In the interim, we sold a house, bought a house, and moved to another state–all at the beginning of the covid-19 rise and the shelter-in-place orders. It has been crazy times. Now, we’ve plenty of time to get used to the new house. I hope everyone listening is doing well.

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