Robotics, Vibration, and Water Systems News

Today is another “wrap up a bunch of products” day. It’s been a hectic couple of days where I was on a panel with the ZEDEDA Transform event live on the Web (I’m sure it will be ondemand shortly) while today Don Pearson of Inductive Automation interviewed me for an Inductive podcast. Below are two robotic announcements looking forward to new applications, a reliability oriented vibration sensor, and a water system.

MASS Robotics Partners with Procter and Gamble

MassRobotics helps create and scale the next generation of successful robotics and connected devices companies by providing entrepreneurs and innovative robotics/automation startups with the workspace and resources they need to develop, prototype, test and commercialize their products and solutions. It has launched a new partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G) to collaboratively explore technologies around automation and manufacturing-related applications.

The goal of the partnership is to develop ideas to improve productivity, drive increased value for consumers, accelerate agility from more automation, and allow more flexibility in meeting the manufacturing deadlines of customers. In addition to exploring and accessing innovations from resident startups, MassRobotics’ overall community will help P&G remain on the cutting-edge of the robotics and automation industry and more closely collaborate with existing P&G robotics partners in Massachusetts.

MassRobotics is the result of the collective work of a global group of engineers, rocket scientists, and entrepreneurs with a shared vision to create a strong, vibrant robotics and IoT ecosystem. 

MiR Introduces Two New Robots

Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), the global market leader in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), launched its most powerful robots for transporting pallets and other heavy items around manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and logistics centers. The MiR600 and MiR1350 robots, which can lift up to 600 kg (1322 pounds) and 1350 kg (2976 pounds), respectively, are designed to safely and efficiently perform material handling tasks in challenging industrial environments.

The industrial and protected MiR600 and MiR1350 are the market’s first Ingress Protection52-rated autonomous mobile robots, which mean their components are protected and can tolerate dust and water drops.

New AMRs optimize all logistics—inbound, production and outbound

The larger MiR600 and MiR1350 are ideal for autonomously transporting heavy loads of materials and goods in:

• loading bays

• production and assembly areas

• warehouses

• material delivery areas

Like MiR’s other AMRs (MiR100, MiR200, MiR250, MiR500 and MiR1000), the MIR600 and MIR1350 navigate smoothly and safely among people and other transport equipment in dynamic surroundings. Sensors, 3D cameras and the latest laser scanning technology ensure 360-degree vision for precise and safe navigation and operations. The new AMRs are designed to comply with the industry’s latest safety standards, including ISO 3691-4 and ANSI/RIA R15.08-1-2020.

Fluke Reliability introduces the Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor system

Fluke Reliability introduces the Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor system. With its batteryless technology, long-range sensor-to-gateway communication, and ability to connect up to 1,000 sensors to a single gateway, the Fluke 3562 is a “set it and forget it” solution that can operate continuously, even in hard-to-reach places. 

When used with the recently released Fluke 3563 Analysis Vibration Sensor for critical machines and LIVE-Asset management software, maintenance teams now have a comprehensive solution for virtually every asset in the plant. The vibration screening system enables maintenance teams to spot machine faults before catastrophic failures happen, avoiding costly downtime. 

The Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor draws power from a machine’s heat or the light in the room using innovative thermoelectric or photovoltaic energy harvesters. The technologically advanced sensor screens overall vibration levels, temperature, and humidity, as well as trends the nine highest FFT peaks by magnitude. 

The Fluke 3562’s unique features: 

Batteryless technology — With either a thermoelectric or photovoltaic energy harvester, the sensor requires minimum upkeep over a longer period of time, reducing costs and labor. 

Flexible wireless network capabilities — The wireless gateway has triple network connection capabilities — Wi-Fi, LTE, and Ethernet — so it’s adaptable for any facility.

Scalable and long-range — With long-wavelength signals and the ability to connect up to 1,000 sensors, the Fluke 3562 can be placed further from the gateway, allowing sensors to be installed in more hard-to-reach areas.

KETOS Unveils Updates to its Smart Water Intelligence Platform

Addressing global water management issues, KETOS, Inc., a water intelligence innovator, announced enhancements to its award-winning, cloud-based KETOS Smart Water Intelligence Platform. Key updates include improved user experience and workflow management, greater flexibility to configure customer-specific instances, scalability to support larger concurrent users numbers, the ability to handle larger data sets, and more sophisticated analytics and reporting capabilities.

Bringing water intelligence to customers across agriculture, industrial and municipal operations, KETOS combines software, hardware, and predictive analytics to automate water monitoring and testing. The holistic solution helps solve water efficiency and quality challenges with real-time data and mission-critical insights.

Measuring over 25 water quality parameters, KETOS offers water operators a fully integrated, EPA-compliant solution with intelligent hardware, stable connectivity infrastructure, an interactive software platform, and actionable data. 

KETOS Smart Water Analytics enhancements support operational stability and business continuity efforts across its customers, offering predictive maintenance with zero labor hours required for water operators. Users now have access to improved graphical view enhancements, instant notifications, enhanced calendar-based test scheduling, push mobile notifications, and more.

Additional updates include:

• Vertical-focused analytics including reporting comparisons and correlation between parameters; 

• Improved flexibility  and overall user experience; and

• 24/7 remote support.

Orange and Nokia first Industrie 4.0 5G Private Network

This announcement signals the beginning of what may be the “killer app” for 5G cellular. Or, it may be just another network in your tool box. Orange and Nokia announced the deployment of a 4G/5G private network combined with network slicing at Schneider Electric’s plant in Le Vaudreuil, France. Network slicing is a key feature for the management of end-to-end 4G/5G quality-of-service and security of industrial processes, operations and applications in Industry 4.0.

Nokia has been selected by Orange to build a sliced 4G/5G private network for a modern industrial environment, providing reliable, scalable and sustainable connectivity solutions for industrial use cases. 

Nokia’s slicing solution supports existing LTE, 5G Standalone (5G SA) and 5G Non Standalone (5G NSA) devices and also includes domain controller software in RAN, core and transport layers to enable full slice connectivity. The slice continuity between LTE and 5G NR allows Orange and Schneider Electric to operate a state-of-the-art indoor network in an industrial setting. With this solution, both partners continue to implement and test the management of the different priorities, performance, and security capabilities adapted to their innovative use cases, while optimizing network resources. 

As a global network-native digital services company with dual expertise of both an operator and end-to-end integrator, Orange Business Services offers its industrial customers a complete portfolio: Mobile Private Networks (MPN) built on private infrastructures, virtual MPNs on the public network and hybrid MPNs combining private and public infrastructures. The choice of architecture is made to best meet the security, performance and resiliency requirements of the business customers’ use cases both on and off the industrial campuses, as well as to optimize costs. 

Arnaud Vamparys, Senior Vice President Radio Networks at Orange Innovation and 5G Champion, said: “Thanks to Nokia’s advanced slicing technology, Orange is able to further explore with Schneider Electric the power of scalable private 4G/5G connectivity applied to industrial uses.” 

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “With Nokia’s network slicing solution, Communication Service Providers and Enterprises can enjoy first to market advantage through the early launch of new slicing services, for all end-users equipped with 4G or 5G devices. As a long time innovation partner, Nokia is delighted to achieve this first with Orange in an industrial manufacturing environment.” 

DoD 5G Deployment for Industrial Application

Apple made such a large splash with its iPhone 12 announcement hyping the coming of 5G that many people bought one and started evaluating 5G—only to be disappointed that the delta between hype and reality was huge. In this world of marketing hype we’ve lived through for a hundred years, that disappointment should not have happened.

On the other hand, there is great potential for 5G cellular. But there is much work to do. Plenty of technologists point out the obstacles and drawbacks. Plenty of engineers exist who are ready to take up the challenge of overcoming those obstacles. This news points to efforts to secure private 5G networks. The specific instance is warehouse operations (not my specialty), but the applicability will be wide. Consider the possibilities…

Private network pioneer Federated Wireless announced that it has begun deployment of a Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)-enabled private 5G wireless network for the U.S. Department of Defense, along with an all-U.S. team of partners including AWS, Cisco, JMA, Vectrus, Perspecta Labs and Capstone Partners. The trial is designed to modernize the Marine Corps Logistics Command warehouse operations in Albany, Ga. The new private enterprise 5G network supports a broad set of smart warehouse use cases, including warehouse robotics, barcode scanning and holographic, augmented and virtual reality applications. 

This multi-year initiative will create a 5G Smart Warehouse reference design to increase the efficiency and dependability of Marine Corps Logistics Command warehouse operations, including improvements to receipt, storage, issuance, inventory control and auditability of material and supplies that directly support Marine Corps global operations. 

5G Private Wireless Network Deployed at Scale
The end-to-end network will support industrial IoT using the latest open-source technology including Open RAN, virtualized Radio Access Network, virtualized 5G packet core and mobile edge compute.  It leverages CBRS shared spectrum along with millimeter wave spectrum to create a robust 5G private wireless network. 

The smart warehousing deployment uses Cisco’s Zero Trust Architecture that consists of virtualized 5G and 4G packet core servers, mobile edge processing and fronthaul and backhaul switching infrastructure.  

Federated Wireless partner JMA is providing a full end-to-end RAN solution using XRAN – its revolutionary all software RAN platform – for both 4G and 5G networks, including advanced millimeter-wave radios. This solution gives the base’s network an unprecedented level of flexibility, enabling it to simply and cost-effectively evolve with software upgrades over time.

Partners Vectrus and Perspecta Labs are helping to ensure that security and risk management have been designed into the system. Vectrus, a DoD partner for logistics and warehouse modernization, is completing an end-end risk assessment of the system and Perspecta Labs is conducting an end-end security assessment.

Capstone Partners, a strategic advisory firm with expertise in 5G and Internet of Things applications has brought IKIN to the project.  IKIN, an innovator in high-resolution 3-D visual technology, is deploying holographic capabilities for locating, identifying and retrieving materials without having to move or open packaging.  

“This is one of the first of several forward-leaning projects that we and our partners are engaged in with the U.S. government, all designed to accelerate the nation’s 5G trajectory,” said Sal D’Itri, vice president and general manager of the federal business unit for Federated Wireless and chairman of the National Spectrum Consortium. “The DoD, often referred to as the first Enterprise, is leading the way for 5G innovation to help stimulate market growth, helping to realize the extensive promises of 5G private networks for work, education, recreation and communication.”

About Federated Wireless
Founded in 2012, Federated Wireless has long led the industry in development of shared spectrum CBRS capabilities. The company’s partner ecosystem includes more than 40 device manufacturers and edge partners, all of which are dedicated to collaboration to advance development and proliferation of CBRS services. Federated Wireless’ customer base includes companies spanning the telecommunications, energy, hospitality, education, retail, office space, municipal and residential verticals, with use cases ranging from network densification and mobile offload to Private 5G and Industrial IoT.

HPE Edge Orchestrator Delivers Low-Latency Cloud Services At the Edge

• Enables telcos to monetize 5G networks and edge infrastructure by delivering new low latency cloud services at the edge via an app catalog

Remember two things if you meet the typical profile of a reader of this blog—it’s all happening at the edge and production/manufacturing are the edge; and data is the gold we’re mining and hype of the cloud is so over, it’s about gathering, analyzing, orchestrating, and sending all the data gathered at the edge to some sort of cloud.

I’ve been watching developments of 5G (and not so much WiFi6, but it’s a partner) for some time. It’s hard to separate the hype from reality—something that always happens at the early stage. Marketers can’t prevent themselves from trying to hype their companies as ahead of the curve, while engineers have been quietly pushing the curve.

So I was able to watch some sessions at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Discover Virtual Experience on this very topic. HPE’s Aruba is a leading supplier of communication products. Following is the lead announcement from last week.

HPE Edge Orchestrator, a SaaS-based offering enables telcos to deploy innovative new edge computing services to customers via IT infrastructure located at the edge of telco networks or on customer premises. With the HPE Edge Orchestrator solution, telcos can extend their offerings to include a catalog of edge computing applications which customers can deploy with a single click, across hundreds of locations. HPE Edge Orchestrator enables telcos to monetize the 5G network and telco cloud while bringing lower latency, increased security and enhanced end-user experiences to their customers.

Analysts expect the next decade to see the rise of edge computing where data intensive workloads such as AI, machine learning (ML), augmented and virtual reality apps will be hosted at the edge. Telcos already have thousands of edge sites powering mobile and fixed networks, so they are uniquely positioned to lead the edge services market. In fact according to a recent IDC study, 40% of enterprises trust their telco to be their main provider of edge solutions. However, until now telcos haven’t had the tools to do this themselves without relying on public cloud providers.

HPE Edge Orchestrator gives the power back to telcos. Now they can offer value-added edge services in their own right and can move from being primarily bandwidth providers to offering innovative edge computing applications, such as AI-powered video analytics, industrial automation and VR retail services. New revenue from these high-value enterprise services will also help to cover the significant cost of deploying new 5G infrastructure.

• Telcos can move from being primarily bandwidth providers to offering innovative edge computing applications

HPE Edge Orchestrator unleashes the deployment and configuration of customer applications, provided as virtual machines or containers, at geographically distributed edge locations owned by telcos, such as existing central offices or on customer premises. Customers can access edge applications via a self-service app catalog for simple management, monitoring and the deployment of an app to an edge device with one-click operation.

HPE Edge Orchestrator enables enterprises to easily combine their applications with network services offered by telcos, thus creating an end-to-end flow across the edge. Today, HPE Edge Orchestrator supports Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) with other network-as-a-service (NaaS) functions being added to the catalog over time. The MEC platform enables applications to run at the edge, while delivering network services that ensure a dynamic routing of edge traffic in 4G, 5G, and Wi-Fi environments.

To capitalize on the edge services opportunity, telcos need to bring applications from the cloud out to the edge where the data exists. With HPE Edge Orchestrator, along with HPE Edgeline and ProLiant servers, telcos can position application intelligence at the edge and unlock major business benefits for their customers:

  • Lower latency: When applications can process requests locally instead of routing them to a data center, they can deliver much better performance. This translates to a better user experience for any business application. For the new generation of ultra-low-latency use cases like augmented reality and industrial automation, short round-trip times are absolutely essential.
  • Bandwidth optimization: Positioning application intelligence out at the edge, such as doing number-crunching closer to where the numbers are generated, greatly reduces the wide-area network (WAN) bandwidth the application requires. This translates to lower WAN costs for businesses and less traffic congestion in telco core and metro networks. Applications like video analytics become much more efficient and, as a result, applicable to use cases that might not have been viable in the past.
  • Improved security and privacy: Any time businesses transmit data over a network, they’re potentially exposing it to security threats. For the most sensitive information, some businesses want to keep everything onsite. In regions with strict privacy protections like the European Union, some applications may simply not be viable unless they can process all personally identifiable information (PII) locally.

New edge computing offerings start with compute platforms optimized for deployment at remote operator sites (central offices, radio towers, other point of presence (POP) locations), or even directly at the customer premises. For example, HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Servers, such as the EL4000 and EL8000, have been specifically designed to run at the edge. Platforms like these host all of the components needed to manage the edge computing workloads in containers or VMs.

HPE Edge Orchestrator provides a centralized, comprehensive, hardware agnostic orchestration platform to provision, configure, and perform general management functions for all components of edge computing. HPE Edge Orchestrator is also multi-tenant by design.

Telcos can give diverse enterprise customers their own “private” interfaces to manage their workloads, sites, edge devices, and services, while their own teams manage the entire CSP edge computing portfolio as a single system. HPE Edge Orchestrator can also work in conjunction with the recently announced Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP), enabling enterprises to easily integrate both Wi-Fi-based and telco services.

Honeywell Wireless To Support Next-Gen Cisco Access Points

Honeywell Wireless To Support Next-Gen Cisco Access Points

Suddenly the wireless networking side of IoT connectivity is hitting my radar. Since the culmination of the “wireless wars” of 10 years ago, this technology/market area has settled into supplying usable products. This information came from Honeywell—In short, by supplying ISA100 Wireless and WirelessHART connectivity to Cisco’s next-generation Wi-Fi Access Point, Honeywell’s OneWireless IoT Module can help users increase industrial plant productivity, worker safety, and digital transformation readiness.

Honeywell is developing a OneWireless IoT Module for the next-generation of Cisco’s industrial access points, the Cisco Catalyst IW6300 Heavy Duty Series Access Point. The Honeywell and Cisco technologies will form the backbone of Honeywell’s OneWireless Network.

The joint wireless solution enables Honeywell customers to quickly and easily deploy wireless technologies as an extension of their Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS). Combining the leading IT network technology by from Cisco and the leading Honeywell OneWireless multi-protocol technology provides customers with a single infrastructure that meets all their industrial wireless needs.

“For the past decade, Cisco and Honeywell have worked together to deliver secure, wireless solutions to connect mobile workers and field instrumentation in the most challenging process manufacturing environments,” said Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco IoT. “We’ve had great success in bringing IT and operational teams together to reduce complexity and improve efficiency. Now, we are building on that foundation to extend the power of intent-based networking to the IoT edge.”

When combined with the Honeywell OneWireless IoT Module, the Cisco Catalyst IW6300 Heavy Duty Series Access Point offers the security, speed, and network performance needed to allow the seamless extension of the process control network into the field.

“The OneWireless IoT Module is Honeywell’s latest innovation as a leader in wireless technology,” said Diederik Mols, business director Industrial Wireless, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Our customers will benefit from OneWireless functioning as a seamless extension of Experion PKS and simplified deployment made possible by integrating the IoT module and aerials into a single unit.”

Intelligent Wearables Solution Improves Compliance, Productivity

Intelligent Wearables Solution Improves Compliance, Productivity

I was working with controls, instrumentation, computers, software when I traded it in for media work first with Control Engineering and then with Automation World. Through a lot of those media years, Honeywell was one of the Big Four or Five in process control and systems. Over the past 6-10 years, those big companies have diverged into differing specialities. It’s been interesting to observe that part of the industrial market.

Honeywell began leveraging expertise of its various divisions into wireless, mobile, and wearables. Much of the emphasis has been safety with a spillover effect into productivity.

Wearables comprise a growing market category with much promise. I’ve had the opportunity to try on a number of different products. These increasingly solve real world problems with ever reducing interference in the real work of the person.

In this latest release, Honeywell announced that Braskem Idesa has adopted a hands-free, wearable connected technology solution at its plant in Veracruz, Mexico. Honeywell’s Intelligent Wearables will allow Braskem Idesa to improve productivity and compliance with process procedures, capture the expertise of experienced workers and provide critical insights and information effectively to trainees and support workers in the field.

Honeywell is delivering a complete outcome-based solution that tracks specific key performance indicators and integrates hardware, software and services, and a full Wi-Fi infrastructure to support use of the solution across the plant. The wearable technology will also accelerate training and ensure safety for field operators at the Braskem Idesa facility.

“With this solution, Braskem Idesa is embracing the digital transformation that will enable us to retain our leadership in the petrochemicals industry,” said Roberto Velasco Gutiérrez, industrial director, Braskem Idesa. “Capturing all the relevant expertise and data within the organization and getting it to workers wherever and whenever needed, will help get trainees safely into the field faster and ensure that every worker operates to Braskem Idesa’s best standards.”

A comprehensive range of applications from Honeywell will boost the speed, safety and reliability of field workers thanks to the following services:

  • Expert on Call: Provides field workers with live, real-time access to experts in the central control room or elsewhere for troubleshooting, support and advice
  • Video support: Enables users to view videos demonstrating key tasks
  • Paperless rounds: Provides step-by-step instructions for common and complex tasks

“Braskem Idesa has not only taken an important step toward Industry 4.0 but has now also replaced paper-based and manual operations with a sophisticated solution that’s both digital and wireless,” said Vincent Higgins, director of technology and innovation, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Industrial. “Wearable, voice-controlled computer headsets and software eliminate the need for clipboards, pens, and flashlights. Our offering will help Braskem Idesa capture expertise and document critical tasks to ensure operational compliance.”

Honeywell’s solution for field worker competency and productivity enables Braskem Idesa to tie its plant performance directly to the performance of its workers, critical to the success of any industrial enterprise. By connecting field workers with remote advice, Honeywell Intelligent Wearables also reduce the need for site visits from experts, empower workers to continue learning, become their best and effectively share their knowledge with peers.