Save the Date for YNOW2024: A Yokogawa Users Conference

A quick update. Yokogawa is holding a users conference this year in Houston.

Yokogawa Corporation of America and KBC (A Yokogawa Company) announce YNOW2024, an in-person event taking place October 28-30, 2024, at the Hilton Americas-Houston in Downtown Houston, Texas. Professionals in the energy, petrochemicals, mining, food, and water industries and life sector will learn how to leverage innovative technologies to optimize their company-wide processes and thrive in dynamic business ecosystems.

With keynotes and panels from industry leaders, guests will gain valuable insights into industry trends, proven strategies, and best practices. Additionally, the conference will feature technology workshops and live innovation centers, giving attendees hands-on experience with emerging technologies. Finally, interactive sessions will foster a collaborative environment, encouraging attendees to learn from peers. By the end of the event, attendees will be armed with the practical knowledge and tools to successfully plan, manage, and implement emerging digital technology projects to drive innovation throughout their enterprises.

FTC to Host Virtual Summit on Artificial Intelligence

For all you Artificial Intelligence buffs out there, here is a chance to learn a little about what influential people are thinking. This January 25 event will focus on ways to protect consumers and competition.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Technology is hosting a virtual tech summit on January 25, 2024 that will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss key developments in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI), looking across the layers of technology related to AI.

The summit will bring together representatives from academia, industry, civil society organizations, and government to discuss the state of technology, emerging market trends, and real-world impacts of AI. The discussions will also explore how to cultivate a marketplace that allows both consumers and businesses, including startups and small businesses, to thrive.

FTC Chair Lina M. Khan and Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya will provide remarks at the summit. The event will also feature three panel discussions. These include discussions on the hardware and other key infrastructure that will be needed for AI development; issues related to the data and models used in AI; and AI-powered consumer applications.

The summit will begin at noon and take place online. The tentative agenda is available on the event website. Information on how to participate will also be posted to the event page soon.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Two News Items Regarding CyberSecurity from Rockwell Automation

Automation Fair was this week. I expected many news releases. I’ve already reported on the one published. I checked out the “show daily” email from my friend Keith at Endeavor Media whose team reported on the presentations a series of executives made to the attending media. Not so much news as it was a survey of the breadth of Rockwell’s offering. 

I think that was the theme—don’t think of Rockwell Automation from the point-of-view of controls and drives. Check all the acquisitions from Plex for cloud-based MES, FiiX for cloud-based CMMS, Verve for Cybersecurity, plus material handling and more. Looking at financials, the traditional industrial control product business still is the greatest contributor. Software and control is still next, but services are catching up to it.

These releases concern cybersecurity and partnerships with Dragos and Claroty.

Rockwell Automation will provide ICS/OT Cybersecurity Threat Detection Services, leveraging the Dragos Platform to help Industrial Manufacturers Secure their Environments

Dragos Inc. announced the expansion of its combined capabilities in partnership with Rockwell Automation. With this expansion, Rockwell will be making the Dragos Platform available to organizations for enhanced ICS/OT cybersecurity threat detection, providing global deployment services and support capabilities to help customers operationalize their security investment. 

The threat detection capabilities build on the previous global agreement between Dragos and Rockwell for the OT Incident Response Retainer (IRR) program that helps industrial organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents in OT environments. 

  • Improved threat detection and response across the entire industrial OT network. 
  • Greatly enhanced visibility into the OT environment allowing industrial organizations to inventory and monitor assets, track vulnerabilities, and leverage network monitoring to investigate issues and incidents. 
  • Fast, efficient, and effective threat detection to help maintain safety and uptime as a result of continuously updated knowledge packs focused on ICS networks for Rockwell-specific and third-party vendor hardware. 
  • The collective experience and intelligence of Dragos and Rockwell to enhance knowledge for industrial defenders, including whitepapers, webinars, and other resources.
  • Rapid operationalization of cybersecurity investment with the global deployment and support footprint at Rockwell Automation. 

Claroty and Rockwell Automation Expand Capabilities to Include SaaS-powered OT Security Solution xDome

Claroty announced an expansion of its capabilities with Rockwell Automation, Inc. with the addition of SaaS-powered industrial cybersecurity platform Claroty xDome to Rockwell Automation’s global services portfolio. Additionally, Rockwell Automation customers now have access to Claroty’s complete suite of cloud-based and on-premise OT security offerings. 

Claroty xDome provides comprehensive security coverage, integrated interoperability, and deep bidirectional technology alliances. The partnership expansion highlights Rockwell’s pioneering stance in OT security by offering a cloud-hosted OT security solution to its customers. This step positions Rockwell on the vanguard of enabling secure digital transformation, underpinning the company’s dedication to innovation and security. 

Keynotes from Automation Fair by Rockwell Automation

I listened to the keynote speeches from Automation Fair this morning while working out. A different perspective from a darkened room at a narrow table with 5,000 (or more) of my closest friends.  I’ve listened to maybe 1,000 of these over the past 25 years in media. There are just a few things I’m really listening for. What is the market buzz of the year? What aspects of the company are they promoting? Hopefully, but rarely, a new company direction?

Usually nothing startling comes out. Never a Steve Jobs, “And just one more thing…”

CEO Blake Moret laid a general outline of the growth of Rockwell Automation as it serves the customers’ needs for digital transformation. He chatted with Judson Althoff of Microsoft about their partnership over the years. They worried me talking about industrial metaverse, which is so 2022, but then moved the conversation to the Microsoft Co-Pilot and how the companies are working together to exploit generative AI for industrial usage. Looks like initially Rockwell will incorporate it in its control design software.

I like words and word play, and I couldn’t let this one pass. Vintage (pun) Microsoft. When everyone else uses their own technology to develop new technology, they call it “eating their own dog food.” Not Microsoft. They “drink their own champagne.” 🙂

Interesting side note—I’ve been asking about new engineers entering the field preferring to use tools they’ve learned such as Python and NodeRED. Moret didn’t address that precisely, but he did note that relay ladder logic may not be the programming tool of choice for these new engineers and that generative AI may bridge the gap from modern to archaic (my words, not his).

Sr. VP of Intelligent Devices Tessa Myers was given the task of introducing featured products. These included:

  • Automated and autonomous material handling vehicles
  • Digital twin and AI technology for maintenance of a process system
  • Cybersecurity featuring new developments with acquisitions and partnerships

I’ve diligently returned to the Rockwell Press site for more news, but nothing else forthcoming right now.

Harnessing Digital Transformation Through Asset Data and Systems Interoperability

This workshop at Texas A&M Harnessing Digital Transformation Through Asset Data and Systems Interoperability is next week. I’ve only just heard about it. Data and systems interoperability is something I’ve worked on for years. Evidently someone at Texas A&M has been researching. They will be presenting ideas next week. I have asked if I could get an interview to post after the conference.

The conference is October 25-26, 2023 at the Memorial Student Center (MSC), Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

“This workshop aims to address the significance of embracing open standards, vendor neutral interoperability for Owners, EPC, and Vendors .”

Needs—Achieve consensus on significance in open, vendor neutral interoperability

Actionable Plans—Learn and develop actionable plans and strategies to move towards open, vendor neutral interoperability, ensuring that stakeholders can collectively work towards achieving this goal.

Roadmap for the Future—Establish a roadmap outlining the steps and milestones required to accomplish long term standards based interoperability, setting a clear direction for industry wide progress.

Join us to explore the future of digital transformation and its pivotal role in shaping digital twins for the process industry and critical infrastructure

Key Highlights:

  • Introduction to the Asset Data Interoperability Framework (ADIF) initiative.
  • Navigating the challenges of data and systems interoperability issues.
  • Overcoming barriers in maximizing the digital potential for growth.
  • Embracing interoperability as a mindset to enable the adoption of digital twins and other transformative technologies

About ADIF Working Group:

A dedicated consortium of industry experts and academia, ADIF is committed to fostering open, vendor neutral and standards based solutions, prioritizing digital enhancements in asset lifecycle management.

Honeywell User Group Recap–Many New Technologies, Applications

Honeywell Process Solutions held its annual HUG (Honeywell User Group) conference the week of June 19 in Orlando. I’ve taken some time to compile my many notes and think about the experience.

The marketing communications staff did an excellent job with media and analysts. We did not have time to waste what with presentations and 1:1 conversations.

I had not attended for a few years. For maybe three years I was in the influencer program with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HPE Discover is the same week. That program was disbanded a year or so ago. That marked the end of my IT affiliations. Those companies figured out there was not a lot of money to be made in manufacturing.

There were many questions begging for answers as I traveled to Florida. What was Honeywell HIVE, and how does it relate to the ExxonMobil initiated Open Process Automation group? What is Honeywell Digital Prime and what customer problems does it address? What successes have Honeywell achieved with sustainability initiatives? Honeywell was an early mobility developer. What has progressed in that regard? What role does Honeywell see for AR and VR?

Pramesh Makeshwari, CEO

He mentioned he’d been CEO of this group for only about nine months. Here are a few points of overview.

  • Honeywell is not replacing people with technology but helping them perform better
  • People have different learning styles and Honeywell products adapt to them
  • Digitalization is a significant customer requirement
  • Companies are on the Path to Net Zero Carbon
  • Focus on Digital Workforce Competency

Evan Van Hook, Chief Sustainability Officer

He looks at sustainability as similar to the Quality Revolution where the goal was to produce quality outputs consistently creating a culture of quality. His question, “Can we create culture of sustainability?” Honeywell is taking a Lean approach—quality, delivery, inventory, cost, then add sustainability.

Lean is a systematic approach. The company overall has generated more than 6,500 projects over 13 years with ideas coming from the floor and everywhere else. Not a political statement, sustainability cuts costs and adds efficiency. A few milestone points:

  • 92% reduction of CO2
  • 70% improvement in energy efficiency
  • Restored 3,000 acres of land
  • Water savings
  • 4x industry average safety

Act your way into a new way of thinking—Lean—put sustainability into Lean

Tiffany Barnes – Digital Prime

I perhaps had the most difficulty understanding Digital Prime. This is the Honeywell offering responding to the customer need for digital transformation. So, the conversation with Tiffany Barnes from that group was most instructive. Part of my cognitive dissonance perhaps came from this being a new offering only having one part released.

Digital Prime is most easily described as cloud-hosted digital twin of DCS. Some of the customer pressures Digital Prime addresses include:

  • Risk of disruption, production downtime and plant safety
  • Pressure to reduce overall lifecycle cost
  • Do more with less through digitalization
  • Data overload
  • Reduced skilled workforce onsite

It is perhaps an irony that Honeywell build a virtual infrastructure to help with system acceptance then deleting it upon that acceptance. Customers began looking at digital transformation programs and realized that all this data Honeywell had was useful. This grew to a digital twin.

Honeywell’s Digital Prime is the up-to-date digital twin for tracking, managing, and testing process control changes and system modifications. It brings the highest level of quality control to the smallest projects: An efficient, compliant, and collaborative solution for managing changes, factory acceptance tests, improved project execution and training.

Providing secure cloud-based connectivity and a virtual engineering platform, it’s a collaborative environment for managing and testing additions, patches, upgrades and other system changes:

  • Enabling functional reviews and impact analysis
  • Supporting remote FAT tests 
  • Providing a training tool
  • Documenting digital changes.

Joe Bastone — HIVE

Veteran editors and analysts were most curious about any Honeywell response to the initiatives undertaken by The Open Group to solve problems of economically and efficiently upgrading control systems.

This led to my intense interest in Honeywell HIVE and a subsequent conversation with Joe Bastone.

The problem lies with traditionally tightly coupled control hardware, software, and I/O.

Honeywell mostly solved the I/O problem years ago with its configurable I/O. That part of the control system continues to evolve.

The company then worked with a major customer about how to upgrade control software with minimal disruption. First, they worked out how to move the existing control software to a modern hardware platform leaving all the I/O in place. They realized that was in reality a form of virtualization. Moving to a virtualized compute environment effectively decoupling hardware and software was the obvious next step. Their I/O was already virtualized and decoupled. 

So, Honeywell HIVE solves that upgrade problem that customers are searching for.

Thanks to Joe for walking me through the technology evolution.

Sarang Gadre — Battery Technology

The well documented issue with intermittent renewables (solar, wind) results from the laws of climate—the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine. Honeywell has had a commercial battery storage product for a while. It is housed in shipping containers. Introduced to us at HUG is the Ionic—a scalable, forklift-able, virtual power plant,  with an energy control center in Experion. It is battery agnostic—you specify and buy your batteries of choice. The unit also features peak load shaving.

Naved Reza—Carbon Capture

I always enjoy conversations with Naved regarding sustainable technology solutions.

First up was reference to the ExxonMobil Baytown deployment of one of Honeywell’s carbon capture technologies – Honeywell’s CO2 Fractionation and Hydrogen Purification System. This technology is expected to enable ExxonMobil to capture about 7 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, the equivalent of the emission of 1.5 million of automobiles for one year.

Then we discussed Honeywell Ecofining—Renewable Fuel projects such as Diesel/Aircraft from biofuels. Also Ethanol to Jet and Methanol to Jet.

Aside from Baytown, there are a number of Carbon Capture (CO2) to blue hydrogen, renewable green, low carbon processing.

Manas Dutta — SafetyWatch Mobility

Performing maintenance on a pump involves an average of 3.5 round trips for the technician. Using augmented reality (AR) platforms can save many hour by providing the right documentation and required tools up front.

I made this trip closely following both the Apple Vision Pro announcement along with all the AI chat hype. So I had to ask Manas for his take from the industrial viewpoint.

“AR/VR are excellent for training especially as individualized based on AI feedback. AR/VR can also be useful for construction. When planning turnarounds, I can answer questions such as can I get a crane in, do I need scaffolding, without a visit remote site.”

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