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.”

Registration Now Open for Emerson’s New Software-Focused Automation Conference

Emerson Exchange Immerse offers users an opportunity to share successes, improve skills and knowledge, and work hands-on with new technologies.

This is interesting if you are someone who follows market trends. I’ve written a few times about the pressure industrial technology companies face from Wall Street analysts. These companies need to show that they are hot technology (read software) companies beyond the old hardware days. Rockwell Automation started calling itself a software company with its partnership with PTC and acquisitions of Plex and Fiix. ABB has been making software noises. I just came from the Siemens Digital conference that was all about breadth of software. At the same time I visited the Hexagon conference where software was the topic. Next was Honeywell with some instrumentation and control discussion (the software group conference comes later), but there was a lot of software discussion there.

Emerson has been calling itself a software leader for a few years. Especially so with the (sort of) acquisition of Aspen Technology. Now we have news of the rebranding of Emerson Exchange as Emerson Exchange Immerse with a new software focus. 

Global technology and software leader Emerson will bring together customers, experts, and automation industry leaders for a three-day, process automation experience as part of the first Emerson Exchange Immerse. The conference will be held October 3-5, 2023, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

As an extension of the comprehensive Emerson Exchange events held globally, Emerson Exchange Immerse will enable users to more directly focus on process automation systems, solutions, and software including technologies from DeltaV™, Ovation™, AMS, Guardian™ and AspenTech. Registration is now open for Emerson customers. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31, 2023.

Emerson Exchange Immerse attendees will engage with their peers, broaden their knowledge base and gain valuable insight from industry leaders. Users will learn the latest technology advancements, implementation successes and proven project solutions being used throughout process automation. Topics will span a wide range of industries including energy, life sciences, chemical, refining, food and beverage, power generation, renewables, hydrogen, biomass, water and mining industries.

“One of the best ways our users, and even our own Emerson experts, learn about new process automation strategies and technologies is from hearing each other’s stories,” said Nathan Pettus, president of Emerson’s process systems and solutions business. “At Emerson Exchange Immerse, attendees will not only hear those stories in user presentations but will be able to dig deeper with our hands-on technology exhibits and in our many networking events.”

Emerson Exchange Immerse will feature over 200 sessions—more than half of which will be presented by users—as well as technology exhibits and educational courses. In addition, forums led by industry experts and Emerson executives will explore how advanced automation software from Emerson is helping companies make measurable progress toward operational excellence and sustainability goals.

Emerson will also host an Exchange user conference for customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in Düsseldorf, Germany, Feb. 27-29, 2024.

Digital Thread Sews Siemens Digital Apps Together

Siemens Digital held its Realize Live conference June 12-15 in Las Vegas. I was there for the Media/Analyst program as well as to explore how the software integration is progressing and coming together.

All in all I am impressed with what Siemens has done since I first talked with an executive from Germany in 2007 about a vision of digital factory and again in 2008 following the company’s acquisition of UGS. That acquisition gave it the tools to pursue that digital vision. In the ensuing decade plus, many more acquisitions have bolstered the role.

The meetings began with Siemens Digital executives proclaiming how Siemens is now not only the leading automation supplier in the world, but it is also the leading industrial software supplier in the world. Now they are aiming at leading industrial cloud provider.

One key word for the week was Xcelerator, its platform and ecosystem for tying the parts together. Another key word, seen all over the exhibit floor, was digital thread. The digital thread connects various modules—since software is increasingly modular as in pick what you need. Xcelerator is that digital thread.

Siemens software is not afraid to try things, see what happens, make changes, and put them out again. Mindsphere is one such initiative. It experience three major revisions. By the 3.0 version it seemed to find its niche. Now it has morphed yet again and reappeared as Insight Hub.

Tony Hemelgarn, CEO, showed industry segment after industry segment where Siemens is the dominant player. They truly are doing something right. He also pointed out that when Siemens talks of moving its software to the cloud, they mean moving their software to the cloud—not just file sharing in the cloud as some competitors do.

Mendez people on the show floor showed me the cool parts of the no-code and low-code applications. It’s a visual programming environment that I liken to NodeRED for context.

Siemens had to talk of AI somewhere. It has found application within TeamCenter along with spoken reports from the field that can flow into quality reports for corrective action.

Rahul Garg, VP Industrial Machinery, talked with me about how Siemens works to make applications simple to use which means that they will be used (I’ve lived that life in factories, I know how important that is). Talking metaverse (without goggles) he pointed to deeper diagnostics and ability to under the surface to find root causes and problems.

You can also watch on YouTube or listen as a podcast.

Ignition Community Conference 2023

After an early spring lull, conference season is here. I leave Monday for Las Vegas and the Siemens Digital conference and the following Sunday for Honeywell User Group. If you are at one of those, give me a shout out and we can meet for coffee or something.

Meanwhile, Inductive Automation Marketing VP, Doug Dudley, has posted information on the company blog about the upcoming Ignition community Conference (ICC).

This year feels like it’s flying by, and every day brings us closer to the Ignition Community Conference (ICC), so we’ll get right to the point: We’ve updated the ICC website for 2023 and you can register right now. In fact, if you register by July 16 you’ll save $250 off the regular ticket price. ICC 2023 takes place on Tuesday, September 26 through Thursday, September 28 at the Harris Center in Folsom, California.

Here are a couple of teasers for the upcoming event.

The Three-Day Schedule is Back! Many of you have asked for it, and we’re excited to say that for the first time since 2019, ICC will be a three-day event. 

Although the full ICC schedule isn’t posted yet (it’s coming soon), we can tell you that the first day will include the Discover Gallery, live Exhibitor Demonstrations, the Welcome Reception and Food Truck Dinner, and a few new events (more info about those below). The second and third days will feature general sessions in the main stage, blocks of concurrent sessions from IA and Ignition community experts, the Build-a-Thon competition, meals, and more. Yes, that’s three Ignition-packed days — and it’s a beautiful thing.

A couple of added networking opportunities. One is a touch of the “unconference” I used to pitch for MESA conferences.

If you’ve ever wished that you could have a discussion with fellow Ignition enthusiasts about your own chosen topic, then Table Talks are for you. Inspired by discussions that we’ve seen at other conferences, Table Talks are attendee-generated discussion groups. Attendees will have the ability to see the time, topic, and table where a discussion is happening so they can join in, or they’ll even be able to start their own. With Table Talks scheduled through most of day one, they’ll be a great way for attendees to do some networking and have some lively discussions with other Ignition community members. Information about how to participate in Table Talk topics is on the way soon.

Another networking opportunity.

The Tech Lounge is another new feature this year. Located on the mezzanine on the second floor of the Harris Center, the Tech Lounge is a space for attendees to meet, chat, and charge their phones. The Lounge will be one of the main places where IA staff will hang out, so it’s a great place for attendees to connect with IA team members.

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