Universal Robots and MiR Open Robotics Hub in Denmark

More news emanating from the collaborative robotic sector in Denmark. The news uses a word I thought was outlawed after the excesses of corporatism in the 70s—synergies. But, yes, Teredyne strives to create those nebulous things with a new building in Odense, Denmark bringing Universal Robots and Mobile Industrial Robots together into one 215,000 sq. ft. headquarters.

“The launch of this new headquarters marks a significant milestone for Teradyne Robotics as we bring together two leading companies in robotics innovation,” says Ujjwal Kumar, Group President of Teradyne Robotics. “We will now have the optimal environment to evolve our technological capabilities, which are already in high demand.”

On the new robotics hub, Jean-Pierre Hathout, President of MiR, said:

“Our new headquarters is designed to foster innovation, providing the perfect setting for our teams to develop leading-edge solutions that will revolutionize automation. MiR is committed to being a one-stop-shop for material handling, continuously advancing our technology to meet the evolving needs of our large, global customers. Our recently launched AI-powered MiR1200 Pallet Jack exemplifies this dedication. I’m thrilled to witness the transformative impact of our endeavors and to showcase MiR’s and UR’s offerings to our customers and partners at this state-of-the-art facility.”

Kim Povlsen, President of Universal Robots, added:

“Since our foundation, UR has become a platform of choice for thousands of customers and hundreds of ecosystem partners. This beautiful building reflects our strong design philosophy and provides the perfect location for us to continue our mission to deliver automation for anyone, anywhere.”

FieldComm Group and FDT Group Explore Strategic Business Collaboration

A merger of these industrial communication protocol organizations is probably overdue, but certainly timely. As the industrial technology marketplace matures further consolidation makes sense. Each organization has achieved many advancements helping engineers and operations professionals do a better job. Most of the development work is done. It’s time to do more evangelizing and convince more companies to invest in the technologies.

After years of close collaboration, these two leading global standards-based non-profit entities have executed a term sheet to combine resources into a single business focused on creating device integration technology standards and products serving the user and vendor communities of industrial process, hybrid, and factory automation.

FieldComm Group and FDT Group are pleased to announce the completion of a term sheet outlining a plan to create a single business aimed at advancing integration technology and harmonizing control system applications across multiple protocol topologies supporting both process and factory automation. Subject to the completion of a definitive agreement, the new business will continue to support all existing FieldComm Group and FDT Group technologies, including Field Device Integration (FDI), Field Device Tool / Device Type Manager (FDT/DTM), Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM), HART, and FOUNDATION Fieldbus. FieldComm Group will acquire all FDT technology and resources, and an independent Strategic Integration Committee will be formed to guide future directions for protocol-independent device integration technologies.

This strengthened relationship represents a significant step forward in streamlining process automation and factory manufacturing device management, enhancing interoperability throughout the industry. The unified organization is pioneering a transformative vision where industrial device management seamlessly bridges the present and future, ensuring support for the current installed base while facilitating evolution towards harmonized technologies.

This particular strategic integration idea is also long overdue. I’m happy to see this initiative. These mini-battles among major automation suppliers trying to tie customers to proprietary systems has long been a thorn in customers’ sides.

The new Strategic Integration Committee focused on a protocol-agnostic device integration approach will foster alliances with major field protocol organizations, including CC-Link Partner Association, EtherCAT Technology Group, FieldComm Group, ODVA, OPC Foundation, Modbus, Profibus/Profinet International, and others, spearheading innovations to improve engineering efficiency, plant uptime, and user satisfaction across various industrial automation fields. Within this strategic committee, cutting-edge technologies, tools, and certifications will streamline cost-effective adoption for members while providing a single device package compatible with any operating system that will enable effortless data access from field devices to cloud, edge, and mobile applications. This initiative promotes comprehensive integration between Information Technology and Operational Technology (IT/OT) systems.

“This collaboration is a strategic move aimed at providing the best service to our members and the industry at large,” emphasized Ted Masters, President and Chief Executive Officer of FieldComm Group. Steve Biegacki, Managing Director of FDT Group, echoed this sentiment, highlighting that “the enhanced harmonization of standards and technologies will significantly empower end users and manufacturers in their quest to achieve out-of-the-box Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capabilities across their systems.”

Industry IoT Consortium and Digital Twin Consortium Merge

Two major sources of technology buzz from around 2015 to 2020 or so found homes in industry consortia within The Object Management Group. I talked often with people from the IIC, aka Industry IoT Consortium, and with the Digital Twin Consortium. These were most likely too much overhead for the supporting suppliers and industry. They have merged under The Object Management Group.

  • Object Management Group Announces Integration of Industry IoT Consortium with Digital Twin Consortium
  • Alignment to increase collaboration for a more holistic view across industries and technologies

Object Management Group (OMG) announced the integration of two of its consortia: the Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) and the Digital Twin Consortium (DTC). This integration will further expand OMG’s collaboration with industry, academia, and government, leading to increased adoption of digital twins and digital transformation.

“During the past several years, we have seen opportunities for increased collaboration and alignment between the IIC and DTC,” said Bill Hoffman, CEO and Chairman of OMG. “Integrating IIC within DTC ensures we have the best minds from both, working together to solve increasingly complex problems and providing a more holistic view across industries and technologies.”

OMG will retain IIC’s essential contributions to IoT and digital transformation on the IIC website. Combined IIC/DTC thought leadership will reside on the DTC website.

Digital Twin Consortium Signs Liaison with Open Industry 4.0 Alliance

A number of consortia and other collaborative groups have sprung up recently to foster standard approaches to new technologies. One such group is the Digital Twin Consortium (DTC). As technology moves more quickly than human organizations, the DTC has announced a liaison agreement in December with the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. This agreement is not only for the exchange of information but also to bring digitalization and collaboration to the next level.

The Open Industry 4.0 Alliance functions as a collaborative consortium comprising of prominent industrial companies actively involved in deploying cross-vendor Industry 4.0 solutions and services for manufacturing facilities and automated warehouses. Within industry and technology working groups, subject matter experts conceive practical scenarios and put them into practice using the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance reference architecture. These solutions, alongside detailed implementation instructions, are disseminated within the community and made accessible to parties beyond the Alliance.

“We are excited about working with the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance,” said Dan Isaacs, GM & CTO of DTC. “We look forward to helping manufacturers and solutions providers further the use of digital twins in smart factories, oil & gas, pharma, and others based on Industry 4.0 and key open industry standards.”

“The collaboration between the DTC and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance aims to drive the alignment of technology components and other elements to ensure interoperability,” says Ricardo Dunkel, Technical Director at the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. “Together we are working on the standardization and integration of technologies in vertical use cases, proof-of-concepts and Value Innovation Platforms (VIP). This collaborative partnership will be strengthened through the exchange of information, regular consultations and joint events to drive digitalization and promote collaboration.”

The two groups have agreed to the following:

  • Realizing interoperability by harmonizing technology components and other elements
  • Aligning work in Digital Twin Consortium Capabilities and Technology for adoption within vertical domains through proof of value projects and use cases, including:
  • Composable and Architectural Frameworks,
  • Advanced Capabilities and Technology showcases
  • Security and Trustworthiness applications
  • Conceptual, informational, structural, and behavioral models
  • Enabling technologies such as AR, VR, AI, and other advancements
  • Case study development from initial concept through operational analysis
  • The DTC and Open Industry 4.0 Alliance will exchange information through regular consultations, seminars, and training development vehicles.

Siemens Grows Through Recent Acquisitions

How do large companies with their inevitable bureaucracies innovate and grow? Through acquisition. Siemens has recently acquired two companies to strengthen its offerings in the water and transportation sectors.

Siemens acquires BuntPlanet to strengthen its artificial intelligence portfolio in the water sector

Siemens has announced the acquisition of BuntPlanet, a technology company based in San Sebastian, Spain. BuntPlanet’s award winning software has been deployed around the world to support customers with smart metering solutions, water quality, asset management, and integration of hydraulic models and artificial intelligence for detecting leaks and other anomalies in water networks. Siemens has had a licensing agreement with BuntPlanet since 2019 to sell their leakage detection software known as SIWA LeakPlus. With this acquisition, BuntPlanet’s entire offering and team will be integrated with Siemens’ application portfolio for water utilities making it even more comprehensive for water customers.

BuntPlanet’s core offering, BuntBrain, is a software platform with solutions for leak detection, water quality improvement, end-use water analysis, water loss reduction, asset management, digital twin and water meter management. The application includes the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence, big data, and hydraulic simulation to pre-locate leaks and other anomalies, minimizing risk of damage to infrastructure and reducing operational and maintenance costs. With proven integration with Siemens Measurement Intelligence hardware portfolio the combination of sector leading instrumentation and software has demonstrated detection of leaks as small as 0.25 liter per second. 

Once the integration has fully concluded, Siemens will make BuntPlanet’s offering also available on its open business platform, Siemens Xcelerator.

Siemens strengthens market position with Heliox acquisition

  • Heliox develops fast charging for e-bus and e-truck fleets, marine, port, mining vehicles and more.
  • Heliox expands Siemens eMobility’s offering for the growing eBus and eTruck charging market, and for depot and fleet solutions
  • Accelerates value creation in Siemens’ fast-growing eMobility business
  • Adds attractive digitalization and software potential

Siemens AG has completed the acquisition of Heliox, a technology leader in DC fast charging solutions, serving eBus and eTruck fleets and passenger vehicles. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Heliox employs approximately 330 people. 

The acquisition complements Siemens’ existing eMobility charging portfolio, adding products and solutions ranging from 40 kilowatts (kW) to megawatt charging solutions for depots and en-route charging. Heliox’s portfolio also extends Siemens’ market reach, primarily in Europe and North America, while improving capabilities in power electronics. Heliox’s mobile, scalable and parallel charging solutions will enable Siemens to serve these markets better.

Next to DC fast charging solutions, Heliox offers charger monitoring and energy management services. This expands Siemens eMobility’s IoT product portfolio and strengthens its digitalization and software offering.

Siemens eMobility is part of Siemens Smart Infrastructure. It offers IoT-enabled hardware, software and services for AC and DC charging from 11 kW to 1 megawatt for a broad range of applications. Siemens acquired Heliox from private equity firm Waterland and an entity owned by a group of employees and individual shareholders.

Siemens and Intel to Collaborate on Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing

Semiconductor manufacturing resides in its own unique niche. I have seldom covered it in detail since it doesn’t translate well to other forms of discrete or process automation. This news is more general showing the potential good from companies collaborating. It’s one way that big companies can keep progressing. This is a Siemens and Intel collaboration on manufacturing.

  • Siemens and Intel to collaborate to advance semiconductor manufacturing production efficiency and sustainability across scopes 1-3 of the value chain
  • Semiconductors are crucial for the global economy and for lowering carbon footprints across economies by enabling sustainable solutions
  • Intel and Siemens will leverage their respective portfolios of cutting edge IoT solutions, along with Siemens automation solutions to enhance semiconductor manufacturing efficiency and sustainability

“Semiconductors are the lifeblood of our modern economies. Few things run without chips. Therefore, we’re proud to collaborate with Intel to quickly advance semiconductor production. Siemens will bring its entire cutting-edge portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware and software and electrical equipment to this collaboration,” said Cedrik Neike, CEO of Digital Industries and member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG. “Our joint efforts will contribute to achieving global sustainability goals.”

The MoU identifies key areas of collaboration to explore a variety of initiatives, including optimizing energy management and addressing carbon footprints across the value chain. For instance, the collaboration will explore use of “digital twins” of complex, highly capital-intensive manufacturing facilities to standardize solutions where every percentage of efficiency gained is meaningful. 

The collaboration will also explore minimizing energy use through advanced modeling of natural resources and environmental footprints across the value chain. To gain more information on product-related emissions, Intel will explore product and supply chain related modeling solutions with Siemens that drive data-based insights and help the industry accelerate progress in reducing its collective footprint.

“The world needs a more globally balanced, sustainable and resilient semiconductor supply chain to meet the increasing demand for chips,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel Executive Vice President and Chief Global Operations Officer. “We are excited to build upon Intel’s advanced manufacturing capabilities by expanding our collaboration with Siemens to explore new areas where we can utilize Siemens’ portfolio of automation solutions to enhance efficiency and sustainability in semiconductor infrastructure, facilities, and factory operations. This MOU will benefit regional and global industry value chains.”

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