Catching up on some older news. Water is an essential resource with growing scarcity in many areas of the world. Several years ago, political scientists were predicting wars occurring over water rights. Any work by automation companies to help the situation are welcome.
“As global organizations with headquarters blocks away from Lake Michigan, The Water Council and Rockwell Automation understand the vital importance of protecting the world’s freshwater resources,” said Dean Amhaus, TWC president and CEO. “We are proud to partner with a fellow Milwaukee organization to help companies improve their water stewardship.”
TWC, a nonprofit solving global water challenges through innovation and water stewardship, and Rockwell Automation, a global automation company dedicated to making the world more productive and sustainable, will coalesce each other’s strengths to promote stewardship services and technological solutions to businesses across their networks. This will be accomplished through WAVE, TWC’s corporate water stewardship program, and Rockwell’s water-related sustainability products and services.
“Through our global reach and joint commitment to enabling sustainability, we are delighted to take our partnership public with The Water Council,” said Tom O’Reilly, global vice president, sustainability, at Rockwell Automation. “With The Water Council’s WAVE program and Rockwell Automation solutions, we are dedicated to driving impact within organizations to improve their water stewardship through consultation, data driven insights, and digital transformation solutions.
The partnership will include informational webinars on the importance of water use and risk assessment for businesses, incorporation of Rockwell’s sustainability offerings as a solution for TWC water stewardship clients, and identification of Rockwell clients to adopt WAVE.
Introduced in 2022, WAVE is the first independently verified program that helps companies combine enterprise-wide water stewardship goals and policy with meaningful site-level action and credible ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting.
“With a rapid and extensive escalation of water challenges across the world that threatens business continuity, companies are rightfully facing increasing expectations from investors and customers to be responsible water stewards. This partnership between TWC and Rockwell will help them do so,” Amhaus said.
OPC UA via HTTP REST allows IT-Applications access to OPC UA applications and their data described in over 90+ standardized domain-specific information models
The OPC Foundation has announced that it expands the OPC UA standard with a RESTful interface to allow access from anywhere in the world to information made available by implementations of over 90 standardized information models by IT-applications.
This extension was requested by IT companies to ensure efficient and standardized access to important information: IT-applications need the ability to utilize the data from OT to use it in concepts like Data Spaces, Digital Twins and the Metaverse. These solutions often share information between multiple companies. In many cases, they exchange the necessary information via proprietary HTTP REST-Interfaces.
OPC UA is already equipped with many building blocks, such as session-less services and security features. Those building blocks already cover many aspects required to provide standardized information via RESTful interfaces. With the addition of HTTP REST, applications outside of the OPC UA ecosystem can now access this information. The OPC UA specification includes the transfer of meta-information such as server timestamp, source timestamp, value, and quality of the individual information. Direct access via OPC UA allows these pieces of information to be shared up to the cloud and used in applications like the digital twin.
The expansion of OPC UA with REST is less likely to be adopted at the field level, but in gateways and cloud services. Cloud companies can now access standardized information and use it efficiently to optimize the business processes of their customers and unlock new use cases.
A little news emanating from Hannover. I’ll have much more. This is one of few still dredging up the Industrie 4.0 term. It also brings up a concept dear to me—interoperability.
Bitkom and the OPC Foundation cooperate for the common goal of establishing and implementing interoperable interfaces for Industrie 4.0
The digital association Bitkom e.V. and the OPC Foundation announced a collaboration at Hannover Messe 2023. Together, they want to contribute to the establishment and implementation of interoperable interfaces in the context of Industrie 4.0 in a constructive exchange of views. The overall goal of the cooperation is to formulate requirements for interoperability with the digital economy to jointly promote harmonization efforts for machine and plant engineering.
“Lack of interoperability is a key barrier when exchanging data and information between different industrial platforms. OPC UA is an open and vendor-independent standard for the interoperability of systems and devices in industrial and automation technology. Especially in the context of data sharing and thus of data ecosystems, OPC UA can contribute to a uniform standard for the transmission of data between different systems in the context of Industrie 4.0. We are therefore very pleased that we are now entering into a direct exchange with the OPC Foundation through the MoU,” says Susanne Dehmel, member of the Bitkom management board.
“Interoperability is important to ensure seamless collaboration between different systems. The OPC Foundation manages a global standard for secure industrial interoperability for information modeling and data exchange in the context of industry that scales from OT to the IT world. As part of the collaboration with Bitkom, we want to ensure that industrial data aspects can be modeled quickly and accurately, taking into account all the needs of the IT world,” said Stefan Hoppe, President of the OPC Foundation.
Bitkom e.V. and the OPC Foundation will work together on the following topics:
• Promotion of interoperability and other elements
• Discussion of interoperability requirements together
• Derivation of actual interoperability and standardization needs based on specific use cases or business models
• Input on standardization requirements
• Promotion of security and trustworthiness
• Understanding aspects of open source and the relation to reference implementations
• Marketing activities to communicate the collaboration
Bitkom and OPC Foundation intend to share information on the above topics, host exchange formats and establish contacts with stakeholders to support productive collaboration.
ODVA announced that process device profiles have been added to The EtherNet/IPTM Specification to provide automation practitioners with another critical tool to help optimize plant operations. Process device profiles provide a standard format for process variables and diagnostics across an array of devices for smoother vendor interoperability and easier DCS and PLC data integration from EtherNet/IP-enabled field devices.
Device profiles are available for Coriolis flow, electromagnetic flow, vortex flow, standard pressure, and scaled pressure devices. Process end users can now take advantage of EtherNet/IP devices with better communication of critical diagnostics such as NAMUR NE 107 status signals, and improved alignment with the Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM).
EtherNet/IP process device profiles are made up of process measurement value objects for variables such as current pressure, level, flow, etc., process totalized value objects that track cumulative data totals such as total flow, and process device diagnostics objects that enable plant operators and maintenance personnel easier access to additional device and process status information. Process device profiles help convert sensor signals and actuator positions into valuable information that enables action to be taken to improve product quality and operational efficiency. Additionally, process device profiles can help evaluate the reliability of the measuring signal and aid in preventing plant shutdowns by identifying premature device failures.
As an example, the process totalized value object can track total device usage and device health can be inferred from the process measurement value and diagnostics objects. This allows users to shift from time-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance, potentially saving devices from unnecessarily being replaced during plant shutdowns while identifying other devices that are failing prematurely, which can reduce both unnecessary maintenance costs and potential downtime.
The EtherNet/IP process device profiles were designed with additional parameters and modified data types to better align with PA-DIM, which is a joint standard between FieldComm Group, ISA100 WCI, NAMUR, ODVA, OPC Foundation, PI, VDMA, and ZVEI. PA-DIM represents information from process devices in a standardized way for easier access.
In addition to exposing measurement values and the quality or status of those values, EtherNet/IP process device profiles can also simulate the measurement values. This enables critical safety functions such as partial stroke tests in valves to take place without interfering with the process data. The standard formatting of live process variables, data totals, and diagnostics that process device profiles provide will also increase vendor interoperability for end users given that the information will be the same across EtherNet/IP devices, regardless of vendor.
The addition of process device profiles adds to the process automation capability of EtherNet/IP, including the ability to use the Ethernet-APL physical layer. Ethernet-APL unlocks the advantages of commercially based industrial control hardware, an object-oriented foundation, and standard internet protocol compatibility including TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, SNMP, and DHCP in process plants. Ethernet-APL is a combination of Single Pair Ethernet (IEEE 802.3cg-2019, 10BASE-T1L), engineered power, Intrinsic Safety (IEC 60079, 2-WISE), and Type A fieldbus cable (IEC 61158-2, for intrinsic safety) that is able to reach 1,000 meter distances and speeds of 10Mbit/s.
Additionally, EtherNet/IP supports process automation through NE 107 diagnostics, HART integration, and IO-Link integration. Further, ODVA is continuing to expand the EtherNet/IP ecosystem with the next generation of digitized device description files, including FDT, FDI, and xDS, to simplify integration into process asset management tools. Lastly, ODVA has also just released the availability of concurrent connections allowing for failsafe controller redundancy for the most critical of process applications.
“The introduction of process device profiles to EtherNet/IP is another critical step in meeting the full set of requirements of the process industries,” said Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director of ODVA. “EtherNet/IP process device profiles will help end users operate plants with superior yields, minimal downtime, and reduced costs. Additionally, better integration with PA-DIM will help process automation practitioners have the most valuable diagnostics and process variables available in both the control room and in the cloud to allow for enhanced insights and timely intervention measures for optimization of operations.”
EtherNet/IP process device profiles enable enhanced vendor interoperability, easier access to process variables and critical diagnostics such as NAMUR NE 107 status signals, and more seamless integration with PA-DIM. Additionally, process field device profiles will allow for simpler commissioning and enhanced asset monitoring and integration into higher level PLC, DCS, and cloud-based systems. Visit odva.org to obtain the latest version of The EtherNet/IP Specification including process devices profiles for EtherNet/IP.
In the category of people moving on and qualified replacements needed, this post-Hannover news came to me from FDT Group. I’ve known and interviewed Paul Brooks for many years. I don’t know Mr. Birkhofer, but I’m sure these are great additions to the board.
FDT Group, an international, non-profit industry association supporting the evolution of FDT technology for industrial device management announced that Paul Brooks, manager, technology business development, strategic development for Rockwell Automation; and Rolf Birkhofer, managing director for Endress+Hauser digital solutions have been voted in by the FDT Group member community to serve in leadership roles on the FDT Board of Directors.
The FDT Group Board of Directors sets the executive strategy for the organization and provides governance over the open FDT standard, which directly benefits the global manufacturing automation industries with a unified environment for industrial device management and IT/OT data-driven operations for the process and discrete markets supporting smart manufacturing, efficiency, and sustainability initiatives.
Mr. Brooks and Mr. Birkhofer replaced board members Lee Lane, Rockwell Automation; and Francois Ichtertz, Endress+Hauser, respectively, due to their departure to new roles. They join existing board members including Andre Uhl, Schneider Electric; Michael Kessler, PACTware; Shinji Oda, Yokogawa; and Ed Silva, Flowserve Corporation.
FDT Group Managing Director Steve Biegacki congratulated the newest board members. “We appreciate the service Lee Lane and Francois Ichtertz provided to our organization. Paul Brooks and Rolf Birkhofer bring a wealth of process and factory automation industry experience to their new posts on our board,” Biegacki said. “They will play an important role in guiding the FDT Group organization and FDT/DTM technology roadmap through collaborative initiatives focused on innovation and differentiation that deliver new value to customers.”
Mr. Brooks has over 30 years of experience in the industrial market and currently leads the commercial & technical teams responsible for the strategy around open aspects of the Rockwell Automation System Architecture. This includes Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture (OPC UA) and Field Xchange (FX) strategy, EtherNet/IP development, network architecture, 5G direction, and application orchestration. He was a member of FDT Joint Interest Group (JIG) in 2003, recognizes the importance of FDT in the market as the preferred integration standard for UAFX, and is committed to fostering market insights and relationships to allow FDT to develop in parallel with communication technologies to enable innovation.
Mr. Birkhofer’s near 20-year career in industrial automation stems from his Electrical Engineering background and managing director roles at CodeWrights and Endress+Hauser. Currently overseeing digital solutions for process applications at Endress+Hauser, he is deeply involved with technology standards groups including Advanced Physical Layer (APL), Device Descriptions (DD), Field Device Integration (FDI) and Field Device Tool / Device Type Manager (FDT/DTM). He is committed to prioritizing FDT technology investments that expand end-to-end interoperability and data harmonization, granting new business and service models for industrial markets.
The FDT Group AISBL is an international non-profit corporation consisting of leading worldwide member companies active in industrial automation and manufacturing. The major purpose of the FDT Group is to provide an open standard for enterprise-wide network and asset integration, innovating the way automation architectures connect and communicate sensor to cloud for the process, hybrid and factory automation markets. The FDT standard is globally adopted by IEC 62453, ISA 103, and GB-T 29618-2017 with millions of Device Type Managers (DTMs) in use. FDT Technology benefits both manufacturers and end users, with advancements such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrie 4.0 delivered out-of-the-box – enabling modernized asset integration and access to performance data for visualizing crucial operational problems. Around the world, end users, manufacturers, universities, and research organizations are working together to develop the technology; provide development tools, support, and training; coordinate field trials and demonstrations; and enable product interoperability.
News from the Reshoring Institute. Harry Moser has been compiling statistics and lobbying for more jobs in the US countering the bean-counter’s urge to shop for the lowest wage possible (ignoring other variables in the financial equation).
Personally, I’m an internationalist. On the other hand, I always felt it foolish to ship jobs out of the country resulting in less manufacturing here. Not that I’m in favor of war, but it is the manufacturing/industrial complex that wins wars. It definitely weakens a country to not have manufacturing. Witness some of the jockeying going on in the world today.
From the press release:
Reshoring + Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) job announcements in 2022 were at the highest rate ever recorded. 4Q announcements accelerated even more than anticipated due to the Chips and Infrastructure Acts and deglobalization trends. Top takeaways:
· 364,000 reshoring + FDI jobs announced for 2022, up 53% from 2021’s record.
· 2022 brought the total number of job announcements since 2010 to nearly 1.6 million.
· EV batteries make Electrical Equipment the top industry.
Then a little editorializing from Moser:
With the IRA, Chips Act, and Infrastructure Bill, the U.S. Government is finally warming up to an industrial policy, though a more comprehensive plan could be achieved at a lower cost.
Supply chain gaps and the need for greater self-sufficiency set the stage for the current upward trend in reshoring. The risks of a Taiwan-China conflict or China voluntarily decoupling are focusing those concerns. Destabilizing geo-political and climate forces have brought to light our vulnerabilities and the need to address them. The White House responded with the Inflation Reduction Act, Chips Act and Infrastructure Bill, offering some direction and financial security to the companies and industries intent on filling the gaps. These government actions are necessary in the short run but are not sufficient since they do not improve the U.S.’ uncompetitive cost structure. A true industrial policy would level the cost playing field via comprehensive actions such as massive skilled workforce investments, a 25% lower USD and retention of immediate expensing of capital investments.
“The current actions and momentum are a great start. A true industrial policy would accelerate the trend and increase U.S. manufacturing by 40%, 5 million jobs. Reshoring will reduce the trade and budget deficits and make the U.S. safer, more self-reliant and resilient,” said Harry Moser, Founder and President of the Reshoring Initiative.