HighByte Expands Industrial Connectivity from Microsoft Azure IoT Edge to Azure Digital Twins

Many industrial software companies have been connecting with Microsoft Azure services. This release from HighByte reveals its latest version expanding connectivity.

  • HighByte announced the release of HighByte Intelligence Hub version 2.5 that expands connectivity to Microsoft Azure services, including Azure IoT Edge and Azure IoT Central, and the ability to import DTDL models from Azure Digital Twins. 
  • The release also includes support for Active Directory, data source monitoring and alarming, flow performance metrics, and more.
  • The Intelligence Hub version 2.5 improves the ability to monitor the health of data pipelines with several new capabilities, including the ability to monitor and alert when data is bad or stale and when flow performance is poor.
  • The latest release also allows administrators to manage authentication and authorization of users through Active Directory and application settings through the user interface for simpler management, enhanced controls and monitoring, and improved security. 
  • The PI System connector now includes support for PI compression as well as the ability to configure the PI source when creating PI points.

Ignition Community Conference 2022

With the pandemic mostly in the rearview mirror, Inductive Automation held its Ignition Community Conference 2022 in Folsom, CA  Sept. 20-21.

ICC 2022

The event was sold out, as usual. Sessions were packed and lively with questions. I didn’t pick up much news from the event. It was good to catch up with people I’ve known for years but haven’t seen since 2019. The new Inductive leadership team mingled with customers and took a little time to chat with me.

Two things:

  • An acquaintance from another and non-competitive software company I talked with at the Hannover Messe Chicago the week before told me that his sales people saw Inductive everywhere. “They are crushing it,” he said. Indeed, it is the one company in its software market that has momentum and constant innovation.
  • I met owner/founder Steve Hechtman in 2006 at an ISA event. Everything he told me back then seemed far out—and everything they talked about at this conference confirmed his initial vision. Mostly that was doing SCADA in an IT-friendly way. 

A bonus:

Here is a link to my March 15, 2011 podcast recorded in the conference room at the company’s original headquarters in Sacramento.  This was the 112th episode of my podcast, which back then was Automation Minutes done for Automation World magazine. I expected Steve Hechtman to do all the talking, but he turned it over to the software developers of what is now Ignition—Colby Clegg (now CEO) and Carl Gould (now CTO).

ThinkIQ and CESMII Partner

How much impact do US National Institutes of technology and manufacturing have on the real world of manufacturing? I’ve dealt with several over the past 20 years. They do a lot of work. Sometimes I’m not so sure of the impact. 

On the other hand, I’ve followed the work of various Smart Manufacturing leaders for maybe 15 years. Their work has evolved into CESMII. John Dyck and his team have busily assembled ideas and technology. This announcement with ThinkIQ is interesting. I’ve interviewed those executives several times (here and here and here for example). The unique value proposition is that the product traces materials across operations, not manual operations. Interesting take. Here is the announcement of the partnership.

ThinkIQ announced August 23, 2022 that the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, will now be licensing its technology to power CESMII’s Smart Manufacturing Innovation Platform (SMIP). With ThinkIQ as the foundation of the CESMII SMIP, ThinkIQ customers will be able to continually benefit from smart manufacturing applications developed and integrated with the SMIP and CESMII’s further development and expansion of Smart Manufacturing Profiles. This will enable a simpler, lower cost and more effective implementation of smart manufacturing solutions to solve manufacturing problems as offered in CESMII’s Smart Manufacturing Marketplace. This open platform enables a new generation of problem solvers – app developers, data scientists and empowered operators – to create and explore new ways to understanding manufacturing problems

ThinkIQ’s SaaS Manufacturing cloud-based platform simplifies the creation of web-based applications and leverages the strengths of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Data Science, Semantic Modeling and Machine Learning. The platform collects data across the operation (existing and IIoT sensors) to provide actionable real time insights (e.g., identify correlations and root causes, traceability and yield issues, etc.). ThinkIQ’s recently enhanced Vision platform provides visibility on the shop floor, eliminating blind spots and increasing productivity and worker safety. This creates a new level of capability beyond what independent disconnected operating environments can provide today, helping companies to manage their manufacturing operations and supply chains even more effectively during economic disruptions and labor shortages.

iBASEt Transitions to ‘Cloud First’ Development Cycle

The rush to the cloud continues. Companies that have not transitioned their products to the cloud in at least one of its guises lag the industry. Here is an MES company announcing its transition.

iBASEt, the company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained, announced availability of the latest version of Solumina iSeries version i070, a critical update marking the company’s successful transition to a cloud-first development cycle.

The latest version of iSeries also features a host of security features, including rigorous security testing based on OWASP Top 10 web application security risks to enable manufacturers to identify and patch vulnerabilities quickly. 

Updates include:

  • Interactive UI
  • Reimagined Supplier Quality Inspection interface
  • Corrective Actions functionality
  • Ability to create standalone inspection orders
  • Move serialized units from one operation to another

Introducing Velta Technology–Cyber Risk Management

Craig Duckworth, President and Co-Founder of Velta Technology, spoke with me shortly before I left for two conferences. I’m catching up, slowly. You may not have heard of Velta Technology. It’s just four years old. They are trying to find a niche within the cybersecurity market without being just another packet sniffing or intrusion detection company.

The company doesn’t sell just one product family. It relies on working with partners such as Claroty and Cisco to bring solutions to customers. It is comprised of multi-disciplinary industrial manufacturing and critical infrastructure experts. “We understand the differences between industrial and IT infrastructures, as well as the toolsets required to secure them.” In this regard, they are one of the companies attempting to bring IT and OT to the same table.

“Our experience and partnerships with the world’s leading solution providers in the industrial space allow us to integrate cybersecurity solutions with existing technologies. We bridge the gap in expertise and understanding from industrial assets on the plant floor across to the enterprise.”

Much of our conversation focused on risk. He talked about the role of the customer company’s board of directors as the key leadership element in focusing management on cybersecurity in order to mitigate risks of cyber intrusions. Velta works with customers to implement solutions to retrieve data and organize risk. They recognize that many IT trusted tools simply are not effective or even possible in the operations environment.

Here’s a summary of the company’s offering:

  • Technology & Tools
  • End-to-End Protection
  • Industrial Hardened Platforms : Appliances, Enclosures, Networking
  • Continuous Monitoring : Ability to see real time performance and threats
  • Secure Remote Access : With full Audit Tracking and Controls
  • Industrial Endpoint Protection : The definitive protection in the industry
  • Connected Devices Vulnerability Index (CDV Index): Identify your supply chain risks

Solutions

  • Visibility & Digital Safety
  • Velta Technology Visibility Program : Real-time visibility into the assets in your industrial environment, behavior anomalies, security threats and vulnerabilities. More than simply a moment-in-time Risk Assessment.
  • Velta Technology Digital Safety Standards : A continuous improvement methodology that supports protection of industrial assets. Covers everything from cybersecurity threats to process integrity issues that can impact environmental and human harm.

Services

  • Service and Support Options
  • Strategy & Advisory Support : Recommendations, designs and roadmaps to navigate safety maturity for industrial asset networks.
  • Deployment : From onsite Basic installation and configuration to Enhanced assistance for a full year.
  • Operationalize : Build programs for existing or new platforms to improve value and mitigation in your local environment
  • Managed Services : Basic/Standard/Premier options to deliver full-platform and resources for your organization.

 

IMTS / Hannover Messe Chicago Recap

I didn’t have time to finish this about IMTS/Hannover Messe when I found myself in rainy Folsom, CA at the Inductive Automation’s Ignition Community Conference. More on that later.

Here is a quick recap of my tour around two of the four full halls that comprised the event. I heard that there were more than 100,000 people who also toured the trade show floors.

Robotics

OnRobot — OnRobot Previews D:PLOY for Machine Tending at IMTS. D:PLOY automatically discovers and configures all the components in a robotic cell – including any leading collaborative or light industrial robot arm and tools – while also integrating external I/O from sensors and machines. D:PLOY will be available for all common robotic applications, making deployment up to 80% faster. See more.

Universal Robots—The booth featured nine partners with vertical industry applications and a new 20 kg cobot.

The UR20, the first of next-generation high performance cobots, has been redesigned from the ground up to provide up to 30% more speed and torque, advanced motion control capabilities, and first-class user experience. Its 20 kg payload and 1750 mm reach make it a match for applications ranging from palletizing to machine loading.

These partners exhibited within the booth. Click for more information. Cobot Systems, Hirebotics, Kane Robotics, MidAtlantic Machinery, PCC Robotics, Robotiq, Schunk, Vectis Automation, VersaBuilt.

ABB—Highlights include versatile industrial and collaborative robots, software advancements that reduce programming complexity, and a selection of interactive robotic educational systems and training programs.

• ABB has developed over 30 new robot, software digital and educational products and educational tools in the last year, designed to help industrial manufacturers of all sizes increase their operational performance and gain better access to a well-trained workforce

• ABB helps businesses of all sizes embrace the flexibility afforded by robotics to efficiently adapt production to satisfy their customer’s most pressing needs, especially as reshoring becomes a prominent means to address ongoing supply chain backlogs

For more information.

CNC

Siemens—Accelerating the digital transformation of the machine tool industry with Siemens Xcelerator 

• Siemens Xcelerator includes selected portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware, software and digital offerings for the machine tool industry

• Software applications for cloud, edge and customer servers with numerous innovations for the machine tool business

• First partner applications based upon Industrial Edge for Machine Tools, the open ecosystem for IoT

New technology functions for the SINUMERIK ONE CNC simplify operation and increase productivity

• Y-turning and Advanced Rapid Movement for greater machine tool productivity, 

up to 10% faster machining

• Reduced Dynamic Mode reduces wear and increases availability

• End-to-end keyboard and machine control panel portfolio from 15 to 24 inches

The introduction of Mcenter, a new manufacturing and resource management platform, designed to enhance the preparation of tool scheduling, workflow supervision and NC program  management — plus Mcenter will smartly and seamlessly network the machine tools with the company’s IT / OT landscape.  

For more information.

Automation

MFA Alliance — You may have noticed several items about private 5G networks for manufacturing and industrial applications. Several companies have joined this private network alliance

Find out which features you need to implement for your 5G private network device with Uni5G Technology Blueprints. Discover available spectrum options (locally licensed, shared, unlicensed) around the world for your private network. Gain access to MFA’s shared global PLMN-ID which can uniquely identify your private network.

GE Digital — Announced it has achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Industrial Software Competency status. GE Digital is also expanding its offerings in the AWS Marketplace with new cloud-based operational intelligence and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software.

For more information.

Deacom (ECI Software)—With a deep awareness of the challenges faced by process manufacturers and distributors, Deacom has been developed as an ERP solution tailored to the needs of medium-sized enterprises within industries such as Food & Beverage, Chemical and Coatings, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, and Nutraceuticals to name a few. Hyper-Tight Process Control enables you to easily identify issues within your supply chain, production, and order-to-cash processes early and fix – or eliminate – them before they turn into costly mistakes.

For more information.

HighByte — I talked with two of the founders of this DataOps company. It has a new release coming, teaser about future releases. My takeaway, DataOps has found customer footing. Watch for growth. For more information.

Artek 3D scanning — Perhaps the coolest demos of the show—handheld 3D scanning, built-in screen so that you don’t have to move it around and juggle a computer at the same time. Quickly transform your object into 3D graphics. For more information.

ATT —  The takeaway from my conversation at the AT&T booth was that 5G private networks are really in use. Also, you can go to the AT&T Business LinkedIn page for a “chat” that I participated in about smart factory. For more information.

Beckhoff Automation—The XPlanar magnetic conveyor was the hot thing in this booth. The XPlanar planar motor system combines the advantages of conventional transport technologies with magnetic levitation. The levitating 2D product transport enables a wide range of new options for handling products within a machine and also between several machines.

Similar to automated guided vehicle systems, the user benefits from the freedom of movement of the object carriers: Individual goods can be transported to any location via any route. XPlanar combines this flexibility with the dynamics of conventional linear motors and offers added value through cycle-time-optimized linking of individual production steps. XPlanar significantly simplifies individual production steps because the degrees of freedom and accuracy familiar from robotics can be used for 6D product handling. The concept of product positioning during processing is applied to the transport system. The floating effect replaces all mechanical guide components and drastically reduces cleaning and maintenance costs.

For more information.

Syntax — As I walked through the AWS booth, a woman at one of the kiosks called out, want to learn about predictive maintenance? This enterprise software company touts a better UI difference—one dashboard, one interface, predict material usage. For more information.