by Gary Mintchell | May 12, 2023 | Asset Performance Management, Automation, Interoperability, Networking, Operator Interface
FDT Group’s latest significant release seems to be gaining traction. This release from M&M Software offers a migration path for users and vendors supporting modern intelligent device management and monitoring initiatives.
M&M Software released fdtCONTAINER version 4.8, a point-to-point device configuration tool supporting the latest FDT 3.0 specification to meet user demands for modern intelligent device management and monitoring initiatives. This release also includes updated developer tools which simplify the migration to FDT 3 systems and smart device DTMs for the vendor community.
Smart manufacturing initiatives drive end users and suppliers of industrial automation systems and devices to seek modern and comprehensive device management solutions that use interoperable, efficient, and sustainable plug and play engineering tools. FDT, an IEC 62453 embedded software standard, normalizes device data and communication between any host and device. The standard rooted in the host and device environment provides users a single tool for intelligent device management, operation, diagnosis, and maintenance. The latest FDT 3.0 specification enables a FDT Unified Environment (FDT UE) for IT/OT data-driven operations via authenticated OPC UA, FDT UE and mobile clients.
M&M Software’s FDT UE-ready product line includes:
- OEM fdtCONTAINER application 4.8 – Free point-to-point device management and configuration tool supporting all DTM generations for users.
- fdtCONTAINER component 4.0 (aka. FDT UE – Desktop Common Component) – The official component for integrating the FDT 3.0 interface and DTM runtime into an engineering application for system vendors with branded customizations and other value-add features.
- dtmMANAGER development suite 4.0 – The comprehensive FDT 3.0 DTM development suite provides a simplified environment for device vendors to develop DTM’s allowing vendors to focus on the value-add device model features.
by Gary Mintchell | Feb 21, 2023 | Asset Performance Management, Interoperability, Operations Management, Sensors, Software, Standards, Technology
Still catching up on news I learned at ARC Industry Forum in early February. This one is expansion of the device integration model enabled by the latest version of FDT. Earlier, I wrote about Migrating to FDT 3. I sat in a couple of sessions where a senior engineer at a consumer packaged goods company pleaded with suppliers to make integrating and applying technologies more user-friendly. This is one such technology.
FDT Group announced that the PACTware consortium released its latest software version, PACTware 6.1, based on the latest FDT3 standard. PACTware 6.1 is one of the first FDT3 stand-alone device configuration environments available. The software tool’s source code is available to the PACTware Consortium membership consisting of 22 automation vendors who offer the FDT-enabled hosting product to the user community at no cost.
By leveraging the modern FDT3 Unified Environment for intelligent device management, PACTware 6.1 users will enjoy the ability to support their current FDT DTM install base and support modern FDT3 web-based DTMs that are scalable for IIoT architectures. This release also supports integration with FDI Device Packages.
Suppliers of industrial automation systems and devices want to provide solutions that enable the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). To meet their customers’ needs, it is vital for suppliers to enhance their system and device offerings with standards-based, platform-independent, information-driven business models. The new FDT3 standard is accelerating the digital manufacturing journey by enabling an ecosystem of FDT-based solutions providing a unified environment for industrial device management with IT/OT data-driven operations.
In addition to the new FDT3 standard that fully describes the FDT Desktop environment and FDT web-based device DTM, the standard also defines a cloud-based FDT Server environment for distributed control. The new FDT3 DTM and FDT Server are OPC UA- and -mobile ready without any coding, allowing users an easy to use and scalable migration path of OT data to IT enterprise applications.
by Gary Mintchell | Feb 20, 2023 | Asset Performance Management, Data Management, Operations Management
This ARC Forum company update looks at a new Business Unit of AspenTech called AspenTech DataWorks. Probably relevant to this discussion is a quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness, “The more data we have, the more likely we are to drown in it.”
The founders of inmation Software, recently acquired by Aspen Technology must have had this in mind as they developed technology for making sense from data.
The week in Orlando every year always gives me a chance to catch up with Mike Brooks, Global Director of APM Solutions at AspenTech. He always has something interesting to talk about. He was part of the leadership team that sold Mtell to Aspen Technology in 2016. That brought predictive and preventive maintenance technology applications to the AspenTech portfolio. Under the covers of the tech was the use of machine learning—a technology now hitting all the media headlines as AI.
Brooks always grounds my thinking about ML as a useful technology not for the marketing hype but for actually using AI as an enabler for asset management. He explained how ML is more adaptable than model predictive control because of its iterative nature. It analyzes data iteratively and can then run the scenario out for 40 days in a predictive mode.
Dwain Plauche, Sr. Manager DataWorks Product Marketing, joined the meeting to explain the new business unit, DataWorks.
They consider the past of turning data into value as a trickle. The idea of the new AIoT Hub plus inmation Software is to turn that trickle into a stream. Now known as AspenTech DataWorks, the rebranded business unit provides customers with a singular solution to access and manage their industrial data, whether at the plant level or enterprise wide, in support of their digital transformation strategies.
Asset-intensive industries looking to maximize value from industrial data often are challenged to do so securely and economically as the data is often trapped in different silos across the organization. AspenTech DataWorks addresses these challenges by aggregating and contextualizing data, both transactional and real-time, from assets across the enterprise using powerful integration technology. With this unique, industry leading offering, organizations are now able to realize successful digital transformation, with capabilities including:
Data Governance – Centralized, flexible data management that supports contextualization and user access control, as well as encryption for all data types
Connectivity – Vendor-neutral connectivity to all major OT and IT interfaces that allows organizations to integrate data from disparate sources and manage from a centralized system
Data Integration– Value-added application enablement such as advanced analytics, decision support, and AI
by Gary Mintchell | Dec 1, 2022 | Asset Performance Management, Automation, Events, Manufacturing IT, News, Process Control, Security, Sensors, Technology
Honeywell has been an enigma to me for several years. I haven’t been confident in product direction, where different elements of process automation would fit, and would it make a transition to software. Then came Honeywell Forge. Where did that fit with Process Solutions and UOP? Then we had the pandemic and I couldn’t make the User Group this year due to many conflicts.
This is mostly my deficiency, but also I had lost track of contacts. All that is remedied, and the picture is beginning to focus. I was also able to catch some virtual conferences to gain insight from CTO Jason Urso.
Honeywell Forge is coalescing into a viable software division. Process Solutions is cranking out some interesting new products and services. Sustainability is a key strategy. Cybersecurity remains strong within the portfolio.
I’m quite late with this update. Following are major points from recent announcements. Check out the various links for more.
Manufacturing Excellence Platform
Manufacturing Excellence platform provides real-time end-to-end production visualization and dashboards for multiple user roles from operators to management, process unit timelines, detailed equipment status, and trends of critical process parameters. The Manufacturing Excellence platform, built for Life Sciences applications, puts actionable information in context in one interface. The solution digitizes paper-based batch records, work instructions, and logbooks to ensure consistent compliance with standard operating procedures.
Honeywell Forge Performance+
As part of the new Honeywell Forge Performance+ for Industrials suite, Asset Performance helps deliver asset reliability and energy efficiency through real-time monitoring of assets using predictive models embedded with deep-domain expertise. Asset Performance can help to both detect potential asset health issues and predict possible time to failure in order to proactively improve plant availability.
Enhancements to Existing Honeywell Software Solutions
- Honeywell Plantwide Optimizer – End-to-end solution that integrates planning, operations and blending in near real time.
- Honeywell Operations Management – Enhancements to the user experience designed to help industrial operations managers to better proactively monitor, document and operate their industrial processes to reduce downtime, increase throughput and yields, and standardize shift reporting.
- Honeywell Workforce Competency – Enhancements to the simulation-based experiential learning solution to develop and enhance the competency of today’s industrial workforce include persona-based dashboards and a new soft Safety Manager direct link.
Honeywell’s AMIR managed service brings increased cybersecurity capabilities to an organization’s existing Security Operation Centers (SOCs) to strengthen OT cybersecurity across the enterprise.
Cyber App Control, previously known as Application Whitelisting, is a vendor-agnostic cybersecurity solution suitable for both Honeywell and non-Honeywell control systems designed to provide an additional layer of security that allows only known and trusted applications to run on ICS assets and increases a customer’s ability to prevent known malware and zero-day attacks on OT environments that often rely on more vulnerable legacy systems with challenging maintenance schedules.
Honeywell Forge Sustainability+
• An enterprise solution that measures fugitive and process GHG emission leaks, continuously monitors sites for new or remediated emissions, reports on emissions’ status and drives emission reduction strategies and solutions.
• Innovative gas detection technologies with Honeywell Versatilis Signal Scout gas detector and Gas Cloud Imaging, interfaces with Emissions Management for continuous measuring and monitoring of emissions, enabling customers to better manage GHG emissions proactively in near real-time.
• Reporting of process emissions with site- and enterprise-level trending and visualization that allows organizations to locate methane leaks that may cause production loss or impact worker safety, as well as gain access to metrics and alarms associated with gas leaks.
• Enterprise-wide accounting, visualization and reporting that eliminates periodic manual reporting and provides a holistic, near real-time view of Scope 1 emissions for HSE professionals and executive teams.
Honeywell and Aramco JV for Business Process Software
Honeywell and Aramco have announced the signing of a joint venture (JV) agreement to provide a set of end-to-end business process automation solutions, under the Aramco Namaat Industrial Investments Program. The technology solutions can be offered to a wide range of industrial sectors to help maximize profitability, improve productivity, sustainability and operational excellence, on a global scale. The new JV offerings will leverage Aramco’s Plant.Digital platform (formerly Integrated Manufacturing Operations Management System – iMOMS) as well as Honeywell Connected Enterprise’s technology development and industrial digital solutions implementation experience.
The JV aims to equip industrial companies with the tools, processes and practices they need to run plant operations more effectively and accelerate sustainable digital transformation and operational excellence initiatives. It will emphasize the development, integration, and deployment of Operations Technology (OT) solutions and Digital Transformation consulting.
The new JV is expected to create more than 300 jobs in Saudi Arabia within five years, supporting the Aramco Namaat Industrial Investments Program, which is designed to boost Saudi economic and workforce development.
Partnership for Track and Trace Solutions
Honeywell announced that Imperial Brands, a British multinational tobacco company, has chosen Honeywell to provide the Honeywell Track & Trace solution (“Honeywell Track & Trace”) to digitalize and transform the monitoring and tracking of their supply chain operations.
In addition to the cloud-based Honeywell Track & Trace solution, Honeywell will provide a comprehensive and integrated system of support, professional services, and governance to help Imperial’s business meet critical requirements for compliance and executing its global supply chain.
by Gary Mintchell | Nov 4, 2022 | Asset Performance Management, Operations Management, Software
Festo engineers continually amaze me with innovations I would never have expected. I first heard of it as a pneumatics company. What new and interesting could come out of that milieu? Then came a visit to the German headquarters followed with many other meetings. Turns out many interesting things.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not the new discovery marketers would have us believe. It does, despite the hype, solve many real world problems. Take Festo Automation Experience (AX). This AI platform provides predictive maintenance, predictive quality, and energy optimization.
Using advanced analytics, Festo AX maps data to learn a component, machine, product, or energy system’s healthy state. Festo AX provides actionable information to correct anomalies when data begins trending out of normal.
Putting numbers to the innovation:
Festo finds that Festo AX can improve process transparency by 100%. It can lower waste by more than 50% and product rejection costs by more than 45%. Machine availability can improve by more than 25%. Unplanned downtime can fall by more than 20%.
In a predictive quality application for silicon wafers production, Festo AX provided early detection of wafer defects. It improved accuracy for quality assurance sample selection and delivered high positivity in quality observations. Festo AX lowered waste per machine per year by $100,000.
by Gary Mintchell | Oct 28, 2022 | Asset Performance Management, Cloud, Data Management, Manufacturing IT, Operations Management, Services
Here are two interesting announcements from Rockwell Automation this month. DataOps and asset management subscription service—both technologies for the future.
IT companies have been touting edge-to-cloud architectures for several years. I’ve followed several of those companies until they decided there’s not enough revenue from the industrial market to satisfy them. Industrial technology suppliers have been notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. But the pace is picking up.
In my next post after this one, I’ll discuss another industrial company who has discovered edge-to-cloud as a promising architecture of the future. Rockwell Automation beat them by few days. I have two announcements from Rockwell from last week revealing that company’s continued advance into software and IT-related technologies. Some executive sources in the industry have told me that Wall Street is driving much of this strategy by valuing software companies over hardware companies.
Check out Rockwell’s investment in and subsequent partnership with PTC that enhanced its software connectivity of automation to IT. Then acquisitions of Plex and Fiix to get into the cloud. Now a partnership with Cognite for a data hub—yet another key component.
- Strategic partnership to develop a unified, edge-to-cloud industrial data hub offering
- Combines Rockwell’s FactoryTalk software with Cognite’s Industrial DataOps platform Data Fusion [Note: I’m on record somewhere predicting DataOps as a cool tool for the future.]
My Equipment Subscription
I always forget that often when Rockwell talks asset management, it’s not the same thing as when a process automation company discusses it. In Rockwell speak, this means keeping track of Rockwell assets in a manufacturing company.
- My Equipment Digital enables digital collection and updating of industrial automation asset data through the use of network-based devices.
- The digital collection method includes firmware information and a one-time vulnerability assessment.
- Customers can self-manage and track their installed base automation assets
- The self-manage feature can be added to an Installed Base Evaluation (IBE service) and is included in the My Equipment Digital and My Equipment Managed offerings.
- Mitigate network risks if legacy products and/or unmanaged switches are found
- Review modernization potential to determine risks and productivity improvement opportunities by identifying which older products may be less expensive to repair than to buy new
- Provide adequate remote support coverage by confirming that the most prevalent technical segments are covered
- Reduce costs through the optimization of asset and spares strategies by comparing storeroom data to the installed base, and the identification of warranty savings