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.
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.
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
The people who introduced me to the M2M concept, or machine-to-machine (later called IIoT), extolled a prime use case—OEMs could connect with their installed base of machines. This would enable service contracts as they monitored performance and components. They could also monitor components to grade suppliers.
This turned out to be difficult to implement. IT departments placed roadblocks to outside connectivity. Concerns about leaking proprietary information posed another roadblock.
Best practices and improving technology have overcome many of the roadblocks. Enough so, that a major technology provider such as Honeywell can introduce an “Industry 4.0 solution helps increase end user equipment uptime and satisfaction while reducing OEM service and maintenance costs.”
Honeywell introduced on June 28, 2022 its Connected OEM (original equipment manufacturer) offering, an Internet of Things (IoT) solution that allows OEMs and skid manufacturers to remotely monitor the health and condition of their installed base. Equipment such as compressors, furnaces, pumping stations, analyzer houses and skids at end-user locations around the world can be monitored through the offering.
Through a cloud-based central asset management system securely connected to equipment assets, OEMs can obtain a consolidated view of their global installed base through a customizable key performance indicator dashboard. Users can apply data analytics and tools to troubleshoot and fix equipment, predict failures, plan maintenance and make informed business decisions in areas such as R&D.
I’ve written recently on LinkedIn and Twitter about a major social media company who blatantly proclaims that all its recent changes were in service to its own benefit with no mention of benefit to users or customers. Here, Honeywell notes specific user benefits to the new solution.
Honeywell Connected OEM was developed in response to a longstanding issue facing OEMs: the inability to monitor the performance of their installed assets. Prolonged sub-optimal asset operation results in high operating expenses for end users, and OEMs with performance contracts are unable to guarantee or justify assets’ operating outcomes. In addition, OEM service engineers must often rush to a site for unplanned maintenance and troubleshooting, incurring high travel costs if the assets are geographically dispersed. The net result is poor quality service and maintenance that can lead to the loss of repeat business for OEMs.
What if the time has come to rethink all these specific silos and strategies that we build software solutions around?
Folk/rock group The Byrds popularized a Pete Seeger tune in the 1960s, “To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
The time has come to rethink all the departmental silos manufacturing executives constructed over the years with vendors targeting their applications to fit. This era of the Internet of Things (IoT), sensor-driven real-time data, innovative unstructured databases, powerful analytics engines, and visualization provide us with new ways of thinking about organizing manufacturing.
HMI/SCADA can become IoT enabling software expanding beyond the normal visualization role. Types of MES software break the bounds of traditional silos. Not just quality metrics, OEE calculators, or maintenance schedulers, what if we thought of MES as operational intelligence bringing disparate parts together? These can provide managers of all levels the kind of information needed for better, faster decision making.
I have worked with a number of maintenance and reliability media companies. They have all been embroiled in discussions of the comparative value of maintenance strategies: Reactive (run-to-failure), Preventive, Predictive, Reliability-centered. These are presented as a continuum progressing from the Stone Age to StarTrek. With them are always discussion about which is best.
The IT companies I have worked with fixated on predictive. They had powerful predictive analytics to combine with their database and compute capabilities and saw that as the Next Big Thing. They were wrong.
I was taught early in my career that Preventive was also known as scheduled maintenance. Management sends technicians out on rounds on a regular basis with lube equipment and meters to check out and lubricate and adjust. As often as not, these adjustments would disturb the Force and something would break down.
What if? What if we use all the sensor data from equipment sent to the cloud to a powerful database? What if we use that data to intelligently dispatch technicians to the necessary equipment with the appropriate tools to fix before breaking and at an appropriate collaborative time?
A company called Matics recently was introduced to me via a long-time marketing contact. They wanted to talk about the second definition of preventive maintenance. Not just unscheduled rounds but using sensor-driven data, or IoT, to feed its Central Data Repository with the goal of providing Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) to its customers.
According to Matics, its RtOI system has provided customers with:
- 25% increased machine availability
- 30% decrease in rejects
- 10% reduction in energy consumption
Smarter preventive maintenance leverages continuous condition monitoring targeting as-needed maintenance resulting in fewer unnecessary checks and less machine stoppage for repair.
I am not trying to write a marketing piece for Matics, although the company does compensate me for some content development. But their software provides me a way to riff into a new way of thinking.
Usually product engineers and marketing people will show me a new product. I’ll become enthused. “Wow, this is cool. Now if you could just do this and this…” I drive product people crazy in those meetings. I think the same here. I like the approach. Now, if customers can take the ball and run with it thinking about manufacturing in a a new way, that would be cool—and beneficial and profitable. I think innovative managers and engineers could find new ways to bring engineering, production, and maintenance together in a more collaborative way around real-time information.
Taking the third trip to Orlando in four weeks, I felt that I should know the TSA agents by first name. Rockwell Automation held its annual software training and bash formerly RSTechEd now called ROKLive. Not only was this the first after a Covid hiatus, it also celebrated the recent addition of Plex Systems and its cloud-based MES platform.
Plex was acquired some nine months ago. This event offers the Plex community some continuity while bringing them into the Rockwell Automation fold. About 1,500 people attended filling the Loews Sapphire Lake resort in Orlando and its many meeting rooms for updates and lab training.
Rockwell CEO Blake Moret did not attend in person, instead sending a video for part of the opening keynotes. He talked of the company’s focus on helping customers along the path of productive, resilient, agile, and sustainable. He noted that Rockwell as a manufacturer itself knew the power of IT and OT working together. Rockwell’s strategy focuses include its core products, software & services, and industry focus.
Brian Shepherd, sr. Vice president software and control, emphasized these pillars under the “Connected Enterprise Production System”: optimize production, empower the workforce, manage risk, drive sustainability, transformation.
Rockwell Automation through acquisition has entered the 3D system emulation arena. However partner company Maplesoft representatives showed me its simulation application. It looks powerful. Also on the show floor was old standby Spectrum Controls showing a cool connectivity multi-port module that takes in serial protocols such as DF1 or Modbus and exports Ethernet. If you are constructing a connected enterprise, you will need connectivity devices.
I took a look at the future on the show floor and some follow-up sessions on FactoryTalk Hub and its Design Hub, an internal Rockwell development taking control design to the cloud. It will be more formally unveiled at Automation Fair later in the year, but this powerful cloud-based application brings benefits such as collaboration and version control to Rockwell’s Design Studio offering. Operate Hub, the Plex SaaS MES and operations offering, and Maintain Hub, the Fiix CMMS in the cloud complete the FactoryTalk Hub solution. Three years ago no one would imagine my writing about Rockwell and the cloud in the same sentence. Not only has the technology progress but so has acceptance of users.
Rockwell and Plex released a few news items.
Rockwell Automation Named a Visionary; Plex Systems Named a Leader in 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems
Analyst firm Gartner unveiled its MES Magic Quadrant. Included companies always rush to get the word out. Rockwell Automation announced it has been named as a Visionary for its FactoryTalk ProductionCentre and Plex Systems named as a Leader for its Smart Manufacturing Platform. Congratulations to each.
Plex Systems Announces Modularization of its Smart Manufacturing Platform to Scale with Business Needs
Plex Systems announced a new modularization approach for its Smart Manufacturing Platform to enable accessibility and scalability for digital transformation in manufacturing. This approach, enabled by Plex’s innovative cloud-native platform, more closely aligns with customers’ needs as they build their smart manufacturing technology strategy, including a focus on flexibility, quick implementation, and ease of entry with a path to grow.
Three examples of the new modular solutions include:
• New Product Introduction and Management: Maximize profitability and increase competitive position by reducing time to market and decreasing development costs. Companies can manage the product and program lifecycle – from concept to completion – and effectively track new and existing products, including updates, retirement, and obsolescence.
• Labor and Workforce Management: Optimize labor schedule and costs while preserving delivery schedules through effective labor management, clear skills-to-required production capabilities, reduction of onboarding time, and programs for employee health and safety.
• Advanced Quality: Proactively manage supplier quality and compliance with integrated continuous improvement toolsets and extend quality processes throughout the full supply chain to promote a holistic quality culture both inside and outside the four walls of the organization.
Plex Systems Introduces Machine Learning to Help Companies Improve Demand Forecasting Accuracy
Plex Systems also announced new machine learning capabilities for Plex DemandCaster Supply Chain Planning (SCP), enhancing forecast accuracy to improve customer service at lower levels of inventory coverage.
Plex DemandCaster Supply Chain Planning unites business functions within the organization with their planning variables to solve inventory problems quickly and proactively, helping planners easily interpret data with automated statistical forecasting while enabling a continuous planning and execution feedback loop. Now, the addition of machine learning for DemandCaster SCP advances the automation of pattern recognition and the application of correlated related data to improve forecast accuracy. Higher forecast accuracies cascade through the supply chain planning process by reducing the need to carry extra inventories to buffer against uncertainties.