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.

Identify Data Sets With Orphaned Data Enabling Appropriate Actions

Steve Leeper, VP Systems Engineering and Marketing, and Carl D’Halluin, Chief Technology Officer of Datadobi, met with me recently to discuss data, unstructured data management, data migration, the company, and those poor little orphaned files and data left in storage long after they had useful life.

I’ve been writing about the company’s products for about two years. Datadobi is about to celebrate its 13th birthday. Organically funded, management expects it to be around for some time to come.

The occasion of this conversation was release 6.2 and an upgrade to the recently announced StorageMAP product—a multi-vendor, multi-cloud data management platform with the introduction of capabilities to discover and remediate orphaned data.

Orphaned data is owned by employees of a company that are inactive but still enabled on an organization’s network or systems. These datasets, which can amount to a significant part of a company’s total data stored, represent risk and cost to every organization. Any enterprise with a large employee base, normal to high attrition rates, or undertaking merger and acquisition (M&A) activities will be vulnerable to orphaned data. Orphaned data is mostly not of value to the organization and creates liability due to its unknown content. Eliminating orphaned data enables IT leaders to reduce cost, lower carbon footprint, and lower risk while maximizing value out of relevant unstructured data used by active users.

With the new capabilities, StorageMAP can identify data sets with high amounts of orphaned data, allowing IT leaders to group and organize the data independent of the business organization. The orphaned datasets can then be migrated, archived to a lower-cost platform, or deleted by StorageMAP. The platform provides an easy-to-read, granular report on the top users with orphaned data and for additional detail, a search function allows targeted searches to be executed across part of or the entire data estate.

The 6.2 release comes after Datadobi launched its StorageMAP platform earlier this year. StorageMAP provides a single pane of glass for organizations to manage unstructured data across their complete data storage estate on-premises and in the cloud. This latest update enables IT leaders to fully take control of orphaned data on their networks.

“Due to the scale and complexity of unstructured data in today’s heterogeneous storage environments, enterprises can easily lose track of orphaned data within networks and open themselves up to excess storage costs and risk,” said Carl D’Halluin, CTO, Datadobi. “StorageMAP’s new capabilities allow for a seamless experience identifying and taking the appropriate action on orphaned data to give IT leaders peace of mind.”

“As data proliferation continues, IT leaders are going to see more orphaned data on their networks. This is why it is so important that organizations turn to unstructured data management solutions like StorageMAP to find datasets associated with inactive users and take the appropriate action,” said Craig Ledo, IT Validation Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “Combined with a high level of cross-vendor knowledge, years of real-life experience, and great customer support, enterprises can let StorageMAP do the heavy lifting when it comes to orphaned data.”

Industrial AR as a Service

Mainstream tech media drools all over augmented reality and virtual reality. Which big tech company will introduce what? We’ve written about the benefits of AR in manufacturing for years. It’s still getting here, but closing in. This news comes from a company called RealWear with a new cloud SaaS offering—RealWear Cloud, marking the company’s shift from a hardware-centric company to a fully platform-centric business. The company calls this “assisted intelligence.”

RealWear Cloud is a multi-purpose software offering for IT and business operations. Through the new dashboard, IT and business operations can remotely and securely streamline control of their RealWear device fleet. As companies grow their fleet of RealWear devices, RealWear Cloud allows for convenient low-touch, over-the-air firmware updates, keeping the devices secure and company data protected. Working alongside organizations’ existing EMM or MDM software such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager (InTune), the offering further provides teams more real-time data and metrics to optimize operational efficiency. RealWear Cloud complements existing EMM/MDM solutions and enables device-specific control and configuration capabilities. Also, it is the only way to gain trusted and secure access to certified third-party apps designed for our product portfolio.  

In addition, RealWear is introducing RealWear Cloud Assistance as part of the offering.  RealWear Cloud Assistance provides real-time remote technical support and troubleshooting to frontline workers to quickly identify, diagnose and fix device issues. Reducing device downtime through remote troubleshooting will have a growing impact on company bottom lines. According to VDC research, individual incidences of device failure result in 72 minutes of lost or disrupted productivity for frontline workers. Remote support, firmware updates, and data analytics will not only increase productivity but will be necessary as businesses face ongoing talent shortages, the scarcity of which Gartner notes was exacerbated in 2021. 

RealWear Cloud will provide a two-tier offering: Basic and Pro. Foresight, RealWear’s previous lightweight device management tool, will transition to RealWear Cloud. Current Foresight customers will automatically be enrolled in the Basic plan.

ABB and Red Hat Partner for Scalable Digital Solutions

Much as some of its large industrial competitors, ABB is quickly building out industrial software solutions. A friend who is a financial analyst told me that Wall Street and other investors prize software right now. A company focused on instrumentation and automation platforms doesn’t evoke the same eyes full of longing and desire as when they add software.

In this announcement, ABB and Red Hat, the open source enterprise software company, are partnering to deliver ABB automation and industrial software solutions at the intersection of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), equipping the industrial ecosystem with extended deployment capabilities and greater agility. This is consistent with ABB’s vision of the evolution of process automation.

  • ABB will deliver digital solutions to customers on-demand and at scale using Red HatOpenShift
  • Customers will be better able to harness the potential of data-based decisions by using applications that can be deployed flexibly from the edge to the cloud

The partnership enables virtualization and containerization of automation software with Red Hat OpenShift to provide advanced flexibility in hardware deployment, optimized according to application needs. It also provides efficient system orchestration, enabling real-time, data-based decision making at the edge and further processing in the cloud.

Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux  as its foundation, provides ABB with a single consistent application platform, from small single node systems to scaled-out hyperconverged clusters at the industrial edge, which simplifies development and management efforts for ABB’s customers. 

“This exciting partnership with Red Hat demonstrates ABB’s commitment to meet customer needs by seeking alliances with other innovative market leaders,” said Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, ABB Process Automation. “The alliance with Red Hat will see ABB continue helping our customers improve their operations as they navigate a rapidly evolving digital landscape. It will give them access to the tools they need to integrate plantwide IT and OT, while reducing risks and optimizing performance.” 

Red Hat OpenShift increases the deployment flexibility and scalability of ABB Ability Edgenius, a comprehensive edge platform for industrial software applications, together with ABB Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite, an enterprise-grade platform and applications suite that leverages industrial AI to drive Industry 4.0 digital business outcomes for customers. ABB’s Edgenius and Genix can both be scaled seamlessly and securely across multiple deployments. With this partnership, ABB will have access to capabilities like zero-touch provisioning (remote configuration of networks) which can increase manageability and consistency across plant environments. 

“Red Hat is excited to work with ABB to bring operational and information technology closer together to form the industrial edge. Together, we intend to streamline the transition from automated to autonomous operations and address current and future manufacturing needs using open-source technologies,” said Matt Hicks, executive vice president, Products and Technologies, Red Hat. “As we work to break down barriers between IT and the plant level, we look to drive limitless innovation and mark a paradigm shift in operational technology based on open source.” 

Vision Platform Eliminates Manufacturing Blind Spots

ThinkIQ developed a manufacturing software platform focused on the flow of materials through the manufacturing process rather than the health of specific machines. I’ve had several interviews over the past couple of years with executives I’ve known for years from previous gigs.  You can check them out here, here, and here.

I recently conducted an interview with Doug Lawson, CEO, Brian Anderson, CMO, and Rob Schoenthalar, CRO to discuss an added feature to their offering. They have added vision as a sensor attempting to solve a sticky problem for manufacturing management.

The problem? ThinkIQ’s customers are still effectively blind to up to 70% of events on the Factory Floor. Current safety practices are primarily reactive and rather than averting any unfortunate incident in the first place, these procedures only provide solutions to salvage a regrettable situation.

The solution? Enhancements to its Vision Platform.

Locating cameras in strategic locations around the plant facility, Think IQ can look at safety and correlations among activities. Maybe checking events of ship, store, manufacturing, looking for root causes. They offered an example General Mills has publicized where they recorded savings of $40 million out of oats for making Cheerios. They also avoided multiple recalls by detecting gluten entering the process before manufacturing.

An MES or other software may not always record every aspect of a process. Merging cameras with their MES, ThinkIQ can add much more data plus analysis to discover more problems. Their cameras do not do parts inspection. They observe movement and behavior generating what they call “Operational Data Streams.” Now ThinkIQ can combine data about material flow plus what machines are doing plus what people are doing. Operations does not need to ask operators to fill out HMI screen forms about what happened. ThinkIQ’s value add is intellectual property around AI/ML looking for patterns in the data.

From the press release:

The latest version of ThinkIQ Vision now has out-of-the-box abilities to detect and digitize dozens of common manufacturing events including:

  • Vehicle activities in receiving and shipping
  • Material movements and presence
  • Anonymous People presence and activity
  • Machine state and physical events
  • Andon light status
  • Safety violations
  • Values from legacy analog and disconnected digital displays
  • Values from stand-alone displays

HPE Announces GreenLake Modern Private Cloud and New Cloud Services

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced advances to its GreenLake flagship Software-as-a-Service platform at its Discover 2022 user conference. Below are the update summaries:

  • Unified experience across edge to cloud 
  • Deepens security 
  • Extends developer tools 
  • Strengthens capabilities to run workloads at scale
  • Transformed and modern private cloud experience with automated, flexible, scalable pay-as-you-go private cloud for traditional and cloud-native workloads
  • Eight new cloud services including backup and recovery, block storage, compute operations management, data fabric, disaster recovery, hyperconverged infrastructure, as well as industry-vertical cloud services for customer engagement and payments

“Three years ago, at HPE Discover, HPE committed to delivering our entire portfolio as a service by 2022,” said Antonio Neri, president and CEO, HPE. “Today, I am proud to say that not only have we delivered on that commitment, we have become a new company. HPE GreenLake has emerged as the go-to destination for hybrid cloud, and our industry-leading catalog of cloud services enables organizations to drive data-first modernization for all their workloads, across edge to cloud. The innovations unveiled today further build on our vision to provide the market with an unmatched platform to spur innovation and drive transformation.”

You have to give Neri credit. I was in the crowd three years ago when he made this audacious commitment to turn the entire company in a new direction. Not only has that goal been accomplished, but also customers have accepted it. The results reported have been outstanding.

In Q2 2022, HPE reported Annualized Revenue Run-Rate (ARR) of $829 million and triple digit as-a-service orders growth for the third consecutive quarter.