by Gary Mintchell | Nov 28, 2022 | Automation, Cloud, Edge, Events, News, Technology
There was Automation Fair and then meetings and then Thanksgiving. Plenty of time to digest everything I learned and experienced at Rockwell Automation’s event. They skipped 2020, of course. The 2021 event in Houston was abbreviated. This one held at Chicago’s McCormick Place resembled all the pre-Covid events. More than 15,000 attendees, lots of presentations and learning opportunities, and many Rockwell and partner exhibits.
I wrote a quick update with the themes I picked up. Here is a recap.
- Emphasis on partners working together—specifically Festo, Zededa, Stratus
- Connected Enterprise is still central, connectivity is everywhere
- Cloud is everywhere
- Use technology the right way
- Enable humans to make better decisions
The big three things Rockwell spokespeople referenced were FactoryTalk Design Hub, FactoryTalk Edge, and cloud. The cloud discussion involved Design Hub, Plex, and Fiix. Plex, the cloud-based MES software replaced PTC as the focus of software discussion. PTC’s stand, though, with ThingWorx and Vuforia, was constantly busy—so much so that I never squeezed in for a talk. Fiix is the cloud-based CMMS package. I think these were meaningful acquisitions that will add value now and in the future.
Specifics — Rockwell Automation Products
FactoryTalk Design Hub
Transform automation design capabilities with a more simplified, productive way to work powered by the cloud. There are five core applications.
- FactoryTalk Design Studio—cloud-native software product built from the ground up to improve system design efficiency. Teams can collaborate with automated tools to share and merge changes, and project sizes can scale dynamically with support for multiple controllers in a single project.
- FactoryTalk Optix—addition to the visualization portfolio, the first cloud-enabled HMI product to be launched within FactoryTalk Design Hub.
- FactoryTalk Twin Studio—end-to-end automation design solution where users can design, program, simulate, emulate, and virtually commission in one cloud environment.
- FactoryTalk Vault—secure, cloud-native centralized storage for manufacturing design teams.
- FactoryTalk Remote Access—enables secure connections to equipment.
An intelligent edge management and orchestration SaaS platform with an edge application ecosystem – based on zero trust security and open industry standards – accelerating digital transformation for industrial customers.
FactoryTalk Edge Gateway (FTEG)
Connects operational technology to informational technology. FTEG tools scan the EtherNet/IP network to discover devices.
FactoryTalk Smart Object (FTSO)
A simplified way to organize data for easy collection by the controller and subsequent transfer to IIoT systems. The FTSO Config Tool creates the base code for the tags the user selects to be included in data models.
On Machine Products
- ArmorKinetix distributed servo drives provide the Kinetix 5700 platform in a compact, On-Machine form factor.
- ArmorBlock 5000 I/O—Distributed I/O blocks with IO-Link technology
- Armor PowerFlex—A new generation of On-Machine VFD motor control solutions that provide an integrated, near-motor solution where reducing installation time and cost are most critical.
Specifics — Partners
- With the Festo CPX-FB36 bus node now recognized by FTEG, basic diagnostic information from smart pneumatic devices such as Festo valve terminals and energy saving pneumatic devices are easily accessible.
- Add-on instructions can be used by FTSO that access timestamp values for the extension and retraction of pneumatic cylinders. This information is accessible to FTEG.
- Data collected by FTEG can be shared with Festo AX software, the new AI solution from Festo that can improve machine utilization and quality, lower waste, and ensure energy optimization. Festo AX provides a bridge between advanced analytics arising from operational technology, such as that collected by FTEG, and IT-based business intelligence. Festo AX can run directly on the system (on-edge), on servers (on-premises), or in the cloud.
Zededa announced a supply agreement with Rockwell Automation to provide distributed edge management and orchestration capabilities—incorporated as part of FactoryTalk edge management offering.
by Gary Mintchell | Oct 21, 2022 | Edge, Enterprise IT, Manufacturing IT, Operations Management
My knowledge of Lenovo stopped not long after its acquisition of the ThinkPad line of laptops and other personal computing devices many years ago. I accepted an invitation to a press event recently. Good thing. I’ve been attending IT company conferences for a few year. Turns out that Lenovo is a strong competitor in this market. They amazed me with the depth and breadth of their product line.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary, they announced many new products. You can find several summarized here and check the website for more complete information.
- Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions V3 delivers advanced ThinkSystem, ThinkAgile, and ThinkEdge servers and storage with next-generation AMD, Intel and Arm-based processors, NVIDIA AI Enterprise software and enhanced Lenovo ThinkShield security
- New Lenovo XClarity One, a cloud-based, unified software management platform, provides an industry-first integration of TruScale Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Management-as-a-Service and Smarter Support analytics to simplify orchestration, automation and metering from edge to cloud
- Next-generation Lenovo Neptune warm water cooling and CO2 Offset Services help customers achieve their sustainability goals
- Supported by next-generation AMD EPYC, Intel Xeon Scalable and Arm-based processors, as well as AMD Instinct and NVIDIA GPUs and NVIDIA AI Enterprise software
- Lenovo’s next-generation of ThinkAgile V3 hyperconverged infrastructure solutions are pre-integrated with an open ecosystem of partners, including Microsoft, Nutanix and VMware software capabilities
- Three new Lenovo Microsoft Azure Solutions: SQL for AI and Machine Learning (ML) Insights, Backup and Recovery and Azure Virtual Desktop.
- The new Lenovo Open Cloud Automation (LOC-a) version 2.5 securely authenticates and activates leading ThinkEdge AI servers on site via a phone, accelerating business insights with a fully operational edge system within minutes or hours.
- Lenovo’s Modular Root of Trust helps protect, detect and recover from cyberattacks and digital compromises with bolstered tamper-detection and monitoring embedded into the chip design
- Lenovo System Guard ensures heightened security between manufacturing, delivery and deployment with advanced hardware monitoring
by Gary Mintchell | Sep 16, 2022 | Data Management, Edge, Enterprise IT, Manufacturing IT, Networking, Operations Management, Wireless
IMTS / Hannover Messe invaded Chicago this week. I drove down a couple of days. It was huge. Booths populated all four halls. I did not see everything. Or even half.
Hannover Messe (in Chicago) has co-located for the past three or four events. As in the past, the automation / Hannover Messe part encompassed a few aisles in the East hall.
I’ll have more news items in the next post.
Best of what I saw:
Nokia. What?! I was approached for an appointment. I said yes figuring on a 5G private network discussion. I was partly right.
Let me back up for context.
- Enterprises crave data to feed their information systems.
- Data from industrial / manufacturing operations were bottled in isolated, siloed systems
- Networking became robust
- Interoperable protocols grew
- The Internet of Things (IoT) became a thing
- Suddenly data could go where and when needed
- Automation vendors claimed connectivity to enterprise but that fell short
- IT suppliers, supporters of the enterprise, tried to enter the market with gateways, networking, partnerships and ecosystems to get the data.
- They couldn’t find the formula to sell to manufacturing (known as OT)
- We have gateways, databases, networking, but still no enterprise solution
- Builds off networking technology which has progressed to 5G Private Networks
- Has added edge compute devices
- Partnership with PTC (Kepware / Thingworx) for software connectivity
- Attacking this open market from a new perspective–both the enterprise IT side and the operations OT side
I am not predicting success. I never do. What I love about trade shows is finding this nugget of original thinking cloaked in the mundane. They have the foundation. Can they sell?
Check out this page on the Nokia site.
by Gary Mintchell | Aug 18, 2022 | Cloud, Edge, Enterprise IT, Manufacturing IT, Open Source, Operations Management, Software
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.”
by Gary Mintchell | Mar 24, 2022 | Automation, Edge, Embedded Control, Internet of Things
I have been expecting to see Arduino applications pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain. It’s been more like the occasional gold finch gracing the backyard birdfeeder. But advancements do come. This partnership between Foundries.io and Arduino along with the explosion of interest in Edge could tip the scales.
LONDON, March 24, 2022 – Foundries.io, the leader in cloud native development and deployment solutions for secure IoT and Edge devices, today announced its partnership with Arduino to deliver secure, embedded Linux IoT and Edge solutions for the enterprise with the Arduino Pro Portenta X8 (just announced today).
Arduino is an open source electronics company that manufactures open hardware development boards used by millions of developers around the world. It will use FoundriesFactory in its enterprise product to help customers ease development and deployment, reduce costs and accelerate revenue associated with industrial IoT and Edge devices.
“A few years ago, with the legendary Yún, Arduino invented a new category of products by combining microcontrollers and microprocessors on a single hardware platform. Now, we are taking this experience to the next level by providing enterprises the same flexibility, with performance on steroids thanks to the Portenta X8 (4x Cortex®-A53, Cortex-M7 and 2x M4)”, said Fabio Violante, CEO at Arduino. “Today, the world is different: You cannot think about a Linux-based device without anticipating the challenges of securing and maintaining it over time. This requires expertise, commitment and attention to every detail related to security and maintenance. For this reason, we decided to partner with Foundries.io to simplify this approach by providing a ready-to-use solution that can help our customers build systems with confidence. By embedding a FoundriesFactory in the Arduino platform, customers can be sure to choose the best solution on the market.”
The IoT market will more than double in the next five years, and the market for Edge devices will nearly triple with accelerated growth expected in industrial IoT, Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure and robotics. Among the challenges to realizing this growth and innovation for businesses are the security of these devices and the expense associated with building and maintaining Linux to support them. FoundriesFactory addresses these challenges with a cloud-based DevOps service to build, test, deploy and maintain these devices. It includes a fit-for-purpose, customizable Linux microPlatform OS built using best industry practices for security and incremental Over The Air (OTA) updates. Developers can build with freedom and ease, while businesses lower costs and reduce time to revenue.
“Foundries.io is in a unique position to advance Arduino’s vision for enabling enterprises to more easily deploy and maintain Linux-based products for IoT and Edge applications,” said George Grey, CEO at Foundries.io. “The combination of the Portenta X8 and the FoundriesFactory cloud solution will accelerate customer time to market, increase product security and enable rapid deployment and lifetime OTA management of customer devices and fleets, while giving freedom of choice for connectivity to public or private cloud services. From off-the-shelf to fully customized options, Arduino and FoundriesFactory are providing an industry leading solution for Linux-based IoT and Edge products.”
Users will be able to access a FoundriesFactory for the Portenta X8 hardware platform. This will enable users to immediately connect Arduino Portenta X8-based products to the cloud and start developing container-based applications, leveraging the device management and DevOps capabilities available with FoundriesFactory.
by Gary Mintchell | Dec 27, 2021 | Edge, Manufacturing IT, Operations Management
Many innovations and partnerships occur at the edge of the network today. Edge-to-Cloud is a term often replacing IoT for marketers. Litmus, a relatively new company, focuses on developing an innovative edge platform. I introduced Litmus here and I touched on this announcement here.
These hardware/software/platform edge partnerships constituted the trends of the times. This one links Litmus and Dell Technologies.
Litmus, the Intelligent Edge Platform for Industrial IoT, announced a new validated, end-to-end solution with Dell Technologies to simplify smart manufacturing at the edge. The offering combines Dell Technologies hardware and software with the Litmus Industrial IoT Edge platform for a resilient, scalable edge compute infrastructure that allows manufacturers to rapidly collect, analyze and act on time-critical data to improve operations.
The Dell Technologies Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge with Litmus uses Dell EMC VxRail and Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, which provide high-availability, AI and machine learning and high-speed connectivity for manufacturing edge applications. Litmus adds edge data collection, machine analytics, enterprise data integration and application and ML deployment at the edge. Scale is enabled via a centralized edge management platform that manages all IoT devices and services across all locations from a single point of control.
The Dell Technologies Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge with Litmus offers out-of-the-box connectivity to any industrial asset with more than 250 pre-loaded drivers. Pre-built and custom data visualizations, analytics and KPIs provide immediate insights at the edge, and data can be integrated to any cloud or enterprise system to power applications and feed machine learning models. The solution is integrated with the Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform, which allows customers to use high-speed data persistence and unconstrained data storage at the edge to train machine learning models without needing to send data to the public cloud.