Honeywell Connect 2023, the user conference of Honeywell Connected Enterprise the software business unit of Honeywell, was held in Dallas this year October 10-12. I had been waiting for some documents from Honeywell and got busy. I’ve written several news stories from Honeywell Connect over the past six months. This Strategic Business Unit of Honeywell has been quite busy.
This event was sort of a 5th anniversary celebration. I’m a slow learner and it took some time before it sunk into my consciousness just what was up with Honeywell Connected Enterprise and Honeywell Forge. Honeywell corporately has five strategic business units. Four are vertical business. Honeywell Connected Enterprise is the software arm that cuts across all the other SBUs plus reaches out in its own right.
CEO Kevin Dehoff referred to Forge as the “premier Industrial IoT Architecture.” At a time when other companies who had touted IIoT were moving to other marketing slogans, HCE proudly discusses IIoT as the connected of the Connected Enterprise. I think they are continuing on the correct track. After all, I named my new website 10 years ago as The Manufacturing Connection because I saw that connecting things (and processes and people and businesses) was where we as an industry needed to go.
Discussion centered on outcomes. I also like that approach. Too many product companies focus on features. Customers are interested in outcomes.
Everything connected becomes a hacking risk. HCE acquired SCADAfence a few months ago to strengthen an already rich cyber security portfolio. Shortly after the acquisition, the company announced CyberWatch and CyberInsights. Expect to see growing robustness from the cybersecurity portfolio.
No software event can be complete without bowing to Digital Transformation. “Digital Transformation isn’t an event—it’s an ongoing journey.” HCE talks of technology augmenting humans. Another topic here is the potential use of AI as an enabler of autonomous control—another sub theme of the conference.
Some ideas in this vein include AI co-pilots, cyber forensics and recovery, closed loop sustainability.
Digital Transformation as the sum of process, people, technology, and data.
Sustainability continues to be a strong theme. Companies are continuing the trend from manual to automated data collection. Carbon and demand management continue as an important trend. HCE continues to see opportunities with instrumentation for monitoring emissions, as well as, applying process control technologies to mitigate those.
One final thought. The last session I saw was with Vimal Kapur, Honeywell CEO. HCE has been developed to solve customers’ big problems. Doing so, Honeywell is building the largest industrial software company. “Maybe we already have.”
This is interesting because earlier this year I was at the Siemens Digital event where executives extolled the division as the market’s leading industrial software company. The week following AVEVA held its annual conference—a continuation of the OSIsoft PI user conference. Meanwhile, Emerson has been aggressively promoting itself as a software company. Yet, Rockwell Automation had been touting its software for a few years, but it has become the “digital transformation” company for the past year or more.
Where will software take all these companies? Is this where growth lies? Instrumentation and control are stable, but mature markets? I wonder.
Is your knowledge or experience limited to your historian or perhaps also an SQL database? It’s worth your time following the variety of database products that may help you in your manufacturing digital transformation. This release is from MongoDB. I am retaining all the “about” paragraphs below the news in case you are not sure who this is and may want additional information.
The news in brief:
- New MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive initiative helps organizations deploy applications that use real-time data to optimize processes and reimagine end-user experiences with connected technologies
- AWS, HiveMQ, Share Now and Digitread Connect among partners and customers working with MongoDB in the automotive and manufacturing industries
MongoDB on Sept. 21, 2023 at MongoDB.local Frankfurt, announced MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive, a new initiative that helps organizations innovate with real-time data and build applications that take advantage of intelligent, connected technology.
MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive includes expert-led innovation workshops, tailored technology partnerships, and industry-specific knowledge accelerators to provide customized training paths designed for the wide range of use cases that developers in these industries work with—from digital twins of manufacturing facilities to predictive maintenance of factory equipment to highly engaging applications for connected cars.
To be effective, organizations need the ability to collect, process, and analyze high-volume data from different sources in real time—a process that is extremely challenging. For example, the data that IoT devices and sensors generate comes in many different formats and must be normalized, combined, and processed before advanced analytics can begin. Even then, many organizations often lack the expertise required to build applications that can analyze real-time data for use cases like identifying potential defects in vehicle fleets for safety improvement or detecting anomalies in factory machinery to prevent equipment failure. Because of the many challenges involved with collecting, processing, and analyzing vast amounts of real-time data, many organizations in the automotive and manufacturing industries are unable to build and deploy modern applications that take advantage of connected technologies to transform their businesses.
“The automotive and manufacturing industries are embracing a foundational transformation from manual assembly-line type operations to intelligent organizations based on software and automation. New vehicle drivetrains and complementary technologies provide access to vast amounts of data that is not only available in real-time but needs to be processed in real-time as well,” said Boris Bialek, Field CTO of Industry Solutions at MongoDB. “This industry-wide transformation is in its early stages, and many companies are just starting to figure out what they need to effectively collect, process, and analyze all of this data so they can make better business decisions and enhance end-user experiences. MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive accelerates this transformation by providing a set of expert-led industry initiatives to help organizations quickly go from ‘overwhelmed by data’ to ‘deriving valuable insights from data’ with modern applications.”
- MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive includes dedicated executive engagement with industry experts from MongoDB and the MongoDB Partner Ecosystem to ideate client-specific solutions using best practices. Innovation workshops are tailored to address the unique challenges and opportunities organizations in the automotive and manufacturing industries face so they can develop data-first application strategies.
- MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive provides access to MongoDB’s industry-specific partner integrations and toolchains to help accelerate application development. The MongoDB Partner Ecosystem includes systems integrators and technology consultants with industry-specific expertise—including AWS and HiveMQ—to help organizations adopt the right solutions for their specific use cases. MongoDB also works closely with industry-specific technology alliances like COVESA that provide open solutions for automotive industry challenges.
- Organizations can engage with the MongoDB Professional Services team to take advantage of automotive and manufacturing industry expertise to accelerate projects from concept to prototype to production in less time.
- MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive provides tailored MongoDB University courses and learning materials, including unlimited access to curated webinars and solutions sessions, to help developers learn how to quickly build modern applications for the automotive and manufacturing industries.
Partner program on AWS
- HiveMQ makes it possible to move data from device to cloud in a secure, reliable and scalable manner. “The HiveMQ MQTT Platform makes it easy for companies to stream IoT data from devices to the cloud to ensure they are maximizing value,” said Dominik Obermaier, Cofounder and CTO at HiveMQ. “Adding a pre-built integration with MongoDB allows our customers to eliminate the need for manual integration and harness the power of MongoDB for data management and real-time, application-driven analytics.”
- Share Now is a car-sharing joint venture between car2go and DriveNow with over 10,000 vehicles in 16 cities across eight countries. “We needed new versatile, automated database environments that could handle all of our microservices and database clusters without breaking a sweat. This would help us efficiently and accurately process incoming data,” said Stephan Kaufmann, Head of Cloud Engineering, SHARE NOW. “Deploying MongoDB Atlas was a seamless and pain-free project for us. MongoDB Atlas helps us innovate through integrating our data sets and back-end management while delivering better ROI than any other solution on the market.”
- Digitread Connect provides KYB, an Industrial IoT platform that helps track performance of machinery and industrial assets through sensors: “Time-series data is our bread and butter, and MongoDB made it simple for us to handle this,” said Christoffer Lange, CEO, Digitread Connect. “We were amazed by the simplicity and the performance. Using MongoDB Atlas really showed us that we don’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty details of how to treat the database. We got the solution live for our customers in a very short time.”
About MongoDB Atlas for Industries
MongoDB for Automotive and Manufacturing is part of MongoDB Atlas for Industries, a program that helps organizations accelerate cloud adoption and modernization by leveraging industry-specific expertise, programs, partnerships, and integrated solutions.
About MongoDB Atlas Developer Data Platform
MongoDB Atlas is the leading multi-cloud developer data platform that accelerates and simplifies building applications with data. MongoDB Atlas provides an integrated set of data and application services in a unified environment that enables development teams to quickly build with the performance and scale modern applications require. Tens of thousands of customers and millions of developers worldwide rely on MongoDB Atlas every day to power their business-critical applications.
Headquartered in New York, MongoDB’s mission is to empower innovators to create, transform, and disrupt industries by unleashing the power of software and data. Built by developers, for developers, our developer data platform is a database with an integrated set of related services that allow development teams to address the growing requirements for today’s wide variety of modern applications, all in a unified and consistent user experience. MongoDB has tens of thousands of customers in over 100 countries. The MongoDB database platform has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times since 2007, and there have been millions of builders trained through MongoDB University courses.
Emerson held a media/analyst presentation on its sustainability efforts. I remembered writing and swore it was for here. After much searching, I found a document that is my monthly column for Automazione Oggi, an Italian automation magazine.
In addition, Emerson also held a user conference called Exchange Immerse. The control and software organization held the event last week. I was not invited—budgetary constraints I was told. So, no report on the conference itself and anything happening there. The company did release a number of news items which I’ve noted briefly below.
Emerson recently gathered assorted media writers virtually to discuss its ongoing efforts with sustainability. Seth Harris, Emerson Director of Sustainability for the Americas, and Gerardo Muñoz, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager for AspenTech (an Emerson business), discussed how advanced automation ensures integrity across the carbon capture value chain.
Emerson’s Framework includes: Greening Of—how they improve internal performance; Greening By—how they support and enable customers’ decarbonization and environmental sustainability; and Greening With—how they foster collaboration among many stakeholders.
The emphasis of this presentation included energy source decarbonization and energy management.
Carbon capture represents an estimated 15% of total CO2 reductions by 2070. These are achieved through both direct air capture and point-source capture. CO2 is captured from emissions and processed for deep well storage. The process includes four steps. First is separation and purification of complex toxic gas to yield high purity CO2. Next, the gas is compressed and liquified to an ideal stable state for transport. The liquified CO2 is safely transported to its destination for, fourth, stored in stable geologic formations.
My question for all of you inventive chemists out there is can’t this gas be used as a feedstock in order to make something useful?
This looks to me as Emerson’s response to the user-pushed initiative for Open Process Automation. Emerson has not been active with the Open Group’s work. But obviously they feel the customer pressure for software defined and more openness with connectivity and potential for upgrade. These are significant advancements proving out Emerson’s tagline as a software company. I find that doubly interesting given that a competitor has dropped software from its tagline. One of my more popular podcasts discusses “Software Eating Manufacturing.” Check these out.
Boundless Automation Vision Drives New Technologies for a Next-Generation Automation Platform
Emerson announced the first of a series of new technology releases that build upon its Boundless Automation vision and serve as the foundation of its next-generation, software-centric industrial automation architecture. The new technology releases will transcend a traditional control system, creating a more advanced automation platform that contextualizes and democratizes data for both people and the artificial intelligence (AI) engines.
Emerson’s DeltaV Edge Environment will provide more secure ways to move data from the automation platform to wherever it is needed – data lakes, data scientists, analytics applications in the cloud, enterprise resource planning systems, etc. – without losing valuable operational context.
Emerson also announced the release of technologies supporting the increased bandwidth and intrinsically safe connectivity of Ethernet advanced physical layer (APL).
Its new DeltaV PK Flex Controller allows users to leverage subscription-based services to use only the technologies they need, with the flexibility to add functionality at any time. Subscription options also enable teams to reduce capital costs and shift expenses to the operating expense budget. As a next phase, Emerson will add more than 16 services to its subscription portfolio to provide customers with more flexible business models, empowering them to drive innovation and growth with ease.
Emerson has also added new software-as-a-service, cloud-hosted solutions to bring data from the edge into the cloud, helping combine cloud data with AI tools to upskill personnel and offset experienced worker shortages. Those AI analytics tools, including AMS Optics and Aspen Mtell, will help teams build models for predictive and prescriptive maintenance strategies that unlock the autonomous plant, while simultaneously creating a new paradigm of centralized operations where highly skilled personnel work in tandem with AI.
As expanded connectivity brings more assets, devices and data into the fold, teams will need more powerful tools to help them manage and use the information coming in from many different sources. Emerson’s Ovation Green solutions, including asset management and supervisory control and data acquisition software, represent a powerful suite of technologies to combine a utility’s renewable energy assets into a single management tool, unifying data and setting the stage for holistic automation across the power grid. Similarly, tools like AMS Data Server unshackle reliability data, making it easier for users to get critical information out of the intelligent field and into cloud-based applications for use by cross-functional teams.
Emerson Forms Life Sciences Executive Board to Advance One-Click Technology Transfer Initiative
Emerson announced a new executive board of key life sciences leaders to help define, review and demonstrate prototypes for Emerson technologies that will safely speed life-saving drugs to market.
Collaborating through Emerson’s One-Click Technology Transfer Board, Emerson customers FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Merck and Pfizer will lead the development of strategies, solutions and guidelines to convert today’s life sciences manufacturing recipe transfer process into a digitalized production platform. Digitalizing recipe technology transfer will reduce the time, effort and risk of managing, sharing and translating information to help get new drug therapies to patients faster.
Emerson will also open a dedicated research center to accelerate the development of One-Click Technology Transfer software. Located in the Singapore life sciences manufacturing hub that is home to 8 of the 10 global pharmaceutical companies, Emerson’s new research center will design, develop and verify the software and digitalized production platform.
Emerson’s One-Click Technology Transfer capabilities will help digitalize drug recipes and recipe management, from discovery and development to production at scale, providing valuable translations between drug recipe requirements and manufacturing processes while establishing best practices and creating a framework to unify disconnected systems into a holistic platform. The board will define reference data models and objects for one-click manufacturing, create the framework for a centralized recipe transport and translation platform that is scalable and extensible, and define and implement standards for version and quality control while simultaneously ensuring the overall system is easy and intuitive to use.
Emerson’s data scientists and software developers at the research center will use the latest computer software development technologies to perform rapid prototyping to test and verify concepts. The software platform developed through rapid prototyping will be tested and proven, working across the One-Click Technology Transfer Board company supply chains as appropriate.
The new board builds on Emerson’s globally recognized life sciences leadership combined with the industry’s most flexible and integrable solutions. Bolstered by its acquisition of the Fluxa PKM solution and AspenTech’s software capabilities including AspenTech DataWorks industrial information management software, Emerson is well positioned to develop the technologies and standards for a fully integrated end-to-end solution for the drug development pipeline.
New Digital Valve Controller First to Offer Embedded Edge Computing
Emerson has announced the Fisher FIELDVUE DVC7K Digital Valve Controller, a new design improving upon 30 years of field-proven innovation. The DVC7K features Advice at the Device technology with embedded computing and analytics that convert raw data into actionable information locally with Bluetooth capability, within the device. This means maintenance personnel can receive the data via their phone, tablet, or computer wirelessly without having to be in a control room at the plant location. The new valve controller technology improves the performance, reliability, and uptime of both on-off and control valves—and by extension an entire process plant or facility—in a wide variety of process industry applications, and provides the information required to create streamlined work processes.
Previously, digital valve controller data had to go to a host system to be processed and prepared for viewing, however, with the intelligence of this system, data is now accessible without requiring access to the host software. All information can be viewed at the DVC7K’s local user interface, nearby via Emerson Secure Bluetooth wireless technology, or remotely after it is transmitted via a wired digital network to a host, such as a distributed control or asset management system.
The local user interface provides indication of valve health at a glance via LEDs, and users can drill down from the interface home screen to find more information. Emerson Secure Bluetooth enables access to one or more digital valve controllers at distances up to 30 feet from any device capable of supporting Bluetooth, such as a smartphone or tablet. Whether the information is viewed locally, nearby, or remotely, plant personnel can use it to drive awareness of valve health.
Ignition Firebrand Award Implementations
I attended the annual Inductive Automation conference in Folsom, California with an inquiring mind regarding HMI/SCADA. What are people (and companies) doing with Ignition, its flagship software platform? Why after 20 years are customers still lining up to use the platform? I did the very beginnings of what is now called digital transformation 45 years ago. Why are we still so far from implementing it?
Two brief answers. First, there are always problems to solve. The problems solved here are providing information to people who need it in order to better operate whatever program or operation they work at. Second, the tools just keep improving enabling more problems to be solved.
Inductive Automation sponsors a competition among users culminating in the annual Firebrand Awards. Following are short takes on the projects that won. The link takes you to the overview page for deeper information. These are really cool projects that should fire your imagination for problems you could tackle.
IGNITION COMMUNITY UNITES TO BUILD HOMELESS MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM
Room in the Inn exists to provide programs that emphasize human development and recovery through education, self-help and work, centered in community and long term support for those who call the streets of Nashville home.
Room in the Inn (RITI) was using four disparate software packages, Excel, and email to run their operations, but there were still too many gaps and the logistics were too complex for the existing solutions. Vertech offered to build an Ignition application that combined all their software packages for their existing operations and included additional logistics features. And Vertech offered to do it for free. Over 150 volunteers from around the world participated in this two-and-a-half-year project to provide RITI with the solution they need to help serve the homeless community in Nashville, TN.
In what Chris McLaughlin from Vertech describes as “stupidity or altruism,” he offered to build RITI one cohesive software platform that would encompass all the existing functionality and add the missing features required to scale their service for the homeless. Whether it was the offer to build a multi-million-dollar solution for free, or Chris’ “charm,” RITI trusted Vertech, Chris, and his community of engineers to make a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) despite having never made one before. Ignition wasn’t the obvious software platform for a HMIS that doesn’t have any I/O or industrial equipment, but it was the platform Vertech knew, and it came with a community of volunteers willing to help.
After two-and-a-half long years and over 150 volunteers, the new Ignition HMIS system went live and was named Discovery by RITI (just a coincidence that it is being submitted to the Discover Gallery). Now over 40 people per day use Ignition to run shelters, manage operations, provide services to the homeless, and generate KPIs for continuous improvement. They are already using it as a foundation to add additional reports, auto-task generation, and features to improve the service of the homeless.
CUSTOM VISUAL TOOLS HELP BRING ANIMATRONIC CREATURES TO LIFE
ESM Australia was founded in 1996, originally to provide a repair service in the fields of industrial electronics for industry in Queensland and later around Australia. Today we have become recognized leaders in Industry 4.0, leading companies through the process of digitalization, allowing them to realize the potential gains that automation and data promises.
Creature Technology Co. produces the most technologically sophisticated, creatively inspired and life-like animatronics for area spectaculars, theme parks, exhibitions, stage shows and events around the world. Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2006, Creature Technology revolutionized animatronic entertainment through the production of Walking with Dinosaurs ‐ The Arena Spectacular. With a vision to emotionally connect an audience to a cast of prehistoric beasts, we used never‐before‐seen technology to set a new benchmark in storytelling through animatronics. Since then, our work has spanned the globe and the many genres of live entertainment.
Creature Technology Company developed and implemented the C-Tech 2 system with support from ESM Automation Systems (AKA ESM Australia) and Inductive Automation. The system provides theatrical technicians and operators with simple visual tools to modify or create interaction and motion of complex animatronics figures without needing to access or be experts in PLC, motion, or SCADA programming.
The drag-and-drop interface offers a friendly and familiar way to pull dynamic functions from a palette to a workspace and draw links between them to create complex relationships. For this project, the data structures, functions, variables, relationships, and even screen layouts and tabbed views are linked to a PostgreSQL database.
Beckhoff industrial controllers, connected to the same database, interpret configurations in the database into logic and motion control settings. The logic and motion control settings are used in conjunction with motion profiles generated by studio animation tools to create fluid, lifelike movements, and interaction of animatronic creatures.
After surveying potential solutions, Creature Technology Company determined that a custom Ignition module using a React library to create a custom Perspective component would yield the best results. With the help of Inductive Automation’s Travis Cox, a custom module was built using the React Library’s React Flow Chart. The module contains two components: the draggable node and the chart. Both components utilize Perspective’s embedded views for visualization on the chart. This enables full integration and use of Ignition’s features, e.g., pop-ups, tag bindings, etc.
The element palette is a database-driven flex repeater that contains all available elements as draggable nodes which can be dragged onto the chart. There are three categories of nodes: inputs, functions, and outputs. Inputs and outputs are linked to static elements, while the functions contain dynamic elements such as adders or setpoint select nodes. Each node is uniquely identified and has dynamically created tags. Once a node is removed its tags are also removed.
Nodes are displayed using a dynamic block template. Based on the database, a defined number of input and output ports, as well as custom local parameters, can either be exposed as an input or statically defined. Local parameters can be edited in a setting pop-up for each node. Ports can be linked using connectors to other nodes. Once a flow is completed from an input to an output element through any number of functions, a map is created to identify the order of execution for the Beckhoff controller. Lastly, for an improved user experience, tabbed workspaces and file operations were added to ensure operators can manage large animation programs more easily.
The improved user experience has been lauded by end users, who express overwhelming appreciation for the new drag-and-drop view’s ease of use. Assessing the UI mockups next to the delivered system demonstrates that Perspective is the ideal environment to connect industrial hardware quickly into a web-based environment which can be accessed anywhere at any time.
DATA CENTER SUPPORTS CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT THROUGH SCADA SYNCHRONIZATION
Vantage Data Centers powers, cools, protects, and connects the technology of the world’s well-known hyperscalers, cloud providers, and large enterprises. Developing and operating across five continents in North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, Vantage has evolved data center design in innovative ways to deliver dramatic gains in reliability, efficiency, and sustainability in flexible environments that can scale as quickly as the market demands.
Vantage Data Centers’ goal for this project was to design and deploy an Ignition Perspective system for multiple data centers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), used for both system control and monitoring, as well as supporting operational excellence and continuous improvement.
With Vantage Data Centers’ targets for rapid expansion in the EMEA region, they were challenged with “industrializing” SCADA deployments, namely building a framework and approach to deploying thousands of devices in short development and commissioning windows, all without compromising quality or ease of use.
The challenges Vantage Data Centers faced were all derived from the scale of the project:
- How to build and configure this many tags and devices?
- How to display thousands of different devices?
- How to ensure the system is vendor and communication protocol agnostic?
- How to create the above without compromising consistency and quality?
- How to achieve this in the time frames required?
- How to maintain a system so huge?
Vantage Data Centers focused on five critical areas while creating their Ignition solution.
To solve the issue of building tags and devices on a large scale, Vantage Data Centers developed a number of engineering tools. This allowed the deployment of tags and devices to remote I/O gateways from the project’s frontend, leveraging the redundant hub & spoke architecture and gateway network. These are fully configured, including the driver configurations.
Vantage Data Centers coined the phrase “universal pop-up” for the one pop-up they use for all devices. This pop-up evaluates the data structure of the UDT instance and displays the tag data accordingly. It is fully automated, works with any industrial protocols, and incorporates a number of features, including integrated trending, alarming, maintenance, and commissioning. This tag-centric approach to building graphical elements allows for high-speed deployment with excellent quality and consistency.
The operators and wider team use displays ranging from large wall-mounted monitors to tablets. Leveraging their library of icons, Vantage Data Centers is able to display each device in a simple format, with configuration of the template as simple as the UDT definition path. This allows for standardization across multiple-sized UIs throughout the region.
A modern, high-performance layout enables operators to access any device within four clicks. With a simple eight-color pallet, it is easy to identify issues with equipment.
Three layers of gateways have been deployed: I/O gateways collecting data from devices, frontend gateways where users interact with the data, and the regional management layer. Using the Enterprise Administration Module, Vantage Data Centers is able to monitor the health of all the systems from a single location, perform remote revision-controlled changes to projects and trend data, and monitor KPIs from anywhere in EMEA.
Since migrating to the Ignition Perspective system in 2022, Vantage Data Centers has reduced their development and deployment cycle from a few months to a few weeks. Commissioning of the new projects is now simpler while error and rework rates have been significantly reduced. Additionally, situational awareness has been dramatically improved by the end users.
IGNITION EMPOWERS BUSINESS EVOLUTION FOR LEADER IN WATER SUPPLY PIPELINES
2Gi Technologie is one of the oldest Ignition integrators in the world. As a Premier Integrator, 2Gi Technology has specialized in the digitalization of industrial processes for over 20 years. It is involved in SCADA, MES, and IoT, and can offer full turnkey solutions, including hosting and telecoms. Over the years, 2Gi Technologie has successfully implemented solutions in the manufacturing industry, chemical industry, and water and wastewater management. Thanks to its recognized expertise, including in large groups, 2Gi Technologie is occasionally active in Europe, French-speaking Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction, Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures and distributes materials and services for the construction and industrial markets. As part of this vast group (€51.2 billion turnover in 2022, 168,000 employees, present in 75 countries), Saint-Gobain PAM has been the leading expert in water supply pipelines for more than 150 years and equips more than 100 capitals and 1,000 towns worldwide each year with its range of ductile iron pipes, fittings, joints and accessories. It also supplies equipment for the municipal casting and building sectors, such as fire hydrants, manhole covers, valves, gully grates, and flange adaptors.
Saint-Gobain PAM has launched a business modernization program to remain at the highest level of competitiveness, and digital technology plays a key role. Saint-Gobain PAM chose the 150-year-old reference plant to demonstrate that leveraging Ignition as an enterprise platform could cover every need and that a team of 6 experts could successfully manage the entire transformation, including SCADA, MES, track and trace, quality control, and many other functions.
Saint-Gobain PAM has chosen to:
- Use Ignition with an adapted economic model that natively embeds numerous technical capabilities.
- To build a team of experts: Three in the Saint-Gobain PAM digital team and three in an Ignition integration team.
- To rely on the expert integration team at 2Gi Technologie, which has been using the Platform for 15 years.
Ignition’s Hub & Spoke architecture met every challenge, including security, performance, real-time data transmission, and scalability.
Ignition’s open standards made it possible to easily interface with third-party systems, including SAP and VAX architectures (designed in 1977).
Saint-Gobain PAM uses Vision, Perspective, and Perspective Mobile at the same time to keep HMIs adapted to use at the foot of the production line, in a “responsive” office environment, and in mobility
Saint-Gobain PAM achieved tracking by combining an RFID tag placed in the surface of the pipe and capable of withstanding high temperatures developed by its R&D teams and Ignition’s ability to collect and aggregate data in real time from various points on the production line.
This unique traceability allows Saint-Gobain PAM, after 15 years of various attempts, to track the detailed production of each pipe manufactured in real time.
Vision has improved quality control with simple and ergonomic HMIs with tactile input for operators permanently wearing protective gloves.
The strategy of building a team of experts to leverage the full power of the Ignition Platform has paid off.
In a few months and with optimized costs, Saint-Gobain PAM has a modern and open Enterprise Platform covering all of its digital needs in a manufacturing environment. The plant put an end to costly and imperfect paper-based information collection processes.
ALARM MANAGEMENT SYSTEM MAKES COMPLIANCE EASIER FOR BIOPHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY
For over 40 years, top manufacturers in food & beverage, CPG, and life sciences/pharmaceuticals have called upon Grantek to solve their most complex business and manufacturing challenges. Grantek automates pharmaceutical and food & beverage manufacturing operations, including integration with business systems for seamless solutions. Grantek helps customers meet the stringent requirements and challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Grantek is a system integrator and solution provider with a specialization in smart manufacturing solutions, manufacturing automation solutions, industrial IT/cybersecurity solutions and manufacturing consulting services.
For more than 130 years, Merck & Co., Inc. (Merck) has brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. Merck aspires to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world — and today, Merck is at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. Merck fosters a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operates responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities.
Merck & Co., Inc., the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world, requested Grantek’s assistance in building an alarm management system with the Ignition SCADA platform for its facility in West Point, PA. This solution provides alarm monitoring, historization, and a management interface for 10,000+ points while also delivering ad hoc and scheduled reporting tools to aid in the rationalization of up to 30,000 alarm events per day. Grantek’s solution, built with Ignition Perspective, also provides point change management and tracking tools to assist site administrators in maintaining the associated point metadata.
The system needed the ability to add various alarm data from existing Siemens PLCs and through OPC tags for different systems on site. To keep the configuration setup as simple as possible, all data was mapped through the existing Matrikon OPC Server. This eliminated the need to verify all tags back to the PLCs or other systems while also simplifying the overall tag verification for the existing system. Tags connecting to Siemens controllers were connected through the Ignition OPC Server.
The alarming system had to provide all levels of alarm management for the configured tags, and a variety of metadata type options. As part of the alarm system, the user needed the ability to enter comments for each active alarm that would be historized and available for review via reports and the alarm’s history. The alarm system will also work in conjunction with Active Directory to access a list of designated users and populate the given parameters that are made available. User profiles and characteristics also had to be created. Additionally, reports needed to be configured to be filterable by time (day/week/month), severity, category, and users.
Merck selected Ignition by Inductive Automation as the SCADA system for this solution. Grantek recommended Ignition Perspective, as it is uniquely positioned to deliver the results Merck wanted to achieve. The solution had a connection to 22,000 tags and 11,000 alarm points through an OPC/DA server architecture, while also providing a future avenue to connect 96 new Allen Bradley PLCs directly to the gateway. To ensure a user-friendly experience for Merck operators and managers, a real-time alarm management workflow was developed to allow operators to view, dispatch, acknowledge, and annotate unique alarm events through the life cycle of the event. Perspective views for high-density alarm summary and alarm history were also developed to let users perform advanced filtering of the alarm tables as needed. This feature also allows operators and management to view all relative metadata and response status in a conveniently docked pane.
This solution provided Merck with an application that enables well-defined management (dispatching, answering, annotating, and monitoring) of all alarms (up to 10,000 alarm events per day). Furthermore, the solution lets application administrators perform in-depth configuration updates to existing alarms points (and associated metadata including setpoints, sensor details, troubleshooting steps, owners, and various other details) and the ability to add and configure new alarms through the application’s frontend. Additional features included automatic notifications and report distribution, and a high-availability DB architecture allowing for historical retention of an immense amount of alarm information.
To provide more flexibility, the ad hoc and filterable reports let users view historical events in highly customized formats. This feature can also be helpful in the event of a regulatory review or audit. The UI tools allow authorized users to manage points from the system’s frontend. They will be able to change point metadata, alarm parameters, point owners, and specify users who will be notified by email or text if the point enters an alarm state. Alternatively, users can export point data to a CSV file from the Ignition Perspective application, make necessary edits, and re-import the CSV file into the application to modify points.
UI tools were incorporated into this solution to provide workflow for users to request changes to points while allowing system administrators to track the progress of the changes and record annotation. Grantek’s solution also provides AD integration and workflow so that system administrators can approve or deny new users or role changes.
CUTTING-EDGE DMS EMPHASIZES DATA CONTEXTUALIZATION FOR PHARMACEUTICAL ORGANIZATION
Skellig was founded in 2010 to experiment with the optimization of teams in the life sciences industry. Skellig clients experience a level of transparency and partnership that has not been seen in the industry until now. Skellig partners best with their clients by focusing first on being a place where great engineers can do great work. They built their business around solving for engineers, where engineers find fulfillment in the work they do and take part in opportunities that suit their goals, surrounded by great teammates.
Center for Breakthrough Medicines is a pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization focused on innovative cell and gene therapies. CBM’s integrated, comprehensive offering provides a one-source solution to accelerate speed to market for advanced therapies. CBM’s mission is to save lives by accelerating the development and manufacturing of advanced therapies. Services include drug substance and drug product for all phases of the product lifecycle at a single site. We provide many services including process and analytical development & testing as well as plasmid DNA, viral vector, and cell therapy manufacturing in an over 30 process suite, 700,000+ sq ft facility.
The objective of this project was to develop the Automation Infrastructure and Data Management System backbone for the world’s largest Cell and Gene Therapy Pharmaceutical (CDMO). Center for Breakthrough Medicines’ (CBM) primary aim was to automate data collection and contextualization while ensuring logical controls are in place to protect client data and proprietary information. The system will provide a platform for equipment deployment and integration, maximizes flexibility and redundancy while minimizing upkeep and maintenance, and incorporates cutting-edge automation and IT technology for expansion and future growth.
Development of the automation backbone is essential for efficient management of data, which, in turn, is crucial for business and organizational success across industries. CBM’s goal was to develop a robust Data Management System (DMS) and automation infrastructure to provide time-series and relational data archives as well as deploy process control capabilities for future needs.
The primary objective of the project was to automate data collection and contextualization as much as possible and make data readily available to all end users, including clients, enabling scientists to focus on science and business developers to focus on business development by eliminating manual data collection activities. In line with this objective, the DMS aims to ensure logical controls are in place to protect client data and proprietary information while still providing a high-availability interface.
To facilitate quick and easy equipment deployment and integration, the system provides a platform from both functional and validation perspectives. The system’s flexibility and redundancy are maximized while minimizing system upkeep and maintenance to ensure maximum efficiency.
The DMS is designed utilizing cutting-edge automation open-source technologies, including Opto 22 hardware, Inductive Automation’s Ignition SCADA platform, Canary Historian, and utilizing MQTT protocol, providing CBM with the tools and platforms for expansion and future growth. This architecture was designed with scalability in mind, ensuring that it can accommodate the growing needs of CBM as the company expands not just site-wide, but globally. The system’s capabilities also allow CBM to collect, record, and distribute data more efficiently, reducing the potential for human error and freeing up scientists to focus on higher-level analysis and scientific research. By incorporating all data repository and collection systems under one global strategy based on their data model, CBM has a streamlined approach to data management, enabling efficient and effective data analysis, quicker decision-making, and minimizing the effort of system expansion.
CBM’s DMS architecture and automation infrastructure are the most advanced in the pharmaceutical industry, enabling CBM to provide more services and data availability to its clients and giving it a major advantage over its competitors.