Intelligent Wearables Solution Improves Compliance, Productivity

Intelligent Wearables Solution Improves Compliance, Productivity

I was working with controls, instrumentation, computers, software when I traded it in for media work first with Control Engineering and then with Automation World. Through a lot of those media years, Honeywell was one of the Big Four or Five in process control and systems. Over the past 6-10 years, those big companies have diverged into differing specialities. It’s been interesting to observe that part of the industrial market.

Honeywell began leveraging expertise of its various divisions into wireless, mobile, and wearables. Much of the emphasis has been safety with a spillover effect into productivity.

Wearables comprise a growing market category with much promise. I’ve had the opportunity to try on a number of different products. These increasingly solve real world problems with ever reducing interference in the real work of the person.

In this latest release, Honeywell announced that Braskem Idesa has adopted a hands-free, wearable connected technology solution at its plant in Veracruz, Mexico. Honeywell’s Intelligent Wearables will allow Braskem Idesa to improve productivity and compliance with process procedures, capture the expertise of experienced workers and provide critical insights and information effectively to trainees and support workers in the field.

Honeywell is delivering a complete outcome-based solution that tracks specific key performance indicators and integrates hardware, software and services, and a full Wi-Fi infrastructure to support use of the solution across the plant. The wearable technology will also accelerate training and ensure safety for field operators at the Braskem Idesa facility.

“With this solution, Braskem Idesa is embracing the digital transformation that will enable us to retain our leadership in the petrochemicals industry,” said Roberto Velasco Gutiérrez, industrial director, Braskem Idesa. “Capturing all the relevant expertise and data within the organization and getting it to workers wherever and whenever needed, will help get trainees safely into the field faster and ensure that every worker operates to Braskem Idesa’s best standards.”

A comprehensive range of applications from Honeywell will boost the speed, safety and reliability of field workers thanks to the following services:

  • Expert on Call: Provides field workers with live, real-time access to experts in the central control room or elsewhere for troubleshooting, support and advice
  • Video support: Enables users to view videos demonstrating key tasks
  • Paperless rounds: Provides step-by-step instructions for common and complex tasks

“Braskem Idesa has not only taken an important step toward Industry 4.0 but has now also replaced paper-based and manual operations with a sophisticated solution that’s both digital and wireless,” said Vincent Higgins, director of technology and innovation, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Industrial. “Wearable, voice-controlled computer headsets and software eliminate the need for clipboards, pens, and flashlights. Our offering will help Braskem Idesa capture expertise and document critical tasks to ensure operational compliance.”

Honeywell’s solution for field worker competency and productivity enables Braskem Idesa to tie its plant performance directly to the performance of its workers, critical to the success of any industrial enterprise. By connecting field workers with remote advice, Honeywell Intelligent Wearables also reduce the need for site visits from experts, empower workers to continue learning, become their best and effectively share their knowledge with peers.

Last of ARC Industry Forum Interview Notes

Last of ARC Industry Forum Interview Notes

ARC’s annual Industry Forum gathering provided an opportunity rare these days of meeting with a wide variety of people and companies. Today’s post summarizes most of the rest of information gathered not previously published.

Interestingly, IIoT was not a major theme. Perhaps it underlies the other things. Most of the time we talked security and software. This round up involves Schneider Electric, Bedrock Automation, Bentley Systems, Siemens, and ioTium.

Profitable Safety for Industry

Schneider Electric has announced EcoStruxure Process Safety Advisor, an IIoT-based digital process safety platform and service that enables customers to visualize and analyze real-time hazardous events and risks to their enterprise-wide assets, operations and business performance.

Safety Advisor is built on Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure SIF Manager application for tracking and validating safety instrumented function (SIF) performance over the life of a plant. It provides a single view into the health and status of the user’s safety instrumented functions, which helps to identify potential risks and their impact on operations performance.

It also identifies the need to take corrective action via easy-to-understand performance dashboards and leading indicators for safety health and then documents the entire process using an embedded SIF audit trail that supports safety compliance.

Safety Advisor enables customers to understand their risks within minutes, and then act decisively to drive better business results.

Bedrock Automation

Albert Rooyakkers, Bedrock Automation CEO, pointed to advances with Bedrock’s offering including “Zero Cost Software”, having an OSA Proxy, using MQTT Sparkplug-B secure, Role-Based access control, and a partnership with SI firm Wood Group.

Wood’s automation and control group will deliver Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA) to its clients in energy and industrial markets. Wood has active membership in The Open Process Automation Forum, which is focused on the development of a standards-based, open, secure, interoperable process control architecture.

“This partnership centers on combining our diverse capabilities and innovative solutions in automation with Bedrock’s OSAtechnology to bring open and secure systems to our clients, advancing our position as a world leading automation providerand bringing greater cyber protection to our client’s projects,” said Jeff Shannon, Senior Manager of Strategy and Development in Wood’s automation and control group.

Planning and Design Assessment Solutions for Grid Modernization

Bentley Systems announced availability of OpenUtilities DER Planning & Design Assessment Solutions that provide decision support and cost-based models and simulations for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) integration.

In partnership with Siemens’ Digital Grid business unit, OpenUtilities Solutions for DER empowers electric utilities, electricity suppliers, and distribution network operators (DSO) with software applications to analyze, design, and evaluate DER interconnection requests through desktop and cloud-based services, while supporting the reliability and resilience of network operations.

The solutions generate an electrical digital twin for utilities – a GIS digital twin that enables owner/operators to more efficiently model the grid for decentralized energy without compromising safety and reliability. Digital twins can provide huge efficiencies in grid operations by streamlining DER interconnection applications with optimized workflows to better assess operational impacts, long-term strategic scenarios and investment decisions.

OpenUtilities Design Optioneering advances OpenUtilities Analysis one step further with cost-based decision support for planning and designing complex utility networks with DER. The application provides the ability to analyze both planned and existing infrastructure, optimize equipment sizing, and estimate materials and labor costs for DER projects. This helps utilities minimize design construction costs associated with DER and streamline the DER interconnection process with detailed cost estimation included with the impact analysis studies.

ioTium

Finally, I talked with Ron Victor of ioTium. The product consists of a soft node on, for example, a Dell Gateway device providing baked-in security. It runs as server in cloud enabling easier deployment.

ioTium’s IoT network isolates IT and OT network and data, preventing IT traffic from touching OT traffic and thus eliminating the possibility of backdoor threats. Further, ioTium isolates data streams from different sub-systems, preventing a compromise on one sub-system from affecting any other sub-system.

ioTium’s virtualized edge platform enables deployment, update and upgrade of edge services across thousands of remote sites in one click from the cloud, making analytics, DPI, machine learning, encryption, compression and more possible closer to the data source.

Edge Computing and IIoT Platforms and More At ARC Forum

Edge Computing and IIoT Platforms and More At ARC Forum

Let me try to summarize a number of other news items gleaned from the ARC Forum featuring edge computing, IIoT Platforms, and technology. When ARC’s Paul Miller told me it would be the best ever, he turned out not to be exaggerating. More people, more news.

Stratus Technologies, known for years for secure servers, released an edge computing device. Interest in computing at the edge of the network has blossomed lately, with many companies releasing products. Lots of choices for users.

Integration Objects, firmly within another important trend, introduced an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Platform. I’m beginning to see articles about users latching on to these platforms rather than building their own ad hoc connections among IoT devices and applications.

UL discussed standards with me during the show. The company known for developing safety standards and then testing for compliance has developed also a security standard. And it tests to it for compliance.

HIMA is another company combining safety and security technologies. There is so much in common between the two–especially thought processes and planning.

Yokogawa has extended and rebranded its process automation offering, now called Synaptic Business Automation. Among other things, it has refined the dashboard into a “karaoke” style.

Bentley Systems discussed the combining of engineering design tools with digital photography and other digital technologies to better represent the engineering and design of a plant. This is the most cutting edge technology I saw during the week, but I cannot do it justice in a paragraph. I encourage a tour of the Website.

Last of ARC Industry Forum Interview Notes

Emerson Automation Strives To Enable Top Quartile Performance For Customers

Emerson Automation’s PlantWeb architecture has grown and morphed into a full blown Industrial Internet of Things platform. The redesigned and reinvigorated integrated architecture forms the foundation of Emerson’s new Operational Certainty initiative. This is the first of a few reports on the latest Emerson Automation news.

Steve Sonnenberg, recently elevated into the role of Chairman of Emerson Automation—the company formerly known as Emerson Process Management, introduced new Executive President Mike Train to the assembled customers and press at the 2016 edition of Emerson Global Users Exchange in Austin, Texas on Oct. 24. Train then introduced Operational Certainty.

The previous initiative was Project Certainty where the company strategists arrayed its existing and new products into a package that was designed to remove automation from the critical path of capital projects. These days capital projects are few and far between. Companies are scrambling to wring more profitability from existing assets. Therefore a new approach from Emerson that is obviously driven by its customers’ needs. Train says that this initiative will help wrest more than $1 trillion from operational losses globally.

Initiatives need benchmarks. Emerson introduced peer benchmarking on best practices to achieve Top Quartile performance in safety, reliability, production, and energy management. Top Quartile is defined as achieving operations and capital performance in the top 25 percent of peer companies.

The company is also launching a new Operational Certainty consulting practice plus expanded project execution methodologies and resources. Additionally, on October 24, the company will announce a new Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) digital ecosystem to provide the technology foundation for companies to securely implement Industrial IoT to achieve measurable business performance improvement.

A few examples of Emerson’s findings:

  • In terms of safety, Top Quartile performers had one-third the number of safety incidents as compared to their average industry peers.
  • In terms of asset reliability, Emerson found that Top Quartile performers spend half as much on maintenance compared with average performers and operate with an incremental 15 days of available production each year.
  • In the domain of production, Top Quartile manufacturers spent 20 percent less on production-related expenses as compared to average producers.
  • In the area of energy and emissions, the top 25 percent of producers spent one-third as much as the industry average on energy costs and had 30 percent less CO2 emissions.
Industrial Risk Management And Common Sense

Industrial Risk Management And Common Sense

West Virginia Oil Tanker Fire 0215 WOAYI am a conservationist.

What that means is that I have a lifestyle of conserving and preserving. Especially nature. It doesn’t mean that I’m political. Or even anti-development.

On the other hand, I have ceased being political. Whether I’m “liberal” or “conservative” (as if anyone really knows what all falls under those labels!) bores me. Don’t care for the discussion.

But it’s a weird world. Take industrial risk management. I guess that there are many “conservationists” who do not want to build the oil pipeline known as Keystone. They are afraid of oil spills.

OK, that means one of two things–either they wish to live in a petroleum-free society or they endorse shipping massive amounts of oil across our nation via rail. I’d like to see them accomplish the former. And look at the unintended consequences of rail-based shipping, especially when we as a nation do not really care about upgrading the infrastructure.

If you study the comparative risks, oops, looks like pipelines are a better option.

One of my economics professors used to say that people never really vote their economic interests because they are voting emotions. Interesting observation think about it. Maybe the conservationists are actually achieving the opposite of their desired outcome. Wouldn’t be the first time in politics that happened. Won’t be the last.

Now, I’d never tell you to rush right out and email your congressperson. Even if they had not voted already, it would be too late. I’m in favor of the movement to require congresspersons to wear jackets like those the NASCAR drivers do–there’s a patch that shows who all their sponsors are!

But I do think that no matter your politics that you should stop and think that maybe you’re supporting an outcome that is exactly opposite of what you think you are.

It’s a good business and engineering idea, too. Maybe you’re too stuck on an idea that you’ve missed the real solution.

Manufacturing Jobs on this Labor Day

Manufacturing Jobs on this Labor Day

Happy Labor Day (in the US).

We’re still debating automation vs. manufacturing jobs or something like that.

My friend Walt Boyes, who left Control magazine a few months after I left Automation World, is finally blogging again. He started about the same time I did in late 2003 or early 2004, but his employer moved it from independent to part of its mothership. Evidently as part of his leaving, he was able to keep the name, Sound Off. And all of us who know and love Walt know that the title of the blog is well earned.

He recently wrote about automation and jobs and the mess in Ferguson, MO.

There is no doubt in my mind that automation and robotics have eliminated some working class jobs. Many of the jobs, however, were dirty, dangerous and physically debilitating. We needed machinery to improve the lot and safety of the workers.

Have you ever seen pictures of early manufacturing plants? Have you visited a modern automotive manufacturing plant? You could never imagine that they are doing the same thing. I think we are going through one of those disruptive times.

And it is not all machine vs. human. Some is economic. The things that we (as a society) purchase have changed. We keep cars longer. We buy electronics on a six-month cycle. We are also entering a period of reduced labor supply.

Shortly the baby boomers will really retire. They’ll have to be supported by the “baby bust” generation. We are going to have to learn to do more with less. We will need robots to help the aging boomers in their healthcare needs. We won’t have as many operators and technicians. We may not realize it, but we are preparing for a new era.

Walt brings up the closure of an automotive plant where Ferguson residents could formerly work and earn middle class wages. It is closed. It is not closed because of automation. It is closed because clueless managers could not design cars that people wanted. They did not understand supply chain economics and outsourced manufacturing only to learn (I wish) to their chagrin that the economics did not support that. These managers cared not for customers or their own employees (hourly and salaried alike). I could write a book just on the ethics of the past 50 years of manufacturing management and the impact on society.

I bet miners would love some automation that makes work safer underground. And we would all profit from managers in the coal industry less focused on beating down employees and more focused on finding better ways to use coal that would be less harmful to the environment.

America does not have much of a “labor movement” like in the first half of the 20th Century. But we still need to pause and appreciate the efforts of everyone who works to provide us with a better life.