Bringing Manufacturing Data to the Cloud

Bringing Manufacturing Data to the Cloud

This press release is more than a little puzzling. GE Digital announces its Predix Manufacturing Data Cloud—apparently its own cloud platform. I would swear that I heard 18 months ago about a change in direction where it would leave behind its “not invented here” syndrome and rather than building its own platform from scratch using one of the several available cloud services.

Realistically, IT meets OT in the cloud. Predix Manufacturing Data Cloud exists to fulfill that promise.

Used in concert with a traditional Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Predix MDC gives manufacturers operational analysis in the cloud and greater flexibility of deployment, helping reduce the size of on-premises systems and make them run more efficiently.

“Most companies are only just scratching the surface of realizing their data’s potential. In fact, today manufacturers are losing the value of 70 percent of collected manufacturing data,” said Matt Wells, Vice President of Product Management for GE Digital. “Predix MDC delivers the power of cloud computing to manufacturers, taking the burden of heavy compute loads out of the plant, enabling users to aggregate data from across the business and run analytics that can uncover new insights and unlock even greater efficiencies.”

According to the company, Predix MDC provides next generation cloud functionality to GE Digital’s manufacturing execution system offering, Plant Applications, used by organizations around the world to track and analyze production execution and workflow, as well as manage production data and quality control. Predix MDC provides manufacturers with a secure, reliable way to ingest and store data in the cloud, speeding process implementation by up to 50 percent and giving users rich views into information captured at individual sites as well as the ability to run analytics and comparisons across various locations and data types, including manufacturing, enterprise and asset data. Additionally, MDC can reduce on-premise storage and maintenance costs, freeing up computing systems to focus on core capabilities. Furthermore, moving and storing manufacturing data in the cloud provides an additional level of certainty around data retention regulation compliance and auditing purposes.

It is built to support manufacturing across industries from discrete to process, across sectors like food and beverage, packaging, pulp and paper, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences.

P&G, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of consumer packaged goods (CPG), has been a long-time customer of GE Digital’s Plant Applications Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and is leveraging Predix MDC capabilities by moving manufacturing data and running analytics in the cloud. P&G has already gained a detailed, data-supported view into its manufacturing processes. The new offering is helping the company meet data compliance regulations and significantly increase the speed of its on-premise MES.

Predix MDC is compatible with any third-party application that supports REST APIs for data sourcing, user interface, visualization, analytics and reporting. General availability is expected in Q2 2019.

Emerson Acquires KNet Software

Emerson Acquires KNet Software

The acquisition pace within the industrial technology space continues. Some companies pursue partnerships, but most are growing their portfolios through acquiring. Emerson has been aggressively on the acquisition path. This action is another step.

Emerson has acquired KnowledgeNet (KNet) software from Tunisia-based Integration Objects. KNet’s unique analytics application software accelerates digital transformation initiatives for process and hybrid industries.

KNet is used to extract, clean, transform and analyze operational and manufacturing data. Using libraries of advanced statistical and machine-learning algorithms, the software consumes large quantities of diverse information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) data into actionable knowledge that drives real-time decisions to improve process and asset performance.

“Emerson has had a long-standing alliance with Integration Objects and has used KNet to solve complex operational challenges for its customers,” said Pat Fitzgerald, vice president and general manager of Emerson’s reliability solutions business. “We are excited to leverage KNet’s easy-to-use advanced analytics and automated root cause identification to provide differentiated insights into operational health to improve uptime and performance.”

KNet will be integrated with Emerson’s Plantweb digital ecosystem, which helps customers deliver measurable business outcomes from digital transformation initiatives. Combined with Emerson’s extensive Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Library and consulting services, KNet will enhance the comprehensive analytics solution Emerson offers to customers.

“Integration Objects is proud of KNet’s industry impact and excited to see the future of this unique software,” said Samy Achour, CEO and founder of Integration Objects. “The integration of KNet into Emerson’s Plantweb ecosystem will help companies continuously improve their operations by making informed decisions with the latest real-time data and expert knowledge, and migrate from reactive to proactive operations.”

“The acquisition of KNet’s application software will further enable Emerson to deploy our industry expertise and solution capabilities to help customers decrease energy use and increase safety, asset availability and production,” said Jim Nyquist, group president of Emerson’s systems and solutions business.

In addition, Emerson will hire several team members from Integration Objects and open a new branch office in Tunis, Tunisia, to support the integration of KNet.

New HMI SCADA IIoT Software

New HMI SCADA IIoT Software

There’s something new for venerable HMI SCADA IIoT software applications? While discussing HMI SCADA announcements at last February’s ARC Industry Forum, a friend observed, “I didn’t think it was possible for there to be something new.”

Ignition 8 from Inductive Automation saw its release April 8. We got a glimpse at the Ignition Customer Conference in September and again at the ARC Forum. Now it’s ready to go. My first training class on this type of software was probably around 1994. Looking at this release, I’d have to say that great advances have been made.

This is a major update to Inductive’s signature software platform that addresses industrial organizations’ needs for expanded architectures, enhanced security, and first-class mobile solutions. This version gives users a powerful new view of their industrial processes that is more mobile, customizable, scalable, and secure than ever before. Ignition 8 arrives along with the new Ignition Perspective Module. Ignition Perspective is a visualization system that brings new capabilities to mobile devices.

“We’re very excited to be sharing Ignition 8 with the world,” said Carl Gould, co-director of software engineering for Inductive Automation. “I can’t wait to see what people build with Ignition Perspective, which was built from the ground up to be a first-class, pure-web, fully mobile solution for industrial applications.”

Ignition Perspective provides full SCADA control from mobile phones, and drag-and-drop capabilities for designing mobile-responsive screens that are ideal for mobile devices. Applications built with the Ignition Perspective Module adapt to fit any size screen, from cellphone to desktop. It also enables users to leverage a phone’s GPS, camera, Bluetooth, orientation-sensing, and more. It runs in any web browser with HTML5, and requires no plug-ins. Perspective allows people to enhance their SCADA systems in new and creative ways.

Ignition 8 provides new capabilities for building enterprise-scale architectures. A faster tag system aids very large deployments, such as those with one million tags or more. Improved concurrent design allows projects to move faster. Project inheritance allows corporate standards to be used in addition to local modifications. Full compatibility with industry-standard source-control tools makes it easy to restore previous versions, resolve code conflicts, and track changes to codebases. And Ignition 8 was built with cybersecurity as a key pillar. It supports industry-leading encryption protocols, uses two-factor authentication, and also includes single sign-on.

“With all the new features in Ignition 8, along with the new Ignition Perspective Module, this is a big leap forward for users of Ignition,” said Don Pearson, chief strategy officer for Inductive Automation. “This software is really going to open up a lot of creative opportunities for people.”

  • Unlimited Licensing Mode–Add unlimited clients, screens, tags, connections & devices.
  • Server-Centric Web-Deployment–Easily deploy at one or more sites or in the cloud.
  • Modular Configurability–Use integrated modules to build the exact industrial application you need.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility–Ignition works with any major operating system, even iOS and Android.
  • Run Web-Clients on Desktop or Mobile–Launch runtime clients in any web browser with no plugin required.
  • Based on Open Technology Standards–Built on HTML5, SQL, Python, MQTT & OPC UA.
  • Instant Installs and Updates–Install on a server in just 3 minutes, push updates to clients everywhere, instantly.
  • One Universal Platform–Build SCADA, MES, IIoT, alarming, reporting applications and more.
  • Mission-Critical–Add fault tolerance for mission-critical systems by adding redundant servers.

ERP Installation Pain A Thing of the Past

ERP Installation Pain A Thing of the Past

I grew up on (ERP) pain. The quickest way to find unemployment was to be selected to be the program manager implementing the company’s new ERP system. Actually, in reality the death was long, slow, and painful. A new study conducted by my old friend Cindy Jutras lays the old myth to rest.

Ultra Consultants, an independent enterprise solution consulting firm serving the manufacturing and distribution sector, published an industry survey conducted by Mint Jutras, researchers specializing in analyzing the business impact of enterprise applications. The in-depth report resulting from the survey is titled The Real Facts about ERP Implementation: Busting the Myth of Failure, But Are You Overrating Your Success?

In late 2018, Mint Jutras surveyed more than 300 North American manufacturers and distributors, focusing on the success of their ERP implementations in terms of schedule, cost and return on investment (ROI). The study of ERP implementation success by manufacturers and distributors found 67 percent rate their implementations as successful or very successful.

The report findings show that previous statistics related to lack of ERP implementation success rates are out of date, and “flip the script” on often cited success rates from previous years. Highlights of the study include:

  • The Mint Jutras/Ultra Consultants study found that the primary reasons for success had to do with people and process, and not just software. Key success factors include top management support and change management.
  • Reasons for lack of implementation success include inadequate business process re-engineering and inadequate project planning.
  • While many ERP implementations meet expectations in terms of schedule, budget and ROI, the Mint Jutras/Ultra Consultants study shows a significant number of manufacturing and distribution companies over-rate their success and leave additional attainable returns on the table.

“ERP project disasters were quite common in the early days of ERP. It’s noteworthy that this study reveals as myth the once-cited high rates of failure in terms of schedules, costs and payback,” notes Cindy Jutras, President of Mint Jutras. “Solutions today are far more technology-enabled, easier to implement and use. Equally important is management support of the project, and change management initiatives.”

Notes Jeff Carr, Founder and CEO of Ultra Consultants, “This research study reflects the performance of current offerings of modern ERP systems now available to manufacturers and distributors. The report shows that the majority of ERP implementations drive value, are on time and meet budget expectations. It also reveals the importance of setting goals for a project, and putting the focus on people and processes, not just technology.”

ABB and Dassault Systèmes Partnership Unleashes Digital Twins

ABB and Dassault Systèmes Partnership Unleashes Digital Twins

Yesterday I tweeted ABB Chief Digital Officer Guido Jauret’s keynote at ABB Customer World that included the digital roadmap ABB is on including digital twin technology with a partnership with Dassault Systèmes. Then I realized I have not put the news on the blog.

This is an important step on ABB’s digital journey—something that has made impressive strides in two quickly moving years. Here is the news.

ABB and Dassault Systèmes announced a wide spanning global partnership to offer customers in digital industries a unique software solutions portfolio ranging from product life cycle management to asset health solutions. The two companies will provide customers an end-to-end offering of advanced open digital solutions, enhancing competitiveness of industrial companies, while increasing flexibility, speed and productivity of their products’ lifecycles, manufacturing and operations.

The partnership will combine the strengths of ABB Ability digital solutions and Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and build on both companies’ strong installed base, deep domain expertise, and global customer access. ABB has already adopted the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to model and simulate its solutions before delivering them to its customers. With this partnership, ABB will develop and provide customers with advanced digital twins, enabling customers to run ABB’s solutions and their operations with improved overall efficiency, flexibility and sustainability.

The companies will, in a staged approach, focus on factory automation and robotics, process industry automation, as well as electrification solutions for smart buildings. The first joint solutions will be showcased at the upcoming industrial Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany, April 1-5, 2019.

“This game-changing partnership will serve our customers to lead in innovation and growth, fundamentally transforming their entire value chain to tap the vast opportunities of industrial digitalization. Together, we are offering an open, end-to-end digital portfolio – from digital twin to asset health – that gives our customers a competitive edge, building on our combined offering, domain expertise and global reach,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “ABB is adding Dassault Systèmes to its strong partner network for industrial digitalization, including Microsoft, HPE and IBM. We look very much forward to working with the entire global Dassault Systèmes team to drive innovation and customer value.”

“The Industry of the 21st century is no longer determined simply by the ability to manufacture goods. Today’s leaders will be determined by superior mastery of technical know-how. This is the new competitive differentiator and it’s happening now due to a convergence of digital technologies that are transforming every aspect of industrial business,” said Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. “In this industry renaissance, a platform approach enables the real and virtual worlds to inform and reinforce one another. Our partnership with ABB will draw from decades of combined expertise to help customers make the most of this powerful and dynamic trend.”

In today’s highly automated industries, digital factory modeling and flexible, robotized manufacturing systems help businesses to generate more design iterations at a quicker rate with more robust designs. This, in turn, helps to accelerate the shift from mass production to mass customization, where goods are manufactured in a greater variety and in smaller batches and in shorter product life cycles. For many manufacturers, the cost of downtime has dramatically increased in recent years as just-in-time delivery has become the norm. An hour of downtime at a modern production site can cost more than $1 million.

ABB has already a strong digital solution offering within the industry through its offering ABB AbilityTM. It was launched in 2017 and offers more than 210 digital solutions to plan, build and operate industrial operations with higher productivity and safety at lower costs.

Dassault Systèmes works with companies of all sizes in 11 industries to help them meet new challenges in today’s Industry Renaissance. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform integrates all the technologies and capabilities that leverage knowledge and know-how into one cohesive digital innovation environment that delivers digital continuity from concept to manufacturing to ownership and back. Industrial companies can integrate the platform’s 3D applications to create a digital twin that captures insights and expertise from across their entire ecosystem, to measure, assess and predict the performance of an industrial asset and help optimize its operation in an intelligent way.

The ABB – Dassault Systèmes partnership will initially focus on:

Factory Automation and Robotics

Digital twin experiences for end-to-end optimization of processes and systems, combined with the flexibility of robotics automation, will give factories the agility to adapt to increasingly dynamic markets. This includes ready-to-operate manufacturing solutions and services, along with joint consulting for industrial business transformation, to optimize and speed the launch of new products. Electronics makers can increase the production of new but short-lived products quickly, while food processors can alternate between locally tailored seasonal offerings while producing at high speed. In highly automated industries such as automotive, the digital twin experience of factories allows an integrated design and manufacturing environment to support new assembly processes with flexible and reconfigurable cells. It also makes it possible to link separate systems, such as connecting logistics automation systems to robots at work on manufacturing lines that rely on precise parts delivery for optimal production performance.

Smart Buildings

The digital partnership between Dassault Systèmes and ABB around digital twin systems will enable a seamless workflow during design, engineering and operation of buildings, as well as connected sustainable transportation solutions. The available information, in combination with Dassault Systèmes’ virtual universe 3DEXPERIENCE, will also allow greater customer interaction during the design specification phases and operation.

Process industries: Mining example

Competitive pressure in process industries, such as mining, requires companies to continuously look for new ways to increase safety, productivity and energy efficiency of sites, while reducing costs and risk of daily operations. A digital model of the underground environment, in connection with mine planning and control systems, would allow to optimize energy consumption and mine automation, as well as enable mine operators to monitor and optimize production in real-time, while running virtual simulations of future scenarios.

More on HMI SCADA Manufacturing Software Advances

More on HMI SCADA Manufacturing Software Advances

The ARC Industry Forum witnessed even more HMI SCADA Manufacturing Software news last week in Orlando. Yesterday I discussed the re-write of Ignition 8 by Inductive Automation. Today two more items. Yes, there was room for improvement in this technology area.

  • AVEVA announced updates to (Wonderware) InTouch HMI, InTouch Edge HMI, System Platform, Historian, and AVEVA Insight products
  • GE Digital announced iFix 6.0 and discussed the new GE Digital

AVEVA Updates Monitoring, Control, and Information Management Portfolio

Company spokespeople said the updates are delivering edge-to-cloud integration and advanced visualisation tools, along with seamless access to advanced applications and powerful analytics. They also announced commercial flexibility with subscription.

With these capabilities available in a hybrid cloud model, customers can quickly bridge OT and IT requirements, create reusable industrial applications with rapid time to value, and drive operational efficiency with increased visibility across multiple levels of an organisation, in the discrete, process, hybrid and infrastructure industries.

AVEVA CEO Craig Hayman said, “AVEVA is committed to partnering with our customers to achieve maximum value from industrial digital transformation. We enable smarter decisions by creating innovative technology. The latest enhancements in our Monitoring, Control and Information Management portfolio, exemplified by the benefits delivered through the ADNOC Panorama initiative, perfectly illustrate how we are empowering our customers with edge-to-enterprise visibility.”

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) was cited as an example use case. The Panorama Digital Command Centre enables ADNOC to monitor and optimise the performance of its assets and operations across 16 operating companies (OPCOs) from their Abu Dhabi headquarters. This includes oil and gas development and production, through to processing, petroleum and chemical products to transportation and distribution

H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, ADNOC Group CEO, said, “The Panorama Digital Command Centre demonstrates how ADNOC is utilising cutting-edge technology to find new ways to optimise our assets, unlock value and drive efficiencies across the company. It provides a single access point to critical operational and performance information, facilitating smarter and faster decision-making and better enabling us to uncover new solutions.”

GE Digital Announces Updated iFix

GE Digital announced a new version of iFIX. Part of the Predix portfolio, the new iFIX 6.0 gives users the most informed view of the problem or task and secure visualization from anywhere at any time.

“We are excited to announce a number of powerful improvements to our iFIX offering,” said Matt Wells, Vice President of Product Management for GE Digital. “Building on our heritage as an industrial company, we are intimately familiar with the challenges our customers face every day. Industrial companies are looking for better ways to quickly build new SCADA applications, improve user performance and respond to changing needs while maintaining the security of the application. By leveraging standards such as OPCUA, integrated support for ISA alarm shelving, and enabling new web development tools, iFIX 6.0 allows organizations to rapidly build new applications while ensuring the stability and security of their operations and empowering operators to respond better to changing conditions in real time.”

iFIX 6.0 includes integrated support for ISA 18.2 standards for consistent alarm shelving and interface presentation, which enables operators to easily prioritize critical alarms to avoid spending unnecessary resources on less-pressing needs – helping plants to increase productivity by up to 70 percent. A new alarm summary grid allows operators to filter and focus on the critical alarms that matter, making it easier for immediate responders to review information and deal with the priority situation at hand.

Additionally, iFIX 6.0 now offers secure-by-design client connections with its new OPC Unified Architecture (UA) server – a machine-to-machine communications protocol for industrial automation. Incorporating the latest industrial interoperability standards ensures platform independence, meaning that iFIX 6.0 runs across a variety of hardware platforms and operating systems. Industrial organizations can now easily share data, alarms and events across supply chains with user authentication and encryption on iFIX 6.0.

“With iFIX, our operators are able to monitor system activity and respond immediately to any issues with full insights into what raised the alarm, helping us save time, reduce unnecessary downtime and meet compliance standards,” said Haley Lehman, Control Systems Technician, City of San Luis Obispo, Calif. “iFIX also allows us to get into the system from wherever we are, whether at home or out in the field. iFIX provides more reliable and readable information on demand, empowering plant operators to spend more time applying their expertise to the problem at hand and reducing the time spent navigating the system.”

iFIX 6.0 also provides new rapid application development features for HMI/SCADA, such as long tag names and descriptions – helping industrial users capture any hierarchy from their Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). Rapid application development significantly speeds the configuration and deployment of HMI/SCADA, reducing costs and saving time for automation systems integrators and in-house engineering teams.

The iFIX 6.0 high performance HMI is based on ISA 101 standards, further improving safety and performance with more effective operator graphics. Users can access their iFIX high performance HMI screens in a native HTML5 format, supporting operators from any location and on any device. This also provides a more intuitive user experience which can help reduce operator errors and improve response time to events and incidents.

Like all products in the Predix portfolio, iFIX 6.0 provides immediate value on its own, or can be deployed alongside other Predix products to drive additional outcomes across a customer’s entire asset or system lifecycle. From data ingestion and processing at the edge to process and throughput improvements to broad fleet-wide optimization, the ecosystem of GE Digital solutions provides simple, accessible options for businesses at all phases of their digital transformation journey, regardless of maturity or vertical.

In December 2018, GE announced plans to establish a new, independent company focused on building a comprehensive Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) software portfolio. The GE-owned company will bring together GE Digital’s core software business – including the iFIX offering – with GE Power Digital and Grid Software Solutions and will start with $1.2 billion in annual software revenue. Based on proven domain expertise and with more than 20,000 customers globally, the new company will provide a complete, end-to-end digital offering that will enable customers to go from generating insights to driving outcomes.

www.ge.com/digital

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