OSIsoft Brings PI System Software to Amazon Web Services in the Cloud

OSIsoft Brings PI System Software to Amazon Web Services in the Cloud

I’m still deep in cyber security meetings in Germany. A pause here for software and cloud news from the west coast of America—OSIsoft and Amazon Web services. Since PI is used by many industrial companies, these announcements reveal the deep acceptance of cloud technologies.

In short, here are three bullets:

  • AWS Quick Starts for PI System: enables industrial customers to quickly deploy and manage the PI System on AWS.
  • PI Integrator for Business Analytics: optimized for AWS to reduce time and cost of bringing operational and IoT data to AWS for sharing or advanced analytics.
  • Enhanced connectivity and data sharing to accelerate digital transformation and shrink the OT-IT gap.

OSIsoft launched a suite of products today designed to enable manufacturers, utilities, and other industrial customers to run the OSIsoft PI System on Amazon Web Services.

AWS Quick Starts for the PI System consists of AWS CloudFormation templates, scripts, and reference architectures for quickly spinning up and managing a fully functioning PI System on AWS. Customers will use the PI System Quick Starts for moving PI System workloads to the AWS cloud or for providing an aggregate PI System across an enterprise, monitoring remote or isolated assets and enabling data science efforts.

The PI Integrator for Business Analytics, meanwhile, has been optimized to extract, clean and transmit data from PI Systems and reduce data preparation tasks that bog down big data and data science initiatives. Some customers have successfully used PI Integrator technology to reduce the time consumed by data preparation in advanced analytics projects by over 90%.

AWS Quick Starts will be available in 2019. PI Integrator for Business Analytics, previewed at Hannover Messe earlier this year, is available this month.

Under the Hood

Quick Starts are built by AWS solutions architects and partners to help deploy solutions on AWS, based on AWS best practices for security and high availability. These reference deployments implement key technologies automatically on the AWS Cloud, often with a single click and in less than an hour. You can build your test or production environment in a few steps, and start using it immediately.

The PI Integrator for Business Analytics can integrate to Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon Kinesis Data Streams, enabling industrial customers to speed up their data science experiments, combine disparate data sets for business intelligence, and operationalize the outcomes of advanced analytics that augment decision making.

The Life of the PI System

OSIsoft’s PI System transforms the vast number of operational data streams from sensors, devices and industrial processes into rich, real-time insights to help people save money, increase productivity or create connected products and services.

The PI System can be found inside thousands of companies and complex industrial sites around the globe. OSIsoft customers have used PI System technology to predict wind turbine failures, increase output at an iron mine by $120 million in a single year by fine-tuning logistics, reduce the power consumed by a supercomputer center at a national laboratory, deliver water services to millions of new customers in a major metropolitan city, transform how medicines are produced and reduce the time and expense and improve the quality and consistency of beer. Over 1,000 leading utilities, 90% of the world’s largest oil and gas companies and 65% of the Fortune 500 industrial companies rely the PI System in their operations.

“Worldwide, over 2 billion sensor-based data streams are managed by the PI System with some customers monitoring over 25 million data streams.

“Data from operations—the information being generated by chemical reactors, transformers and other industrial devices—is incredibly valuable. Operations data will be the most valuable asset companies have for moving ahead of the competition in the future. Until recently, this data has been mostly confined to the factory floor or production line in part because of the size, scope and complexity of the data generated by operations,” said John Baier, Director of Integration Technologies, Cloud Analytics Practice at OSIsoft. “Working with Amazon Web Services, we want to unlock the value of operations data by eliminating barriers and bringing it to as many people as possible.”

www.osisoft.com

Rockwell Automation and PTC Launch Collaborative Offering

Rockwell Automation and PTC Launch Collaborative Offering

Wondering what Rockwell Automation is going to net out of its $1B investment in PTC that also netted John Genovesi a major promotion within the company? I have been. And here is the first release.

The companies have launched FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, powered by PTC, a software suite that enables companies to “optimize their industrial operations and enhance productivity by providing decision makers with improved data and insights.” The new suite delivers visibility of operations and systems status from one source of information inside the organization. The collaborative offering is the first to integrate technologies from both companies following the strategic partnership announcement in June.

FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, powered by PTC, improves connectivity to operational technology (OT) devices on the plant floor, natively supporting the rapid, scalable, and secure connection of the most commonly used industrial equipment. Combined with data from information technology (IT) applications and systems, decision makers can now gain a complete digital representation of their industrial equipment, lines, and facilities from anywhere in the enterprise.

“Our offering is unique in its ability to improve how companies capitalize on the IIoT by combining expertise from industry, technology, and plant-floor professionals,” said John Genovesi, incoming senior vice president, Enterprise Accounts & Software, Rockwell Automation. “Now we’re bringing innovative solutions from PTC together with leading analytics and Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) from Rockwell Automation for a differentiated industry solution.”

“We’re moving the needle on how leading-edge technology is applied in industrial environments,” said Catherine Kniker, Head of Strategic Alliances, PTC. “Manufacturers have seen digital technology rapidly change, but their execution continues to follow practices established for the legacy business. This bundled offering will help organizations accelerate time to value and reinvent how they compete by breaking down barriers across their operations through a comprehensive approach to operational intelligence.”

Included in this collaborative offering are the FactoryTalk Analytics and MOM platforms, as well as PTC’s ThingWorx Industrial IoT Platform, which includes industrial connectivity from Kepware, and the Vuforia augmented reality solution.

Key features of applications within the new collaborative offering include:

Intuitive, user-friendly interfaces that give users a view of the operations by combining data from multiple IT and OT sources and tailored to their role. An operations manager, for instance, can view overall performance of a facility, or multiple facilities, before researching the performance of specific equipment or factors impacting OEE.

Automated advanced analytics of IT and OT sources transform massive amounts of raw data into actionable or proactive information to improve performance and reduce the impact of downtime. Leveraging powerful artificial intelligence (AI) technology to simplify complex analytical processes, users can now proactively respond to issues ahead of any critical failures.

Augmented reality (AR) delivers more efficient and effective ways of looking at digital information within the physical world. AR enables more efficient training, wider knowledge sharing, and better first-time fix rates. Through the bundled offering, maintenance, for example, can receive digitized work instructions containing real-time performance and service history information so technicians can better diagnose and fix equipment correctly the first time.

FactoryTalkInnovationSuite.com

Awards For Best Application of HMI/SCADA

Awards For Best Application of HMI/SCADA

It’s not the technology; it’s what you do with it. Here are companies (and their engineers) who have done some cool projects with HMI/SCADA software. Inductive Automation has selected the recipients of its Ignition Firebrand Awards for 2018. The announcements were made at the Ignition Community Conference (ICC) in September.

The Ignition Firebrand Awards recognize system integrators and industrial organizations that use the Ignition software platform to create innovative new projects. Ignition by Inductive Automation is an industrial application platform with tools for the rapid development of solutions in human-machine interface (HMI), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), manufacturing execution systems (MES), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Ignition is used in virtually every industry, in more than 100 countries.

The Ignition Firebrand Awards are presented every year at ICC. The award-winning projects are selected from the ICC Discover Gallery, which features the best 15 Ignition projects submitted by integrators and industrial organizations.

“Once again, we had a lot of variety with the Firebrand Award winners this year,” said Don Pearson, chief strategy officer for Inductive Automation. “Many industries were represented — automotive, oil & gas, food & beverage, water/wastewater, and more. It was great to see quality projects in all kinds of settings.”

“It’s inspiring to see the creative applications people are building on top of the Ignition platform,” said Travis Cox, co-director of sales engineering for Inductive Automation. “Every year, people create some really interesting projects, and this year was no exception.”

These Ignition Firebrand Award winners demonstrated the versatility and power of Ignition:

  • Brown Engineers (Little Rock, Ark.) took a unique approach to improving the filter backwash process for a water treatment plant at the City of Hot Springs. Brown used the Ignition SCADA platform to dramatically improve the automatic backwash, conserve water, improve water quality, and initiate collection of filter data needed to extend regulatory run-time limits. See the video here.
  • ECS Solutions (Evansville, Ind.) and Blentech Corporation (Santa Rosa, Calif.) partnered on a project that brought a unified platform to JTM Food Group’s new state-of-the-art plant in Harrison, Ohio. The result was a SCADA system that included the full spectrum of process automation. The Ignition application includes material management, formulation control, batch processing, and process control. See the video here.
  • Open Automation SRL (Santa Fe, Argentina) improved operations for a Cargill-owned animal nutrition plant. The project used Ignition to increase efficiency, productivity, and traceability without increasing labor. Greater access to data, less paper, and improved product quality were just a few of the benefits. See the video here.
  • Roeslein & Associates (St. Louis, Mo.) helped global automotive supplier Dana Incorporated increase productivity by 30 percent at some of its sites. The project provided real-time statistical analysis and visualization of machine data to enable better and faster decision-making. The flexible solution can be leveraged by Dana in numerous additional plants. See the video here.
  • Tamaki Control (Auckland, New Zealand) created a comprehensive clean-in-place scheduling system for the largest yogurt-manufacturing facility in the world: the Chobani plant in Twin Falls, Idaho. The solution increased visualization and made it much easier for operators to share information. It can also be leveraged for other uses at Chobani plants. See the video here.
  • Weisz Bolivia SRL (Buenos Aires, Argentina) solved weather-related data-communication problems for the largest offshore oil operation in Argentina. Results included better access to data, easier reporting to a government agency, and streamlined processes. See the video here.

Information on all 15 Discover Gallery projects can be found here.

ABB Industrial Technology Meets The Cloud With Salesforce

ABB Industrial Technology Meets The Cloud With Salesforce

Dreamforce, the Salesforce annual customer conference, was this week in San Francisco. I should have been there. Along with 100,000 of my closest IT friends. But, my project hit a crisis and I didn’t travel. All is not lost, however, since I received this information about ABB and Salesforce partnering.

The first item of interest is that I went to Salesforce’s “small” summer conference in Chicago with 3x-5x the attendees of a typical industrial technology conference. Then there is the big one with 30x or more the size. It blows the mind.

Then I consider the strategic moves that the largest industrial players are making. Siemens nailed a couple of acquisitions to bolster its MindSphere IoT platform. Schneider takes a majority stake in AVEVA to integrate design to process. ABB aligns with Salesforce (see below). And Rockwell Automation spends major dollars for a small stake in PTC evidently for a tighter integration with ThingWorx and Kepware.

Although there was a lot of marketing buzz to sort through, what ABB gets with a partnership with Salesforce is substantial. The company under the leadership of Ulrich Spiesshofer for the past five years has staged a remarkable turnaround. Don’t forget it also bolstered its machine control / discrete manufacturing portfolio with the acquisition of B+R Automation.

You can see more by watching this Fireside Chat with ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff on the future of work and Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The stated objective of the partnership is for Salesforce to provide a single view of customers across ABB’s global sales, service and marketing operations.

The partnership will combine the power of Salesforce IoT, Einstein artificial intelligence, and ABB Ability, the cross-industry digital offering supporting an installed base of 70 million connected devices worldwide, to drive enhanced service and faster solutions for customers

Explaining Industry 4.0, otherwise known as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Salesforce states it is a wave of innovation and technology that is radically transforming every business and industry. It’s no longer enough for manufacturers to differentiate on product—they must also predict customer needs and deliver smarter, more personalized customer experiences. With Salesforce, ABB is unifying its CRM globally, across every region, brand and department, to embrace the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and help its customers pursue important, new openings for service, innovation and growth.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating massive opportunities for our customers, making the work we do with them to drive innovation and create value more important than ever,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. “That’s why we’re growing our relationship with Salesforce. The wealth of information we’ll get by unifying our data on Salesforce and combining it with our ABB Ability digital offering will allow us to use artificial intelligence and IoT more effectively, so we can anticipate our customer’s needs and write the future together.”

“ABB is undergoing incredible digital transformation and connecting with their customers in revolutionary ways,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce. “Our relationship with ABB is another example of the extraordinary power of artificial intelligence and IoT technologies to drive customer success.”

ABB’s expansion of Salesforce includes Einstein, Salesforce IoT, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud and Success Cloud advisory services.

Einstein will enable ABB to drive smarter sales and service with artificial intelligence. For example, ABB will use Sales Cloud Einstein for intelligence-driven decision making, automated data entry, identification of potential opportunities and predictive forecasting. Einstein Vision, used with Service Cloud Field Service Lightning, will be used to give ABB’s 15,000 field service technicians the ability to take a photo of an ABB product or component when they arrive onsite to automatically surface information about the product on their screens, resulting in faster, more accurate service.

Salesforce IoT will allow ABB to make data from its connected devices actionable and measurable. The company’s vision is to combine Salesforce IoT with ABB Ability so that its installed base of 70 million connected devices can use predictive intelligence, powered by Einstein, to generate and trigger actions directly into Salesforce. With Salesforce IoT and ABB Ability together, ABB will be able to improve customer experiences by getting ahead of performance and maintenance needs.

Open Source Faces Off Versus Proprietary Software

Open Source Faces Off Versus Proprietary Software

Two Polish software developers engage in conversation weekly on The Podcast. One wrote the original version of Nozbe the Getting Things Done app I use. Michael Sliwinski talked of using open source software to help him write his app and start his company. His Apple developer Radek Pietruszewski in episode 157 discussed how they wrote a piece of database code they dubbed WatermelonDB and released it into open source on GitHub.

I talk about the benefits of open source as an introduction to things I gleaned from last week’s annual trip to the Sacramento, CA area and the Inductive Automation Ignition Community Conference. Community was the operative word as the gathering of several hundred (I never heard an exact count, but the rumor was there were more than 600) integrators and users crowded into the Harris Center in Folsom for conversation, training, and updates.

On a side note, I’ve been unusually swamped with my annual project of assigning referees to high school and US Soccer youth contests. It seems as if half of the preliminary work I put in assigning before the season were washed away in an unusually wet late summer. Rescheduling is hell. Referees are tired of hearing from me. But I have only 2.5 weeks left in the high school season and two weeks beyond that will close the club season. Then I take a six-month break. Therefore, my energy level for writing has been sapped and the frequency here and on my podcast have suffered.

Founder and CEO Steve Hechtman betrayed his usual laid back demeanor talking about company growth and especially the latest release—Ignition 8—to be released in a few months. I have few details, but developers solved many platform problems caused by integrators pushing the envelop of HMI SCADA software.

Chief Strategy Officer Don Pearson told how the company has always embodied the OT/IT convergence meme with Hechtman coming from an OT background as an integrator and co-developers and now co-directors of software engineering Carl Gould and Colby Clegg were trained in IT technologies.

Pearson began the discussion of open source that continued throughout the conference. While Inductive Automation has always been a proponent of open standards—it still fully supports OPC UA, for example—it is also an open source user and contributor. The technologies strongly promoted at the conference were MQTT (a transport protocol) and Sparkplug (an information carrier in this case used to communicate Ignition tag information from source to consumer). Developer Cirrus Link has placed Sparkplug in the open source Eclipse Foundation.

Speakers talked with assurance about open source, but there was a thread of defensiveness in the discussion, too. Pearson quoted Maeterlinck, “At every crossroad on the way that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand men appointed to guard the past.” Eclipse Foundation Executive Director Mike Milinkovich proclaimed, “Software is eating the world, and open source is eating software.”

I like both open source and open standards. They both have propelled industry enabling innovation and limiting lock-in. I remember downloading the first Java JDK in the 90s and trying out the eclipse platform in early 2002. All pretty cool stuff. The Inductive Automation adoption of open source is refreshing in the industry.

Here are a few bullet points from the Carl-Colby show introducing Ignition 8:

  • Building on the past, but with a new beginning
  • New platform:
  • Revamped tag system to reduce memory overload
  • New scripting app
  • Subscription and data model
  • Extensibility
  • Dynamic writable UDT parameters
  • Deployment architecture, true project inheritance
  • Project resource management
  • Ignition perspective, new mobile module, built up from ground new

I really should add that while Ignition is very good software, most of the people at the conference told me that they were enticed into the system by the pricing. From the beginning, Inductive Automation decided to upset the software pricing model prevalent in the industry. It is a growing company…

Sepasoft

Inductive had acquired an MES company, integrated with Ignition, and has now spun it off into a separate company run by Tom Hechtman, brother to Steve. Its modular software includes many typical MES applications such as track and trace, workflow, OEE, recipe management, and more. Hechtman discussed a Lean Six Sigma tool kit. He noted the staff has doubled in the nine years since acquisition. It is an ISA 95 and B2MML solution. And also now a MESA International member.

Other notes from the conference

Table top exhibits from the conference sponsors were always packed with curious engineers seeking solutions.

Opto 22’s VP Marketing Benson Hougland told me they can’t build the Groov EPIC PLC fast enough for demand. That product combined with Ignition is a powerful control and SCADA platform—as sales attest.

Albert Rooyakkers, founder/CEO of Bedrock Automation told me that his sub-$1000 controller is selling well. Bedrock specializes in secure and hardened controllers—ideal for power, pipeline, and other such applications. He told me, “Secure SCADA with Ignition is coming.” His key word is secure.

Project Work and IMTS Update

I haven’t been here for a while. I do project work (when I can get it), and every late summer/early fall my for 30 years has been assigning referees to soccer matches. This year western Ohio has witnessed more rain than I remember. My rain gauge showed 11 inches from last Wednesday evening until early Sunday. (I know compared to the hurricane coming, that’s nothing. But if the rain from the hurricane hits us as it often does, then we will have standing water everywhere.)

Since Thursday, I’ve spent 8 hours or more a day reassigning referees to rescheduled games. Looks like things are calming down.

I drove up to IMTS in Chicago Monday morning. Walked 10 miles Monday and Tuesday, saw lots of people, got some industry gossip…and saw some cool technology.

In brief:

  • Sat in an OPC Foundation briefing—many good things are happing with the Foundation and OPC UA adoption and extension.
  • 3D printing has really come of age already as a production-ready technology. I saw many cool demonstrations. If you are manufacturing piece parts with complex geometries, you had better check this out.
  • Collaborative robots (Universal was everywhere) including Universal and Rethink Robotics are gaining acceptance and broadening the idea of applications.
  • Intelligent end of arm tooling for these robots is growing—I talked with OnRobot among others.
  • Marrying robotic technology to factory autonomous vehicles is a growing category. I’ve interviewed MiR a few times.
  • I talked with a developer with Energid who sells a SDK for robotics. If you need to design multi-axis motion coordinated motion, check it out.

I will do more in-depth later. Just taking a lunch break on the way back home.

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