Updates from Honeywell

I am in a hallway of the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando attending my first Honeywell User Group meeting in several years. I missed a couple before the pandemic shut things down. More than 1,200 people here, so it’s a lively return to conference season. 

There were several announcements in CTO Jason Urso’s usual high energy product keynote this morning. The one I am reporting today deals with sustainability—of which they had much to say. Other announcements will discuss the future of process control and other goodies. I was also sitting on an update from Honeywell Forge (software) that I’ll tack on to the end of this report.

Honeywell Introduces Emissions Control and Reduction Initiative

This initial offering will focus on the detection and reporting of fugitive methane emissions to help users reduce production losses, improve productivity and comply with ongoing legislation.

Honeywell announced an Emissions Control & Reduction Initiative designed to help customers achieve carbon neutrality in a wide range of areas. The initiative will initially focus on helping oil and gas customers with upstream, midstream and downstream operations to monitor and reduce fugitive methane emissions, which are more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

By combining its portfolio of fixed, portable and personal gas detection solutions with gas cloud imaging cameras, Honeywell will provide customers with early detection of fugitive methane emissions, including the precise location of any leaks and associated data analytics and trends. Equipped with this data, users can act quickly to address leaks and other identified risks to minimize production losses and maintain compliance with legislation.

The solution – which combines wireless gas detector technology with enterprise-wide data management solutions – works in tandem with existing Leak Detection & Repair (LDAR) testing methods to improve the accuracy of reporting and increase productivity by enabling users to find production losses faster.

Honeywell’s methane detection capability will be available to customers in Q4 2022.

Honeywell Introduces Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse

Honeywell announced the Spring 2022 release of new offerings and enhancements to Honeywell Forge, the leading enterprise performance management software solution, designed to assist customers in accelerating the digital transformation of their operations. This class of offerings, which includes Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse, will help organizations simplify operations and lower costs by providing increased visibility to data as well as real-time insights, monitoring and automation. 

“Our new Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse offering brings a scalable and cloud-based solution to help distribution centers accelerate their productivity, predictability and transformation strategies,” said Kevin Dehoff, president and CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise. “We are proud to also introduce several enhancements to our current software solutions across the aerospace, smart buildings and industrial sectors, enabling enterprises to optimize asset performance and drive operational savings.”

Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse provides organizations with two modules that provide real-time visibility across their warehouse site operations and advanced analytics to reduce unplanned downtime, address recurring challenges and automate legacy processes. The Site Operations module features a dashboard that indicates how sites are performing against plan and helps managers identify repetitive bottlenecks and proactively address issues that may impact performance. The interface, which is optimized for tablets, enables enterprise benchmarking, monitors areas such as picking and shipping and makes recommendations to achieve daily targets. Users can use the Honeywell Forge Connect edge solution to connect devices and integrate with standard warehouse systems.

Honeywell is launching enhancements to other software across the aerospace, smart buildings and industrial sectors.

• The all-new Honeywell Forge Pilot Connect mobile app is our latest aerospace offering, designed to improve fuel savings while engaging flight crews in their companies’ sustainability and efficiency initiatives. The easy-to-use app works with Honeywell Forge Flight Efficiency to provide pilots with briefing information like historic fuel averages, debriefing information like trajectory analytics, and customizable KPIs and targets.

• For the commercial real estate industry, Honeywell Forge Predictive Maintenance provides near real-time visibility into buildings’ health & performance, and service cases in order to prioritize asset issues based on safety, operational and quality risks.

• Additionally, Sine occupant experience solutions provide frictionless access to buildings via mobile Bluetooth. Other improvements include new scheduling and capacity planning features along with occupant experience enhancements such as better feedback, information and wayfinding.

• UniSim Design now provides a common simulation platform for upstream oil and gas, downstream processing and sustainability. It contains new features for modeling Green H2, CO2 capture, transportation and storage. 

• Honeywell Forge Inspection Rounds offers new features for industrials customers that allow the capture of images and videos during task execution and the creation of reusable checklists to drive standardization across an organization. Other additions include GPS-enabled monitoring of worker proximity, enhanced capabilities for gaining insights from historical data trends and improved asset identification through NFC tagging.

• For OT Cybersecurity, Honeywell is rolling out a new Cyber Care services offering to supplement its Process Control Network (PCN) Hardening Service. After completion of the initial PCN hardening services to help industrial companies reduce their OT attack vectors, Cyber Care provides an option to purchase bi-annual onsite Cyber Care visits by Honeywell consultants for maintaining previously implemented networking hardening benefits and identifying potential additional PCN hardening settings for enhanced protection.

Honeywell Forge is a purpose-built software solution on a native edge-to-cloud, data-driven architecture designed to accelerate digital transformation of operations. Explore the Spring Release, learn more about Honeywell Forge, request a demo and follow Honeywell Forge on LinkedIn for the latest news.

Security Enhancements Headline Ignition Updates from Inductive Automation

Inductive Automation has released update 8.1.17. Key to this release are security updates and extensive upgrades for the Tag Editor. Arnell Ignacio provides an overview on the Ignition blog.

Ignacio gives the rationale for the security updates. “On May 12, 2022 many products at the Pwn2Own competition were successfully hacked, with the goal of using this information to make improvements and ensure customers are well taken care of. Security awareness is a must, especially in today’s interconnected world, and being proactive can help prevent potentially catastrophic results in many critical systems. Although it’s never fun to hear about security vulnerabilities, the reality is that the world is constantly evolving and security threats will always be at our doorstep. The most important thing is how we address these threats and the steps that we take to protect our systems.”

Inductive Automation has a process to assure users get the latest security updates through various means, such as nightlies, critical updates, and the release train. That’s why the company recommends all Ignition users update to the latest version of Ignition, which is currently 8.1.17.

For our 7.9 users, we have back-ported security fixes from 8.1.17 into 7.9.20, which is now available for download. To protect our users, Inductive Automation will publish a technical advisory 60 days after the release of 8.1.17 and 7.9.20 that will disclose details for most of these vulnerabilities.

In addition to the important security update, Ignition 8.1.17 brings a major update to the Tag Editor in the Ignition designer, and improvements to Perspective, Vision, Docker, EAM, OPC UA, drivers and the platform.

Prior to this update, when you wanted to modify expressions, bindings, alarms, and event scripts, the relevant tag information was moved into a new window, making it unavailable. In 8.1.17, we brought all of that relevant information back into the dialogue window.

The next several improvements to the Tag Editor help to maintain context when modifications are made. In Ignition 8.1.17, updates were made to the Tag Browser Trees, Category Panes, and persistence of categories.

We also brought back category panes within the Tag Editor. Prior to the current update, all properties were visible, thus making the view overwhelming and harder to focus on. With Ignition 8.1.17, the category panes group related properties together, making it easier to focus when editing specific items.

In Ignition 8.1.17, the Expression Binding editor will appear as a pop up. This will afford users a larger editing workspace while keeping the Tag Editor in view, thus maintaining context.

With a security update and a major facelift to the Tag Editor, what more can software development throw into Ignition 8.1.17? Well, plenty more! Let’s check out what additional goodies are found in Ignition 8.1.17.

Other updates include:

Perspective—Added expandSubviews and collapseSubviews component methods to the Table component.

Vision—Added “Login Prompt” and “Login Message” to the Vision Login project properties, which change some of the default text when attempting to log into an IdP from a Vision Client.

Docker Image—Added a GATEWAY_MODULES_ENABLED environment variable that can whitelist a set of built-in modules that will remain installed prior to gateway startup, which helps with container re-creation events.

EAM—The Collect Backup task now times out after 60 minutes of waiting for the agent to generate the backup, plus an additional 60 minutes to transfer the backup. In addition, we added a new system property (ignition.eam.task.collectBackup.transferTimeout) that can modify the transfer timeout.

OPC UA—The Ignition OPC UA server’s max session count is now configurable via a new Max Session Count property.

Redundancy—Failover to a redundant node is now allowed if the nodes have different platform versions, which allows attached clients to remain connected to at least one node during a redundant pair upgrade.

Platform—The audit log now records when a user logs in or out of the gateway’s web interface.

And many more.

GE Digital Proficy Historian Now On AWS Marketplace

GE Digital has been busy recently updating its manufacturing software. This news concerns making its Proficy Historian available on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Last January, I wrote about the latest update to Proficy Historian for 2022.

From the news release: GE Digital announced the availability of the world’s first cloud-native operational data historian available in the AWS Marketplace, Proficy Historian for Cloud. This cloud-based industrial data management software is designed to facilitate a more simplified and reliable movement of OT data to the cloud spanning from device level to enterprise.

The AWS Marketplace is a digital catalog that makes it easy to find, test, buy, and deploy software that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This operational historian provides secure encrypted OT data streaming to the cloud designed to reach up to 150,000 values per second per interface and to provide store and forward capabilities to protect against data loss if the cloud or network is unavailable. Advanced compression combined with proprietary file-based storage makes it cost effective to use in a cloud infrastructure. Because it is designed for the cloud, Proficy Historian for Cloud provides the benefits of cloud-based technologies including zero downtime upgrades, data replication, and high availability. Native interfaces to data lakes and other cloud-based analytics platforms combined with being deployed in the company’s virtual private cloud (VPC) enables more simplified data integration, shrinking time to value and reducing implementation costs.

GE Aviation uses Proficy Historian to manage OT data in 32 manufacturing plants. “Managing this amount of data is costly,” said Bill Andrews, Technical Product Manager, GE Aviation. “By moving from 32 distinct deployments to a single deployment of Proficy Historian on AWS, we can dramatically reduce management costs and downtime while improving value, scalability, and reliability.”

The company expects to reduce infrastructure costs by more than 20% and annual resources by $185K. The team will also improve system availability by eliminating more than a month of planned downtime and enabling a common data store accessible by thousands of enterprise-wide employees. 

GE Digital Updates iFix HMI

A few companies have doubled down on product development on the upslope of pandemic recovery, one being GE Digital. This is the fourth update in two months. It’s also my third opportunity to interview Gimmi Filice, but he pretty much nailed it in our interview reported here. Other news is reported here and here.

The key points include:

  • Object orientation speeds development in a centralized web-based configuration
  • Process industry companies are able to leverage templates out-of-the-box to create the right user experience and improve operator response for increased uptime and higher quality 
  • Reduced troubleshooting time with higher situational awareness

GE Digital today announced upgrades to iFIX HMI/SCADA. These enhancements include modeling improvements to support equipment variability, simplified browsing of PLC and control systems via OPC UA and IGS, and faster updates with the software’s Quick Installer. iFIX 2022 also reduces costs with improved single-server scale and supports cloud infrastructures to reduce hardware costs, centralize operations, and facilitate remote access for greater visibility and uptime.

“With the growing demand for our vehicles, we need our plant running with as much uptime as possible. We also are focused on quality and want the best cars getting to our customers – along with the flexibility to make changes such as paint color and trim,” said Trent Lester, Group Leader for Integration of Production Control Systems, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. “We use GE automation software throughout the plant for collecting data and giving operators the ability to see things before they happen and give them more reaction time. It allows us to do a lot more tracking of vehicles and identify any issues throughout the process. Management has a tool for making educated decisions on real-time data and historical issues the team may have to deal with and collaborate across all areas of the plant.” 

To help engineers quickly create the right user experience, iFIX provides modern sample systems to jump start applications as well as predefined objects and templates designed using High Performance HMI concepts. New high performance dynamos help companies save time building ISA recommended HMI designs and improve operator response. The enhanced modeling capabilities and object oriented approach significantly also reduces time for developing the SCADA database.

Inductive Automation Updates Ignition

I am seeing many companies large and small releasing app and software updates when they are ready rather than waiting for a special release day. Inductive Automation has been doing it this way with its flagship Ignition 8.1 SCADA/HMI platform. The latest release, 8.1.16, was just announced through the company’s blog.

This is also an appropriate time to thank Inductive Automation for its long time sponsorship of this site.

To whet your appetite to learn more about the latest Ignition features, I’m copying some of the blog from Arnell Ignacio.

As per usual, we’ve got updates to Perspective and quality-of-life improvements to the platform, as well as reporting and security improvements, and a little bit of something for Vision.

To better help our users meet compliance requirements, we added an Authentication Challenge concept in Ignition 8.1.16.

During a production process, there are determined points at which an operator will need a supervisor to sign off as part of the 21 CFR Part 11 regulations. For electronic signatures, it is required that a supervisor be authenticated to ensure their identity.

This new Authentication Challenge concept is made for those situations where an operator is logged in to an application and needs a supervisor or other appropriate party to sign off on something. The tricky part here is proving that the supervisor actually did the signing and was present with the operator. Normally, applications prove a user took some action by keeping a record of activity for the user, which can be audited at a later time.

Perspective is getting an exciting new feature in Ignition 8.1.16, the Audio Component. The Audio Component allows you to add audio to your Perspective projects.

Industrial Software Enables Collaboration and Continuous Improvement

GE Digital has been one busy organization lately. This is the third release along with one interview in the past month or so. The company continues to build on its platform not looking (so far) to bring it all together. I’ve only seen a couple of companies so far who have built from the ground up. This new piece of application software is a step toward letting its customers bring its data together in order to enable improved decision making.

Here is the short take:

• Updated software delivers actionable information with a cross-business digital operations hub 

• New portfolio-wide data flow editor saves time and increases visibility by automatically integrating and transforming data for IoT-fueled analysis and optimization 

• Code-free development environment accelerates configuration of rich web-enabled dashboards and applications through a library of widgets

GE Digital announced updates to Proficy Operations Hub, the company’s centralized environment for building industrial applications for web-based intelligence.

Proficy Operations Hub allows both developers and non-developers to quickly assemble displays through a comprehensive library of widgets and arrange them to provide responsive operator and supervisor visualization. Companies can define data sources for connected devices and create queries to access and transform data into actionable information for operations. Drag-and-drop design allows for simple placement and configuration of visualization components on the display, then dragging the query or data source onto the component quickly enables the data connections.

Designed as an OT business intelligence (BI) tool for any industrial environment, Proficy Operations Hub is used in diverse industries including water/wastewater treatment, automotive manufacturing, food and beverage processing, power and energy, and consumer goods.

As an example, ENGIE, a global company in low-carbon energy and services, worked with Control & Protection Automation NV (CPA) to leverage Proficy Operations Hub to accelerate time to value. The team developed and delivered an expanded remote and local monitoring and control solution. CPA maximized Proficy Operation Hub’s Rapid Application Development (RAD) capabilities in conjunction with the Proficy software portfolio to create reusable objects and High Performance HMI operator screens, GIS functionality, dashboards, and more.

New features in this latest update include increasing Rapid Application Development using cloud infrastructure with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), an expanded widget library for data display and analysis, and third-party systems integration enabled by OPC UA. The software also enhances OT BI with new visualization widgets for supervisory dashboards and a pivot grid for ad hoc multi-dimensional data analysis.

“Access to data across the organization provides faster response and better decision-making with centralized visualization, digitized processes, and data analysis in context. Ultimately that leads to decreased costs and time to market as well as lower maintenance costs,” said Richard Kenedi, General Manager for GE Digital’s Manufacturing and Digital Plant business. “These outcomes are the result of improved collaboration and continuous improvement programs that are key performance indicators in the industrial environment today.”