AVEVA World Conference All About Digital

AVEVA World Conference All About Digital

I’m at the airport with my brain shot from all the (non-digital) information I picked up during the past two days of the AVEVA World conference in Orlando.

To be sure, this is the “New” AVEVA. It was formed when the existing engineering and design software company accepted an investment from Schneider Electric whereupon Schneider gained a 51% share and AVEVA gained the Schneider software businesses which included Wonderware, Avantis, InduSoft, and more. These latter companies were buffeted from one corporate brain fart to another for a while.

So, people now ask me, “How’s it going?”

These integrated companies seldom really work out to the extent that corporate PR would have you believe.

In this case, the integration probably exceeded expectations. The conference was well attended and buzzing with energy. I did not meet a customer attendee who wasn’t pleased with the conference and what they were getting out of it. Unlike many conferences, the breakout sessions were packed.

Overall, I am positive that I was seeing the fruition of visions I had heard from a variety of Wonderware executives as well as visionaries like Peter Martin and Chris Lyden from Foxboro (once a part of Invensys and combined–sort of–with Wonderware).

When my brain can wrap around all that I learned, I’ll post many details of the various parts–Engineering, Monitoring and Control, Planning and Operations, and Asset Performance.

My last interview was with Patrick Pando, VP of Cloud sales, who left me with one last tidbit, “Artificial Intelligence isn’t a thing. It’s what we have before we have solved the problem, at which time it is merely the solution.”

Like my last podcast where I pondered AI, which, I said, is neither artificial or intelligence.

You can see pictures and some comments on my Twitter stream @garymintchell and #AVEVAWorld.

AVEVA World Conference All About Digital

Taking a Digital Journey

Keynoters have a tough time with originality these Digital Days with everyone emphasizing Digital Transformation. Steve Lomholt-Thomson, chief revenue officer of AVEVA, took us on a Digital Journey this morning. Setting the tone of the three days of AVEVA World Congress (North America edition).

Three technology trends to watch: an IoT boom; cloud/empowered edge; and, AI / ML. The theme is digital. The Digital Organization discovers its Digital DNA, figures out how to build that Digital DNA through people who challenge the status quo; and then figures out how to track talent flow.

Which all starts us on our Digital Journey. On this journey, we unify end-to-end data, connect data silos taking an wholistic view of the business, and then visualize our assets and supply chain. I believe implied in all this is the company’s product AVEVA System Platform. The company touted six customer stories with at least five of them (and probably the sixth) all leveraging System Platform.

Oh, and the only time the “W” word was used referred to past tense.

Other areas of the company were highlighted:

Focus on assets–asset performance management including how to use machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) for predictive analytics (predictive maintenance.

How to combine it all into a Digital Twin–bringing the design lifecycle and physical lifecycle into congruence.

Recently hired head of North America business, Christine Harding, interviewed customers from Campbell’s (soup/snacks), Quantum Solutions (integration project at St. Louis/Lambert airport), and Suncor (Canadian oil sands).

I have the rest of today and then tomorrow to take deeper dives into many of these topics. If there is anything you want me to ask, send a note.

AVEVA World Conference All About Digital

Acquisitions Bolster Incumbents Further Consolidate Industry

The IT architecture of industrial / manufacturing applications increasingly boosts the role of cloud and edge. These technologies have become core to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and improved Software as a Service (SaaS).

These recent acquisition news items reflect the acceleration of the trend. One is from Siemens and the other PTC.

Siemens plans acquisition of Edge technology

In brief:

  • Siemens further expands its digitalization portfolio for industry
  • Technology basis is the Docker IT standard
  • Siemens Industrial Edge ecosystem enables easy and flexible use of Edge apps

Siemens is planning the acquisition of Edge technology from the US company Pixeom. With this action, Siemens is strengthening its Industrial Edge portfolio by adding software components for Edge runtime and for device management. Siemens Industrial Edge provides an ecosystem, which enables the flexible provision and use of apps. This means for example that appropriate apps can analyze data locally at the machine and send relevant data to the higher-level Industrial Edge Management System for global analytics. With this acquisition, Siemens is driving forward the expansion of its Digital Enterprise portfolio and the integration of cutting-edge technologies for the digital transformation of industry.

With the resulting Industrial Edge ecosystem, industrial companies can use production data even more efficiently and react more flexibly to changes in conditions.

Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO of Siemens’ Factory Automation Business Unit, explains: “Cutting edge technologies such as Edge Computing open up new scope for automation. With Siemens Industrial Edge, we are creating an open edge ecosystem which offers benefits for companies of any size.”

Siemens is using Docker standard container technology: the provision of apps in the management system will therefore be just as simple as functional upgrades and updates of Edge devices in the factory from a central point.

Siemens intends to acquire this technology from Pixeom and use it in the Factory Automation Business Unit, which is part of Siemens Digital Industries. Pixeom has sites in San José, California and Udaipur, India and employs 81 people worldwide. Closing of the transaction is planned for the fourth quarter of 2019. Both companies have agreed not to comment on the financial details of the transaction.

PTC Makes SaaS Acquisition

I sat in on the analysts/press conference where PTC president and CEO Jim Heppelmann discussed the reason for this announced acquisition of Onshape, creators of the “first” Software as a Service product development platform. The company had also just released fourth quarter results. PTC has a little more than $1 billion in revenues, with about 45% CAD and 35% PLM. Interestingly, the IoT business contributes just over 10% of revenues.

Onshape’s product development platform unites computer aided design (CAD) with data management and collaboration tools, for approximately $470 million, net of cash acquired. The acquisition is expected to accelerate PTC’s ability to attract new customers with a SaaS-based product offering and position the company to capitalize on the inevitable industry transition to SaaS. Heppelmann believes that that cloud-based SaaS is the future of CAD. Pending regulatory approval and satisfaction of other closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed in November 2019.

Located in Cambridge, MA, Onshape was founded in 2012 by CAD pioneers and tech legends, including Jon Hirschtick, John McEleney, and Dave Corcoran, inventors and former executives of SolidWorks. Onshape has secured more than $150 million in funding from leading venture capital firms and has more than 5,000 subscribers around the world. The company’s software offering is delivered in a SaaS model, making it accessible from any connected location or device, eliminating the need for costly hardware and administrative staff to maintain. Distributed and mobile teams of designers, engineers, and others can benefit from the product’s cloud nature, enabling them to improve collaboration and to dramatically reduce the time needed to bring new products to market – while simultaneously staying current with the latest software.

“PTC has earned a reputation for successfully pursuing new innovations that drive corporate growth,” said Heppelmann. “Building on the strong momentum we have with our on-premises CAD and PLM businesses, we look to our future and see a new growth play with SaaS.”

This acquisition is the logical next step in PTC’s overall evolution to a recurring revenue business model, the first step of which was the company’s successful transition to subscription licensing, completed in January 2019. The SaaS model, while nascent in the CAD and PLM market, is rapidly becoming industry best practice across most other software domains.

“Today, we see small and medium-sized CAD customers in the high-growth part of the CAD market shifting their interest toward SaaS delivery models, and we expect interest from larger customers to grow over time,” continued Heppelmann. “The acquisition of Onshape complements our on-premises business with the industry’s only proven, scalable pure SaaS platform, which we expect will open new CAD and PLM growth opportunities while positioning PTC to be the leader as the market transitions toward the SaaS model.”

For customers, the SaaS model enables faster work, improved collaboration and innovation, with lower up-front costs and with no IT infrastructure to administer and maintain. For software providers, the SaaS model has been proven to generate a more stable and predictable revenue stream, increase customer loyalty as customers benefit from earlier adoption of technology innovations, and enable expansions into new segments and geographies.

“At Onshape, we share PTC’s vision for helping organizations transform the way they develop products,” said Jon Hirschtick, CEO and co-founder, Onshape. “We and PTC believe that the product development industry is nearing the ‘tipping point’ for SaaS adoption of CAD and data management tools. We look forward to empowering the customers we serve with the latest innovations to improve their competitive positions.”

Onshape will operate as a business unit within PTC, with current management reporting directly to Heppelmann.

Inductive Automation Announces Ignition Firebrand Awards

Inductive Automation Announces Ignition Firebrand Awards

Inductive Automation has selected the recipients of its Ignition Firebrand Awards for 2019. The announcements were made at the Ignition Community Conference (ICC), which took place September 17-19. I get to see the poster displays and chat with the companies at ICC. I love the technology developers, but it’s fascinating to talk with people who actually use the products.

[Disclaimer: Inductive Automation is a long-time and much appreciated sponsor of The Manufacturing Connection. If you are a supplier, you, too, could be a sponsor. Contact me for more details. You would benefit from great visibility.]

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 award-winning projects this year were really impressive,” said Don Pearson, chief strategy officer for Inductive Automation. “Many of them featured Ignition 8 and the new Ignition Perspective Module, both of which were released just six months ago. We were really impressed with how quickly people were able to create great projects with the new capabilities.”

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

  • Brock Solutions worked with the Dublin Airport in Ireland to replace the baggage handling system in Terminal 2. The new system has 100,000 tags and is the largest Ignition-controlled airport baggage handling system in the world.
  • Corso Systems & SCS Engineers partnered on a pilot project for the landfill gas system of San Bernardino County, California. The pilot was so successful, it will be expanded to 27 other county sites. It provides a scalable platform with strong mobile capabilities from Ignition 8 and Ignition Perspective, plus 3D imaging from drone video and virtual reality applications.
  • ESM Australia developed a scalable asset management system to monitor performance and meet service requirements for a client with systems deployed all over Australia. The solution leveraged Ignition 8, Ignition Perspective, MQTT, and legacy FTP-enabled gateways in the field.
  • H2O Innovation & Automation Station partnered to create a SCADA system for the first membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment plant in Arkansas. The new system for the City of Decatur shares real-time data with neighboring water agencies as well as the mayor.
  • Industrial Networking Solutions created a new oil & gas SCADA system in just six months for 37 sites at ARB Midstream. The solution included hardware upgrades, a new control room, and a diverse collection of technologies with cloud-hosted SCADA, MQTT, Ignition Edge, and SD-WAN.
  • MTech Engineering developed an advanced real-time monitoring and control system for the largest data center campus in Italy. The project for Aruba S.p.A. had to work with huge amounts of data — and was done at a much lower cost than was possible with any other SCADA solution.
  • NLS Engineering created a single, powerful operations and management platform for more than 30 solar-power sites for Ecoplexus, a leader in renewable energy systems. The solution provided deep data acquisition, included more than 100,000 tags, and led to the creation of a platform that can be offered to other clients.
  • Streamline Innovations used Ignition, Ignition Edge, Ignition Perspective, and MQTT, to facilitate the automation of natural gas treating units that convert extremely toxic hydrogen sulfide into fertilizer-grade sulfur. The solution increased uptime, reduced costs, and provided access to much more data than Streamline had seen previously.
AVEVA World Conference All About Digital

Integrating Engineering and Project Execution

The design engineering function originates data. It includes data about the structure of the plant or factory, data about the equipment and processes used to make the product, and data about the product(s) itself. In my early career, I embodied the movement of the data from design to operations and then back to design in a continuous loop of as designed—>as built—>as designed. I was also involved for a while in the development of a platform to automate this process using standards.

To say I’m interested in this area would be an understatement. And this process is important to all of you, too. Including those who siphon off some data for other uses such as accounting, customer service, maintenance, and reliability.

AVEVA, the integration of its iconic design engineering software and Schneider Electric’s software business, just introduced integrated engineering software designed to help customers transform the way capital projects are engineered, executed, and integrated into operations and maintenance.

The integrated portfolio comprises three software solutions. AVEVA Unified Engineering integrates process design with front-end engineering and detailed 3D based design. AVEVA Unified Project Execution links and streamlines procurement and construction processes for capital projects. AVEVA Enterprise Learning enables the rapid skilling of operators and engineers using Extended Reality (XR) and simulation tools, to ensure efficient startups and shutdowns, normal operations, and the ability to handle abnormal situations

“This launch builds on the recent news describing AVEVA’s capabilities as the first company in the engineering and industrial software market to comprehensively address the end-to-end digital transformation imperatives with an integrated portfolio of solutions that deliver efficiency, unlock value and empower people across the lifecycle of capital assets and operational value chains,” commented Craig Hayman, CEO, AVEVA. “It changes the way that owner operators engage with Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) companies in designing, building, commissioning, and operating their capital assets.”

The functionality provided in these integrated solutions enables the realization of an EPC 4.0 strategy for owner operators, central to digital transformation in the capital-intensive process sectors. This allows collaboration on a global scale, through hybrid cloud architectures and on a common platform. The entire manufacturing process can be traced, tracked, and linked – from engineering and design, through procurement and construction, to handover and to operations and maintenance, as a comprehensive Digital Twin for the capital asset.

“As competition in the business world accelerates the time has come for industrial organization to innovate to facilitate the transition from the manual, document-centric processes, towards a data-driven vision of project design, procurement, and execution in order to increase safety, reduce costs, and minimize delays, “ commented Craig Hayman, CEO AVEVA. “With the launch of AVEVA Unified Engineering, a first of its kind solution, we are breaking down the silos between engineering disciplines and enabling our customers to turn conceptual designs into 3D models quickly, accelerating engineering to estimation and ensuring designs can be operated before committing billions of dollars.”

New AVEVA Unified Engineering enables the integration of the process model and plant model lifecycles from concept to detailed design, delivering frictionless collaboration for multi-discipline engineers to collaborate in the cloud. The net result is a minimum 50% improvement in engineering efficiency in FEED and up to 30% in detail design, which can yield a 3% total installed cost improvement. These savings can be re-invested to ensure engineering quality, accuracy, and maturity for downstream project execution business processes.

AVEVA Unified Project Execution solutions integrate with AVEVA Unified Engineering to further break down the silos within Procurement and Construction by combining key disciplines covering Contract Risk Management, Materials and Supply Chain Control, and Construction Management into one cloud based digital project execution environment. AVEVA Unified Project Execution solutions deliver up to 15% reduction in material costs, 10% reduction in field labor costs and reduces unbudgeted supplier change orders by up to 50%, which translates to 10% total installed costs savings opportunities for our customers.

AVEVA’s Enterprise Learning solutions combine traditional simulation-based learning with 3D connected learning management solutions. AVEVA’s learning solutions extend process models and 3D models from AVEVA Unified Engineering to fast track DCS panel operator training, field operator training, process and maintenance procedural training, and process safety situational awareness training using cloud and Extended Reality (XR) technology to deliver up to 2% Total Installed Cost reduction by improved operations readiness.

“Our Engineering portfolio enhancements will deliver increased agility for our customers, enabling them to reduce cost, risk, and delays, minimizing errors and driving rapid capital project execution. The cost savings are realized by mitigating capital investment risks at the process design stage, cutting engineering man-hours by up to 30% in plant design, reducing material costs in procurement by up to 15% as well as reducing field labor costs in construction by up to 10%,” commented Amish Sabharwal, SVP, Engineering Business, AVEVA. “With these new solutions AVEVA is providing integration across all stages of the capital project, from conceptual design to handover, to optimize collaboration and break down silos between both engineering disciplines and project stages.”

AVEVA World Conference All About Digital

Smart Trend—Specific Function Application Software

This announcement from Schneider Electric originated from the conference in Barcelona that I will be attending in Austin, Texas. It supports a trend we’re seeing of suppliers breaking software into specific-purpose chunks to make it easier for customers to purchase, install, and maintain. The EcoStruxure Plant Performance Advisors suite points toward food and beverage; mining, minerals and metals; oil and gas; water and wastewater; and other industrial enterprises. 

These comprise a specialized suite of smart manufacturing apps and digital services, providing easy-to-understand, real-time analytics. 

“The digital transformation vision is coming to life for industrial operations,” said Sophie Borgne, senior vice president, Schneider Electric Digital Plant. “Industry 4.0 has embraced digitalization but now must get out of ‘pilot purgatory’ and scale up. Respecting an industrial enterprise’s operational investment, the modular EcoStruxure Plant Performance Advisors make it easy for plants of all sizes—not just big corporations to modernize at a sustainable pace and accelerate their digital transformation in very simple, step by step manner.”

Data-driven Plant Performance Management

Schneider rightly contends that IIoT blurs the line between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) yielding great amounts of data. The Advisors enhance asset optimization, asset performance management, predictive maintenance, and real-time decision-making. 

Schneider Electric utilizes digitalization in its own factories. Using technology, including EcoStruxure Plant Performance Advisors, its Smart Factory in Bantam, Indonesia is reporting a 44% reduction in machine downtime in one year. The Schneider Electric Smart Factory in Vaudreil, France also implemented EcoStruxure Plant Performance Advisors, which contributed to:

  • 10% reduction in energy consumption
  • 25% improvement in plant operations efficiency.
  • 20% reduction in maintenance costs.
  • 20% reduction in diagnosis and repair time.

EcoStruxure Plant Advisors are fully configurable, off-the-shelf solutions for easy integration into even the most advanced systems. By providing users with a familiar application theme and environment, an efficient plant can create synergies for processes and empower digital operators. This greatly reduces the user learning curve, saving time and money.

Schneider Electric’s modular and scalable EcoStruxure Plant Advisors suite includes:

  • EcoStruxure Pumping Performance Advisor is a new digital service for the continuous improvement of water and wastewater pumping assets in 24/7 operations. By addressing challenges such as cost of water, plants can save up to 15% in OPEX through pump optimization.
  • EcoStruxure Equipment Efficiency Advisor provides real-time efficiency root cause analysis. It then recommends appropriate action plans for increasing capacity while reducing unscheduled downtime and waste, which often results in immediate 5% to 10% OEE gains.
  • EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor uses augmented reality to slash the amount of time a worker spends looking for information to about a tenth of current levels. By superimposing real-time data and virtual objects (point of interest, documentation, procedures) onto cabinets or machines, this “contactless maintenance” model also increases safety. EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor V2.4 is easy to customize; no special platform knowledge is required. Users can also easily add augmented reality into existing procedures and export notes and analysis to share with others.
  • EcoStruxure Secure Connect Advisor with embedded cybersecurity provides a digitally secure and simple asset monitoring connection for remote diagnostic and maintenance that reduces plant downtime while saving time and travel costs to maintain critical assets. In some cases, this has resulted in a shortened time to solution from over 7 days to as little as 4 hours.

EcoStruxure is Schneider Electric’s open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform.

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