Software engineers have been telling me lately about how to write code that better utilizes compute power in order to reduce software’s energy bill. I find it interesting the ways that seemingly unrelated parts of a system can coordinate for a better whole. This news release showcases Siemens’ commitment to advancing sustainability through Green Software.
- Siemens recognizes importance of software in order to advance sustainability and aims to invest in sustainability networks like Green Software Foundation
- Green Software Foundation focuses on developing energy-efficient systems and infrastructure and aims for green software to become new standard for the future
Siemens is proud to join the Green Software Foundation (GSF) as a new member of its steering committee to help guide the Foundation’s strategic direction. Siemens’ steadfast commitment to resource efficiency and sustainability aligns with the GSF’s mission to build the tools, knowledge and best practices necessary for reducing software’s environmental footprint.
Siemens technology is enabling enterprises and organizations around the world to increase decarbonization, resource efficiency and contribute to the circular economy. The development of this technology and other software is increasingly contributing to the world’s carbon footprint, which underscores the need for global industrial companies like Siemens to invest in sustainability networks such as the GSF.
The Foundation focuses on evolving software to be energy-efficient and compatible with complex software systems and infrastructure for information and communication technology. Industrial solutions must meet unique requirements beyond those of traditional enterprise IT systems. These solutions must also take into account cloud-to-edge scenarios, installed base and regulatory compliance – all while maintaining the high standards expected for industrial solutions.
“In the pursuit of sustainability, isolation is costly. We share a common belief that collaboration and collective intelligence will drive systemic shifts toward sustainability in tech. Our Siemens Xcelerator vision fully supports this journey towards sustainable, flexible and open SaaS solutions. In addition, as new technologies emerge, we firmly believe that green software will play a key role in the future,” said Peter Körte, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of Siemens AG.
Siemens joins Accenture, Avanade, BCG X, GitHub, Globant, Intel, Microsoft, NTT Data, Thoughtworks and UBS to demonstrate leadership in building a culture of green software and to chart the Foundation’s course going forward.
“We’re thrilled to expand GSF’s steering committee with Siemens and we’re hopeful that the contributions its engineers and researchers will make will advance green software patterns and tools compatible with intricate, multi-tiered computing systems for broader industry adoption of green software,” shared Asim Hussain, Chairperson and Executive Director of the GSF.
I was invited to a presentation by a wireless technology provider called InterDigital. They wished to discuss the current state of global standard development especially in the wireless communication space.
My career has wandered through a maze of standard setting from chairman of the standards and technical committee of a trade association, to ASHRAE and UL committees, to sitting in on meetings of some international technical standard development, not to mention researching and writing about ISA standards. To draw from the movie title, I have witnessed the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
One thing I was taught early was the dance of the big companies in the industry joining standards development committees, their representatives being smart and nice people, and those same representatives doing all in their power by asking questions endlessly to slow or halt the standards development process. Or, best, would be like an early part of my engineering career which involved rewriting the specs to match our products.
This presentation led us from the past global economic strategies of companies to the current situation of nationalism—especially by China—where they try to do the same thing. Devise alternative standards, slow development of unfriendly standards, from the standpoint of Geopolitical strategies.
We know the benefits of standardization for all of us as users. The struggle is to implement enough despite that highly evolved dance so that we do benefit.
To recap things I’ve written about for more than 20 years:
- Safety and Reliability
- Economies of Scale
- Open Market Access
What can I say. Get involved with standards where you can!
ODVA announced that process device profiles have been added to The EtherNet/IPTM Specification to provide automation practitioners with another critical tool to help optimize plant operations. Process device profiles provide a standard format for process variables and diagnostics across an array of devices for smoother vendor interoperability and easier DCS and PLC data integration from EtherNet/IP-enabled field devices.
Device profiles are available for Coriolis flow, electromagnetic flow, vortex flow, standard pressure, and scaled pressure devices. Process end users can now take advantage of EtherNet/IP devices with better communication of critical diagnostics such as NAMUR NE 107 status signals, and improved alignment with the Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM).
EtherNet/IP process device profiles are made up of process measurement value objects for variables such as current pressure, level, flow, etc., process totalized value objects that track cumulative data totals such as total flow, and process device diagnostics objects that enable plant operators and maintenance personnel easier access to additional device and process status information. Process device profiles help convert sensor signals and actuator positions into valuable information that enables action to be taken to improve product quality and operational efficiency. Additionally, process device profiles can help evaluate the reliability of the measuring signal and aid in preventing plant shutdowns by identifying premature device failures.
As an example, the process totalized value object can track total device usage and device health can be inferred from the process measurement value and diagnostics objects. This allows users to shift from time-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance, potentially saving devices from unnecessarily being replaced during plant shutdowns while identifying other devices that are failing prematurely, which can reduce both unnecessary maintenance costs and potential downtime.
The EtherNet/IP process device profiles were designed with additional parameters and modified data types to better align with PA-DIM, which is a joint standard between FieldComm Group, ISA100 WCI, NAMUR, ODVA, OPC Foundation, PI, VDMA, and ZVEI. PA-DIM represents information from process devices in a standardized way for easier access.
In addition to exposing measurement values and the quality or status of those values, EtherNet/IP process device profiles can also simulate the measurement values. This enables critical safety functions such as partial stroke tests in valves to take place without interfering with the process data. The standard formatting of live process variables, data totals, and diagnostics that process device profiles provide will also increase vendor interoperability for end users given that the information will be the same across EtherNet/IP devices, regardless of vendor.
The addition of process device profiles adds to the process automation capability of EtherNet/IP, including the ability to use the Ethernet-APL physical layer. Ethernet-APL unlocks the advantages of commercially based industrial control hardware, an object-oriented foundation, and standard internet protocol compatibility including TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, SNMP, and DHCP in process plants. Ethernet-APL is a combination of Single Pair Ethernet (IEEE 802.3cg-2019, 10BASE-T1L), engineered power, Intrinsic Safety (IEC 60079, 2-WISE), and Type A fieldbus cable (IEC 61158-2, for intrinsic safety) that is able to reach 1,000 meter distances and speeds of 10Mbit/s.
Additionally, EtherNet/IP supports process automation through NE 107 diagnostics, HART integration, and IO-Link integration. Further, ODVA is continuing to expand the EtherNet/IP ecosystem with the next generation of digitized device description files, including FDT, FDI, and xDS, to simplify integration into process asset management tools. Lastly, ODVA has also just released the availability of concurrent connections allowing for failsafe controller redundancy for the most critical of process applications.
“The introduction of process device profiles to EtherNet/IP is another critical step in meeting the full set of requirements of the process industries,” said Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director of ODVA. “EtherNet/IP process device profiles will help end users operate plants with superior yields, minimal downtime, and reduced costs. Additionally, better integration with PA-DIM will help process automation practitioners have the most valuable diagnostics and process variables available in both the control room and in the cloud to allow for enhanced insights and timely intervention measures for optimization of operations.”
EtherNet/IP process device profiles enable enhanced vendor interoperability, easier access to process variables and critical diagnostics such as NAMUR NE 107 status signals, and more seamless integration with PA-DIM. Additionally, process field device profiles will allow for simpler commissioning and enhanced asset monitoring and integration into higher level PLC, DCS, and cloud-based systems. Visit odva.org to obtain the latest version of The EtherNet/IP Specification including process devices profiles for EtherNet/IP.
One of the meetings I look forward to these days at the ARC Forum in Orlando concerns updates from The Open Process Automation Forum, a working group of The Open Group.
This year I met with OPAF leaders Mohan Kalyanaraman and Ryan Smeltzer for a private briefing and then attended one of the OPAF sessions in the general forum. Widespread interest in their work was evidenced by the turnout of more than 200 people.
The OPAS 2.1 version of the standard is considered to be stable and suppliers can build products to it. Conformance requirements and testing are in process and due this year. Security guidelines and adoption guides are due to be completed this year.
Test beds and a pilot project have been completed. A few companies have scheduled test beds to their requirements. ExxonMobil is proceeding with a field trial that includes DCS/PLC that are commercially available compliant with OPAS 2.1. The project includes a single operator, single console, 2,500 I/O, and 100 control loops.
Further, OPAF is working with OPC Foundation for joint standard for Field Exchange and is also working with NAMUR ZVEI in Europe.
A little history and context
This work was instigated by ExxonMobil made public in 2016. That company faced upgrading its automation platforms at considerable expense. Other end user companies faced the same challenge. Schneider Electric, Yokogawa, and ABB were early boosters from the technology provider side of the equation.
I have followed a few of these initiatives. I can see the value of open systems. They have worked well in the IT market. However, gaining adoption is exceedingly difficult. Many suppliers may talk open systems, but in the end they want to keep everything tied together in house. To the outside world, they’ll say that they can assure all the parts will work together better because they are all designed by the same company. On the other hand, they really want to establish a long-term relationship with a large customer that is difficult to break. Lots of conflicting desires and business needs.
This project is gaining traction. It will only work in the end if enough end users specify the products and enforce procurement and application. Another project I once followed stumbled at this stage. One corporate engineering staff approved the open standard, but they could not enforce procurement at the plant level. We’ll see where this one goes.
Still catching up on news I learned at ARC Industry Forum in early February. This one is expansion of the device integration model enabled by the latest version of FDT. Earlier, I wrote about Migrating to FDT 3. I sat in a couple of sessions where a senior engineer at a consumer packaged goods company pleaded with suppliers to make integrating and applying technologies more user-friendly. This is one such technology.
FDT Group announced that the PACTware consortium released its latest software version, PACTware 6.1, based on the latest FDT3 standard. PACTware 6.1 is one of the first FDT3 stand-alone device configuration environments available. The software tool’s source code is available to the PACTware Consortium membership consisting of 22 automation vendors who offer the FDT-enabled hosting product to the user community at no cost.
By leveraging the modern FDT3 Unified Environment for intelligent device management, PACTware 6.1 users will enjoy the ability to support their current FDT DTM install base and support modern FDT3 web-based DTMs that are scalable for IIoT architectures. This release also supports integration with FDI Device Packages.
Suppliers of industrial automation systems and devices want to provide solutions that enable the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). To meet their customers’ needs, it is vital for suppliers to enhance their system and device offerings with standards-based, platform-independent, information-driven business models. The new FDT3 standard is accelerating the digital manufacturing journey by enabling an ecosystem of FDT-based solutions providing a unified environment for industrial device management with IT/OT data-driven operations.
In addition to the new FDT3 standard that fully describes the FDT Desktop environment and FDT web-based device DTM, the standard also defines a cloud-based FDT Server environment for distributed control. The new FDT3 DTM and FDT Server are OPC UA- and -mobile ready without any coding, allowing users an easy to use and scalable migration path of OT data to IT enterprise applications.
The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) announced it had updated its Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA). The IIRA Version 1.10 addresses the challenges of current industrial IoT systems and industry trends, such as the convergence of IT and OT, digital twins, systems comprised of independent systems, and the inclusion of “non-human” digital users.
The foundational views of the IIRA (Business, Usage, Functional, and Implementation) have not changed. Still, the IIC revised and extended the sections to address how organizations use the views. For example, the new IIRA includes mapping essential industrial IoT functions to system requirement categories. This helps organizations understand which functions will best meet their needs.
Another addition to the IIRA V1.10 is a new set of Architecture Patterns that system designers can use to tailor standard system features and implementations. The IIRA V1.10 also illustrates how system designers can overlay patterns with each other (or with different architecture patterns) to help them build new system implementations from a collection of well-understood models.
The Industry IoT Consortium delivers transformative business value to industry, organizations, and society by accelerating the adoption of a trustworthy internet of things. The Industry IoT Consortium is a program of the Object Management Group (OMG).