Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center Launched

Turns out that I’ve been following developments of US leaders of Smart Manufacturing (yes, a thing, so capitalized) for going on to 10 years. I’ll put a number of links to previous posts that begin in 2011.

The beginnings were a group led by Jim Davis of UCLA, Jim Wetzel from General Mills, John Bernardin from Rockwell Automation, and a few others called the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC). They were developing ideas to fund and promote Smart Manufacturing when eventually the US Federal government began funding test beds and institutes through the Department of Energy.

By then Germany had combined with the Fraunhofer Institute and leading technology suppliers such as Siemens and Festo to use the concept of cyberphysical systems as the basis for Industrie 4.0—an initiative supporting the German machine building industry. The idea had spread to China, and several European countries. The US suddenly was playing catch-up.

At that point the SMLC dissolved and members reconstituted under the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) now called CESMII—The Smart Manufacturing Institute. I wrote an update to this last January after a lunch I had with old friend John Dyck at the end of December 2019. John had left his roles at Rockwell Automation and MESA International to lead this new initiative.

CESMII has been busy developing its own academic partnership with the North Carolina State University. The partners have launched the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center (SMIC) at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. The objective of the SMIC is to link manufacturers, industrial technology vendors, systems integrators and equipment providers with academia, demonstrating and driving research and innovation that scales to all of US manufacturing. 

At NC State, pilot plants for biomanufacturing, papermaking, nonwovens textiles, and advanced manufacturing are using Smart Manufacturing tools from CESMII and its nationwide partners.

The SMIC at NC State is a visible proof point of CESMII’s well documented network-of-networks strategy to make Smart Manufacturing readily available and accessible throughout the nation. The SMIC facilities now become available for industry to try innovative Smart Manufacturing solutions and drive their use of Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning, Energy Productivity, Asset Performance Management and so forth.

In its first 45 days this winter, the NC State SMIC successfully demonstrated the integration of a dozen vendor solutions (including: Siemens, Honeywell, Allen Bradley (Rockwell Automation), National Instruments, ABB, DeltaV (Emerson Process Technologies), Andritz and Sartorius) using the CESMII SM Innovation Platform. Avid Solutions of Raleigh, NC, is the strategic Systems Integration partner for this initiative. 

A video demonstrating the interoperability of 3rd-party Smart Manufacturing solutions leveraging core CESMII technologies is linked below. This is an excellent presentation, especially the first part where the basics of the platform and ecosystem are discussed. I highly recommend checking it out.

The SMIC Director, Professor Yuan-Shin Lee of NC State, comments, “NC State is a ‘Think and Do’ nationally recognized university for research and innovation. With this CESMII partnership, the NC State SMIC will be able to build and sustain a skilled and innovative Smart Manufacturing workforce with expertise in the requisite technology and best practices, and the ability to develop, continuously update, and deploy customizable, interdisciplinary educational training resources and programs. With this partnership, the NC State SMIC will develop a world-class Smart Manufacturing demonstration facility through partnerships with industry and regional and national laboratories for sustainable workforce development and educational training. We are very excited about this new opportunity. “ 

CESMII COO, Howard Goldberg, added, “We’re just as excited as the NC State team to make this announcement. NC State is a valued Education & Workforce Development partner for CESMII and will offer CESMII-sanctioned Smart Manufacturing training and education offerings through the SMIC. Additionally, the CESMII technology infrastructure connected to the NC State manufacturing assets will demonstrate the openness and interoperability essential to scaling innovation through Smart Manufacturing solutions beyond a limited pilot phase. We look forward to ending the days of ‘Pilot Purgatory’ which have held industry back for decades by creating and testing solutions at a SMIC and moving them to production environments through the large-scale use of our platform technologies.” 


Advanced Manufacturing Gets Government Support

Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition Wins Funding

Rockwell Automation Initiates Department of Energy Test Bed Project

Leadership at Smart Manufacturing Coalition

Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition Announces New Secretary

Smart Manufacturing

US Government Smart Manufacturing Institute

State of the Edge Merges with LF Edge to Provide Unified Edge Computing Thought Leadership

The “edge” has become one of the most popular words in manufacturing enterprise architecture over the past several years. Want to know what it is? Here is an organization attempting a definition. Linux Foundation is definitely an information source to bookmark. Maybe even get involved with.

The news in short:

• State of the Edge will continue as the industry’s first open research program on edge computing

• Under LF Edge, State of the Edge, Open Glossary of Edge Computing and the Landscape will continue to pave the way for industry alignment

LF Edge, an umbrella organization under The Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, announced that it has acquired State of the Edge, a vendor-neutral platform for open research on edge computing. The State of the Edge will merge with Open Glossary of Edge Computing and the combined project will assume the State of the Edge name as a Stage 2 project (growth) under LF Edge.

Founded in 2017 by industry pioneers Vapor IO, Packet by Equinix, Edge Gravity by Ericsson, Arm, and Rafay Systems, the State of the Edge organization has published three major edge research reports, all offered free- of- charge under a Creative Commons license: the 2018 State of the Edge report, the 2019 Data at the Edge report and, most recently, the 2020 State of the Edge report. The organization’s founding co-chairs, Matthew Trifiro, CMO of Vapor IO, and Jacob Smith, VP Bare Metal Strategy & Marketing of Equinix, will remain as co-chairs of State of the Edge.

“We launched State of the Edge in 2018 as an effort to align and educate the market on what edge computing truly is, and what is needed to implement it,” said Trifiro. “Edge computing represents a long-term transformation of the Internet, and together this coalition has created a community-supported research model second to none. We’re thrilled to contribute this program to LF Edge, where we believe it can flourish even further.”

With its open governance model, LF Edge will continue to advance the State of the Edge under the project’s original mission, which has been to accelerate the edge computing industry by developing free, shareable research that can be used by all.

“As edge computing continues to evolve and expand, our goal with State of the Edge is to bring clarity and simplicity to the critical infrastructure required to support the future of edge computing,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “The LF Edge projects span the continuum from cloud to device and, with the addition of State of the Edge, we’ll be able to bring our community and ecosystem closer to a more comprehensive edge stack, delivering shared innovation across technology sectors at the edge”.

The State of the Edge project will manage and produce the following assets under the LF Edge umbrella:

• State of the Edge reports (the 2020 report was published in Q4 2019; the 2021 report is scheduled for Q4 2020)

• Open Glossary of Edge Computing

• Edge Computing Landscape

All State of the Edge projects will continue to be produced and funded collaboratively, with an explicit goal of producing original research without vendor bias and involving a diverse set of stakeholders. Supported by member funds and a community-driven philosophy, the State of the Edge mission has been to accelerate the edge computing industry by developing free, shareable research that can be used by all. The program will continue alongside a community that cares deeply about edge computing and the innovations that will be required to bring its promise to fruition.

Launched last January, LF Edge’s projects (Akraino Edge Stack, Baetyl, EdgeX Foundry, Fledge, Home Edge and Project EVE) support emerging edge applications across areas such as non-traditional video and connected things that require lower latency, and faster processing and mobility. By forming a software stack that brings the best of cloud, enterprise and telecom, LF Edge helps to unify a fragmented edge market around a common, open vision for the future of the industry.

For information on how to participate in the project, please contact [email protected]


• LF Edge website

• State of the Edge website

• Blog

About The Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration.

A New Spark for TSN? Avnu Alliance Releases Wireless TSN White Paper

Remember when Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) had so much buzz? For a couple of years at Hannover Messe, there were displays, test boards, promotions. I wrote a quick paper on the value of TSN along with OPC UA. Companies such as B+R Automation were pushing it. Then, nothing. A couple of key pieces of the standard became hung up in committee. Pieces are out there, but the buzz has left in search of another candidate.

Meanwhile, Avnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, has not given up hope and is looking into a wireless implementation of TSN. It has announced the availability of a new white paper and the creation of an Avnu working group to support further work on extending TSN capabilities to wireless.

Recent advances in 5G and IEEE 802.11 wireless connectivity technologies in providing low-latency and high reliability communications have generated significant industry interest in extending TSN capabilities over wireless. As TSN-enabled devices and networks continue to be deployed across a broad range of market verticals – industrial and robotics, and pro AV, for example, enabling extensions of similar capabilities over wireless is a natural next step. The workgroup discussions have highlighted that it is important to start discussions on topics such as consistent interoperability testing, certification efforts and other ecosystem needs that will need to be addressed to provide time sensitive network services across physical layers and fit to industries. As in the past, Avnu will look to cooperate with multiple standards bodies and other alliances to enable this.

The white paper, Wireless TSN – Definitions, Use Cases & Standards Roadmap, includes examination of existing standards, the potential standards gaps that must be addressed before widespread Wireless TSN implementation, potential use-cases of wireless TSN in different environments and markets, and an overview of the work needed within Avnu and industry to enable TSN capabilities across wireless and wired networks in the future.

Early members of the working group and authors of the white paper include representatives from Intel, Keysight Technologies, General Electric, and professional AV manufacturer, L-Acoustics.

Update on Open Industrial Interoperability Ecosystem

My inbox has accumulated a plethora of news about open—open standards, open source, open interoperability. Open benefits implementers (end users) because so much thought and work have been done already defining models, data, messaging, and the like that integration time and complexity can be greatly reduced. Yes, integrators remain necessary. But time to production, one of the critical measures of product success, improves. Not to mention time to trouble shoot both during startup and during operation.

Without warning a short time ago, I received a call from Alan Johnston, president (and driving force for many years) of MIMOSA. I attended MIMOSA meetings for several years and served for a year as director of marketing. I was even part of the meeting that birthed the OIIE name and fleshed out the original model. I set up a number of meetings, but we were just a little premature. We needed a bit more momentum from industry and academia to get things going. The reason for Alan’s call was that momentum was growing again. Several organizations in Australia are interested, there is renewed interest from the ISA 95 committee, and the Open O&M Initiative gained new life.

So, I wound up sitting through most of four hours of introductory meeting as the various parties—old and new—talked about what they were working on and where it all needed to go to get the job done. And Alan was right. Progress has evolved. It’s time to talk about this again.


The driving force for this work continues to be fostering interoperability and data/information flow among the major applications behind the design, construction, and operation & maintenance of a plant—engineering, operations, maintenance. Any of us who have ever searched for the current and correct information/specification of a piece of the process facing impending unplanned shutdown understand almost intuitively the critical nature of this work. (See the Solutions Architecture diagram.)

An executive summary of a white paper I wrote a few years ago still exists on my Dropbox here. The information remains relevant even though some of the organizations have changed and some technology has been updated.


The Open Industrial Interoperability Ecosystem (OIIE) enables a shift from traditional systems integration methods to standards-based interoperability in asset intensive industries, including process industries, integrated energy, aerospace and defense and other key critical infrastructure sectors.

The OIIE digital ecosystem is a supplier-neutral, industrial interoperability ecosystem, which provides a pragmatic alternative to the status quo, enabling the use of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) applications from multiple suppliers, as well as bespoke applications. It is defined by a standardized Industry Solutions Architecture, which enables implementations of OIIE instances for both owner/operators and their major supply chain partners that are adaptable, repeatable, scalable and sustainable at substantially lower cost than traditional methods.

The OIIE is an outgrowth of several related industry standardization activities, each of which is addressing a part of the industries requirements for standards-based interoperability. The OIIE brings these individual efforts together, with the direct participation and support of multiple participating industry standards organizations. Major parts of the OIIE include standards associated with the OpenO&M Initiative and with ISO 15926. The OIIE uses these existing standards in combination with each other, to meet the identified systems and information interoperability requirements for use cases which are defined and prioritized by the industries which are served.

Articles I have written over the years:

Standard of standards model for asset data

Plethora of Protocols

Center Industrial Internet of Things

Oil and Gas Interoperability Pilot

Open O&M

OpenO&M is an initiative of multiple industry standards organizations to provide a harmonized set of standards for the exchange of Operations & Maintenance (O&M) data and associated context. OpenO&M is an open, collaborative, effort composed of diverse groups of relevant organizations and subject matter experts.

The original members of OpenO&M Initiative are ISA, MESA, MIMOSA, OAGi, and the OPC Foundation. ISA for the ISA 95 standard, MESA houses B2MML, MIMOSA has CCOM among other standards, and the OPC Foundation for OPC UA.

The purpose of last week’s conference calls was to revitalize the work, introduce additional organizations, and (importantly) new and younger participants. I left the meeting with renewed optimism that the work will continue to fruition. I am personally a globalist, but as a citizen and resident of the US, I hope that our engineers wake up to the utility of standards. Most interest in general over the past several years has been found in Asia with Europe remaining strong.


Perhaps the component that holds everything together is the ISBM. This was previously described as ws-ISBM as it was based on SOAP and web services. The March 2020 update to ISBM v2.0 added REST and JSON support.

ISBM is an implementation specification for ISA-95 Message Service Model. It provides additional specificity that is required to enable two or more groups to develop implementations of the MSM that will properly interoperate with each other without a priori knowledge of each other. The ISBM provides a consistent set of specifications supporting both intra- and inter-enterprise activities, where a combination of functionality, security, supplier-neutrality and ease of implementation are required for industry digital transformation.

Standard of Standards Model For Asset Data

Alan Johnston caught up with me yesterday to update me on progress MIMOSA has made toward updating and adoption of its asset information data and data flow models–described by the Open Industrial Interoperability Ecosystem (OIIE). I had been working with them a few years ago, but it was too early for the promotional work I could help them with.

[Note: This is an old slide I had in my database. I don’t think Fiatech and POSC Caesar are still involved, but I cannot edit the slide. The ISA 95 committee is still involved.]

I did write an Executive Summary White Paper that has been downloaded many times over the years. This paper is four years old, but I think it still describes the ideas of interoperability, using standards, handing off from engineering to operations and maintenance of process plants.

Many operations and maintenance managers have expressed frustrations of handover and startup events. When I’ve described this system, they’ve all been receptive.

On the other hand, neither the large integration companies nor the large automation and control companies are thrilled with it out of concern about greatly reduced revenue generated by lock in.

I could reference the work of the Open Process Automation group attempting also a “standard of standards” approach to dissociating software from hardware for improved upgradability. Schneider Electric (Foxboro) and Yokogawa have seen the possibility of competitive advantage, especially with ExxonMobil, with this approach. But the view is not generally held.

Back to Alan. He has been making progress on the standards adoption front and getting some buy-ins. I’ve always seen the potential for improved operations and maintenance from the model. But the amount of work to get there has been staggering.

Looks like they are getting there.

Open Manufacturing Platform Expands

I’ve received a couple of news items about something called the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP). I have searched in vain for a website–maybe a GitHub or Linux Foundation or something. This is sponsored by Microsoft, so no surprise that it is built on Microsoft Azure. I guess the open part is open connectivity to Azure.

I had a brief chat in Hannover a couple of weeks ago and picked up this press release. The companies putting this together have added members. Just a few right now. Like always, I adopt a “wait-and-see” attitude to see how this develops.

In brief:

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev, BMW Group, Bosch Group, Microsoft, ZF Friedrichshafen AG named OMP steering committee members
  • OMP was established in 2019 as an independent initiative under the umbrella of the Joint Development Foundation
  • First working groups created: IoT Connectivity, Semantic Data Model, Industrial IoT Reference Architecture and Core Services for Autonomous Transport Systems
  • The first appearance of the Open Manufacturing Platform

The Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) has expanded, with new steering committee members and new working groups established. OMP is an alliance founded in 2019 to help manufacturing companies accelerate innovation at scale through cross-industry collaboration, knowledge and data sharing as well as access to new technologies. The OMP was founded under the umbrella of the Joint Development Foundation, which is part of the Linux Foundation.

Original members The BMW Group and Microsoft welcome Anheuser-Busch InBev (AbInBev), Bosch Group and ZF Friedrichshafen AG as steering committee members. The OMP steering committee has approved a number of working groups to focus on core areas important to the industry, including IoT Connectivity, semantic data models, Industrial IoT reference architecture, and core services for ATS (autonomous transport systems).

Common approach to industry challenges

The expansion of intelligent manufacturing is driving new efficiencies and increased productivity, as well as revealing new challenges. Within the industry, legacy and proprietary systems have resulted in data silos, making operation-wide insight and transformation daunting. As common challenges across the industry, they often require a high degree of investment for modest returns within any one organization. The OMP has been developed to address this, where manufacturers and their value chains come together to identify and develop solutions that address these non-differentiating problems. It brings together experts across the manufacturing sector — including discrete and process manufacturing, transportation and consumer goods, industrial equipment, and more.

“Our goal is to drive manufacturing innovation at scale, accelerate time-to-value and drive production efficiencies by jointly solving mutual challenges, based on an open community approach. The OMP helps manufacturing companies unlock the potential of their data, implement industrial solutions faster and more securely, and benefit from industrial contributions while preserving their intellectual property (IP) and competitive advantages, mitigating operational risks and reducing financial investments,” said Jürgen Maidl, Senior Vice President Production Network and Supply Chain Management at the BMW Group.

Scale innovation through common data models and open technology standards

The OMP operates under the umbrella of the Joint Development Foundation (JDF). The JDF is part of the Linux Foundation and provides the OMP with infrastructure and an organizational framework to create technical specifications and support open industry standards. The OMP supports other alliances, including the OPC Foundation and Plattform Industrie 4.0, and leverages existing industry standards, open source reference architectures and common data models.

“Through the open collaboration approach that is the cornerstone of OMP, manufacturing companies will be able to bring offerings to market faster, with increased scale and greater efficiency,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President Cloud & AI at Microsoft. “Solutions will be published and shared across the community, regardless of technology, solution provider or cloud platform.”

The heart of OMP: working groups to address common manufacturing challenges

“Comprised of members from across the manufacturing industry, the collaboration framework and heart of the OMP are its working groups. We are very excited to join in a moment where our manufacturing facilities are becoming increasingly connected, and we are looking for innovative ways to make use of the treasure trove of data that is being generated,” said Tassilo Festetics, Global Vice President of Solutions at AB InBev. The OMP initial first working groups will focus on topics such as IoT Connectivity, Semantic Data Model, IIoT Reference Architecture and Core Services for ATS (autonomous transport systems). Initial focus areas include:

The OMP steering committee will support industry efforts to connect IoT devices and machines to the cloud. It is one of the first steps to digitize production lines and leverage cloud-connected Industrial IoT applications.

“Today, it is all about analytics and predictions but without data no analytics and without connectivity no data. Modern devices can easily be connected via the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA). Connecting machines and applications to the cloud that have been in production for decades comes with bigger interoperability challenges as various standards and interfaces must be addressed to interconnect these historically developed legacy systems (‘brownfield approach’). The working group IoT Connectivity will focus on providing industrial-grade edge and cloud functionalities for the integration and management of OPC UA devices in brownfield environments,” said Werner Balandat, Head of Production Management, ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

Another OMP working group focuses on semantic data modeling: Machine and manufacturing data are crucial for industrial companies to optimize production with artificial intelligence (AI). However, managing data in a common format across multiple sources with constantly evolving semantics is a real challenge.

“Data is the raw material for Industry 4.0 and a prerequisite for optimizing production with the help of artificial intelligence. At OMP, we are developing a semantic model that makes data understandable and illustrates its relations and dependencies. Users no longer receive cryptic, incomprehensible numbers and characters, but production-relevant information including their context. This semantic data structure ensures improvements along the entire value chain and makes AI-based business models possible on a large scale,” said Dr.-Ing. Michael Bolle, Member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH.

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