Production Optimization and Process Automation In ARC Forum Spotlight

Production Optimization and Process Automation In ARC Forum Spotlight

Today’s news from the ARC Forum concerns AspenTech and Emerson as we focus on process systems and asset optimization.

Only a few years ago it appeared that AspenTech was destined for some sort of demise—sold for parts or something. It has rebounded nicely since and last week announced enhancements to its production optimization solution and this partnership with Emerson. Collaboration being one of the sub-themes of the conference.

Emerson and AspenTech have teamed up to deliver asset optimization software solutions along with global automation technologies and operational consulting services.

AspenTech’s asset optimization supports Emerson’s Project Certainty and Operational Certainty initiatives. “Emerson’s global footprint, automation engineering services and software, extensive large-scale project execution and consulting capabilities complement AspenTech’s technology footprint. Collectively, these capabilities can be deployed as solutions in both conventional and cloud-based architectures.”

“Emerson and AspenTech are both highly focused on digital technologies and services that deliver measurable improvements and value to our customers’ bottom line,” says David N. Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson. “Together, we are well positioned to help our customers navigate the best path in this era of digital transformation and achieve Top Quartile performance.” Top Quartile is defined as achieving operations and capital performance in the top 25 percent of peer companies.

The alliance will initially focus on three key areas: engineering software, including high-fidelity simulation to help validate project design and train operators before start-up; manufacturing and supply chain software, including advanced process control software designed for highly complex operations; and asset performance management software to improve plant reliability.

“Working with Emerson, we will help more organizations drive higher total shareholder returns with a relentless focus on operational excellence,” says Antonio Pietri, president and CEO of AspenTech. “We look forward to helping make the best companies even better by optimizing the design, operation and maintenance lifecycle with software and insight to run assets faster, safer, longer and greener.”

Emerson Updates

Meanwhile, Emerson hits themes of security, close to the edge (of the network), and OPC UA among many updates to its process automation system. It is expanding its Plantweb digital ecosystem with the launch of DeltaV version 14, a cybersecurity-certified control system designed to deliver new value in capital projects and make plant operations more connected and productive. The latest release provides significant innovations to the entire DeltaV architecture and was built with customers’ digital transformation initiatives in mind.

This major update to the DeltaV automation system includes several enhancements to eliminate costs and reduce complexity in capital projects, plus improve productivity during operations through enhanced access to production and equipment data, improved usability and greater security.

“More than ever, an integrated plant data environment is essential to achieve digital transformation. With DeltaV, we’re reducing the engineering effort required to securely connect plant, operational and information systems,” said Jamie Froedge, president of Process Systems and Solutions, Emerson Automation Solutions. “Our customers will have more capabilities in their distributed control and safety systems to help them successfully execute capital projects and optimize operations.”

Capital Project Flexibility

Continuing to advance the impact of DeltaV Electronic Marshalling with CHARMs on capital project engineering, CHARM I/O Block takes CHARMs—which achieved more than one million deployments at more than 1100 sites in only five years—closer to the field. Small enclosures with up to 12 CHARMs can now be installed closer to field devices, significantly reducing wiring and overall installation costs by as much as 60 percent and providing more engineering flexibility.

Smart Commissioning, launched in 2016, took one of most engineering intensive operations off a project’s critical path. Traditionally, commissioning has been a manual task that requires more than two hours per device for thousands of devices. Smart Commissioning reduced commissioning time to 25 minutes. Emerson is now expanding these capabilities and reducing device commissioning time to as little as 10 minutes, a nearly 93 percent reduction in costly commissioning time that could save several hundred-thousand dollars in engineering costs.

Mobility and User Experience

DeltaV Live Operator Interface is a modern, built-for-purpose operations experience that is easy to understand and modify. The HMI comes pre-engineered with the industry’s best practices for user experience including ISA 101.01 and is based on research with the Center for Operator Performance, a consortium of vendors and academia focused on human factors engineering. The HTML5 interface enables scalable graphics and gives operators the flexibility to adjust their displays to focus on process data that is most important for each situation. The new operator interface helps improve overall situational awareness and decision-making speed. Emerson is helping companies prepare for the shift to mobility with DeltaV Live by building a foundation for graphics to be transferrable across desktops, laptops, and mobile devices—all without additional engineering or custom scripting.

A Secure, Connected Plant

DeltaV will offer its users a new level of confidence and protection from cybersecurity threats by being one of the only systems to have a top-to-bottom cybersecurity certification. DeltaV v14 will be certified ISASecure SSA Level 1 by the International Society of Automation (ISA), signifying that Emerson developers are trained to write secure code and the system as a whole is hardened against cyber threats.

Emerson is making connecting a plant’s OT systems with IT systems seamless by expanding OPC UA access in its DeltaV hardware and software offerings. DeltaV is the pathway for most plant data and now using the IIoT’s most prevalent protocol, OPC UA, DeltaV applications and servers can securely share data to cloud analytics applications, remote monitoring solutions, and third-party technologies.

Honeywell User Group All About Connections

Honeywell User Group All About Connections

It’s all about connections. That’s the direction I went four years ago when I renamed my blog and set out on my own. Manufacturing Connection (as general a word as I could buy the domain for–not only factory but also process industries).

Honeywell User Group is this week. I had other meetings with paying clients, so I’m not there. However here is some news from the event, and I’ll throw in a bonus link to Control Global whose team is distributing a “show daily”.

Enabling industrial companies to employ Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) today to address ongoing operational challenges will be the overriding topic for Honeywell Process Solutions’ (HPS) 42nd annual Honeywell Users Group (HUG) for the Americas.

More than 1300 delegates from across the oil and gas, chemical, pulp and paper, and metals and mining sectors are attending HUG, which runs today through Friday. The event features numerous displays of the newest technologies along with dozens of Honeywell- and customer-led sessions and technical discussions.

“Challenges facing manufacturers and plant operators today have not dramatically changed in the last 40 years. Safety, efficiency, reliability, productivity and security continue to drive innovation across industries,” said Vimal Kapur, president of HPS. “What has changed is our ability to better address these challenges. Today, we are able to leverage the power of the internet to employ a broader range of data to transform operations. At Honeywell, we call it the power of connected and specifically for HPS customers, it is Honeywell Connected Plant.”

Attendees at HUG will experience a range of new technologies and solutions that can help them enable the quick and effective adoption of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) at their plants. From technology displays in the demonstration room to a range of presentations from Honeywell experts as well as customer case studies, the Connected Plant will be front and center throughout the symposium.

“Manufacturers are looking to increase production from existing assets while managing their finite investment dollars. Connected Plant can help them do exactly that,” Kapur said.

In addition to the Connected Plant solutions, attendees will experience many of Honeywell’s newest industrial automation technologies including:

  • Experion Elevate is real-time supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) delivered as a secure and scalable service, reducing the need for on-site hardware and support.
  • LEAP for Operations extends LEAP project efficiency principles to optimize, simplify, and run ongoing operations more efficiently.
  • Honeywell Trace is documentation and change management software that reduces configuration errors, improves troubleshooting, reduces unplanned shutdowns and improves auditing and regulatory compliance.
  • Secure Media Exchange (SMX) reduces cyber security risk and operational disruption by monitoring, protecting and logging use of removable media such as USBs.
  • Experion Unit Operations Suite leverages a new ControlEdge Unit Operations Controller along with Experion Batch Manager to optimize pharmaceutical, specialty chemical, and food & beverage applications.
  • Predict RT is a novel, intelligent data analytics framework transforming the refining industry from traditional, reactive degradation management, to real-time, proactive, corrosion management through online, real-time corrosion prediction and monitoring.
  • Enterprise Risk Manager provides cross-plant cyber risk visibility across all site Risk Managers, providing a solution that measures and manages high priority industrial cyber risk.
  • ControlEdge RTU provides improved management of field assets through simplified and efficient remote monitoring, diagnostics, and management. It reduces equipment monitoring and diagnostics from hours to minutes, and integration with Experion SCADA reduces configuration time by 80%.
  • Open Virtual Engineering Platform (VEP) is a secure and reliable cloud engineering service for convenient and instant access to an off-process full functional Experion system at any release, accessible from anywhere at the lowest total cost of ownership.

 

Manufacturing Jobs In America-Part 2

Manufacturing Jobs In America-Part 2

Mobile Workers in Production PlantManufacturing jobs—will they be people or robots? Whenever I am presented with an either/or I tend to think why not both or neither. Four choices, not two. In this case, three choices since neither means no manufacturing. And every country on God’s good Earth wants manufacturing. Just check out all the government initiatives underway.

Within the past week, I’ve seen two articles in local newspapers—The Sidney Daily News and The Dayton Daily News—parroting the New York Times article about how robots take jobs away from people.

This week was the biennial edition of Automate—the trade show of Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 released a white paper for the show, and I had a chance to sit with two association executives, Bob Doyle and Alex Shikany, to discuss the findings and analysis leading up to the white paper Work in the Automation Age: Sustainable Careers Today and Into the Future.

“As a representative of over 1,000 companies and organizations making up the automation ecosystem, A3 believes it is critically important to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the relationship between automation and jobs,” said Jeff Burnstein, A3 president quoted in the press release. An admirable goal.

My take is that I agree with pretty much everything they found with one addition—I still believe that manufacturing enterprise executives bear much blame for problems with manufacturing in America. Such things as management-by-spreadsheet, no passion for products or customers, faddish reactions (such as unintelligent offshoring), and lack of investment.

Technology Makes Lives Better

We discussed that humans have been developing technology to increase production and make lives better probably since there were humans on earth. Recent discussions that cover only the past 250 years or so with technology advancing from steam to electricity to IT-driven human prosperity and quality of life have all advanced.

Let’s look at a summary of findings. Here are some surprising facts.

Manufacturing Jobs

More robots, more jobs.

As employers add automation technologies such as robots, job titles and tasks are changing, but the number of jobs continues to rise. New technologies allow companies to become more productive and create higher quality products in a safer environment for their employees. This allows them to be more competitive in the global marketplace and grow their business. We see this in the statistics: over the seven-year period from 2010 to 2016, 136,748 robots were shipped to US customers—the most in any seven-year period in the US robotics industry. In that same time period, manufacturing employment increased by 894,000 and the US unemployment rate decreased from 9.8% in 2010 to 4.7% in 2016.

Specifically looking at two companies, Amazon had more than 45,000 employees when it introduced robots in 2014. While the company continues to add robots to its operations, it has grown to over 90,000 employees, with a drive to hire more than 100,000 new people by the end of 2018. Similarly, General Motors grew from 80,000 US employees in 2012 to 105,000 in 2016, while increasing the number of new US robot applications by about 10,000. We see similar results from multi-national companies with thousands of employees, to small manufacturing companies.

The skills gap and its impact.

Skilled workers are key to companies’ success and countries’ economic development. Employers rank the availability of highly skilled workers who facilitate a shift toward innovation and advanced manufacturing as the most critical driver of global competitiveness. But studies show an increasing skills gap with as many as two million jobs going unfilled in the manufacturing industry alone in the next decade. Fully 80% of manufacturers report a shortage of qualified applicants for skilled production positions, and the shortage could cost US manufacturers 11% of their annual earnings.

Changing job titles reflect changing tasks.

In the automation age, as in the computer age before it, job titles shift to reflect the impact of technology. A recent study concluded that occupations that have 10% more new job titles grow 5% faster. Just as we saw the rise of entire industries around previously unheard-of job titles in cloud services, mobile apps, social media, and more, we’re seeing similar shifts in the automation age. As lower-level tasks are automated with advanced technologies such as robots, new job titles and industries arise across nearly every economic sector.

Supply and demand and wages.

In the manufacturing industry, which is the largest user of automation today, the skills gap is driving up what are already strong wages and benefits, well over the US average. In 2015, manufacturing workers earned $81,289 including pay and benefits compared to $63,830 for the average worker in all nonfarm industries. And 92% of manufacturing workers were eligible for health insurance benefits. Despite that, manufacturing executives reported an average of 94 days to recruit engineering and research employees and 70 days to recruit skilled production workers.

Bridging the skills gap with innovative training.

Automation age jobs range from well-paying, entry-level and blue-collar positions through engineers and scientists. Stable automation-age manufacturing jobs can start at $20 per hour with just a high school diploma, a few months of automation training, and professional certification. Employers, vocational schools, and universities are offering innovative training approaches that give workers alternatives to the traditional (and expensive) high-school-to-college-to-job route. And employers such as GM are revitalizing apprenticeships, recognizing the significant advantage those programs offer.

Summary

Consider this equation

Automation –> Increased Productivity –> Improved Competitive Position –> Company Growth –> More Jobs

Jacobs and Bedrock Automation to Pursue Open Secure Automation Systems Opportunities

Jacobs and Bedrock Automation to Pursue Open Secure Automation Systems Opportunities

Bedrock Automation has built a good automation platform with built-in security and toughness. I’ve been watching to see just how disruptive it might be in the market. In this announcement, it is showing further growth in its go-to-market strategy of working with integrators. It has signed a memorandum of agreement with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of full-spectrum technical, professional and construction services. Under the agreement, the companies will pursue selected projects with automation system requirements for potential implementation of the Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA) system.

“Our clients are increasingly concerned about both cyber security and advanced automation and we have been creating innovative service packages to meet these needs.  Bedrock Automation has excellent experience and superior designs in this area. I am impressed with their comprehensive background and knowledge in the industrial DCS and PLC arena,” said Jacobs’ Mission Solutions Chief Technology Officer Dr. Tommy Gardner.

The Bedrock control system is known for its patented Black Fabric Cybershield architecture, which provides an intrinsic cyber secure automation platform to protect user hardware, software and applications. Unlike other conventional industrial control systems, Bedrock was designed from a clean sheet of paper with advanced components and architecture to be simple, scalable and secure.

“Jacobs is taking a leadership role in integrating the next generation of information and automation technologies for its clients,” added Bedrock Automation President Bob Honor. “We see this as a tremendous opportunity to bring our technology and our vision of holistic cyber security to a much larger audience. We look forward to an exciting and mutually beneficial relationship with Jacobs.”

 

Honeywell Process Solutions Takes IIoT Plunge in the Deep End

This week Honeywell Process Solutions held its 41st annual Honeywell Users Group (HUG) for the Americas in San Antonio. Speakers were all over the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) trend.

I did not make it. There are too many places to go, and I no longer work for a larger company with a financial base for lots of travel. So, I stayed in Sidney. News came via HPS’s PR agency and Control Global. Walt Boyes posted some cryptic notes on his blog one or two days.

VimalK_Blue BGVimal Kapur, president of HPS, told attendees, “The Industrial Internet of Things will allow manufacturers to more efficiently gather and analyze a broader range of data across multiple operations and plants to use data to transform entire enterprises.”

Showing how IIoT is working in real-world scenarios is especially critical this year. A recent survey of North American manufacturing executives suggests that investments in data analytics are rising. However, companies are still grappling to better understand its benefits.

The Honeywell-commissioned survey, conducted by KRC Research, found the majority of respondents (between 60 and 70 percent) believe data analytics can help reduce equipment breakdowns and unplanned downtime. It can also help reduce supply chain management issues. This is noteworthy because around 40 percent of the executives see unscheduled downtime and supply chain management issues as the top two threats to maximizing revenue.

At the same time, though, nearly half of the respondents said they don’t fully understand the benefits of data analytics. More than a quarter say more proof is needed to show that data analytics work.

IIoT to Analytics

I find it fascinating how quickly the news from HUG transitioned from IIoT to data analytics. Some  people look at the IIoT phenomenon as connected edge devices often through a network using the IP protocol. Increasingly analysts are broadening the scope to include the entire system of connected sensors, data collection, analytics, visualization.

That automation companies, such as HPS, are now emphasizing data science over control and instrumentation is an intriguing proposition to ponder over the future.

Digital Transformation

Just as I witnessed in Hannover, the real technology and term people are concerned with is digitalization.

“We are seeing a lot of interest from our customers attending this conference on how best to manage this digital transformation within their companies. They are looking to get more production out of existing assets and determine the best areas for investment for the long-term success of their operations – to improve process safety, reliability, security and sustainability,” said Kapur.

“HPS has been providing solutions and technologies to help manufacturers leverage critical operational data on a site by site basis for years,” said Andrew Hird, vice president and general manager of HPS’ Digital Transformation business. “Today, with the increased connectivity and the IIoT by Honeywell, they are able to gather and analyze data across multiple sites to find and implement best practices. The results of the IIoT survey of manufacturers reflect very closely the areas where Honeywell has been investing in solutions.”

Product Introductions

Honeywell’s newest industrial automation technologies unveiled at HUG included:

  • Data acquisition and analytics: The expanded Uniformance Suite software provides real-time digital intelligence through advanced process and event data collection, asset-centric analytics and powerful visualization technology, turning plant data into actionable information to enable smart operations. This solution is a backbone for the IIoT by Honeywell. New this year is Uniformance Insight, which allows customers to visualize process conditions and investigate events from any web browser.
  • Control: ControlEdge PLC, one of Honeywell’s first IIoT-ready controller, is part of Honeywell’s next generation of controllers providing unprecedented connectivity through all levels of process and business operations. When combined with Experion, ControlEdge PLC provides secure connectivity and tight integration to devices from multiple vendors and works with any SCADA system. Also showcased is the newest version of Experion Orion that will help industrial plants further optimize automation project execution, reduce loop commissioning time, minimize operational risk and protect intellectual investments while keeping current with today’s technology.
  • Natural gas measurement: Honeywell’s new IIoT-ready gas measurement and data management solutions for North American gas transmission and distribution from the wellhead to the burner tip. The portfolio includes the EC 350 PTZ Gas Volume Corrector, Honeywell Elster Rotary Gas Meter, the Cloud Link 4G Modem, MasterLink and PowerSpring.
  • Connectivity: MatrikonOPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) extends the highly successful OPC communication protocol, enabling data acquisition and information modeling and communication between the plant floor and the enterprise reliably and securely, accelerating the IIoT.
  • Mobility: Honeywell Pulse is a new mobile app used to remotely connect plant managers, supervisors and engineering staff to customized real-time plant performance notifications sent from HPS’ industrial automation software. It brings relevant metrics and the tools to resolve issues directly to their mobile device.