Emerson Launches IIoT-Enabled Controller Taking Aim At PLCs

Emerson Launches IIoT-Enabled Controller Taking Aim At PLCs

Just when I thought I’d never write about Controllers, here comes a very interesting announcement from Emerson Automation Solutions [note new name]. Taking direct aim at its competitors who have moved aggressively from discrete control into process systems, Emerson announced launch of the DeltaV PK Controller.

This controller targets fast-growth industries traditionally less reliant on large-scale automation. The next-gen controller provides scalable automation control to all process industries, particularly parts of the life sciences, oil and gas, petrochemical, and discrete manufacturing industries that have relied on complex, non-integrated programmable logic controllers (PLCs) with limited operational capabilities. The fit-for-purpose DeltaV PK Controller is the process industry’s first controller that manufacturers can scale down for skid units or scale up to be natively merged into the DeltaV DCS in a larger plant.

These industries tend to use PLCs for smaller applications, which can create disconnected “Islands of Automation,” and limits plant production improvements. The DeltaV PK Controller bridges small and large control applications. Organizations can leverage the DeltaV PK Controller for effective, easy-to-implement standalone automation control akin to a PLC but with the features of a full-scale DCS, including advanced batch production, recipe management, execution, and historization. Users can then choose to leave the DeltaV PK Controller standalone, or natively merge it into their DeltaV DCS. This capability eliminates operational complexity and dramatically improves the performance, safety, and efficiency of their entire project and operational lifecycle.

“The DeltaV PK Controller delivers a business-effective solution for organizations of all sizes to improve automation control and integration,” said Jessica Jordan, Emerson product manager. “The controller is capable of powerful standalone control for advanced automation on skids today while still being able to easily integrate into a full-scale DCS for total plant production control.”

The DeltaV PK Controller is the latest addition to Emerson’s Project Certainty initiative, targeting radical transformation in capital project execution. The new controller will simplify capital projects by enabling OEM skid-builders to design and produce skids in the same way they do today, while eliminating the costs, time, and risks associated with integrating a PLC into their control system.

The DeltaV PK Controller was designed from the start with connectivity, particularly into the IIoT, in mind. The scalable controller leverages an assortment of communication protocols, including the first Emerson controller with a built-in OPC UA server. It is also the first Emerson controller with six Ethernet ports and can operate using any Emerson DeltaV I/O type, including DeltaV Electronic Marshalling, traditional marshalled I/O, wireless I/O, and integrated safety instrumented systems. In addition, it has built-in protocols to communicate with Ethernet devices such as drives and motors. Together, these features make connectivity easier at every stage and help plants achieve operational benefits of cloud-based tools and analytics through the IIoT. The DeltaV PK Controller also features built-in redundancy for controllers, communication, and power supplies, allowing organizations to improve uptime without adding to complexity or footprint.

Let’s Tour Dell EMS IoT Booth At Its User Conference

Let’s Tour Dell EMS IoT Booth At Its User Conference

Dell EMS Internet of Things (IoT) group assembled a mini supply chain as its booth at the user conference Dell EMS World in Las Vegas in May. At the October Dell EMS World in Austin, these were put together as an ice cream factory and distribution, and the booth featured an ice cream machine. I sure could have used an ice cream by the time I got through all the exhibits.

The Dell IoT Gateway was the common denominator of the exhibit tying everything together.

The first station features construction. Here are a couple of guys trying out the DAQRI augmented reality helmets. I had the opportunity to try these in Hannover. A really cool application of AR.

They are looking at a combination of the construction (see the red “steel” framework) and drawings that show the layout of electrical conduit, HVAC ducting, and other details. As a construction worker, they can get a feel of where things go, as well as spot interferences the designer missed.

This station showed product on its way to market through sensing and communication from Nokia.

Below is a layout of the Emerson process manufacturing system.

They brought actual pipe, pump, motor, instruments, wirelessHART communication. No, it didn’t make ice cream.

This station featured IMS Evolve–an application that brings sensor data into the cloud and provides track and trace, as well as other analytics, assuring the safety of the food product through the supply chain from the point of view of proper temperature.

Don’t forget security! Here is a photo of a physical security video system from V5.

The Dell Gateway is an edge device capable of accumulating data from the disparate sources, performing storage and analysis at the edge then sending information to the cloud for further analysis.  It seems that everywhere I go, the “edge” is the place where innovation is centered right now. This simple demo showed the power of the edge.

Let’s Tour Dell EMS IoT Booth At Its User Conference

Festo All About Connectivity at Automation Fair

Rockwell Automation was all about Connected Enterprise at Automation Fair 2016. Festo joined in the fun showcasing seamless connectivity with Rockwell Automation’s factory automation and process automation architectures in such areas as:

  • IO-Link Premier Integration
  • Ethernet/IP
  • Integrated Architecture Builder (IAB)
  • Studio 5000 Software with L5K export
  • World class training

Ethernet/IP is the primary interface node for Festo pneumatic solutions, which now extends to the sensor level with process data, service data, and events information because of IO-Link Premier Integration. The IO-Link section of the Festo Flexible and Modular Automation exhibit features products that facilitate top down/bottom up integration.

Encompass products on display include the Festo CTEU bus node for easily adding Fieldbus connectivity to pneumatic valve terminals. Fieldbus connectivity to valve terminals also significantly reduces installation and engineering costs. The CTEU bus node inexpensively integrates Rockwell PLCs with multiple Festo valve terminal models, including MPA-L and the VTUG. Since a single CTEU node serves two valve terminals, it contributes to lower inventory requirements and simplifies logistics.

The MPA-L is a modular valve terminal suitable for most pneumatic applications for discrete and process automation. The high flow rate to size ratio makes for universal applications from food and beverage packaging to semiconductor fabrication. MPA-L can run pressure and vacuum, with multiple zones. The VTUG is an electrical terminal for solenoid valves. It provides diagnostics via fieldbus and has up to 24 valve positions. Festo valve terminals offer two functions on a single valve positon for greater functionality in a small footprint terminal.

Also on display are the IO-Link integrated SDAT analog sensor for reporting the piston position of a pneumatic cylinder and the VPPM proportional pressure regulator with IO-Link for greater data transfer and diagnostic information availability. IO-Link Premier Integration provides the data foundations to Industry 4.0 concepts and Industrial Internet of Things IIoT functionality.

The highest level of safety

Festo features the Encompass product MS6-SV-E soft start and quick exhaust valve which can be used with GuardLogix Integrated Safety applications.  MS6-SV-E reduces pressure quickly and reliably and builds up pressure gradually in industrial pneumatic systems. The pneumatic system safety device is a self-testing, redundant system conforming to the requirements of EN ISO 13849-1. Thanks to the 2-channel design and its monitoring, the device fulfills category 3 and 4 requirements, which enables a performance level “e” to be attained – the highest safety level.

21st Century mechatronic training

Festo Didactic, one of the world’s leading providers of mechatronic training, showcases in the Festo Flexible and Modular Automation exhibit its curriculum supporting Rockwell PLCs. The Festo Didactic product and service portfolio offers customers holistic education solutions for all areas of manufacturing technology and process automation, such as pneumatics, hydraulics, electrical engineering, production technology, mechanical engineering, mechatronics, CNC, HVAC, and telecommunications.

Let’s Tour Dell EMS IoT Booth At Its User Conference

Industrial Automation Data Goes To The Enterprise

Kepware Technologies, a PTC business, announced the release of KEPServerEX Version 6 software for industrial automation data connectivity. A major release of its flagship industrial connectivity platform, Version 6 strengthens Kepware’s core product offering for global corporations requiring increased operational scalability, security, and support. Enhancements include a new method for remote configuration, additional languages that support critical industrial automation markets, and significant updates to the user interface and licensing experience.

“Since the launch of Version 5 in 2009, the need for industrial connectivity has grown tremendously. As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to influence industrial architectures, companies require a comprehensive solution that can communicate and analyze a greater volume, variety, and velocity of data to a wider, more diverse set of client applications,” said John Harrington, Vice President of Product Management, Kepware. “We’ve incorporated important usability and architectural enhancements that support these evolving industry standards into KEPServerEX Version 6. Enterprise-ready, IT-friendly, and secure, Version 6 is a direct response to our customers’ expanding and evolving needs.”

KEPServerEX Version 6 features significant enhancements to the core server functionality and user experience that deliver an IoT-friendly industrial connectivity platform, including:

  • Programmatic Changes via the Configuration API: The new REST-based API enables off-site users to remotely apply programmatic changes to the configuration via third-party client applications. Now customers can easily configure multiple KEPServerEX instances from their enterprise software, enabling improved security and collaboration between Operations and IT.
  • Localization for Japanese and German Markets: Core features and top-tier drivers have been localized to improve the accessibility, productivity, and safety of KEPServerEX for local customers in Japan and Germany as well as global multinationals.
  • Native Development of OPC UA Technology: Native development of core OPC UA technology provides improved performance, enhanced diagnostics, and a solid foundation for continued OPC UA functionality enhancements.
  • Streamlined Licensing: Updates to KEPServerEX, the License Utility, and My Kepware improve the user experience and simplify license management—providing customers with more streamlined tools to deploy, manage, and update their servers.
  • Improved User Interface (UI): An enhanced user interface streamlines project setup and deployment, enabling more effective and efficient interactions with KEPServerEX. The updates also promote a safe user experience, enable increased productivity, and improve accessibility.
  • Robust Security: Now included as a complimentary core server component, the Security Policies advanced plug-in complements an industrial defense-in-depth strategy by enabling customers to assign security access permissions on individual objects based on user role.

“With the release of KEPServerEX Version 6, Kepware is able to provide a secure, truly enterprise-ready connectivity layer to the market,” said Tony Paine, Platform President, Kepware. “Our customers will benefit from an easy migration path that maximizes uptime—allowing them to meet productivity demands today while preparing for the requirements of tomorrow.”

KEPServerEX is an industrial connectivity platform that leverages OPC and IT-centric communication protocols to provide a single source of industrial automation data to enterprise applications. The platform offers a library of more than 150 device drivers, client drivers, and advanced plug-ins—enabling connectivity to thousands of devices and other data sources.

Does ProfiNet Have a Future–Industrial Networking

Does ProfiNet Have a Future–Industrial Networking

In this new world of the Industrial Internet of Things, is ProfiNet still relevant as an industrial network (fieldbus)? Is there a future for ProfiNet?

These were the questions I had heading into Phoenix and the 22nd annual meeting of PI North America. And I received answers.

Karsten Schneider, director of Profibus International, gave the technology update keynote and raised several interesting points.

More nodes of ProfiNet were sold in 2015 than were nodes of Profibus. This is the anticipated crossover point where Ethernet is becoming the dominant bus as well as network. Further, cooperation between PI and the Fieldcomm organization (combination of HART Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation) has proceeded with agreement between FDI and EDDL. Further cooperation was obvious by the presence of a representative of the CLPA (CC-Link Partners Association). CLPA and PI have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a standard method of communicating from one bus to the other.

Remember the “fieldbus wars”? Well, “times change.”

Time Sensitive Networking

Many application areas beyond industrial seriously need higher speed, determinism, real-time in their networks. Think of the growth of video streaming in real time, for example. Therefore the IEEE has been working on a new standard–Time Sensitive Networking or TSN.The standard is being built on IEEE 802.1. Many tremendous benefits will follow.

Think on this tidbit. When adopted as a standard, it will likely be build into commercial Ethernet chips. With a large number of industries wanting this technology, the number of TSN-enabled commercially available Ethernet chips will be huge. With huge commercial market potential, the price will drop. TSN Ethernet chips will be readily available and affordable for industrial devices. This will also likely replace Profinet IRT in the future (but not for a few years).

Take note that this will be a generally available and used chipset. It will primarily be IT oriented, but used also by OT. Perhaps this is the technology that brings the two together?

Future Work

A wide-ranging panel discussion sparked the creative juices of the group. One topic became the future engineer. We’ve had mechanical engineers, control engineers, data (software) engineers. Panelists expect that in the not-very-distant future, engineers will be multi-disciplinary.

I’ve maintained for several years that control and automation engineers must become network engineers–at least to a certain level. It is becoming even more important that they know something about SQL, programming in languages such as C, C++, Java, Python, and in scripting languages. Depending upon what sort of industry within manufacturing/production they should also be familiar with mechatronics or processes, too.

Is there a future for ProfiNet? Yes, but it will look only slightly like the present.

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