Suppliers of manufacturing software, some from surprising places, are putting sizable investments into products that will help customers reap the rewards of digitalization. Today, I’m looking at both ABB and Emerson Automation Solutions. Previously I checked out GE Digital and Rockwell Automation. Each has taken a slightly different course toward the goal, but notice the common thread of enhancing software products to help customers prosper.
ABB enhances manufacturing management technology
The new version of ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management will offer new features including:
- Enhanced user experience based on new HTML 5 web client;
- A new smart interactive dashboard application that provides greater visibility and collaboration;
- A new statistical process control (SPC) application, to determine if each process is in a state of control;
- A new Batch Compare application – for advanced batch analysis.
“ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management is a comprehensive, scalable and modular software suite that optimizes visibility, knowledge and control throughout the operations domain,” said Narasimham Parimi, Head of Digital Products – Product Management, Process Control Platform. “This release provides a range of rich new functionality and a new enhanced user experience that enables operations to become more productive and responsive.”
ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management is designed to simplify production management by enabling performance monitoring, downtime management, and maintenance support, as well as providing statistical production analysis tools. It provides solutions and tools to facilitate the collection, consolidation and distribution of production, quality and energy information via the plant’s web-based reports, trends, and graphs.
A new, self-service dashboard application promotes increased collaboration, providing visibility from shop floor to top floor and spanning IT and OT environments. It increases data connectivity to all apps and modules within the MOM suite, combining historic and manufacturing data and providing the user with improved customization capabilities. Dashboards can be shared amongst users, further promoting collaboration between teams. Trends and events are displayed together, which enables customers to identify issues and opportunities enabling informed and timely decisions.
The new common services platform features an HTML 5 web platform that runs across all suites ensuring customers have a seamless user experience, so that applications can be viewed on different devices right down to a 10-inch tablet.
Statistical data process control (SPC) is used in manufacturing to determine if each process is in a state of control. The new SPC application works across all the different apps and modules and helps the user to improve quality and production related performance.
In addition to the existing Batch View and Batch Investigate features, a comparison option has been added to the platform’s batch analysis applications, allowing different types of comparison.
Cyber security remains one of the key issues in the advancement of Industry 4.0, and the new features in MOM include enhanced security.
Emerson Expands Analytics Platform
Plantweb Insight platform adds two new Pervasive Sensing applications that manage wireless networks more efficiently with a singular interface to the enterprise.
Emerson has added two new IIoT solutions to its Plantweb Insight data analytics platform that will enable industrial facilities to transform the way they manage their enterprise-level wireless network infrastructure.
As digitalization and wireless technology adoption continue to rapidly expand in industrial facilities throughout the world, the need for greater visibility of network infrastructure performance is key. These new Plantweb Insight applications provide a quick-to-implement, scalable IIoT solution that helps customers advance their digital transformation strategies and achieve greater operational efficiencies.
The new Plantweb Insight Network Management application provides continuous, centralized monitoring of WirelessHART networks. This first-of-its-kind application provides a singular, consolidated view of the status of all wireless networks in a facility, with embedded expertise and guidance for advanced network management.
A key feature of the Plantweb Insight Network Management application is a configurable mesh network diagram, providing visualization of network design and connections along with device-specific information. It also provides an exportable record of syslog alerts, network details outlining conformance to network best practices and more.
While the new network management application provides a holistic look at wireless networks, the Plantweb Insight Power Module Management application drills down to the device level, allowing facilities to keep their wireless devices appropriately powered so they can continuously transmit key monitoring data. By aggregating power module statuses, users can evolve traditional maintenance planning and implement more efficient and cost-effective practices.
“We were able to infuse a decade of experience with wireless technology into these new offerings,” said Brian Joe, wireless product manager with Emerson’s Automation Solutions business. “Our customers will now be able to manage and improve hundreds of networks through a singular interface, realizing significant efficiencies in individual network and wireless device management and maintenance.”
These new applications further enhance the Plantweb Insight platform, a set of pre-built analytics primarily focusing on monitoring key asset health. Other applications in the platform include pressure relief valve monitoring, heat exchanger monitoring and steam trap monitoring.
DataOps—a phrase I had not heard before. Now I know. Last week while I was in California I ran into John Harrington, who along with other former Kepware leaders Tony Paine and Torey Penrod-Cambra, had left Kepware following its acquisition by PTC to found a new company in the DataOps for Industry market. The news he told me about went live yesterday. HighByte announced that its beta program for HighByte Intelligence Hub is now live. More than a dozen manufacturers, distributors, and system integrators from the United States, Europe, and Asia have already been accepted into the program and granted early access to the software in a exchange for their feedback.
HighByte Intelligence Hub will be the company’s first product to market since incorporating in August 2018. HighByte launched the beta program as part of its Agile approach to software design and development. The aim of the program is to improve performance, features, functionality, and user experience of the product prior to its commercial launch later this year.
HighByte Intelligence Hub belongs to a new classification of software in the industrial market known as DataOps solutions. HighByte Intelligence Hub was developed to solve data integration and security problems for industrial businesses. It is the only solution on the market that combines edge operations, advanced data contextualization, and the ability to deliver secure, application-specific information. Other approaches are highly customized and require extensive scripting and manual manipulation, which cannot scale beyond initial requirements and are not viable solutions for long-term digital transformation.
“We recognized a major problem in the market,” said Tony Paine, Co-Founder & CEO of HighByte. “Industrial companies are drowning in data, but they are unable to use it. The data is in the wrong place; it is in the wrong format; it has no context; and it lacks consistency. We are looking to solve this problem with HighByte Intelligence Hub.”
The company’s R&D efforts have been fueled by two non-equity grants awarded by the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) in 2019. “We are excited to join HighByte on their journey to building a great product and a great company here in Maine,” said Lou Simms, Investment Officer at MTI. “HighByte was awarded these grants because of the experience and track record of their founding team, large addressable market, and ability to meet business and product milestones.”
To further accelerate product development and go-to-market activities, HighByte is actively raising a seed investment round. For more information, please contact [email protected]
Learn more about the HighByte founding team —All people I’ve know for many years in the data connectivity business.
From Wikipedia: DataOps is an automated, process-oriented methodology, used by analytic and data teams, to improve the quality and reduce the cycle time of data analytics. While DataOps began as a set of best practices, it has now matured to become a new and independent approach to data analytics. DataOps applies to the entire data lifecycle from data preparation to reporting, and recognizes the interconnected nature of the data analytics team and information technology operations.
DataOps incorporates the Agile methodology to shorten the cycle time of analytics development in alignment with business goals.
DataOps is not tied to a particular technology, architecture, tool, language or framework. Tools that support DataOps promote collaboration, orchestration, quality, security, access and ease of use.
From Oracle, DataOps, or data operations, is the latest agile operations methodology to spring from the collective consciousness of IT and big data professionals. It focuses on cultivating data management practices and processes that improve the speed and accuracy of analytics, including data access, quality control, automation, integration, and, ultimately, model deployment and management.
At its core, DataOps is about aligning the way you manage your data with the goals you have for that data. If you want to, say, reduce your customer churn rate, you could leverage your customer data to build a recommendation engine that surfaces products that are relevant to your customers — which would keep them buying longer. But that’s only possible if your data science team has access to the data they need to build that system and the tools to deploy it, and can integrate it with your website, continually feed it new data, monitor performance, etc., an ongoing process that will likely include input from your engineering, IT, and business teams.
As we move further along the Digital Transformation path of leveraging digital data to its utmost, this looks to be a good tool in the utility belt.
Today’s big enterprise IT news concerns Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Cray entering into a definitive agreement under which HPE will acquire Cray for $35.00 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at approximately $1.3 billion, net of cash.
This is another example of technology industry consolidation. We’re seeing it with instrumentation, control, and automation companies. Enterprise IT is rapidly going that way. Both HPE and Dell Technologies have been scarfing up companies either matured and not growing or in need of capital to survive.
Signs of maturing industries mean one kind of shock waves for employment within them. But also this usually means preparing room in the market for new companies with disruptive new technologies and business models. It’s possible that we’re about to see a leap in quantum computing out of all this.
What does this mean for industrial users? We are seeing already companies like HPE moving their powerful compute platforms to the edge. With every advancement, we’ll see additional compute power bringing databases, analytics, AI, video and other applications to more remote installations.
Some additional details from the press release:
“Answers to some of society’s most pressing challenges are buried in massive amounts of data,” said Antonio Neri, President and CEO, HPE. “Only by processing and analyzing this data will we be able to unlock the answers to critical challenges across medicine, climate change, space and more. Cray is a global technology leader in supercomputing and shares our deep commitment to innovation. By combining our world-class teams and technology, we will have the opportunity to drive the next generation of high performance computing and play an important part in advancing the way people live and work.”
The Explosion of Data is Driving Strong HPC Growth
The explosion of data from artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics and evolving customer needs for data-intensive workloads are driving a significant expansion in HPC.
Over the next three years the HPC segment of the market and associated storage and services is expected to grow from approximately $28 billion in 2018 to approximately $35 billion in 2021, a compound annual growth rate of approximately 9 percent. Exascale is a growing segment of overall HPC opportunities and more than $4 billion of Exascale opportunities are expected to be awarded over the next five years.
“This is an amazing opportunity to bring together Cray’s leading-edge technology and HPE’s wide reach and deep product portfolio, providing customers of all sizes with integrated solutions and unique supercomputing technology to address the full spectrum of their data-intensive needs,” said Peter Ungaro, President and CEO of Cray. “HPE and Cray share a commitment to customer-centric innovation and a vision to create the global leader for the future of high performance computing and AI. On behalf of the Cray Board of Directors, we are pleased to have reached an agreement that we believe maximizes value and are excited for the opportunities that this unique combination will create for both our employees and our customers.”
High performance computing is a key component of HPE’s vision and growth strategy and the company currently offers world-class HPC solutions, including HPE Apollo and SGI, to customers worldwide. This portfolio will be further strengthened by leveraging Cray’s foundational technologies and adding complementary solutions. The combined company will also reach a broader set of end markets, offering enterprise, academic and government customers a broad range of solutions and deep expertise to solve their most complex problems. Together, HPE and Cray will have enhanced opportunities for growth and the integrated platform, scale and resources to lead the Exascale era of high performance computing.
Automation, Innovation, Funding news from Rockwell Automation, IoT Partners Research, Dell EMC IoT, Schneider Electric Ventures
I started going to Automation Fair in 1997. This is the first year I have missed. I could be in any of four different venues this week. Used to be that Rockwell had the week to itself. No longer. I am not there because I don’t like Rockwell. Business considerations are taking me a different direction. Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on IoT, data, solving business problems at the Industry of Things World-East forum in Orlando. I thought about a huge tour of three cities. Then I thought again.
I posted news from Rockwell Automation yesterday about its recent collaboration with PTC. I haven’t seen anything newer coming out yet from my sources.
In its recent analysis ranking 547 companies on their IoT service capabilities, ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, finds that partner programs and their member companies are continuing to mature in their IoT offerings while simultaneously decreasing the average number of members per partner program.
In fact, 65% of listed organizations received a high IoT maturity grade, which is nearly 2½ times the number of organizations that received a high maturity ranking when ABI Research first analyzed these IoT ecosystems back in September 2015. Partner program parents such as Amazon Web Services, Dell, and IBM are aligning themselves with fewer, higher-value partners who can better help end-users navigate the convoluted IoT ecosystem.
Partner program parents need to ensure that their partners can effectively address the current major needs of the market while also addressing high-growth niche vertical markets, with companies like Dell and AWS showing that it’s possible to address these changing market dynamics without being encumbered by hundreds of partners. AWS’ IoT Competency program ensures that its partners have a high-depth of IoT expertise to meet end-user needs, while Dell’s IoT Solutions Partner Ecosystem is focused on having both technology and services partners who can address specific use cases.
The three most targeted verticals within these partner program ecosystems have consistently been healthcare, manufacturing, and energy applications, but over the past three years, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of partners offering solutions targeting the digital signage, wearable, and smart building markets due to end-user demand.
FogHorn Partners With Dell EMC OEM Solutions
Speaking of partnerships, this came in today. FogHorn, a developer of edge intelligence software for industrial and commercial IoT applications, announced a collaboration with Dell EMC OEM Solutions to deliver end-to-end Industrial IoT (IIoT) edge computing solutions. This collaboration allows industrial and commercial customers to leverage the power of the edge quickly with an out-of-the-box solution for their Industrial IoT (IIoT) deployments – providing real-time insights to streamline operations and improve business outcomes.
By integrating FogHorn’s Lightning edge computing technology to solutions from Dell EMC, industrial and commercial customers now have access to preconfigured gateways and other devices that simplify IoT deployments. These “edgified” solutions allow clients to deploy edge computing at various end-point locations quickly, wherever the power of edge computing is needed.
Schneider Electric Ventures
Schneider Electric, who also has an event this week, has announced “Schneider Electric Ventures”, which identifies, nurtures and supports innovations that will make a major contribution to future sustainability and energy efficiency. Several major projects are underway and ready to be deployed.
‘Schneider Electric Ventures’ nurtures tomorrow’s transformational and disruptive technologies according to the press release.
The company spends €1 billion a year on R&D; and EcoStruxure, its IoT-enabled, plug and play, open, interoperable, architecture and platform is at the cutting edge of connected energy management and industrial automation.
A few months ago, the company created “Schneider Electric Ventures”. The mission of this initiative is to identify, support and nurture companies and entrepreneurs whose innovations will transform the way we live and work, how we produce and consume energy, and how we run buildings and factories.
Schneider Electric Ventures supports innovation through:
At its Innovation Summit North America, Schneider Electric announced some projects developed by “Schneider Electric Ventures”. These projects include:
- eIQ Mobility, a start-up and spinoff from Schneider Electric Incubator, which enables and accelerates electric mobility at scale by providing “Electric Fleet as a Service ” to large commercial fleets.
- Clipsal Solar, a business venture for on-grid and off-grid solutions for residential and commercial applications in Australia, where 1.8 million homeowners have installed solar panels to help manage their energy bills. The market is forecasted to grow with additional 134,000 homes by 2021.
- Greentown Labs Bold Ideas Challenge in partnership with Greentown Labs, focused on fast-tracking entrepreneurs with the mentors, team members, grants of $25,000, and business and technical resources they need to launch successful ventures.
Through its different investment vehicles, Schneider Electric also made equity investments in six companies:
- Sense, the leader in load disaggregation technology
- Element Analytics, a leader in industrial big data analytics
- Habiteo, a 3D specialist for new residential housing
- QMerit, the “Uber” for contractors & MRO spend
- KGS, a predictive engine for just-in-time maintenance
- Claroty, the leading Cybersecurity company for industrial OT networks
Schneider Electric has committed to invest between 300 and 500 million euros in the coming years, in incubation projects, partnerships with entrepreneurs, and specialized funds, and welcomes ideas from innovators and entrepreneurs eager to turn their ideas into reality.
Which companies are leading us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution? The World Economic Forum has completed a study and named nine of the best factories in the world—certainly an audacious task. Dubbed “lighthouses”, they were selected from a survey of over 1,000 manufacturing sites based on a successful track record of implementing technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Three of the nine “lighthouse” sites are in China, five are in Europe and one is in the United States.
The aim of this effort is to build a network of “manufacturing lighthouses” to address problems confronting industries in both advanced and emerging economies when it comes to investing in advanced technologies. Earlier work by the Forum identified that over 70% of businesses investing in technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, or 3D printing do not take the projects beyond pilot phase due to unsuccessful implementation strategies. To aid the learning and adoption of technologies by other companies, all nine lighthouses in the network have agreed to open their doors and share their knowledge with other manufacturing businesses.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to deliver productivity gains amounting to more than 3.7 trillion USD. But we are still at the beginning of the journey” said Helena Leurent, Head of the Shaping the Future of Production System Initiative and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. “Our efforts to create a learning platform with the lighthouses as the cornerstone are part of the giant leap needed to capture the benefits for the larger manufacturing ecosystem including multinationals, SMEs, start-ups, government and academia”.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is real. Workers and management equally get augmented with technology. These pioneers have created factories that have 20-50% higher performance and create a competitive edge,” said Enno de Boer, Partner and Global Head of Manufacturing at McKinsey & Company, which collaborated with the Forum on the project. “They have agile teams with domain, analytics, IoT and software development expertise that are rapidly innovating on the shop floor. They have deployed a common data/IoT platform and have up to 15 use cases in action. They are thinking “scale”, acting “agile” and resetting the benchmark.”
The nine “lighthouses” have comprehensively deployed a wide range of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and use cases at scale while keeping humans at the heart of innovation. One example from each of the sites is highlighted below:
- Bayer Biopharmaceutical (Garbagnate, Italy): ‘Using data as an asset’- While most companies use less than 1% of the data they generate, Bayer’s massive data lake has led to a 25% reduction in maintenance costs and 30-40% gains in operational efficiency
- Bosch Automotive (Wuxi, China): ‘Supporting output increase’ – By using advanced data analytics to deeply understand and eliminate output losses, simulate and optimize process settings, and predict machine interruptions before they occur
- Haier (Qingdao, China): ‘User-centric mass customization model’ – Artificial Intelligence led transformations include an ‘order-to-make’ mass customization platform and a remote AI supported, central intelligent service cloud platform to predict maintenance needs before they happen
- Johnson & Johnson Depuy Synthes (Cork, Ireland): ‘Process-driven digital twinning’ – This factory used the internet of things to make old machines talk to one other, resulting in 10% lower operating costs and a 5% reduction in machine downtime
- Phoenix Contact (Bad Pyrmont and Blomberg, Germany): ‘Customer-driven digital twinning’ – By creating digital copies of each customer’s specifications, production time for repairs or replacements has been cut by 30% Procter & Gamble (Rakona, Czech Republic): ‘Production agility’ – A click of a button is all it takes production lines in this factory to instantly change the product being manufactured, which has reduced costs by 20% and increased output by 160%
- Schneider Electric (Vaudreuil, France): ‘Factory integration’ – Sharing knowledge and best practices across sites has helped this company make sure all its factory sites enjoy the highest energy and operational efficiencies, reducing energy costs by 10% and maintenance costs by 30%
- Siemens Industrial Automation Products (Chengdu, China): ‘3D simulated production line optimization’ – Using 3D simulation, augmented reality and other techniques to perfect the design and operations of its factory, employees helped increase output by 300% and reduced cycle time
- UPS Fast Radius (Chicago, USA): ‘Balancing capacity with customer demand’ – Meeting increasing consumer demand for fast-turnaround customized products has been made possible through a combination of globally distributed 3D printing centres with real-time manufacturing analytics
The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.