Industrial Automation User Conference Week

Industrial Automation User Conference Week

My wife’s family took me off for a week-long vacation to the beach last week. Eight days of much needed rest after a bunch of travel and a hectic (meaning wet) spring soccer season.

Last week was also Rockwell Automation TechED. That conference was once open only to distributer and integrator tech people. Several years ago it opened to media and became quite a thing for a few years. Last year I received an invitation to attend but they said that there was no media program. The timing was bad for me, so I passed. This year, there was no word at all. And I saw no news.

There are several industrial automation user conferences this week. PTC invited me to its conference in Boston. Then I was invited to Honeywell User Group (HUG). Then there were other invitations. Busy week. I initially told PTC I would attend, then putting it in my calendar, I realized that the week included my wedding anniversary. It’s big number (as in large). My better sense prevailed and I’m watching both of those conferences from afar.

So far this week, Honeywell Process Solutions has made a big announcement with some innovative product releases. Rockwell Automation, which owns about 8% of PTC and is banking on the partnership to bring its software into the new age, also issued a release. I’m still figuring that one out.

Honeywell Proclaims New Approach to Engineering

• Experion PKS Highly Integrated Virtual Environment (HIVE) significantly simplifies control system design, implementation and lifecycle management while reducing cost

• Market-first solution uniquely decouples the assignment of input/output (IO) modules and control strategies from specific controllers, and leverages IT capabilities in customers’ own data centers

My take on this announcement considers the HIVE product suite part of the growing trend under the umbrella of “digital twin.” Other companies have some somewhat similar products, but what I’ve found is that each company moves the ball forward a little more in a seemingly endless cycle of innovation. Honeywell labels it an evolution of the company’s flagship Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS).

Experion PKS HIVE uses Honeywell’s LEAP project execution principles, software, and networking to unchain control applications from physical equipment, and controllers from physical IO. This enables control systems to be engineered and implemented in less time, at lower cost and risk, and with simpler, modular builds. The solution also transforms the way control systems are maintained over their lifecycle, shifting day-to-day management of servers to a centralized data center, where experts and established protocols mitigate cybersecurity risk, allowing plant engineers to focus more proactively on optimization of their control systems.

Experion PKS HIVE incorporates three elements – IT HIVE, IO HIVE and Control HIVE – which can be used individually or collectively, in tandem with customers’ existing systems and infrastructure:

• Experion PKS IT HIVE centralizes up to 80% of the IT infrastructure traditionally used in project engineering to lower project delivery and lifecycle costs, better leverage skills, and drive consistent physical and cybersecurity management across an enterprise.

• Experion PKS IO HIVE provides flexible IO and control distribution enabling the control system to become a natural extension of process equipment and to facilitate modular and parallel project execution.

• Experion PKS Control HIVE uniquely applies control containers to provide flexibility and standardization of control hardware platform, control location, and control engineering. With multiple physically controllers operating as part of a Experion PKS Control HIVE, control engineering is dramatically simplified through automated load balancing.

“In developing Experion PKS HIVE, Honeywell worked closely with customers across the chemical, refining and oil and gas industries,” said Jason Urso, chief technology officer, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Many of these organizations want a more efficient approach to control system engineering, yet one that can be adopted incrementally and used interchangeably with their existing systems and infrastructure. Experion PKS HIVE provides these benefits and is truly a distributed control as it applies and geographically distributes technology to where it is needed.”

Experion PKS HIVE shifts IO to the field and makes it fully accessible to any controller, taking individual physical controllers and distributing the load so that they appear as a single controller to eliminate complexity. The solution distributes IT compute from onsite to offsite providing a seamless operations experience.

The Experion PKS IT HIVE and IO HIVE can be ordered now, with deliveries beginning Q1 2020. Experion PKS Control HIVE will be available in the second half of 2020.

Rockwell Automation Emphasizes PTC Partnership

Rockwell Automation announces its “unique combination of IT and OT software accelerates customers’ Digital Transformation Initiatives.” It says its solutions-oriented approach simplifies how manufacturers achieve business outcomes that transform operational processes, workforce productivity and efficiency.

Showcasing solutions during LiveWorx this week the company highlights:

Enterprise Operational Intelligence – cuts manufacturing costs and increases flexibility and agility of manufacturing networks by providing real-time manufacturing performance management across the industrial enterprise.

Digital Workforce Productivity – heightens productivity, improves quality, and avoids safety and compliance risk by equipping workers with actionable, augmented intelligence.

Intelligent Asset Optimization – reduces downtime and maximizes asset utilization through real-time monitoring, diagnostics, and predictive and prescriptive analytics into asset capacity, performance, and health status.

Scalable Production Management – lowers cost of inventory, improves quality, and compliance and accelerates time to market with effective planning and control of production processes.

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.

 

Industrial Automation User Conference Week

Partnership For Industrial Cyber Security HUG 2015

Honeywell Process Solutions and Intel Security announced during Honeywell User Group HUG 2015 a collaboration said to help bolster protection of critical industrial infrastructure and the Industrial Internet of Things.

Intel Security’s McAfee technologies will be integrated with Honeywell’s Industrial cyber Security Solutions.

“The threat of cyber attacks on industrial and critical infrastructure targets is growing rapidly and our customers are demanding effective cyber security to assist them in protecting their assets and people. Working with Intel Security expands our capabilities to enhance the availability, reliability, and safety of customers’ industrial control systems and plant operations,” said Jeff Zindel, global business leader for Honeywell’s Industrial Cyber Security Solutions group. “Our collaboration with Intel Security will enable integrated, validated solutions for our industrial process customers to more rapidly deploy and better protect their investment. This approach is critical to enable the productivity potential of Honeywell automation solutions and the Industrial Internet of Things.”

Initially, Honeywell will qualify Intel Security’s Application Whitelisting and Device Control with its own proprietary cyber security for its Experion Process Knowledge System, providing a fully vetted and qualified solution designed to increase security without sacrificing reliability. Honeywell is also offering Intel Security’s Enterprise Security Manager and Next Generation Firewall to its customers. The products will be supported by Honeywell’s Industrial Cyber Security Risk Manager, which provides a continuous evaluation of cyber security risks within industrial environments.

The McAfee Application Whitelisting maintains system integrity by allowing only authorized code to run. McAfee Device Control allows users to specify and categorize what data can and cannot be transferred to various plug-in devices.

 

Honeywell User Group All About Connections

Honeywell User Group 2015

Since I have to follow the Honeywell User Group (number 40, by the way) from afar, I’m relying on tweets and any Web updates or articles I can find.

So far, Walt Boyes (@waltboyes, and Industrial Automation Insider) has posted a few things to Twitter, mostly slides from presentations that are barely legible; Aaron Hand (Automation World) has posted a few tweets; Mehul Shah (LNS Research) has a couple of tweets—interestingly saying he things as an analyst that Honeywell has all the elements of a complete IIoT solution—hmmm; and Larry O’Brien, analyst at ARC Advisory Group has published a few tweets. If they would post links to articles in the tweets, that would be interesting.

Putman Publishing (Control magazine) once again is doing a digital “show daily” and therefore is posting several articles a day and blasting out an email daily.

Walt sent a tweet about obsolescence of open systems to which software geek Andy Robinson (@Archestranaut) replied. I didn’t understand until I saw Paul Studebaker’s article online (see below). The open systems in use today are getting long in the tooth. They feature Microsoft Windows XP—evidently never getting upgrades. Now there is no Microsoft support, the world has moved on, and all these DCS interfaces based on PCs are getting ancient.

Paul Studebaker, Control magazine’s editor-in-chief, reported on the keynote presented by Vimal Kapur, Honeywell Process Solutions president.

“ ‘Since Q4 of last year, since oil prices have changed, capital investments have been reduced’, said Kapur. Investments were up about 20% in 2010 and 2011, and remained flat through 2014, but so far, 2015 is down about 12%. Operational expense spending is also off.”

Kapur described how Honeywell is helping operators meet those challenges with strategies, technologies and services.

1. Honeywell will expand the role of the distributed control system (DCS). Now, the DCS has become a focal point of all control functions, taking on the functionality of PLC, alarm, safety, power management, historian, turbine control and more. Having a single system and user leverages scarce resources, and a single platform leveraging standards does more with less.

2. Cloud computing is becoming a standard part of HPS automation projects, with a logarithmic increase in the number of virtual machines in the HPS cloud over the past two years.

3. While process safety management has always depended on detecting unsafe situations, preventing them from causing an incident or accident and protecting people from any consequences.

4. For cybersecurity, Honeywell has created a team of specialists who can do audits, identify vulnerabilities and recommend solutions. But cybersecurity requires constant monitoring, so consider using a cybersecurity dashboard, “a step toward enabling a much higher level of proactivity by identifying cyber threats before it’s too late,” Kapur said.

5. Standardization holds great promise for reducing cost and time to production by allowing pre-engineering of control systems.

6. Honeywell continues to expand and refine its field device products to offer a complete line of smart instrumentation that can be preconfigured and use the cloud for fast auto-commissioning, and that have full auto-alerts and diagnostics to enable predictive maintenance.

7. OPC UA is becoming the key to leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

8. Kapur told attendees their existing investments are not fully leveraged.

9. Expansion of mobility is changing workflows and the responsibilities of individuals.

10. Honeywell is driving more outcome-based solutions in services.

Jim Montague, Control executive editor, reported on the technology keynote.

(Jim, you need to update your bio on the Control Global page)

“This is a transformative time in process controls, rivaling the open process systems introduced in the early 1990s,” said Bruce Calder, new CTO and vice president of HPS, in the “Honeywell Technology Overview and New Innovations” session on the opening day of Honeywell User Group (HUG) Americas 2015, June 22 in San Antonio, Texas. “Today, the words are cloud, big data, predictive analytics and IoT, but this situation is similar to when Honeywell pioneered and invented the DCS in the early 1970s. For instance, our Experion PKS integrates input from many sources, which is what big data and the cloud aim to do, and our Matrikon OPC solution gives us the world’s leading contender for enabling IoT in the process industries. And all these devices are producing lots more data, so the question for everyone is how to manage it.

“This is all part of the digital transformation that Honeywell has been leading for years. So Experion and our Orion interfaces enable IoT because they collect and coordinate vast amounts of data, turn it into actionable information and turn process operators into profit operators. At the same time, Honeywell enables customers to retain their intellectual property assets as they modernize and do it safely, reliably and efficiently.”

My analysis:

1. The downturn in the price of a barrel of oil whose impact we first noticed with the decline in attendance at the ARC Forum in February has really impacted Honeywell’s business.

2. Honeywell, much like all technology suppliers, addresses the buzz around Internet of Things by saying we do it—and we’ve always done it. (mostly true, by the way)

3. Otherwise, I didn’t see much new from the technology keynote—at least as it was reported so far.

4. I got some good reporting, but It’s a shame that all the media has retrenched into traditional B2B—reporting what marketing people say. You can read that for yourself on their Websites. Context, analysis, expertise are all lost right now. Maybe someone will spring up with the new way of Web reporting.

At any rate, it sounds like a good conference. About 1,200 total attendance. Even with oil in the doldrums, the vibes should be strong.