The race to be the best at providing information to aid plant personnel decision making continues unabated. Here are new products from GE Digital and Honeywell Process Systems.
GE Pulse Optimizer
GE Digital announced the availability of a new Brilliant Manufacturing Suite module, Plant Pulse Optimizer. Lack of plant wide visibility often results in lost opportunities, and manufacturers’ need to easily integrate, access, analyze and visualize data to improve collaboration and information transparency within the plant. The Plant Pulse Optimizer provides a Panoramic view of all production activity for all factory personnel via real-time, multi-shift based KPIs (machine-material-labor-product intelligence) as scorecards.
The module provides insights focused on production analytics to organize manufacturing data into a structure to provide information on inventory, yield and achievement of production plans. The module is also device and back-end agnostic, which allows it to be connected to both GE and non-GE manufacturing operations systems.
Plant Pulse Optimizer is an out-of-the-box solution that requires minimal configuration. The “card”-based views aid in execution for various roles within the plant, with associated drill down cards to allow quick identification of bottlenecks at the operation level.
Plant Pulse Optimizer is available at the end of June. Brilliant Manufacturing Suite will leverage GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet to further drive enterprise optimization, helping customers maximize productivity while ensuring product quality and sustainability.
Honeywell has launched Uniformance Suite, an integrated system of process software solutions that turn plant data into actionable information enabling smart operations.
“The Uniformance Suite is Honeywell’s analytics platform for digital intelligence and a big part of our Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) strategy,” said Ali Raza, vice president of HPS’ Advanced Solutions business. “The software suite provides powerful data analytics capabilities to enable customers to capture the data they need, visualize trends, collaborate with other users, predict and prevent equipment failures, and act to make informed business decisions.”
Using a common asset model, the Uniformance Suite:
- Collects and stores all types of data for easy retrieval and analysis
- Predicts and detects events based on underlying patterns and correlations
- Links process metrics with business KPIs for better decision making
- Enables IIoT, mobility, cloud, big data, and predictive and enterprise analytics
“Our customers are challenged to drive a culture of safety, reliability, efficiency and agility in their organizations, more so now than ever before,” said Raza. “They need access and visibility to real-time performance against business metrics. The Uniformance Suite software solutions are designed to work in unison to give businesses the ability to put their data to work.”
As part of the expanded Uniformance Suite, Honeywell has introduced Uniformance Insight, which allows customers to visualize process conditions and investigate events from any web browser. Built on an intuitive platform using thin-client software, there are no downloads or installations required. It correlates historian information along with KPIs and an asset database all in one tool, and enables collaboration with others.
“Uniformance Insight’s thin client capability means I can have more team members use this tool without having to install any special software on their computers,” said Heath Case, process control engineer and Uniformance PHD Administrator for DuPont Protection Solutions. “Because I don’t have to go to each user’s PC to roll out these changes, it translates into both cost and time savings.”
Just catching up on news that has built up over the extended holidays from Thanksgiving through New Years with one on process automation. I had a chat with Control Station’s Dennis Nash about the planned integration of its PlantESP Loop Performance Monitoring technology within the PlantPAx distributed control system from Rockwell Automation. Process data will be accessed natively from within the PlantPAx system environment using FactoryTalk Historian, and individual PID control loop configuration will be automatically populated to the new application’s dashboard.
Rockwell just keeps growing its process business. Its Process Systems User Group held last November in Chicago was yet another large gathering.
“Rockwell Automation continues its efforts to better serve the process industries by leveraging best-in-class solutions from its network of Encompass partners,” shared Tim Shope, Global Process Technical Consultant Manager from Rockwell Automation. “PlantESP is an obvious fit in that it will provide our customers with enhanced awareness of issues affecting their process’ day-to-day operational efficiency.”
Control Station’s PlantESP actively monitors the performance of PID control loops on a plant-wide basis and provides actionable insights. Equipped with a portfolio of key performance indices and advanced forensic tools, PlantESP simplifies the identification of performance issues and the isolation of the associated root-causes. Specific performance challenges addressed by PlantESP range from mechanical and controller tuning issues to constraints associated with process architecture. PlantESP uses a production facility’s existing process data and proactively alerts production staff of negative performance trends.
“The average plant has 100s if not 1000s of control loops which can be challenging for production staff to manage,” noted Rick Bontatibus, Control Station’s Vice President of Global Sales. “The combination of the PlantPAx System and PlantESP enables those same staff to focus their efforts on issues that will have the greatest impact on production efficiency and throughput.”
PlantESP is recognized as a leading control loop performance monitoring technology that has been successfully deployed at production facilities spanning the process industries. It is equipped with an array of highly effective and proprietary diagnostic tools, including advanced KPIs for identifying and quantifying stiction – a leading mechanical issue facing process engineers. PlantESP also includes a unique optimization utility called TuneVue that proactively captures everyday output changes for the purpose of isolating control loops that are in need of tuning. TuneVue is based on Control Station’s NSS Modeling Innovation and it is the only such utility that can accurately model the noisy, oscillatory process dynamics which are typical of industrial production and control environments. Collectively these and other PlantESP capabilities allow production staff to prioritize their efforts on issues that will have the greatest impact on performance.
I’m still pondering the whole HMI/SCADA market and technologies. I’m still getting a few updates after the Inductive Automation conference I attended in California and the Wonderware conference in Dallas that I missed.
The two have traditionally been referred to in trade publications together.
Today, I think three or four things are blending. Things are getting interesting.
SCADA is “supervisory control and data acquisition.” The supervisory control part has blended into the higher ends of human-machine interface. Data Acquisition software technology is a key platform for what we are today calling the “Industrial Internet of Things.” I’ve heard one technologist predict that soon we’ll just say “Internet.”
Data acquisition itself is a system that involves a variety of inputs including sensors, signal analyzers, and networks. The software part brings it all under control and provides a format for passing data to the next level.
HMI also involves a system these days. Evolving from operator interface into sophisticated software that includes the “supervisory control” part of the system.
Some applications also blend in MES and Manufacturing Intelligence. These applications, often engineered solutions atop the software platforms, strive to make sense of the data moving from HMI/SCADA either using it for manufacturing control or as a feed to enterprise systems.
Wonderware has been an historical force in these areas. Its original competitor was Intellution which is now subsumed into GE’s Proficy suite. The other strong competitor is Rockwell Automation. All three sell on a traditional sales model of “seats” and/or “tags.”
Inductive Automation built from enterprise grade database technology and has a completely different sales model. It is driving the cost of HMI/SCADA, and in some ways MES, down.
Competitors can meet that competition by either pursuing a race to the bottom or through redefining a higher niche. The winner of the race to the bottom becomes the company built from the ground up for low individual sales price.
All of that was just an analyst prologue to a couple of items that have popped up from Schneider Electric Software (Wonderware) over the past couple of days.
To my mind, Tim Sowell is addressing how some customers are taking these platforms to a new level. Writing in his blog last weekend, Sowell notes, “For the last couple of years we have seen the changing supervisory solutions emerging, that will require a rethink of the underlying systems, and how they implemented and the traditional HMI, Control architectures will not satisfy! Certainly in upstream Oil and Gas, Power, Mining, Water and Smart Cities we have seen a significant growth in the Integrated Operational Center (IOC) concept. Where multiple sites control comes back into one room, where planning and operations can collaborate in real-time.”
I have seen examples of this Integrated Operations Center featuring such roles as operations, planning, engineering, and maintenance. But this is more than technology—it requires organizing, training, and equipping humans.
Sowell, “When you start peeling back the ‘day in the life of operations’ the IOC is only the ‘quarterback’ in a flexible operational team of different roles, contributing different levels of operational. Combined with dynamic operational landscape, where the operational span of control of operational assets, is dynamically changing all the time. The question is what does the system look like, do the traditional approaches apply?”
Tying things together, Sowell writes, “Traditionally companies have used isolated (siloed) HMI, DCS workstation controls at the facilities, and then others at the regional operational centers and then others at the central IOC, and stitched them together. Now you add the dynamic nature of the business with changing assets, and now a mobile workforce we have addition operational stations that of the mobile (roaming worker). All must see the same state, with scope to their span of control, and accountability to control.”
The initial conclusion, “We need one system, but multiple operational points, and layouts, awareness so the OPERATIONAL TEAM can operate in unison, enabling effective operational work.”
Here is a little more detail about the latest revision of Wonderware Intelligence to which I referred last week and above.The newest version collects, calculates and contextualizes data and metrics from multiple sources across the manufacturing operation, puts it into a centralized storage and updates it all in near-real time. Because it is optimized for retrieval, the information can then be used to monitor KPIs via customizable dashboards, as well as for drill-down analysis and insights into operating and overall business performance.
“Wonderware Intelligence is an easy-to-use, non-disruptive solution that improves how our customers visualize and analyze industrial Big Data,” said Graeme Welton, director of Advansys (Pty) Ltd., a South African company that provides specialized industrial automation, manufacturing systems and business intelligence consulting and project implementation services. “It allows our customers to build their own interactive dashboards that can capture, visualize and analyze key performance indicators and other operating data. Not only is it more user-friendly, it has better query cycle times, it’s faster and it has simpler administration rights. It’s an innovative tool that continues to drive quality and value.”
Wonderware Intelligence visual analytics and dashboards allow everyone in the operation to see the same version of the truth drawn from a single data warehouse. The interactive and visual nature of the dashboards significantly increases the speed and confidence of the users’ decision making.
Cisco just released the findings of a global study that indicates cloud is moving into a second wave of adoption, with companies no longer focusing just on efficiency and reduced costs, but rather looking to cloud as a platform to fuel innovation, growth and disruption.
The study finds that 53 percent of companies expect cloud to drive increased revenue over the next two years. Unfortunately, this will be challenging for many companies as only 1 percent of organizations have optimized cloud strategies in place while 32 percent have no cloud strategy at all.
The Cisco-sponsored InfoBrief “Don’t Get Left Behind: The Business Benefits of Achieving Greater Cloud Adoption” was developed by International Data Corporation (IDC) and is based on primary market research conducted with executives responsible for IT decisions in 3,400 organizations across 17 countries that are successfully implementing private, public and hybrid clouds in their IT environments.
Nick Earle, Senior Vice President, Global Cloud and Managed Services Sales, Cisco, said, “As we talk with customers interested in moving to the second wave of cloud, they are far more focused on private and hybrid cloud—Primarily because they realize that private and hybrid offer the security, performance, price, control and data protection organizations are looking for during their expanded efforts. This observation, which drove our strategy to build a portfolio of private and hybrid infrastructure and as-a-service solutions, is reflected in the new IDC study, which shows that 44 percent of organizations are either currently using or have plans to implement private cloud and 64 percent of cloud adopters are considering hybrid cloud.”
In the study IDC identifies five levels of cloud maturity: ad hoc, opportunistic, repeatable, managed and optimized. The study found that organizations elevating cloud maturity from the ad hoc, the lowest level to optimized, the highest, results dramatic business benefits, including:
- revenue growth of 10.4 percent
- reduction of IT costs by 77 percent
- shrinking time to provision IT services and applications by 99 percent
- boosting IT department’s ability to meet SLAs by 72 percent
- doubling IT department’s ability to invest in new projects to drive innovation.
The study also quantified the economic benefits the most mature cloud organizations are realizing. Organizations studied are gaining an average of $1.6 million in additional revenue per application deployed on private or public cloud. They are also achieving $1.2 million in cost reduction per cloud-based application.
The revenue increases were largely the result of sales of new products and services, gaining new customers, or selling into new markets. Organizations were able to attribute revenue gains to increased innovation resulting from the shifting of IT resources from traditional maintenance activities to new, more strategic, more innovative initiatives.
Operational cost reductions associated with cloud stem from the advantages to the business of running on a more scalable, reliable, and higher-performing environment. These include improved agility, increased employee productivity, risk mitigation, infrastructure cost savings and open source benefits.
Private Cloud’s Correlation
Private cloud allows better resource use, greater scale, and faster time to respond to requests, but with the added control and security of dedicated resources for a single company.
Adopting hybrid cloud can be more complex than adopting other forms of cloud. It requires workload portability, security, and policy enablement. These requirements were evident in the study, which showed that up to 70 percent of respondents expect to migrate data between public and private clouds (or among multiple cloud providers) and have high security and policy requirements.
Mature Cloud Adoption by Country
Mature cloud adoption varies by country, with the United States and Latin America among the countries with the greatest percentage of organizations with repeatable, managed or optimized cloud strategies, and Japan with the fewest among the countries studied. The study notes the percentage of organizations with mature cloud adoption in each country:
- 34 percent USA
- 29 percent Latin America Region
- 27 percent UK
- 22 percent France
- 21 percent Germany
- 19 percent Australia
- 19 percent Canada
- 18 percent Korea
- 17 percent The Netherlands
- 9 percent Japan
Cloud Adoption by Industry
By industry, manufacturing has the largest percentage of companies in one of the top three adoption categories at 33 percent, followed by IT (30 percent), finance (29 percent), and healthcare (28 percent). The lowest adoption levels by industry were found to be government/education and professional services (at 22 percent each) and retail/wholesale (at 20 percent). By industry, professional services, technology, and transportation, communications, and utilities expected the greatest impact on key performance indicators (KPIs) across the board.
Cisco Business Cloud Advisor Adoption Report, Tool and Workshop
Cisco is helping customers translate the findings of this study into customized reports for customers. These Cisco Business Cloud Advisor engagements come in two formats, a simple, survey-based tool and a more in-depth workshop.
The Adoption Report allows customers to go through a structured survey to determine their own cloud adoption maturity and associated business benefits relative to their industry peers—by industry, company size and geography.
The Adoption Tool and Workshop allows Cisco and qualified channel partner sales teams to bring a much deeper level of analysis to organizations. The half-day workshop will help organizations better measure the potential impact of cloud adoption on their IT organizations across a broad range of key performance indicators. The recommendations include vendor agnostic guidance regarding how organizations can evolve their cloud journey across a number of domains, including the Intercloud. The Adoption Tool and Workshop are currently being rolled out on a worldwide basis.
The Cisco Business Cloud Advisor Adoption Report, Tool and Workshop are based on the same unbiased primary market research conducted by IDC for the study.
I have a potpourri of items to start the day. In the morning I leave for a week serving at the Tijuana Christian Mission. We will do a variety of service projects including building a section of a cinder-block security wall at its Rosarito orphanage site. We will do some work at the women’s shelter. We will also have some “real” Mexican tacos and check out the Pacific Ocean. I will be writing ahead, but there may be some gaps.
I decided that I just had too much going on along with watching my budget to attend this year’s ABB Automation and Power World event in Houston. This is the first one I’ve missed. And, yes, I do feel some withdrawal pain. What little news I’ve seen so far says that attendance is about 8,000. That is fantastic. I have seen no other news so far.
There were a couple of press releases in general. I subscribe to news feeds using Feedly on my iPad. I scan hundreds of items a day. Unfortunately, whatever Web technology ABB uses, when I click on the teaser lead in to the story to go to the Website, nothing happens. I’ve reported it to ABB several times in the past. For now, I don’t tweet or write up these items–I can’t see them.
Jim Pinto on Tolerance
My friend Jim Pinto who once wrote a monthly column on automation for me has switched his outlook on life. He has been tackling social problems lately in his new blog.
The latest edition is an impassioned plea for tolerance. He talks about treating other people with dignity. Certainly that is a life skill that will help you become successful except in the most toxic of organizational environment. But certainly successful as a person.
The piece did send me in search of a book in my library from the late 60s called “A Critique of Pure Tolerance.” For you philosophers, you might get just a sniff of Kant in the title. Rightly so. Three philosophers contributed essays–a Hegelian, a Kantian, and a positivist. One author was Robert Paul Wolfe. I can neither remember the other two or find the book right now. The point was (throwback to anti-VietNam protests) that sometimes you really shouldn’t tolerate the thoughts of others. I just offer that as a token of meaningless debate.
Real news from Dassault
Just received this update. By the way, I think these pre-configured apps are the beginning of the future for manufacturing software. Seems Apriso is making us smart–at least according to the press relations manager. Version 4.0 of Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA Apriso Manufacturing Process Intelligence (MPI) application suite is now available. New Maintenance, Logistics and Warehouse Intelligence Packs add visibility to another 200+ new KPIs.
Manufacturers operating globally are challenged to accurately measure analytics across sites to identify “best-in-class” performance. MPI 4.0 now offers 700+ pre-configured, built-in measures and KPIs within seven DELMIA Apriso Intelligence Packs. Intelligence Packs are pre-configured to work out-of-the-box with existing Apriso products (or may be integrated with other vendor products) to deliver the industry’s most robust EMI solution for global manufacturing excellence.
MPI 4.0 now offers Maintenance, Logistics and Warehouse Intelligence Packs, in addition to existing Production, Machine, Labor and Quality Intelligence Packs.
Advanced manufacturing strategies
There is one thing that puzzles me. Does anyone care about the variety of “smart manufacturing” theories and initiatives that take up so much room in magazines and blogs these days? I keep asking and writing, but the response is muted.
Granted, the European initiatives, principally Industrie 4.0, seem to be supplier driven. The US counterpart, Smart Manufacturing, has a government component, but is largely academic backed by some private companies who wish to take advantage of a pool of Ph.D. candidate researchers. It does talk about building a platform. However, the commercial impact is still in the distant future.
Just checking in. I’m working on a paper. If you have anything to contribute, I’m all ears.