Industrial Internet of Things Steals Show at NI Week 2015

Industrial Internet of Things Steals Show at NI Week 2015

Industrial Internet of Things dominated keynotes and discussions during the annual National Instruments developer gathering known as NI Week.

There was less talk of cyber-physical systems and more discussion of benefits to managers and consumers, as well as the usual engineering target audience.

As usual, many customers and partners appeared on stage showing off some incredible feats of engineering built upon the foundation of NI products.

Dr. James Truchard, president, CEO, and co-founder, established the conference theme in his keynote, “ We have always been concerned with data. LabView is built for data flow as well as control. We have created a platform allowing standardized ways of interacting with the world that we call graphical systems design.”

Eric Starkloff, executive vice president sales and marketing, stated, “We are instrumenting the world. It’s like the Cambrian explosion of data. Diversity of data is evolving at a very rapid rate.”

He continued, “We’ve collected data for years, what has changed—connectivity.”

Jeff Kodosky, NI co-founder and “father of LabView,” devoted much of his presentation to point out the tremendous potential for the industrial Internet of Things—potentially of greater impact than the consumer Internet of Things.
One last thought brought home by Marketing Vice President John Graff involved the leveraging the power of the Industrial Internet of Things for predictive maintenance. “It can save 30% on maintenance and 45% on downtime according to US DOE. This led to a discussion of the test bed with IBM that I wrote about last week.

Product announcement

The most significant of the products announced this week was LabView 2015. The theme of the product release is, “write code faster; write faster code.”

Stated in the press release, the latest version of LabVIEW delivers speed improvements, development shortcuts, and debugging tools.

“Using LabVIEW and the LabVIEW RIO architecture allowed us to reduce the time of developing and testing a new robot control algorithm to just one week, compared to one month with a text-based approach. We are able to prototype with software and hardware faster and adapt to rapidly changing control requirements quicker,” said DongJin Hyun, Senior Research Engineer (Ph.D.), Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute, Hyundai Motor Group

LabVIEW 2015 further equips engineers with support for advanced hardware such as the quad-core Performance CompactRIO and CompactDAQ Controllers, 8-core PXI Controller, and High Voltage System SMU.

LabVIEW 2015 also reduces the learning curve for employing a software-designed approach to quickly create powerful, flexible, and reliable systems. With three application-specific suites that include a year of unlimited training and certification benefits, developers have unprecedented access to software and training resources to build better systems faster.

Following is a list of features:

• Open code faster—open large libraries up to 8X faster and eliminate prompts to locate missing module subVIs

• Write code faster—execute common programming tasks faster with seven new time-saving right-click plugins and develop your own additional plugins to maximize your productivity

• Debug code faster—examine arrays and strings in auto-scaling probe watch windows and document findings with hyperlink and hashtag support in comments

• Deploy code faster—offload your FPGA compilations to the LabVIEW FPGA Compile Cloud service included with your Standard Service Program membership

LabVIEW 2015 is extended by the LabVIEW Tools Network, which has been enriched by IP both from NI and third-party providers. The new Advanced Plotting Toolkit by Heliosphere Research furnishes developers with powerful programmatic plotting tools to create professional data visualizations. The RTI DDS Toolkit by Real-Time Innovations enables IoT applications with scalable peer-to-peer data communication. Additionally, application-specific libraries for biomedical, GPU analysis, and Multicore Analysis and Sparse Matrix applications are now available free of charge.

Industrial Internet of Things Steals Show at NI Week 2015

IoT Testbed For Condition Monitoring to Predictive Maintenance

IBM_NI_Test BedRepresentatives of National Instruments (NI) and IBM recently discussed their collaboration on a test bed demonstrating the possibilities for using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for taking companies from Condition Monitoring to Predictive Maintenance.

Chris O’Connor, IBM General Manager of IoT who works with divisions such as Maximo told me this is a new business unit that is built around IoT. There are about 6,000 clients. The explosion of data coming from devices means that industry must change from data centers to IoT. “For us, this entails the analysis of sensors information, aggregating the information, then constructing lifecycles. This will help world adopt IoT.”

The collaboration from condition monitoring and analytics changes questions manufacturers can answer such as, can I gain competitive advantage, can I offer better warranty, change frequency of maintenance.

Jamie Smith, NI’s Director of Embedded Systems, said the test bed project will roll out in multiple phases. It demonstrates the interoperability between two industry leaders including edge computing capability from NI to IBM’s cloud technology and analytics. Therefore, users can progress from condition monitoring to predictive maintenance.

The test bed consists of a motor and a couple of fans. Various failure modes are introduced. The first go consists of NI CompactRIO communicating via MQTT to IBM. Now that the proof has been completed, other companies in the Industrial Internet Consortium have been invited to join the collaboration. “All they need to do is contribute time and resources to it,” added Smith.

The next step according to Smith is insuring that it’s end to end secure. They are working with IIC to do security assessment. They will then look at more robust assets—most likely power generation assets—hoping to work with someone with large turbines or pumps to continue to demonstrate the technology and benefits.

Following is a description from the statement on the Web.

The Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance Testbed (CM/PM) will demonstrate the value and benefits of continuously monitoring industrial equipment to detect early signs of performance degradation or failure. CM/PM will also use modern analytical technologies to allow organizations to not only detect problems but proactively recommend actions for operations and maintenance personnel to correct the problem.

Condition Monitoring (CM) is the use of sensors in equipment to gather data and enable users to centrally monitor the data in real-time. Predictive Maintenance (PM) applies analytical models and rules against the data to proactively predict an impending issue; then deliver recommendations to operations, maintenance and IT departments to address the issue.

These capabilities enable new ways to monitor the operation of the equipment – such as turbines and generators – and processes and to adopt proactive maintenance and repair procedures rather than fixed schedule-based procedures, potentially saving money on maintenance and repair, and saving cost and lost productivity of downtime caused by equipment failures.

Furthermore, combining sensor data from multiple pieces of equipment and/or multiple processes can provide deeper insight into the overall impact of faulty or sub-optimal equipment, allowing organizations to identify and resolve problems before they impact operations and improve the quality and efficiency of industrial processes.

Through this testbed, the testbed leaders IBM and National Instruments will explore the application of a variety of analytics technologies for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. The testbed application will initially be deployed to a power plant facility where performance and progress will be reported on, additional energy equipment will be added and new models will be developed. It will then be expanded to adjacent, as yet to be determined, industries.

Industrial Internet of Things Steals Show at NI Week 2015

Industrial Internet Testbed Announced

Developing testbeds for testing development of technology extensions seems to be hot right now. The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition has a couple going in conjunction with US government money. There is a bid out from the US government for development of some more, also related to energy efficiency.

The Industrial Internet Consortium announced its first energy-focused testbed: the Communication and Control Testbed for Microgrid Applications. Industrial Internet Consortium member organizations Real-Time Innovations (RTI), National Instruments, and Cisco, are collaborating on the project, working with power utilities CPS Energy and Southern California Edison. Additional industry collaborators include Duke Energy and the power industry organization – Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP).

I recently saw where an analyst positioned the IIC with the German Industry 4.0 initiative–while ignoring the US Smart Manufacturing group altogether. These advanced manufacturing strategies are showing some growth. Both of these have commercial technology companies solidly behind them. I would think that they will have more impact in the long run than SMLC. But we’ll see.

Here is some background from the IIC press release. “Today’s power grid relies on a central-station architecture not designed to interconnect distributed and renewable power sources such as roof-top solar and wind turbines. The system must over-generate power to compensate for rapid variation in power generation or demands. As a result, much of the benefit of renewable energy sources in neighborhoods or businesses is lost. Efficiently integrating variable and distributed generation requires architectural innovation.”

The goal of the Communication and Control Testbed is to introduce the flexibility of real-time analytics and control to increase efficiencies in this legacy process – ensuring that power is generated more accurately and reliably to match demand. This testbed proposes re-architecting electric power grids to include a series of distributed microgrids which will control smaller areas of demand with distributed generation and storage capacity.

These microgrids will operate independently from the main electric power grid but will still interact and be coordinated with the existing infrastructure.

The testbed participants will work closely with Duke Energy, which recently published a distributed intelligence reference architecture, as well as SGIP to help ensure a coordinated, accepted architecture based on modern, cross-industry industrial internet technologies.

The Communications and Control framework will be developed in three phases that will culminate in a field deployment that will take place at CPS Energy’s “Grid-of-the-Future” microgrid test area in San Antonio, Texas.

The initial phases will be tested in Southern California Edison’s Controls Lab in Westminster, CA.

Linux 64-Bit Embedded Control

Linux 64-Bit Embedded Control

NI CERNNational Instruments (NI)announced a collaboration with CERN, an intergovernmental research organization building the world’s largest and most advanced scientific instruments. The objective is to push the standardization of all CERN control systems to Linux 64-bit OSs, with goals to boost system performance, design cost-effective distributed embedded control systems and enlarge opportunities for small and medium enterprises with expertise in NI and open-source technologies.

NI has been working with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, more commonly known as CERN, since the early 1990s on applications that help explain what the universe is made of and how it began. Notable collaborations include the Large Hadron Collider collimation system, where applications developed with LabVIEW system design software control stepping motors on approximately 120 NI PXI systems, and the MedAustron ion beam cancer therapy center, for which CERN received three awards at NIWeek 2013. These common developments have resulted in valuable training for engineers in the fast-growing embedded systems market, and have led to long-term maintainable systems in mission-critical applications.

A recent collaboration between CERN and NI concentrated on CERN’s infrastructure improvement plans. Prior to the public release of LabVIEW support for 64-bit Linux, the Engineering Department (EN) Industrial Controls and Engineering (ICE) Group at CERN, acted as a lead user to help NI define and refine the software features needed to ensure CERN’s success in continuing to use NI tools. By working with CERN early on to learn about its upgrade requirements, NI was able to prioritize key deliverables and gain valuable feedback from CERN to increase the quality of support for 64-bit Linux.

“The EN-ICE Group appreciates the engagement of NI to develop 64-bit software for CERN in a collaborative way,” said Adriaan Rijllart, section leader of the EN-ICE Group. “This very successful initiative is paving the way for exemplary partnerships between fundamental research organizations and industry.”

Shelley Gretlein, director of platform software at NI said “NI is pleased to have advanced lead users like CERN apply their extensive Linux experience in helping NI continue to release leading-edge products.”

In 2014, LabVIEW 64-bit for Linux was officially released to the public. The support for this OS ensures that CERN, as well as a vast majority of other leading-edge research laboratories and projects around the world, can continue to benefit from the increased productivity of LabVIEW in an open and sustainable operational environment.

“NI values the significance and benefits of Linux and continues to invest in R&D to ensure the compatibility of customizable commercial off-the-shelf technologies with open-source platforms,” said Stefano Concezzi, vice president of the scientific research segment at NI.

NI and CERN are committed to accelerating scientific innovation and discovery. “The vision of NI and CERN overlap very much. That vision is to improve society with our technologies,” said Johannes Gutleber, a CERN staff member and senior scientist.

Education and Engineering Future at NI Week

Education and Engineering Future at NI Week

Starkloff, Fettweis,  Salva, Hatch

Starkloff, Fettweis, Salvo, Hatch

The third day keynote session at NI Week always features the achievements of students, academics and futurist thinkers. Eric Starkloff, National Instruments’ executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, introduced the session by reminding us of the “Engineering Grand Challenges:” health, sustainability, security, and joy of living. “How do we inspire and train future engineers to tackle these problems?” he challenged the audience.

Dave Wilson: director of academic programs for NI, took us back to issue of time first introduced in CEO James Truchard’s Day One keynote. “Time pieces are infinitely more complex today,” he noted. “And look at transportation. Early automobiles were fundamental systems; new ones, such as the Tesla S, are significantly more complex.”

Do Engineering

So how do we train engineers to keep up and expand on these increasingly complex problem? “Do Engineering” is the theme. We get better through practice. Especially practice with something that maintains consistency over time. NI’s graphical programming system is used by young people with Lego Mindstorms up through engineers solving complex problems. NI’s new MiniSystems help students continue to learn. Over time, NI has reached 4,000,000 “future systems designers”.

Research competition using MyRIO has involved students in 65 countries, 850 universities, 20,000 students. This year 3,250 teams 25 countries entered the student design competition. Three finalists were invited to NI Week. A team from UNC Charlotte developed a NASA launch project for reusable rockets. Students from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology developed the EureCar, a self-driving car. Introducing the winner, Wilson noted that today’s engineers often take cues from biology such as the study of geometries of soles of frogs for designing tires. This finalist, students from ETH Zurich, took cues from marine life. Studying cuttlefish, the winners build a submarine propulsion mechanism enabling study of marine life without as much disruption as current robots submarines using myRIO and LabView.

Turning to academics, Wilson introduced a trio of professors from MIT. One led a team that developed the world’s largest range high-speed atomic force microscope. Another took the NI technology used in that project and scaled it down for graduate engineering student labs. And the Engineering Impact Award, which attracted 120 papers, went to the third MIT professor who developed “Portable Labs” a small FlexRIO board and with a vibrating strip of metal and magnet for undergraduate students to learn mechatronics. “We know that students want to do engineering not just sit and listen about it.” Amen to that. And, you, too, can own a FlexLab for myRIO for <$50 from MIT.

Future of Engineering

Starkloff introduced the three technology leaders, Mark Hatch, Joe Salvo and Gerhard Fettweis, who each had a short presentation followed by one of the few good panel discussions I’ve seen.

Leader of maker movement, Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, author of “The Maker Movement Manifesto”, and recipient of many awards for leading innovative maker communities in many cities, asked attendees, “What will you make? It’s cheaper now than ever before to innovate and make new things.”

Joe Salvo heads GE Global Research, which founded the Industrial Internet Consortium that NI recently joined. The goals of IIC are to break tech silos, bring physical/digital worlds together, and realize promise of M2M. Industrial Internet evolving manufacturing from the systems age. The global community is now connected both in business and socially. First people connected through cellular phones. Then he asked, “How many friends does your computer have? My computer has an active night life after I go to bed getting updates, etc. We have formed enormous value by connecting people, now include all the “things” think of the value that will be created. We are in a New Industrial Revolution with advanced manufacturing using the digital thread. FIrst we replaced back breaking work, then replaced routine work, now brilliant machines and brilliant minds coming together to work jointly.”

Technische Universitat Dresden professor Gerhard Fettweis has cofounded 11 startups. He is now researching wireless for the development of 5G cellular. Showing juxtaposed pictures from the introduction of Pope Benedict to the introduction of Pope Francis just a few years later reveals how the wireless community has changed the planet and glimpse of future. In the first picture one mobile phone is seen in the crowd. In the second, it seems everyone has a smart phone or tablet taking pictures of the event. He is researching a tactile internet where man and machine can meet in real-time control. This will require network latency down to 1 msec.

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