Control and Networking Make Automation News

Control and Networking Make Automation News

Here is some news regarding control and networking. Bedrock Automation is a recent entrant into the control and automation space, while Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) holds great potential to be a disruptive force.

Control

I seldom write about automation company “wins”, but this one shows some direction for a new company. Bedrock Automation is a young automation company that has built a new control platform from the ground up for not only the latest in control but also for security.

My curiosity has focused on where it would find a market. I don’t see it displacing Rockwell Automation and Siemens any time soon, but the platform is robust and adaptable. This looks like a perfect application.

Pinnacle Midstream, a Houston-based supplier of storage and processing services for the oil and gas industry, has selected the Bedrock control system as the automation platform for its crude oil receipt and delivery points. The Bedrock system will coordinate flow of product from partners, through the Pinnacle processing facilities and onto refiners and shippers. Pinnacle chose Bedrock system for its scalability, ease of engineering, ruggedness, cost efficiencies and intrinsic cyber security.

“We are expanding to the meet the growing need for midstream services and need a secure way to centralize control of flow amongst our facilities. The Bedrock system provides an economical solution in a small, easy-to-implement system that can coordinate edge control today, while also scaling easily and economically to the full DCS functionality we expect to need in the future. We also liked the rugged Bedrock housing, which will resist the dust that gets into everything around here,” said Mike Hillerman, VP of Engineering and Operations for Pinnacle Midstream.

Networking

Avnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open standards-based deterministic networking through certification, is co-hosting the 2017 Time Sensitive Networks and Applications (TSN/A) Conference with WEKA FACHMEDIEN on September 20-21 at the Mövenpick Hotel Stuttgart Airport in Germany.

The TSN/A Conference is a combination of the “TSNA Conference” and the “Industrial Ethernet TSN Kongress” and offers attendees insights into Time-Sensitive Networks and usage in applications for Automotive, Industrial, Professional Audio/Video and more. The conference spans two days of technical sessions, panel discussions, vendor demonstrations, and participant networking.

“We are excited to bring together experts and thought leaders from around the world to the TSN/A Conference in Germany this year” said Kevin Stanton, Avnu Alliance Chairman, who will also deliver a conference presentation on Time Synchronization on Wired and Wireless Infrastructure. “It’s been a pleasure to join forces with WEKA FACHMEDIEN as the speakers present both the technology of TSN and its implications across our industries.”

On Wednesday, September 20, the first day of the conference, programming will feature two keynotes from Avnu Alliance members. Wolfgang Schenk of Hirschmann Automation and Control will present on “Time-Sensitive Networking: Enabling Technology for the Automation Model of the Future,” analyzing the transformation of the automation pyramid towards an automation pillar and discussing why TSN is the enabling technology for this transformation. Avnu Alliance Member BMW representative Dr. Kirsten Matheus will give a keynote on the “Use of AVB and TSN in the Automotive Industry.” Specifically, the presentation will describe the results of two workshops that Avnu Alliance held to gauge the need in the automotive industry for different Audio Video Bridging (AVB)/TSN functions.

I am happy to see momentum building for the technology. Can’t wait to see applications.

OPC Foundation Also Promotes the Open Process Automation Forum

OPC Foundation Also Promotes the Open Process Automation Forum

Interoperability spurs innovation. After years of technological consolidation in the process automation industry with “distributed control systems” becoming ever more centralized, we are witnessing a resurgence of distributed, along with open and interoperable.

Open Process Automation Forum

Yesterday I discussed Foxboro promoting the Open Process Automation Forum. Today, I can report that the OPC Foundation has also formally joined the forum. It fits given that OPC UA is one of the key standards that the OPAF will need for its interoperable system to work.

The OPC Foundation has developed a whitepaper, an introspective on process automation, elaborating on the vision of OPC UA and why the OPC Foundation is engaging in The Open Process Automation Forum.

The OPC Foundation vision includes the key element of information modeling, providing a foundation for other standards organizations to directly plug-in their data/information models into OPC UA.

OPC UA Seminar Tour

Here is a free opportunity to learn about open standards, OPC UA, a chance to meet with leaders in the interoperability field – in one day, in one place. Oh, and at two of those sessions (Milwaukee and Cleveland) one of those leaders will be me!

The seminar is designed for corporate leaders, IT professionals, students and all interested in IT to learn more about open standards, their place in this constantly changing arena of IIot, Industre 4.0, the Cloud and beyond and how this knowledge will benefit their life, their career and their company.

 

This seminar tour will focus on the rich feature set of OPC UA and the unique ways these features are put to use in real applications. By attending these conferences you will:

  • Learn how OPC UA provides Industrial Interoperability for the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0
  • Learn about OPC UA in the world of the IIC, China 2025, Korea Manufacturing Innovation 3.0
  • Hear why end-users are requiring vendors to build OPC UA into their products
  • Get latest update on OPC-UA technology and further roadmap enhancements
  • Learn how active collaborations with other industry organizations are working to revolutionize the transformation of data, providing an infrastructure for the modeling of information
  • Network with industry experts and peers
  • Hear how Microsoft is positioning Azure with OPC UA extensions
  • How to connect your machine to SAP easily and standardized
  • Learn why OPC UA is the one and only recommendation for communication channel for RAMI4.0 – the Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0

 

Here are the event details:

 

September 26 – San Diego

September 27 – Santa Clara

September 28 – Seattle

September 29 – Vancouver

October 3 – Minneapolis

October 5 – Toronto

October 9 – Milwaukee

October 11 – Cleveland

 

MIMOSA and OPC Foundation Announce Joint Working Group

MIMOSA and OPC Foundation Announce Joint Working Group

Joint working groups to develop companion specifications has been a great method to advance interoperability. Here is an announcement of one where you can still get involved if you have expertise in one or the other. Note: I am chief marketing officer of MIMOSA and I also have done some work with OPC Foundation.

MIMOSA (an operations and maintenance information open system alliance) and the OPC Foundation have announced a joint working group to develop a companion specification for MIMOSA’s CCOM standard and OPC UA.

MIMOSA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to developing and encouraging the adoption of open information standards for Operations and Maintenance in manufacturing, fleet, and facility environments. MIMOSA’s open standards enable collaborative asset lifecycle management in both commercial and military applications.

MIMOSA CCOM (Common Collaborative Object Model) serves as an information model for the exchange of asset information. Its core mission is to facilitate standards-based interoperability between systems: providing an XML model to allow systems to electronically exchange data.

OPC Foundation is a not-for-profit association dedicated to providing the interoperability standard for the secure and reliable exchange of data in the industrial automation space and in other industries. The OPC UA (Unified Architecture) is platform independent and ensures the seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors.

The OPC UA standard is a series of specifications developed by industry vendors, end-users and software developers. These specifications define the interface between Clients and Servers, as well as Servers and Servers, including secure access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications. The standard includes the ability to securely transport any information model between the systems. It is a key standard for Industry 4.0.

The joint MIMOSA and OPC Foundation CCOM OPC UA Working Group will develop an OPC UA Information Model for CCOM. The information model specified by CCOM will be defined in a UA companion specification using OPC UA constructs for the purpose of exposing CCOM information to OPC UA applications, with an initial focus on existing Use Cases relating to information exchange to and from the control system. This will combine existing strengths of each organization for some near-term wins, where OPC UA is used to bring information from the factory floor and where MIMOSA plays its traditional role in Asset Management.

The working group will deliver the following:
• OPC UA Information Model for CCOM (Standard OPC UA companion specification, Nodeset file and prototype implementation)
• A write up for the OPC Wiki describing the Companion specification
• Trade show demonstration and information material

Anyone who would like to contribute to this industry specification please contact Alan Johnston [email protected]

MIMOSA Asset Lifecycle Information Model Open Meeting Set

MIMOSA Asset Lifecycle Information Model Open Meeting Set

Manufacturing and production information is rapidly moving to the cloud. I wrote yesterday about what all the companies are trying to do to bring information into their ecosystems. Not all the efforts promote interoperability. Dell is open source, coming the closest to the ideal. Microsoft and Siemens are closest for individual companies.

What they are all lacking is bringing in asset lifecycle information.

Enter MIMOSA, developer and proponent of the most complete asset lifecycle information model. CCOM has been publicly proved in the Oil & Gas Pilot Demo Project and in several private company instances.

Another drawback to these systems occurs when a company implements more than one. Let’s suppose that a company installs both SAP and Microsoft. And then maybe GE Predix. How are these proprietary systems all going to get along together?

MIMOSA has a solution—web service Information Service Bus Model the heart of the Open Industrial Interoperability Ecosystem (OIIE). These open standards describe how to tie together all the parts into an interoperable industrial system.

These standards plus current efforts to define Industry Standard Datatsheet Definition and a joint working group to write a companion specification with OPC UA will be discussed at the open meeting.

There will be an MIMOSA meeting  on Sept. 28-29. All are invited to attend. BP Helios Center, 201 Helios Way, Houston, Texas 77079

More information coming.

For deeper information on MIMOSA click on the white paper small ad on the right.

Software Platform for Open Control Systems Emphasizing IoT

Software Platform for Open Control Systems Emphasizing IoT

The latest attempt at building an open control platform is driven by ExxonMobil and given some support by the ARC Advisory Group by offering a venue for meetings. I wrote about the meeting during the ARC Forum in Orlando.  What I find most interesting is linking this to the Internet of Things.

It will be interesting to see where this leads. I’ve seen attempts in the past to try to get suppliers to ditch their computing or control platforms to go with a generic open system where end users could drive pricing down to commodity levels. Of course, such a system would require lots of engineering—a boon to systems integrators.

Although the dream of complete plug-and-play requiring no integration is a problem waiting a solution. We’ve seen this scenario play out in the computer business. The result was locked down hardware with a measure of interoperability of systems. I think that this is where standards are most valuable.

WindRiver has cast its lot with the ExxonMobil-led Open Process Control initiative and has announced a product in support of the effort. It has announced availability of a software virtualization platform enabling critical infrastructure companies to cost-effectively evolve aging legacy control systems not previously designed to support the connected nature of IoT. Wind River Titanium Control empowers the next generation of on-premise analytics to optimize industrial processes.

“ARC believes the influx of new IIoT technologies now entering the automation market has the potential to be a major disruption to existing business models that have been relatively stable for decades,” said Harry Forbes, research director at ARC Advisory Group, a leading technology research firm for industry and infrastructure. “An excellent example is Titanium Control, which combines Wind River’s long experience in real-time operating systems with on-premise cloud computing technology. This combination enables the virtualization of real-time automation applications that until recently could only be implemented in embedded systems hardware. The implications of this capability for the manufacturing automation market are very far-reaching, and automation suppliers are noticing.”

Because traditional industrial control systems were not designed to support IoT, most are rigid, single purpose, and have a high cost to deploy, integrate, and maintain. Additionally, the obsolescence cycle is driving system updates that require new systems to keep pace with innovation while maintaining or lowering capital costs.

Titanium Control is a commercially deployable on-premise cloud infrastructure that virtualizes traditional physical subsystems using a platform based on open standards. It delivers the high performance, high availability, flexibility, and low latency needed to reduce capital and operating expenses, as well as minimize unscheduled downtime for industrial applications and control services at any scale. Unlike enterprise IT virtualization platforms, it provides high reliability for applications and services deployed at the network edge, for example in fog deployments.

Key features of Titanium Control include:

  • De facto standard open source software for on-premise cloud and virtualization, including Linux, real-time Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) and OpenStack
  • High performance and high availability with accelerated vSwitch and inter-VM communication, plus virtual infrastructure management
  • Security features including isolation, secure boot and Trusted Platform Module enabled through Enhanced Platform Awareness
  • Scalability from two to over 100 compute nodes
  • Hitless software updates and patching with no interruption to services or applications

“With the emergence of Industrial IoT, companies are looking to deploy next-generation open and secure control systems; Titanium Control addresses this need, and is in active trials with customers in industries ranging from manufacturing to energy to healthcare,” said Jim Douglas, president of Wind River. “Our software has been providing these companies with powerful ways to increase efficiency and bolster safety, security, and reliability for the last 35 years. With the addition of Titanium Control to our product portfolio, Wind River is driving a new industrial era through virtualization, real-time performance and edge-to-cloud connectivity.”

Titanium Control is part of the Wind River Titanium Cloud portfolio of virtualization products for the deployment of critical services from operations to data center environments that require real-time performance and continuous service availability. It is optimized for Intel Xeon processors, and is pre-validated on hardware from the leading providers of Intel-based servers.

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