Maintenance, Simulation, Safety Highlight Honeywell Announcements at ARC Forum

Maintenance, Simulation, Safety Highlight Honeywell Announcements at ARC Forum

Honeywell released three announcements while I am still recapping the ARC Forum. There are one or two more to go. Thèse regarded maintenance management, simulation, and safety under the umbrella of Connected Plant.

The first is a new offering as part of Honeywell Connected Plant that allows customers to more effectively manage the maintenance and operations of their industrial equipment. The new Honeywell Connected Plant Asset Performance Insight connects the customers’ assets and equipment to the cloud, and applies analytical models from Honeywell and its partners, so that customers can avoid unplanned downtime and unnecessary maintenance.

“In today’s competitive business climate, in which asset capacity is often sold out, equipment performance is key to increased profitability,” said Richard Shaw, general manager, Honeywell Connected Plant. “With operational and maintenance-induced equipment failures accounting for most of the unplanned downtime, industrial companies are looking to digital transformation and IIoT to make sense out of huge amounts of data. Honeywell Connected Plant and our new Asset Performance Insight will help our customers operate more strategically and effectively.”

Honeywell designed the Asset Performance Insight solution to be rapidly deployed to customers through pre-configured templates. These templates are based on the company’s deep industry experience and real-world customer challenges enhanced with advanced analytics. The offering can also be configured and tailored to customers’ specific needs, making it extremely flexible.

The second is a cloud-based simulation tool that uses a combination of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to train plant personnel on critical industrial work activities. With as much as 50 percent of industrial plant personnel due to retire within the next five years, the Honeywell Connected Plant Skills Insight Immersive Competency is designed to bring new industrial workers up to speed quickly by enhancing training and delivering it in new and contemporary ways.

Honeywell’s advanced training solution combines mixed reality with data analytics and Honeywell’s 25 years of experience in worker competency management to create an interactive environment for on-the-job training. It uses Microsoft’s HoloLens, the world’s first and only self-contained holographic computer, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets to simulate various scenarios for Honeywell’s C300 controller – such as primary failure and switchovers, cable and power supply failure – that train and test personnel on their skills.

“Megatrends such as the aging workforce are putting increased pressure on industrial companies and their training programs,” said Youssef Mestari, program director, Honeywell Connected Plant. “There is a need for more creative and effective training delivered through contemporary methods such as Immersive Competency, ultimately empowering industrial workers to directly improve plant performance, uptime, reliability and safety.”

Simulating specific job activities through virtual environments, which are accessed through the cloud, Honeywell’s solution offers a natural way to interact and communicate with peers or a trainer. Similar to a flight simulator, trainees can safely experience the impacts of their decisions. This approach improves skill retention versus traditional training methods by up to 100 percent and reduces the length of technical training by up to 66 percent. Additionally, the employees’ training progress is tracked as part of a formal competency management system.

And wrapping up is a new solution for real-time safety monitoring of workers in plant and remote operations. Honeywell Connected Plant Skills Insight Personal Gas Safety helps to protect lives and enable faster response in case of hazardous leaks or worker injury.

The solution’s wearable gas detectors monitor gas, radiation and dust, and are tightly integrated with Honeywell’s distributed control system, Experion® Process Knowledge System (PKS). In case of harmful exposures, man-down or panic alarms of workers in the field, accurate, automated alarms now alert control room operators in real time. In addition, safety teams can take advantage of powerful tools embedded in Experion PKS to provide detailed trending, reporting and data analysis of the gas detectors to further ensure safe operations.

“Monitoring worker safety and ensuring proper response to emergencies are top priorities for industrial producers,” said Adrian Fielding, marketing director, Integrated Protective Solutions for Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS). “Personal Gas Safety gives plant operators eyes and ears in the field to improve their situational awareness, helping avoid potentially life-threatening conditions while also providing workers with the assurance that help will be on the way quickly if they need it.”

Emerson Completes Acquisition of ProSys

Emerson Completes Acquisition of ProSys

Acquisitions are a big reason explaining growth and innovation in big companies. Not that long ago Emerson acquired partner Mynah Technologies. Today I see that it acquired ProSys. These are both good acquisitions. Emerson has a better than average success with acquisitions. ProSys is a good fit. Congratulations.

Emerson announced it has acquired ProSys Inc., a global supplier of software and services that increase production and safety for the chemical, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and refining industries. By building intuitive processes for plant operators, these solutions make everything from everyday operations to responding during abnormal situations easier.

“Adding ProSys’ differentiated technologies and expertise allows us to help our customers improve plant performance, safety and profitability by optimizing their human and automation resources,” said Mike Train, executive president, Emerson Automation Solutions. “With ProSys, we can provide innovative control and operator performance capabilities to make control room operators far more effective.”

ProSys’ portfolio includes solutions that help operators manage alarms critical to plant production and safety, and efficiently handle changing plant states. In addition, ProSys provides modern, high performance and intuitive graphics for better operator communications.

ProSys complements Emerson’s May 2017 acquisition of MYNAH Technologies, which provides dynamic simulation and operator training software. Together, these technologies embed expertise to help operators navigate plant systems safely and efficiently, and prepare customers to accommodate the changing state and age of the industrial workforce.

“Our specialization in software and services that increase operator performance builds on Emerson’s market leadership in automation control systems,” said Dustin Beebe, president and CEO at ProSys. “By working together as one, we can provide even more operational and financial value to customers.”

Beebe will join Emerson Automation Solutions as vice president, control and operator performance.

The ProSys software portfolio supports Emerson’s Operational Certainty program designed to help industrial companies achieve Top Quartile performance in areas of safety, reliability, and production.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Cybersecurity Attack on an Industrial Safety System

Cybersecurity Attack on an Industrial Safety System

There was evidently a cybersecurity incident spotted yesterday. There was a report on FireEye quoted below. I also received this statement from CyberX. I am not primarily a cybersecurity writer, but this is significant.

“We have information that points to Saudi Arabia as the likely target of this attack, which would indicate Iran as the likely attacker. It’s widely believed that Iran was responsible for destructive attacks on Saudi Arabian IT networks in 2012 and more recently in 2017 with Shamoon, which destroyed ordinary PCs. This would definitely be an escalation of that threat because now we’re talking about critical infrastructure — but it’s also a logical next step for the adversary. Stuxnet and more recently Industroyer showed that modern industrial malware can be used to reprogram and manipulate critical devices such as industrial controllers, and TRITON appears to be simply an evolution of those approaches.” Phil Neray, VP of Industrial Cybersecurity for CyberX, a Boston-based industrial cybersecurity firm.

From the FireEye report (see complete analysis on its Website).

Mandiant recently responded to an incident at a critical infrastructure organization where an attacker deployed malware designed to manipulate industrial safety systems. The targeted systems provided emergency shutdown capability for industrial processes. We assess with moderate confidence that the attacker was developing the capability to cause physical damage and inadvertently shutdown operations. This malware, which we call TRITON, is an attack framework built to interact with Triconex Safety Instrumented System (SIS) controllers. We have not attributed the incident to a threat actor, though we believe the activity is consistent with a nation state preparing for an attack.

TRITON is one of a limited number of publicly identified malicious software families targeted at industrial control systems (ICS). It follows Stuxnet which was used against Iran in 2010 and Industroyer which we believe was deployed by Sandworm Team against Ukraine in 2016. TRITON is consistent with these attacks, in that it could prevent safety mechanisms from executing their intended function, resulting in a physical consequence.

The attacker gained remote access to an SIS engineering workstation and deployed the TRITON attack framework to reprogram the SIS controllers. During the incident, some SIS controllers entered a failed safe state, which automatically shutdown the industrial process and prompted the asset owner to initiate an investigation. The investigation found that the SIS controllers initiated a safe shutdown when application code between redundant processing units failed a validation check — resulting in an MP diagnostic failure message.

We assess with moderate confidence that the attacker inadvertently shutdown operations while developing the ability to cause physical damage for the following reasons:

Modifying the SIS could prevent it from functioning correctly, increasing the likelihood of a failure that would result in physical consequences.

TRITON was used to modify application memory on SIS controllers in the environment, which could have led to a failed validation check.

The failure occurred during the time period when TRITON was used.

It is not likely that existing or external conditions, in isolation, caused a fault during the time of the incident.

The TRITON attack tool was built with a number of features, including the ability to read and write programs, read and write individual functions and query the state of the SIS controller. However, only some of these capabilities were leveraged in the trilog.exe sample (e.g. the attacker did not leverage all of TRITON’s extensive reconnaissance capabilities).

The TRITON malware contained the capability to communicate with Triconex SIS controllers (e.g. send specific commands such as halt or read its memory content) and remotely reprogram them with an attacker-defined payload. The TRITON sample Mandiant analyzed added an attacker-provided program to the execution table of the Triconex controller. This sample left legitimate programs in place, expecting the controller to continue operating without a fault or exception. If the controller failed, TRITON would attempt to return it to a running state. If the controller did not recover within a defined time window, this sample would overwrite the malicious program with invalid data to cover its tracks.

Refinery of the Future with IoT

Refinery of the Future with IoT

An enterprise computing and IT infrastructure company user event seems a weird place for a discussion of the Internet of Things and the Refinery of the Future. But there I was moderating a bloggers’ Coffee Talk with Doug Smith, CEO, and Linda Salinas, plant manager, of Texmark Chemicals, along with an executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and one from PTC (ThingWorx).

HPE invited me to Madrid, Spain, (and paid my expenses) as an Operations Technology blogger to participate in Influencer sessions, interview a number of technologists, and experience its Discover Madrid user conference. Several times during each of the three days November 28-30 we participated in coffee talks. These were Live Streamed by Geekazine. This is a link to the first day. My session was toward the beginning of the first day, and I appear at the end of day three.

Telling the IoT Story

Texas toll manufacturer Texmark Chemicals teamed with HPE and Aruba to build a Refinery of the Future featuring advanced IIoT capabilities. The results: better process analytics, increased up-time, uninterrupted productivity, satisfied customers, and safer workers.

Every IoT implementation I have seen so far relied on predictive maintenance as the justifying application. Here, the first priority was safety. Then came predictive maintenance, improved operations, and consistent quality.

Texmark produces dicyclopentadiene (DCPD), a polymer precursor for everything from ink to boats. DCPD manufacturing processes involve flammable materials requiring stringent safety measures — and as demand increases, so does the complexity of the supply chains that rely on it.

Its manufacture involves heat and highly reactive chemicals, making safety a top priority. And as demand for DCPD grows, the global supply chain becomes increasingly complex, requiring ever more stringent controls, granular visibility, uninterrupted productivity, and regulatory oversight. Texmark must ensure its workers adhere to Process Safety Management (PSM) procedures at all times, and that its facility is managed in ways that put worker and community safety first.

As a contract manufacturer, Texmark must be prepared to adapt to customer requirements, which can change with little advance warning.

And it must continually drive plant efficiency and productivity. Historically, Texmark has depended on physical inspections of process equipment to ensure all systems remain in working order. However, these plant walk-downs can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Texmark has 130 pumps in its plant, and spends nearly 1,000 hours a year on walk-downs and vibration analysis.

Depending solely on physical inspections also carries risk, because it relies on employees who — based on years of experience — can tell if a pump is starting to malfunction by recognizing slight variations in its noise and vibrations. But what happens if an employee with that skill is out sick, or reaches retirement age? Texmark needs ways to institutionalize that type of intelligence and insight.

Texmark’s vision for next-generation worker safety, production and asset management hinges on the emerging promise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): sensored devices combined with advanced analytics software to generate insights, automate its environment, and reduce the risk of human error.

The IIoT architecture must eliminate the need to transmit device data over a WAN, but instead support analytics at the edge to deliver real-time visibility into equipment and processes.

Texmark launched a multi-phase project to implement an end-to-end IIoT solution. Phase 1 and 2 established the digital foundation by enabling edge-to-core connectivity. Aruba deployed a secure wireless mesh network with Class 1 Div 1 access points and ClearPass for secure network access control. Aruba beacons provide location-based services for plant safety and security purposes. The wireless solution cost about half of what it would have cost to deploy a hardwired network.

For its edge analytics, Texmark selected the HPE Edgeline Converged IoT platform, an industrialized solution that supports robust compute capabilities. HPE Pointnext implemented the system as an HPE Micro Datacenter, which integrates its compute and networking technology within a single cabinet. HPE also upgraded Texmark’s plant control room to enable seamless edge-to-core connectivity and high-speed data capture and analytics, and to meet Texmark’s safety and security standards. The Edgeline system runs Texmark’s Distributed Control System software, integrating its operations technology and IT into a single system.

Phase 3 builds on the foundation established by these technology solutions to support Texmark’s use cases: predictive analytics, advanced video analytics, safety and security, connected worker, and full lifecycle asset management.

Texmark’s new IIoT solution will help make its workers even safer. It can monitor fluid levels, for example, reducing the risk of spills. It can alert Texmark immediately if a system starts to malfunction, enabling the company to respond before workers or production are endangered. And in the event of an emergency, it can help protect workers by ensuring Texmark knows their precise location and movements within the facility.

Other benefits will improve the company’s bottom line. Texmark can use data from IIoT sensors to identify which systems require hands-on evaluations, for example, so it can conduct physical inspections in a more focused and efficient manner.

The new IIoT solution makes it easier for the company to plan inspections and maintenance. To work on distillation columns, Texmark must often take systems offline and erect costly scaffolding. Improved maintenance planning will reduce these associated costs by at least 50%.

When Cybersecurity meets Safety–Podcast Conversation with Rockwell Automation

When Cybersecurity meets Safety–Podcast Conversation with Rockwell Automation

Cybersecurity and safety in an industrial environment complement each other.  People may think that these are separate disciplines, but such is definitely not the case.

That is the message we explore in this Gary on Manufacturing podcast featuring a conversation with two Rockwell Automation experts–Lee Lane, chief product security officer, and George Schuster, functional safety expert.

The first class I took from Rockwell on safety was most likely around 1995. Since that time, I’ve seen the growth of safety products and services grow steadily. During that time, I’ve featured Rockwell safety experts twice on these podcasts.

The first was Podcast 125 on the Safety Automation Builder software with OEM Technical Consultant Jonathan Johnson. We learn that the tool is part of trend of providing easy-to-use tools for engineers to help them improve design, get projects done faster and provide end-of-project documentation.

The second was Podcast 138 on the Safety Maturity Index a conversation with Rockwell’s Steve Ludwig, Safety Programs Manager, and Mark Eitzman, Safety Market Development Manager, who provide an update on acceptance of the SAB and discuss the Safety Maturity Index.

Here is Podcast 165–Safet and Security


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