Process Solutions Evolving

Did Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) short-circuit the Open Process Automation work? Inquiring minds wonder. Once again, some news and analysis of a conference that I couldn’t attend—three of these the same week in June.

HPS and ExxonMobil sent this release. Subsequently, I talked with some sources at competitor companies who broached the question to me—did this news short-circuit the ExxonMobil-led effort for a new process control solution? An interesting caveat is that there is more than one group within ExxonMobil—and they don’t necessarily agree.

From the first release:

The Open Process Automation group was initiated by ExxonMobil who was trying to find a better (less expensive) upgrade path for its control systems that had fallen behind that of its competitors. The oil & gas supermajor still has in operation a significant number of older systems installed as far back as the 1980s—systems that have served the company well for more than 30 years, but as older electronic components have been replaced by more modern alternatives, spare-parts shortages and looming obsolescence put ExxonMobil and other owner operators in a difficult place.

When facing obsolescence, rip-and-replace is clearly the option of last resort—incurring high costs, protracted downtime and the loss of all the intellectual property invested in developing a system’s displays, databases, control strategies and third-party interfaces, according to David Patin, distinguished engineering associate – control systems, ExxonMobil Research & Engineering.

The company’s installed base of Honeywell TDC 3000 systems, in particular, looked to be facing a critical shortage of spare parts in the year 2025, Patin explained. “So in 2011 we met with Honeywell regarding the future of TDC 3000,” Patin began, addressing a plenary session of the Honeywell Users Group Americas 2018 conference this week in San Antonio.

Challenge issued

Unwilling to settle for rip-and-replace, “We challenged Honeywell to develop and prove a method to migrate TDC forward,” Patin said. The two companies established a joint task team to investigate the problem.

ExxonMobil’s wish list of deliverables included avoiding wholesale system replacement (especially the I/O); preserving the company’s intellectual property investment; allowing for on-process migration of system components (meaning without shutting down the process); enabling new capabilities not currently possible with TDC; and unifying TDC with Honeywell’s current state-of-the-art Experion platform.

This last item encapsulated a desire for a solution that would “be usable by a younger workforce, yet stand the test of time,” Patin said. “I picture a third-grader who’s also a future TDC engineer,” he said. “They just don’t know it yet.”
Also implicit in ExxonMobil’s requirements were continued “rock solid” reliability and security, Patin added.

Solution identified

Since the technical obstacles to bringing TDC forward hinged on hardware obsolescence, notably controller microprocessors and communications chips that would no longer be available, the team settled on an emulation approach that would effectively abstract TDC system functionality from the specifics of the older hardware.

And in February 2018, seven years after that first meeting of the minds—and two years ahead of schedule—Honeywell answered ExxonMobil’s challenge with the release of Experion LCN R501.1. The Experion LCN, or ELCN, effectively emulates the TDC system as software. “It’s 100% binary compatible and interoperable with the old system,” Patin explained. “Current TDC code runs unmodified in this virtual environment, greatly reducing the technical risks. Intellectual property such as application code, databases and displays are preserved.”

In the end, the Experion Station, Server, ACE and APP nodes can take the shape of Windows-based “physical” applications or virtual machines. Application Modules, Network Gateway and Network Interface Module functionality is redeployed on Universal Embedded Appliances or as virtual appliances. Only the Enhanced PLC Gateway cannot be readily virtualized because the emulation of serial network connectivity is not well behaved, Patin explained. “This means you can build an almost 100% virtualized or 100% physical system—or somewhere in between.”

With the new solution, LCN and UCN messages are now encapsulated in standard Internet Protocol. “All the old networks now exist as logical constructs on Fault Tolerant Ethernet,” Patin said. “We’re no longer locked into proprietary networks.”
And to address the challenge of on-process migration, Honeywell has also introduced several bridge devices that effectively facilitate the virtualization of TDC system node functionality—without the need to interrupt the process under control.

Benefits achieved

Virtualization of the TDC environment has come with some added benefits, including the ability to use Honeywell’s cloud-based Open Virtual Engineering Platform to engineer TDC solutions; lower cost, smaller footprint training simulators; peer-to-peer integration of virtualized HPM controller nodes with current-generation C300/ACE nodes; support for OneWireless (ISA 100 and WirelessHART) connectivity; and integration with ControlEdge and Unit
Operations Controllers.

“It’ll be a game-changer,” said Patin. “We don’t know all that’s possible as yet.”
Other benefits include a drastic reduction—or elimination—of spare parts, as well as reductions in cabinet space requirements. “We’ve gone from two nodes to six in a single cabinet,” Patin said. “We’ve not fully realized unification with Experion, but that process has begun.”

Overall, Patin gave high marks to the Honeywell team for its response to ExxonMobil’s needs. “The challenge was met, and expectations exceeded,” he said. “The need to replace an entire system is eliminated, future component issues are virtually eliminated (pun intended), intellectual property is preserved and on
process migration is supported.

“ELCN technology essentially resets the odometer on your TDC 3000 investment,” Patin added. “It’s the best example of Honeywell’s commitment to continuous evolution that I’ve ever seen. And if it were a final exam, I’d give Honeywell an A on this one.”

<End of release>

Safety Manager

HPS also announced Safety Manager SC, the next generation of its flagship Safety Manager platform. Its modular, scalable design enables it to function as a single platform for all enterprise safety applications, allowing customers – who are often using four or five different safety systems – to consolidate and reduce their training and engineering costs, and spare parts inventories.

Safety Manager SC incorporates a new Series C-based controller and Honeywell technologies such as LEAP, Universal Safety IO, offline simulation and Experion integration, which collectively simplify safety system engineering, development and testing.

“Our customers increasingly want integrated safety and control solutions and the simplicity of partnering with one supplier for all their needs,” said Tim LeFevre, global customer marketing manager for safety systems, HPS. “We deliver exactly that by combining unrivaled expertise in distributed control systems (DCS) and safety systems with deep integration know-how. Honeywell is one of the few vendors that can support the full safety lifecycle.”

HUG

The ability of Honeywell Connected Plant’s offerings to deliver higher levels of safety, reliability, efficiency and profitability will continue to be the primary discussion point at the 43rdHoneywell Users Group (HUG) Americas symposium. More than 1,300 delegates from across the oil and gas, chemical, pulp and paper, and metals and mining sectors are attending the event, which features numerous displays of the newest technologies along with dozens of Honeywell- and customer-led sessions and technical discussions.

Throughout the conference, Honeywell will showcase how turning data into actionable insight requires more than just upgrading technology; it requires a system for capturing, retaining and sharing knowledge that allows both the plant and its workers to perform at their best every day.

“Digital transformation has to be about more than just moving data into the cloud,” said John Rudolph, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS). “It ultimately has to be about the outcomes, including driving increased productivity and savings for our customers while allowing them to increase knowledge capture, knowledge sharing and knowledge retention among their employees.”

Rudolph was named president of HPS on May 31, 2018, succeeding Vimal Kapur, who was named president and CEO of Honeywell Building Technologies. Rudolph led the Projects and Automation Solutions, and Lifecycle Solutions and Services businesses for HPS over the past six years, driving significant growth. Rudolph also has held leadership roles with TAS Energy, General Electric and Ingersoll Rand.

Here is a revealing comment from the press release about HPS’s strategy and direction—something we’ve all been wondering about. “HUG attendees will be able to see and experience the Company’s ongoing transformation into a software-industrial provider.”

Announcements in brief:

  • Thermal IQ – Enables maintenance engineers and plant managers to more effectively monitor and manage their thermal process equipment, minimizing unplanned downtime and maximizing uptime.
  • Uniformance Cloud Historian – This software-as-a-service cloud hosting solution for enterprise-wide data capture, visualization and analysis helps customers improve asset availability, optimize processes and increase plant uptime.
  • Asset Performance Management – Integrates asset and process data for actionable insights to improve asset performance and plant profitability.
  • Immersive Competency – This cloud-based simulation offering uses a combination of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to train plant personnel on critical industrial work activities, empowering them to directly improve plant performance, uptime, reliability and safety.
  • Personal Gas Safety – This solution integrates with Honeywell’s leading plant control system to protect workers and speed emergency response in case of hazardous leaks or worker injury.
  • Intelligent Wearables – This hands-free, wearable technology allows industrial workers to more safely, reliably and efficiently accomplish their tasks in the plant or the field. It uses a head-mounted visual display that responds to voice and brings live data, documents, work procedures, as well as health and safety information into view and can connect field workers with remote experts in real time.
  • Experion Batch – Combines Experion distributed control, batch automation, and new visualization technology for improved efficiency, quality and throughput.
  • Measurement IQ for Gas – Provides measurement under control by transforming metering operations with 24/7 real-time condition-based monitoring.
Embedded Computing News From Hannover Messe

Embedded Computing News From Hannover Messe

Amongst the cloud and manufacturing IT booths in Hannover was a sizable booth nestled in the middle housing Arm, the processor company. Here Ian Ferguson, Vice President, Ecosystem Development, met with me to discuss some of the latest embedded computing news.

Arm licenses chips which are optimized to the OS for customer companies to use and customize.

Its software business includes a device manager for small device apps for provisioning and connecting. It has also announced a bridge to IBM Watson.

Its software product, Embed, runs on ARM. Among the areas of focus is smart meters and tracking of small assets. Ferguson also mentioned smart buildings–especially lighting.

Security is a key focus working at the chip level to detect intrusions, “device health”.

News briefs:

• Rapid industry adoption of Mbed Platform with more than 300,000 developers (>30% growth over the past year) and 80 partners

• Arm expands integration with IBM Watson IoT, and partners with Cybertrust and GlobalSign to deliver BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Certificate) flexible IoT security authentication

• Mbed drives IoT business value for logistics, utilities and smart cities as organizations shift to Industry 4.0

Help organizations take advantage of the opportunities offered by IoT data and combine this with their business data to create valuable business outcomes. However, in talking with these organizations, many feel that pursuing opportunities to achieve these business outcomes through IoT opens themselves up to more IT complexity and greater security concerns.

Security and complexity of integration are legitimate concerns that addressed with Arm Mbed Platform. This platform provides the necessary IoT building blocks including, connectivity, device management, security and provisioning with the support of a 300,000+ strong developer community that has grown more than 30% in the past year.

It’s also supported by a growing ecosystem of 80 contributing partners such as IBM, which is bridging the Mbed Cloud with IBM Watson IoT Platform. We’ve integrated Mbed Cloud with Cybertrust and GlobalSign to provide more flexible security authentication for IoT devices.

Mbed Cloud and Mbed Cloud On Premises were designed to provide device management, connectivity and provisioning that customers demand, supported across multiple public and private clouds, on-premises and hybrid environments.

IoT security should be easy to implement, not an inhibitor. The new integrations between Mbed Cloud and Cybertrust and GlobalSign enable customers to BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Certificate) for flexible and secure IoT authentication, leveraging the public key infrastructure they already use. Security should also be built into development, which is why Arm is planning to make its free open-sourced development platform, Mbed OS, the first OS to support PSA-Compliant trusted boot, storage and opaque cryptography.

However, even when security is built-in, software updates are often needed to maintain a strong security posture, which is a challenge when there are millions of devices already deployed out in the field. Through an expanded integration with IBM Watson IoT Platform, its users can now manage, provision and update firmware over-the-air for their IoT devices through Mbed Cloud.

Industrial Internet Consortium Releases Endpoint Security Best Practices White Paper

Industrial Internet Consortium Releases Endpoint Security Best Practices White Paper

Security comes first to mind whenever we begin discussing connecting things in an industrial setting. And, of course, nothing connects things like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). One place we often fail to consider in our security planning is at the endpoint of the network. Organizations and companies have been providing valuable assistance to developers by releasing best practices white papers. Here is one from a leading Industrial Internet organization.

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) announced publication of the Endpoint Security Best Practices white paper. It is a concise document that equipment manufacturers, critical infrastructure operators, integrators and others can reference to implement the countermeasures and controls they need to ensure the safety, security and reliability of IoT endpoint devices. Endpoints include edge devices such as sensors, actuators, pumps, flow meters, controllers and drives in industrial systems, embedded medical devices, electronic control units vehicle controls systems, as well as communications infrastructure and gateways.

“The number of attacks on industrial endpoints has grown rapidly in the last few years and has severe effects. Unreliable equipment can cause safety problems, customer dissatisfaction, liability and reduced profits,” said Steve Hanna, IIC white paper co-author, and Senior Principal, Infineon Technologies. “The Endpoint Security Best Practices white paper moves beyond general guidelines, providing specific recommendations by security level. Thus, equipment manufacturers, owners, operators and integrators are educated on how to apply existing best practices to achieve the needed security levels for their endpoints.”

The paper explores one of the six functional building blocks from the IIC Industrial Internet Security Framework (IISF): Endpoint Protection. The 13-page white paper distills key information about endpoint device security from industrial guidance and compliance frameworks, such as IEC 62443, NIST SP 800-53, and the IIC IISF.

Equipment manufacturers, industrial operators and integrators can use the Endpoint Security Best Practices document to understand how countermeasures or controls can be applied to achieve a particular security level (basic, enhanced, or critical) when building or upgrading industrial IoT endpoint systems, which they can determine through risk modeling and threat analysis.

“By describing best practices for implementing industrial security that are appropriate for agreed-upon security levels, we’re empowering industrial ecosystem participants to define and request the security they need,” said Dean Weber, IIC white paper co-author, and CTO, Mocana. “Integrators can build systems that meet customer security needs and equipment manufacturers can build products that provide necessary security features efficiently.”

While the white paper is primarily targeted at improving the security of new endpoints, the concepts can be used with legacy endpoints by employing gateways, network security, and security monitoring.

The full Endpoint Security Best Practices white paper and a list of IIC members who contributed can be found on the IIC website.

Edge Computing and IIoT Platforms and More At ARC Forum

Edge Computing and IIoT Platforms and More At ARC Forum

Let me try to summarize a number of other news items gleaned from the ARC Forum featuring edge computing, IIoT Platforms, and technology. When ARC’s Paul Miller told me it would be the best ever, he turned out not to be exaggerating. More people, more news.

Stratus Technologies, known for years for secure servers, released an edge computing device. Interest in computing at the edge of the network has blossomed lately, with many companies releasing products. Lots of choices for users.

Integration Objects, firmly within another important trend, introduced an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Platform. I’m beginning to see articles about users latching on to these platforms rather than building their own ad hoc connections among IoT devices and applications.

UL discussed standards with me during the show. The company known for developing safety standards and then testing for compliance has developed also a security standard. And it tests to it for compliance.

HIMA is another company combining safety and security technologies. There is so much in common between the two–especially thought processes and planning.

Yokogawa has extended and rebranded its process automation offering, now called Synaptic Business Automation. Among other things, it has refined the dashboard into a “karaoke” style.

Bentley Systems discussed the combining of engineering design tools with digital photography and other digital technologies to better represent the engineering and design of a plant. This is the most cutting edge technology I saw during the week, but I cannot do it justice in a paragraph. I encourage a tour of the Website.

Let’s Tour Dell EMS IoT Booth At Its User Conference

Let’s Tour Dell EMS IoT Booth At Its User Conference

Dell EMS Internet of Things (IoT) group assembled a mini supply chain as its booth at the user conference Dell EMS World in Las Vegas in May. At the October Dell EMS World in Austin, these were put together as an ice cream factory and distribution, and the booth featured an ice cream machine. I sure could have used an ice cream by the time I got through all the exhibits.

The Dell IoT Gateway was the common denominator of the exhibit tying everything together.

The first station features construction. Here are a couple of guys trying out the DAQRI augmented reality helmets. I had the opportunity to try these in Hannover. A really cool application of AR.

They are looking at a combination of the construction (see the red “steel” framework) and drawings that show the layout of electrical conduit, HVAC ducting, and other details. As a construction worker, they can get a feel of where things go, as well as spot interferences the designer missed.

This station showed product on its way to market through sensing and communication from Nokia.

Below is a layout of the Emerson process manufacturing system.

They brought actual pipe, pump, motor, instruments, wirelessHART communication. No, it didn’t make ice cream.

This station featured IMS Evolve–an application that brings sensor data into the cloud and provides track and trace, as well as other analytics, assuring the safety of the food product through the supply chain from the point of view of proper temperature.

Don’t forget security! Here is a photo of a physical security video system from V5.

The Dell Gateway is an edge device capable of accumulating data from the disparate sources, performing storage and analysis at the edge then sending information to the cloud for further analysis.  It seems that everywhere I go, the “edge” is the place where innovation is centered right now. This simple demo showed the power of the edge.

Follow

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.