Industrial Internet Testbed Announced

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.

What Is Smart Manufacturing and Why We Care

IDC Smart Mfg Info Graphic

[Updated: 1/28/15]

Last week I attended the board meeting of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition. Sometimes I’m an idealist working with organizations that I think have the potential to make things better for engineers, managers, and manufacturers in general. I derive no income from them, but sometimes you need to give back to the cause. SMLC is one of those organizations. MESA, OMAC, ISA, CSIA, and MIMOSA are other organizations that I’ve either given a platform to or to whom I have dedicated many hours to help get their message out.

In the area of weird coincidence, just as I was preparing to leave the SMLC meeting there came across my computer a press release from an analyst firm called IDC IDC Manufacturing Insights also about smart manufacturing. This British firm that is establishing an American foothold first came to my attention several years ago with a research report on adoption of fieldbuses.

The model is the “Why, What, Who, and How of Smart Manufacturing.” See the image for more information. I find this model interesting. As a student of philosophy, I’m intrigued by the four-part Yin-Yang motif. But as a manufacturing model, I find it somewhat lacking.

IDC insight

According to Robert Parker, group vice president at IDC Manufacturing Insights, “Smart manufacturing programs can deliver financial benefits that are tangible and auditable. More importantly, smart manufacturing transitions the production function from one that is capacity centric to one that is capability centric — able to serve global markets and discerning customers.” A new IDC Manufacturing Insights report, IDC PlanScape: Smart Manufacturing – The Path to the Future Factory (Doc #MI253612), uses the IDC PlanScape methodology to provide the framework for a business strategy related to investment in smart manufacturing.

Parker continues, “Smart manufacturing programs can deliver financial benefits that are tangible and auditable. More importantly, smart manufacturing transitions the production function from one that is capacity centric to one that is capability centric — able to serve global markets and discerning customers.”

The press release adds, “At its core, smart manufacturing is the convergence of data acquisition, analytics, and automated control to improve the overall effectiveness of a company’s factory network.”

Smart manufacturing

This “smart” term is getting thrown around quite a bit. A group of people from academia, manufacturing, and suppliers began discussing “smart manufacturing” in 2010 and incorporated the “Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition” in 2012. I attended a meeting for the first time in early 2013.

Early on, SMLC agreed that “the next step change in U.S. manufacturing productivity would come from a broader use of modeling and simulation technology throughout the manufacturing process”.

Another group, this one from Germany with the sponsorship of the German Federal government, is known as Industry 4.0, or the 4th generation of industry. At times its spokespeople discuss the “smart factory.” This group is also investigating the use of modeling and simulation. However, the two groups take somewhat different paths to, hopefully, a similar destination—more effective and profitable manufacturing systems.

Key findings from IDC:

  • Use the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) equation to understand the potential benefits, and tie those benefits to financial metrics such as revenue, costs, and asset levels to justify investment.
  • Broaden the OEE beyond individual pieces of equipment to look at the overall impact on product lines, factories, and the whole network of production facilities.
  • Technology investment can be separated into capabilities related to connectivity, data acquisition, analytics, and actuation.
  • A unifying architecture is required to bring the technology pieces together.
  • Move toward an integrated governance model that incorporates both operation technology (OT) and information technology (IT) resources.
  • Choose an investment cadence based on the level of executive support for smart manufacturing.

Gary’s view

I’ve told you my affiliations, although I am not a spokesman for any of them. Any views are my own.

So, here is my take on this report. This is not meant to blast IDC. They have developed a model that they can take to clients to discuss manufacturing strategies. I’m sure that some good would come out of that—at least if executives at the company take the direction seriously and actually back good manufacturing. However, the ideas started my thought process.

Following are some ideas that I’ve worked with and developed over the past few years.

  • To begin (picky point), I wish they had picked another name in order to avoid confusion over what “smart manufacturing” is.
  • While there are a lot of good points within their model, I’d suggest looking beyond just OEE. That is a nice metric, but it is often too open to vagaries in definition and data collection at the source.
  • Many companies, indeed, are working toward that IT/OT convergence—and much has been done. Cisco, for example, partners with many automation suppliers.
  • SMLC is working on a comprehensive framework and platform (also check out the Smart Manufacturing blog). Meanwhile, I’d also reference the work of MIMOSA (OpenO&M and the Oil & Gas Interoperability Pilot see here and here).
  • I’d suggest that IDC take a look into modeling, simulation, and cyber-physical systems. There is also much work being done on “systems of systems” that bring in standards and systems that already exist to a higher order system.

I have not built a model, but I’d look carefully into dataflows and workflows. Can we use standards that already exist to move data from design to operations and maintenance? Can we define workflows—even going outside the plant into the supply chain? Several companies are doing some really good work on analytics and visualization that must be incorporated.

The future looks to be comprised of building models from the immense amounts of data we’re collecting and then simulating scenarios before applying new strategies. Then iterating. So, I’d propose companies thinking about their larger processes (ISA 95 can be a great start) and start building.

These thoughts are a main theme of this blog. Look for more developments in future posts.

US Government Continues Acting on Smart Manufacturing

US Government Continues Acting on Smart Manufacturing

SMLC 300 X 125 pixel adLast month, the Obama administration announced another smart manufacturing initiative through a “Notice of Intent to Issue FOA.” That is a “Funding Opportunity Announcement.” This follows another initiative in which the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition was awarded funds to develop several test beds.

In government-speak:

DE-FOA-0001262: Notice of Intent to Issue FOA entitled “Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing: Advanced Sensors, Controls, Platforms, and Modeling for Manufacturing” (DE-FOA-0001263)

The purpose of this Notice of Intent is to provide potential applicants advance notice that the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), on behalf of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), intends to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing: Advanced Sensors, Controls, Platforms, and Modeling for Manufacturing” (DE-FOA-0001263).

This Notice is issued so that interested parties are aware of the EERE’s intention to issue this FOA in the near term. All of the information contained in this Notice is subject to change. EERE may issue a FOA as described herein, may issue a FOA that is significantly different than the FOA described herein, or DOE may not issue a FOA at all.

NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGH THIS NOTICE. Please do not submit questions or respond to this Notice of Intent. Prospective applicants to the FOA should begin developing partnerships, formulating ideas, and gathering data in anticipation of the issuance of this FOA. It is anticipated that this FOA will be posted to EERE eXCHANGE early in the year 2015.

FOA Documents

This announcement was accompanied by a release from the White House tying funding to enhancing US manufacturing export capability. The announcement reads:

[On December 11, 2014], at a meeting of the President’s Export Council (PEC), President Obama announced nearly $400 million to help improve the competitiveness of American businesses and workers by spurring new manufacturing innovations and giving America workers additional opportunities to improve and expand their skill sets for middleclass jobs.

To help support new advancements in manufacturing, the President will announce more than $290 million in public-private investment for two new Manufacturing Innovation Hub Competitions. The announcement fulfills the President’s 2014 State of the Union pledge to launch four new institutes this year, for a total of eight institutes launched so far, and puts the Administration past the halfway mark on the President’s original goal of creating 15 manufacturing innovation institutes supported through executive action.

In addition, the President will announce $100 million to expand apprenticeships for American workers – a proven training strategy for workers to learn the skills that employers need for American businesses to grow and thrive in a competitive global environment. Apprenticeships are also a path to the middle class – 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs and the average starting wage for apprenticeship graduates is over $50,000.

During the meeting, President Obama will also highlight the continued need to reform and simplify our tax code and the importance of opening up new markets abroad for American-made goods and services through tough, fair new trade agreements.

The PEC, chaired by Jim McNerney, President and CEO of Boeing and vice-chaired by Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of the Xerox Corporation, is the principal national advisory committee for exporting.  The Council advises the President on government policies and programs that affect U.S. trade performance; promotes export expansion; and provides a forum for discussing and resolving trade-related problems among the business, industrial, agricultural, labor, and government sectors.

Last year, the United States exported $2.3 trillion dollars of goods and services, an all-time high, and today, exports support more than 11 million American jobs across 300,000 businesses. Manufacturing, in particular, is the engine behind our exports and innovation – contributing the majority of the nation’s exports and nearly three-quarters of its private-sector R&D. And American manufacturing is more competitive than it has been in decades, growing nearly twice as fast as the economy overall and adding 764,000 jobs since February 2010.

At the same time, businesses looking to move production to the United States consistently cite the skills of America’s workers, the most productive workforce in the world, as the reason for rooting jobs and investment here.  These announcements build on that competitive strength by investing in manufacturing innovation and upgrading the skills of American workers through the proven model of apprenticeships.

Manufacturing Institutes

Manufacturing institutes serve as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S. This type of “teaching factory” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help small manufacturers and other companies access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

Department of Energy-led Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute

A third of the nation’s energy consumption goes into manufacturing. New smart manufacturing technologies – including advanced sensors and sophisticated process controls – can dramatically improve energy efficiency in manufacturing, saving manufacturers costs and conserving the nation’s energy.

The Department of Energy will lead a competition for a new public-private manufacturing innovation institute focused on smart manufacturing, including advanced sensors, control, platforms, and models for manufacturing.  By combining manufacturing, digital, and energy efficiency expertise, technologies developed by the institute will give American manufacturers unprecedented, real-time control of energy use across factories and companies to increase productivity and save on energy costs.

For energy intensive industries – like chemical production, solar cell manufacturing, and steelmaking – these technologies can shave 10-20% off the cost of production.  The new institute will receive a federal investment of $70 million that will be matched by at least $70 million in private investments and represents a critical step in the Administration’s effort to double U.S. energy efficiency by 2030.


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