Annual event showcased to attendees from around the world the ongoing adaption of the Industrial Internet of Things and convergence of IT and operations technology.
By Amanda Joshi, Managing Editor
The convergence of IT and OT has never been more evident than on Nov. 14-15 at the 2018 Automation Fair® event held in Philadelphia. More than 10,000 representatives from manufacturers, OEMs, industry analyst groups, media and Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork™ members from around the world descended into the Pennsylvania Convention Center to see the leading technology and solutions in industrial automation.
The Automation Fair® event offered attendees the opportunity to share information about the latest control system network infrastructure using IP-based networks such as EtherNet/IP™, safety, power and information technologies that support The Connected Enterprise.
Attendees also visited more than 140 exhibits displaying the latest automation products and solutions from Rockwell Automation and its PartnerNetwork program members, including Encompass™ Product Partners, Solution Partners (system integrators), OEM Partners and Strategic Alliance Partners. Many booths showcased companies’ IIoT and IT/OT capabilities that help deliver improved connectivity, safety, security, and equipment and process performance.
To further help enhance customers’ innovation, productivity and collaboration, Rockwell Automation provided free educational offerings that included more than 110 sessions ranging from forums and technical sessions to hands-on labs covering the latest control, power and information technologies. Rockwell Automation specialists, partners, customers and other industry professionals shared what they’ve learned about industrial solutions that provide working data capital for better collaboration and more profitable decisions across enterprises and supply chains.
In addition, prior to the Automation Fair® event, the popular Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) took place Nov. 12-13.
At the 2018 Automation Fair® event’s Rockwell Automation Perspectives global media forum, Rockwell Automation chairman and CEO Blake Moret took to the stage with Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO of industrial software maker PTC, to explain their strategic partnership that included a $1 billion equity investment from Rockwell Automation earlier this year.
The Connected Enterprise is at the center of the investment Rockwell Automation made in PTC. The partnership is allowing Rockwell Automation to create a family of brands that begins with Allen-Bradley hardware and expands further into the IT space, with PTC software helping achieve these capabilities.
“The growth of the middle class is driving the demand to be able to produce competitively,” said Moret. “At the same time, and as a headwind, much of the workforce is moving into the retirement phase of their lives. We are in a traditionally conservative industry. When people figure out how to meet production goals, they generally don’t touch it. But being able to act more rapidly and the influence of IT technology are causing our industry to pick up the pace.”
“But now is an exciting time,” he added. “Technology is allowing companies to take data and turn it into insights that can unlock another level of opportunity.”
PTC brings the IT domain and tech expertise for applications such as CAD, PLM, augmented reality, connectivity and IoT. “We’re an IT company being sucked into the world of OT,” explained Heppelmann. “Rockwell is a company with long history of automation, but it was being pulled into the world of IT and software. Together, we can now produce FactoryTalk® InnovationSuite, and there’s nothing like it in the industry.”
According to an IDC published report, $1 trillion will be spent on digital transformation, of which 30% will be spent in discrete and process manufacturing, said Heppelmann. “If you’re going to spend $300 billion, you must be shooting for something big,” he explained. “Digital transformation means using digital technologies to transform an industrial company into a better industrial company. An industrial enterprise becomes a connected enterprise.”
“We’re looking forward to 2019, and are looking at double-digit growth and continued inorganic investments in partnerships,” Moret added. “We don’t do it all, but we’re able to harness the expertise and market access of our partners.”
Read more of Moret’s and Heppelmann’s comments.
Expanding Human Possibility
At the event, Moret also unveiled the company’s new brand platform that emphasizes the role of people in its work with the promise of “Expanding Human Possibility.”
By combining the imaginations of people with the intelligence of machines, the company says the promise supports its emphasis on bringing The Connected Enterprise to life and how, by linking people, machines and data across an entire business, manufacturers can become more effective and productive.
“I know that sounds a little strange for an automation company to spend so much time talking about people, but at the end of the day, all of us, regardless of our roles, are looking for a few basic things in what we do for work,” said Moret.
"The new Rockwell Automation brand emphasizes the central role that people play in advanced manufacturing and underscores our focus on ways we maximize performance, advance innovation and drive growth,” he explained. “Together with our partners at Automation Fair, we are demonstrating how to bring The Connected Enterprise to life, empowering our customers to build more efficient, nimble and productive businesses.”
Moret said people want to do important work, have the tools and support to do a good job and to have a chance to get ahead when they perform well.
“When we bring The Connected Enterprise to life well, then we enable those things for people who engage with our technology and our people and we truly expand human possibility,” he added. Learn more about how Rockwell Automation is expanding human possibility.
PSUG Highlights IT-OT Collaboration
The partnership with PTC continued to take the spotlight earlier in the week as well at the annual Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) event, held Nov. Nov. 12-13 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. PSUG offers process users opportunities to learn about new technologies, process solutions and best practices. Process control engineers, plant managers, operators, manufacturing IT professionals, integrators and EPC consultants all participate in the interactive atmosphere.
“Over the past 15 years of PSUG, and my last eight years of attendance, we’ve seen innovations starting with the PlantPAx® open, flexible automation system, then the impact of software development and the influx of massive data,” said John Genovesi, senior vice president, Enterprise Accounts and Software, Rockwell Automation, in his welcoming address.
“Rockwell Automation, its partners and customers now have millions of smart assets on an integrated, IIoT infrastructure,” Genovesi added. “Our many partners include Cisco, OSI, Endress+Hauser and Microsoft, a premier partner that helps us deploy information systems. But the most important may be PTC, an innovative Boston-based software company that combines IT and IoT platforms for smart, connected operations that work with The Connected Enterprise to drive new solutions for customers.”
PTC is 25 years old and has more than $1 billion in annual revenue, with 6,000 people around the world who engineer, service and operate “things,” mostly in discrete manufacturing.
“The combination of PTC and Rockwell Automation is a perfect fit, like that ad where the peanut butter and chocolate run into each other and create the Reeses peanut butter cup,” said Howard Heppelmann, divisional vice president and general manager, connected solutions, PTC. “You got my IT in my OT! You got OT in my IT!”
Through their partnership, Rockwell Automation and PTC are introducing FactoryTalk Innovation Suite, powered by PTC. Both companies will market the new software under a common brand. Adding ThingWorx and other PTC capabilities to the FactoryTalk portfolio promises to solve significant present and future integration issues.
“Plants have some new assets, but most are old, and connectivity is really important. We can bring tags and metadata at high speed onto in-plant or cloud servers,” Genovesi explained. ThingWorx Connectivity Platform is built on Kepware to connect to almost any public or private platform, as well as IT systems.
“It’s true that process plants have been solving this problem for a long time, so you might ask, what’s different?” noted Heppelmann. “We’re not throwing anything out. We’re taking advantage of existing systems by wrapping and extending them with a digital layer.”
Apps, machine learning and augmented reality are some of the technologies the two companies believe will further enhance process systems and data connectivity. Learn more about the partnership.
Following the address, 875 attendees from 32 countries and 16 process industries flocked to 32 technical sessions and 32 customer application sessions. Designed to help users improve their processes and create new revenue streams, the sessions showcased real results using the process solutions available from Rockwell Automation.
One such case study came from a project at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. Kevin Ludwig, senior electrical engineer, Beam Suntory, and Kent Stephenson, principal engineer, Rockwell Automation, explained to PSUG attendees how model predictive control (MPC) allowed the plant to move the process closer to optimum setpoints while reducing standard deviations. Learn more about this project.
Attendees also learned about technical challenges a chemical manufacturer faced with a legacy system featuring many obsolete components requiring spare parts and specialized expertise that was either unavailable or too costly.
"Unplanned downtime can cost us $100,000 per hour, so we faced a high risk of failure with high financial impact," said Daniel Izarra, senior automation engineer at Nexa Resources. The company, based in Lima, Peru, extracts and separates pure zinc from other minerals and materials in its ore.
To address its challenges, the company migrated to the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx® platform to improve both reliability and safety. To learn the results of this two-month migration project, read the story at http://bit.ly/2sjQ1KJ.
In another customer application session, Sean White, distillery operations manager for Campari Group Wild Turkey Distillery, and Ryan Williams, project manager, Stone Technologies, detailed how a thief and subsequent government pressure drove Campari to integrate its batch and ERP systems.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) required mandated reports that took days to prepare by sifting through information from three systems, noted White. “TTB could order us to report on demand, and they didn’t like the delay,” he added. “They required us to integrate our batch and ERP systems by 2017.”
Stone Technologies, a Rockwell Automation system integrator partner, worked with Campari on a solution that would decrease risk and startup time, while removing the need to do full device checkout, which decreased development time and project cost.
“Before, we didn’t have the ability to report work in process,” White said. “Now we can. We can track and release bottling supplies, we can tell who pushed what buttons, and when. Any time you can take out some of the human interaction, there’s less risk of error. We added error-checking and prompts for values out of the expected range.” Learn more of the results.
Partners Embrace IIoT
The 27th Automation Fair® event offered plenty of connectivity and industrial automation solutions from the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork program. Here are few new popular technologies at the show.
Visitors to Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner Maplesoft’s booth learned how digital twins are used for virtual commissioning to reduce the errors and delays commonly associated with machine-level commissioning. The company’s MapleSim advanced system-level modeling tool helps users develop digital twins for virtual commissioning and designing complex engineering projects. Attendees saw first-hand the virtual-commissioning workflow through the integration of a servo-driven machine’s physics-based digital twin with Allen-Bradley® PLCs on a ControlLogix® processor, within the Rockwell Software Studio 5000® platform.
Encompass Partner Festo introduced new solutions that advance the Rockwell Automation data-driven manufacturing and processing initiatives.
“The future of optimum overall equipment effectiveness and energy efficiency will rely on a collaborative maintenance environment and on intelligent devices that deliver real-time cloud-based analytics,” said Frank Latino, Festo Product Manager for Ethernet/IP. “At Automation Fair, Festo introduces three of its latest enablers for Rockwell Automation intelligent device initiatives.”
One of those, the CPX-FB36, is the first Rockwell Automation third-party device that provides FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices (Shelby) with valve terminal health and diagnostic details. When combined with the MSE6-E2M intelligent energy efficiency module, Shelby creates a dashboard providing the pneumatic response of a system with up to a six-month look-back. The CPX-FB36 diagnostic data is also accessible by FactoryTalk TeamONE™ mobile app users via the Action Deck.
As mentioned earlier, PTC and Rockwell Automation together unveiled FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, powered by PTC, a software suite that helps companies optimize their industrial operations and enhance productivity by providing decision makers with improved data and insights. The new suite delivers complete visibility of operations and systems status from one source of information inside the organization.
“Our offering is unique in its ability to improve how companies capitalize on the IIoT by combining expertise from industry, technology, and plant-floor professionals,” said Genovesi.
Forums Offer Industry Insight
In addition to checking out technologies on the show floor, visitors gathered at the industry forums to hear case studies and panel presentations offering real-world examples of how companies have increased their productivity and improved efficiency. Representatives from various companies not only shared their automation technology experiences and applications, but also provided insight and trends shaping their respective industries.
Water Wastewater Forum: Water Treatment 4.0
Delivering reliable, safe and affordable access to water is no longer solely on the minds of water and wastewater managers. Raised consumer awareness and stakeholder operational demands are guiding utilities to build smarter, more sustainable infrastructures.
During the Water/Wastewater Industry Forum at the 2018 Automation Fair® event, several water professionals discussed industry trends and requirements. They also provided examples of how advancements in technology help utilities to design, operate and maintain smart water plants.
"When we talk about The Connected Enterprise for the water/wastewater industry, the key is to gather the information and present it to the enterprise system from instruments, smart equipment and skids to smart clients. It is just like other industries, the data is captured, contextualized and used to create actionable results," said Kevin Hurdle, water/wastewater industry manager at Rockwell Automation.
The connected water plant is something Rockwell Automation is helping end user customers, OEMs and partners realize. System integrator TSI Controls, a Rockwell Automation Solution Partner based in Lynnwood, Washington, shared with attendees a recent $12-million project it completed at the City of Tacoma where it replaced the utility’s wastewater treatment system with a Rockwell Automation PlantPAx distributed control system.
"We were faced with the decision to either upgrade our existing DCS to a newer version or replace it with something else," said Chris Roberts, electrical/instrument technician, City of Tacoma. "We used outside engineering services to consult on the technology selection. In these two plants, the operations staff was the group responsible for the DCS programming and had a lot of ownership in the existing system. They were very reluctant to use anything different."
A big part of the upgrade was the use of the PlantPAx DCS, and there were many benefits, said Lucas Koelle, project engineer at TSI Controls. "Rockwell's integrated hardware and software package just makes it easier to get a project to a successful completion," he said. "The detailed process library was very useful in this scenario. It provided a standard method of operation for all the users. It helped the team understand how to use the system while breaking away from the original DCS."
As a systems integrator, Koelle added, the extensive use of add-on instructions helped reduce programming time and get things done quickly. "Rockwell did a lot of the leg work, and we could just take the end result and use it," said Koelle. "It also helped to simplify the integration of the many non-Rockwell devices into PlantPAx objects for use in the new control system.”
Food & Beverage Forum: The Integrated Digital Factory
Food and beverage manufacturers face many difficult and often conflicting challenges that can seem impossible to overcome. These include giving consumers all the customizable choices they want, but delivering them with increasing efficiency, decreasing costs, and shorter capital returns on investment (ROI) of 18-26 months or less, according to Dave Sharpe, global industry director, consumer packaged goods and life sciences, Rockwell Automation.
"Meanwhile, they’re also seeking improved asset utilization, increased yield, greater workforce productivity, optimized resource management, mitigated security risks and assured food safety," added Sharpe.
"This is why we need to frame up the digitalization journey we're on — it's an inflection point for delivering unprecedented productivity to industry. This can include safe collaboration with robots and equipment, merging physical and virtual worlds, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to predict failures and reduce downtime, and employing wearable and mobile computing devices to transform workflows," he said.
Mondeléz International is among the food and beverage companies facing these challenges. Bob Pegher, North American regional automation and controls manager, described during the Food and Beverage Industry Forum, how the company has begun to roll out a standardized data-enablement methodology across its global fleet of production facilities.
Mondeléz recently sought to implement standardized, data-enabled factory floors at 14 of its five- to 70-year-old plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This project included more than 50 production lines making biscuits, confections, gum and candy.
"The scope of our project in North America focuses on our Integrated Digital Factory (IDF), which includes assessment and remediation for infrastructure readiness; quality system data and reporting; machine performance data and reporting; data enablement and validation; and integration with the ERP system," explained Pegher.
To determine each plant's needs, Rockwell Automaton network services engineers conducted control system audits at each facility, developed as-in assessments, risk analyses and drafted reports and recommendations.
"Implementing a data-enabled factory floor begins with a solid foundation, which is the industrial Ethernet network," added Pegher.
To achieve an IDF on new or existing lines, Mondeléz and Rockwell Automation carried out a "data enablement" procedure, which included identifying work cells or unit operations; gathering and reviewing their PLC code; creating Excel workbook templates for documenting tag data; creating ladder logic in work cell PLCs and data concentrator PLCs; configuring an OPC server in an industrial data center; and installing PLC code, and testing and validating onsite and remotely.
Among the results of the IDF and data-enablement project, Mondeléz gained a standard, consistent network infrastructure and data collection method across North America, and real-time, automated data from machines and processes for its quality teams.
"Increasing OEE by just 1% on an Oreo line can mean a lot of money, so this program paid for itself pretty quickly," Pegher said. "This isn't rocket science. You just need a consistent method and plan, and then stick with it.”
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