Category Archives: control automation

Blake Moret Finally Gets the Cherry

After a year of being CEO, the Rockwell Automation Board has finally named Blake Moret to the post of Chairman. He, of course, succeeds Keith Nosbusch in that role, as he succeeded Nosbusch as President and CEO.

Rockwell will continue to have an independent “lead director,” Donald R. Parfet, who said: “Since Blake became CEO and joined the board in July 2016, he has demonstrated that he is exceptionally well-qualified to lead the company and the board. Blake is a champion of the company’s high performance culture with an extraordinary ability to inspire and connect with customers, employees, partners and the leadership team. The board is confident that this leadership structure will continue to drive the company’s success.”

Moret has already done some interesting things, like the acquisition of Maverick Technologies.. The jury is still out on that one.

It is always interesting to watch a major company CEO finding his feet and getting going.

What’s going on at ISA??

Further to the firing of longtime executive director and CEO, Pat Gouhin, lots of familiar faces are no longer there, not just Gouhin. Highly respected events manager Rodney Jones was apparently fired without notice before Gouhin left. Deb Eby, who secretly ran ISA for more years than I care to admit, retired in July, as did Susan Colwell, the Publisher of ISA Books, who announced suddenly she was moving on.

I have also heard rumors that there is significant resistance to Peggy Koon’s appointment as interim Executive Director. Most of the resistance appears to center on her color rather than her accomplishments, which are many and mighty. The resistance appears to be coming from the same group of pointy headed volunteers who didn’t like it when she was ISA president.

What the heck is going on here?

From the outside, it looked like ISA had finally stabilized after thirty years of volunteer vs volunteer and volunteer vs staff infighting. Now it is just as big a mess as when I was on the Executive Board.

Anybody want to enlighten this poor magazine editor and longtime ISA volunteer (still am– am Program Chair for ISA STL section) as to what the (bleep) is going on??? I promise not to name you when I write about this, just like I didn’t name the people who have told me the stuff I wrote above.

Did Gouhin lose his mind? The stories about his last few months in office are very strange and don’t reflect the Pat Gouhin I’ve come to know.

Last Year’s Winners in UniSim Design Challenge Win Again!

STUDENTS USE HONEYWELL SOFTWARE TO SIMULATE TURNING ALGAE INTO ETHYLENE

Chemical engineering students recognized with UniSim® Design Challenge award at annual customer symposium

Two students from the Izmir Institute of Technology, who used Honeywell’s simulation software to demonstrate how to produce petrochemicals from algae, have been named the winners of Honeywell Process Solutions’ (HPS) annual UniSim® Design Challenge. They defeated 60 teams from 25 countries. The Turkish chemical engineering students, who won the competition last year with a different project, were recognized during the company’s annual customer symposium held this week in San Antonio, Texas.

Ozgun Deliismail and Okan Akin, under the supervision of Associate Professor Dr. Erol Seker, used UniSim Design and UniSim Dynamics to create a preliminary conceptual design and simulation of the production of bio-based ethylene from the marine microalgae of Nannochloropsis oculata. Ethylene produced from this renewable source can easily replace petrochemical-based ethylene in conventional production processes.
“The interest in renewable petrochemicals continues due to a combination of environmental concerns and economic uncertainties,” said John Roffel, director of Honeywell’s Simulation and Operator Competency product lines. “It is great to see that students around the world find new ways to tackle global challenges with the help of the UniSim Design Suite.”
The UniSim Design Challenge allows engineering students to propose solutions to real-world problems facing process manufacturers with Honeywell’s UniSim Design Suite software, which is used to design and model processes in production facilities around the world.
Deliismail and Akin presented the winning entry during the Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Americas Symposium, the company’s largest gathering of customers in the process manufacturing industries. Their preliminary design demonstrates the drastically reduced carbon-foot print of the hybrid process by anaerobic digestion and oxidative coupling versus the traditional process of ethylene production. It also shows that bio-ethylene production from bio-methane is profitable.
“To our knowledge, this is the first reported simulation of bio-based ethylene production using the UniSim Design Suite,” said Dr. Seker. “Its user friendly interface, simplicity and great extensibility provide a great simulation environment to improve the design of the hybrid process.”
UniSim Design Suite provides an interactive process model that allows engineers to create steady-state and dynamic models and is used extensively for plant design, performance monitoring, troubleshooting, operational improvement, business planning, and asset management around the world. UniSim Design models may be leveraged into advanced training and optimization solutions provided by the UniSim® Optimization Suite, UniSim® Competency Suite and Honeywell Connected Plant offerings.

Vertiv Ranks Most Critical Industries

Vertiv Ranks Most Critical Industries in the World
Utilities, mass transit, telecom rank high, cloud and colocation fifth and rising

Utilities, including electricity, gas, nuclear power and water treatment, are the most critical industries in the world according to a new ranking from Vertiv, formerly Emerson Network Power. Vertiv convened a panel of global critical infrastructure experts to systematically quantify and rank the criticality of multiple industries based on 15 criteria. Mass transit—specifically rail and air transportation—ranked second on the list, followed by telecommunications, upstream oil and gas activity and cloud and colocation. The full list is available in a new report, Ranking the World’s Most Critical Industries, released today and available at www.VertivCo.com/MostCritical.

The panel set criteria encompassing the range of potential impacts from the loss of availability of critical systems and weighted them based on the severity of the impact. These criteria then were used to create a criticality rubric that the panel used to score the industries, which then were ranked by their average scores.

“If there is a common theme at the top of this list, it is the interconnectedness of these industries,” said Jack Pouchet, vice president, market development, Vertiv. “These sectors are important to the foundation of today’s society, and downtime in any of these areas can reverberate across industries and around the globe. This will only continue as our world becomes more mobile and more connected and as the Internet of Things expands.”

Clean power and water are fundamental needs in a developed society and underpin most other industries and services, making utilities a clear choice as the most critical industry. Mass transit ranked second, with panellists citing not just the safety of travellers, but the massive impact delays and disruptions can have across multiple businesses, markets and the world. The No. 3 ranking for telecommunications reflects the importance of communications and connectivity in personal and business activities and emergency situations.

Financial services topped the list of industries ranking highest in terms of financial impact of unplanned downtime. E-commerce was second, followed by cloud and colocation. Cloud and colocation also ranked fifth overall in the list of most critical industries due to the increased dependence on those platforms across multiple businesses. The panel also identified cloud and colocation as one of several rapidly emerging industries that are becoming increasingly critical.

“Cloud and colocation are becoming more and more critical as an increasing number of devices and businesses rely on these platforms to perform,” said panellist Emiliano Cevenini, vice president of power sales and business development for Vertiv in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We’re expecting this trend to continue for the foreseeable future as the IoT networks that serve industries and smart cities are opting to use the cloud as the go-to platform to underlie their technology.”

The full list of critical industries as well as the analysis of specific categories, emerging industries and the ranking methodology are available in the report, Ranking the World’s Most Critical Industries. To see how other industries rank, use the Criticality Calculator. For more information on technologies and solutions to ensure network availability and additional content from Vertiv, visit http://www.VertivCo.com/MostCritical.

New Honeywell SCADA in the Cloud

HONEYWELL INTRODUCES REAL-TIME SCADA
AS A SECURE AND SCALABLE SERVICE

Experion Elevate provides a cloud-based solution that minimizes hardware, software and
maintenance requirements

In a recognition of the inescapable march of software and supervisory control strategies to the Cloud, Honeywell (NYSE: HON) Process Solutions (HPS) today announced the launch of Experion Elevate, a real-time process supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solution delivered as a secure and scalable service.

Experion Elevate allows for predictable costs, easy upgrades, and continual support. It is a member of Honeywell’s suite of cloud-enabled solutions for operations technology and information technology (OT/IT). HPS made the announcement at its annual Honeywell Users Group symposium.

The clear advantage to customers is easy upgrades and the ability to show the expense of Experion Elevate as OPEX.
The advantage to Honeywell is easy migration, upgrade, and a steady monthly paycheck instead of project work. With the SCADA software running in Honeywell’s cloud, Honeywell helps to bind customers to them.
“By choosing Experion Elevate, process industry companies can take their performance to a new level with visibility of field assets from a central monitoring site and/or mobile locations,” said John Rudolph, vice president and general manager, HPS Projects and Automation Solutions. “They can be sure their SCADA implementation will be robust, reliable and secure because their system is running on ours. Users can depend on Honeywell’s experience and vision for any size solution.”
Experion SCADA is at the heart of Honeywell’s Experion systems and provides a highly scalable, integrated multi-service system with a superior human-machine interface (HMI). The use of Honeywell’s Distributed System Architecture (DSA) allows multiple SCADA servers to operate as one within a single asset or across the enterprise and enables seamless global access to points, alarms, interactive operator control messages and history.

With Experion Elevate, Honeywell is uniquely positioned to provide any combination of SCADA solutions, offering end users more options than when choosing a service-only vendor. This approach brings business agility and increased efficiency from implementation through ongoing lifecycle operations. Customers can take advantage of the latest software with less on-site support and maintenance skills required. They also benefit from a lower cost of entry with the potential for reduced CAPEX, rapid project deployment, and lower lifecycle costs.
Having Honeywell host the SCADA application, and its associated data, in the Honeywell Cloud is also good for the customers from a cybersecurity vantage. Honeywell is now responsible to keep the application and data safe from cyber attack or intrusion. This means that the end user’s cybersecurity expense is much less.
To learn more about Honeywell’s Experion Elevate, visit http://www.honeywellprocess.com/elevate.

Honeywell pitches a change-up at HUG

Vimal Kapur and Jason Urso (now returned to his duties as Chief Technology Officer) laid down a challenge for other vendors today by stating that the control system was going to the cloud– it is inevitable, Urso said, and is already happening with some SCADA functionality. This will lead to what they boldly called, “The Last Migration.” All the large automation companies have been operating on a business model that uses upgrades and migrations to keep money flowing from their customers. This, it is obvious, is something Honeywell wants to change. What this will lead to is a software-based control schema in which hardware is subordinated to the software, both in the field controller and in what used to be the DCS– which will be moving to the cloud…

More on this soon.

Who Should We Believe?

There are a huge number of contradictory predictions out there right now concerning the stock market, the price of oil, the world economy, the internet of things, and just about everything else you can imagine. If you look hard enough, you could probably find conflicting predictions on whether Little Johnny will jump over the fence to chase the cow.

Since the control automation industry is so closely linked with oil production, let’s take a look at oil price predictions. Chris DeHaemer, the founder of Crisis & Opportunity and Managing Director of Wealth Daily posted on April 7 that he expects oil to hit $87 by Christmas.  He bases this prediction on past history, which shows that when the market for a specific industry’s stock crashes at the beginning of the year, it typically rebounds and prospers for the remainder of the year.  He cites the dot.com crash of 2003 and the banking industry crash of 2009 as examples.

Is he correct? Maybe in the short term. Brent Crude has shown a fairly steady increase from its January low of $28.55 to today’s price of $44.73, and the outlook for additional increase is favorable based on Saudi Arabia and Russia agreeing to freeze production, but it is still down over $70 a barrel from its 2014 high.  Will the increase continue in the long term? There are other factors to be considered.

Some analysts are touting that petroleum/crude oil is being replaced by lithium (aka metal oil) and that the demand for oil will begin to decrease in the near future as more and more companies move toward electric power using lithium ion batteries, which Tesla has supposedly now figured out a way to enhance and produce cheaply.  For example, on April 12, Laurence Knight, a business reporter for BBC News Magazine wrote that, “Lithium, a key ingredient in lightweight batteries, is already powering the modern world, and could be key to getting the world to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”

We are already seeing improvement in both the price and range of electric cars.  For example, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is priced at around $30k and has a range of over 200 miles.  Tesla announced on April 9 that it has already accepted 350,000 orders for its Model 3, a sleek vehicle priced at $35k, which also has a range of over 200 miles, and which won’t even be released for another two years. Because burning fossil fuels is detrimental to the ecosystem, and there is a push on several fronts to reduce their use, the production of a vehicle with extended range and an affordable price could well be attractive to a growing number of consumers, which would drive oil demand down considerably.

Who’s right?  I think I’d rather bet on whether or not little Johnny will jump the fence.

The Bitter and the Sweet – Siemens: 2,500 Jobs Lost, 25,000 Additional Jobs Pledged

We predicted almost a year ago that if the slump in the oil and gas industry continued, restructuring, changing focus, and diversification would be necessary to regain/maintain the fiscal health of our industry. Oil and gas shows no indication of a rebound any time soon, and Siemens is adapting and reorganizing; pulling resources away from the oil and gas and metals and mining sectors to focus instead on becoming a “digital industrial company.”

 

The Bitter

With this transition, Siemens announced in a press release dated March 9 that twenty-five hundred industrial division jobs will be slashed, approximately two thousand of which are in Germany (primarily Bavaria), but five hundred additional positions worldwide will be cut as well. “Plunging demand in raw materials markets has led to a significant intensification of competition, particularly in Asia,” said Juergen Brandes, CEO of Siemens’ Process Industries and Drives Division. “To guarantee our competitiveness, we’ve got to adapt to these conditions.”

 

The Sweet

Siemens pledged to make 25,000 new hires worldwide “in each of the coming years” for its other divisions as it dedicates itself to becoming a digital industrial company. The press release indicates that with an increase of more than €1 billion in investment in research and development, productivity and global sales, Siemens will keep the number of new hires at a continuously high level in the years ahead. In particular, the company expects to add at least 25,000 new employees worldwide each year for the next several years – around 3,000 of them in Germany.

This scenario reminds me of a scene in a Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan, where Spock gives his life to save the Enterprise. As he dies from radiation poisoning after saving the ship, he comments, “The need of the many outweighs the need of the few.” That comment is certainly apt here. Siemens employs over 300,000 world-wide. To keep the company healthy, some sacrifices are inevitable. Just as Spock lost his life to ensure that the Enterprise survived, in the short term some Siemens employees will loose their jobs to ensure that Siemens survives. We must accept that this is necessary for our industry as a whole to “ Live long and prosper!”