I have written this blog as mostly a hobby for the past 9.5 years. It has had at least two names and over time the coverage has become somewhat more focused.
Beginning today, I will be posting only to my new site and business. All the content here has been moved and shortly you will be redirected when you come here. So, you might as well bookmark / subscribe to The Manufacturing Connection. I want to take media coverage of manufacturing to a new and different level. More over there. See you there.
I am at the Siemens Automation Summit in New Orleans this week. Shortly we will be leaving for a tour of a sugar refinery that was recently upgraded.
Last night at dinner, we were introduced to the new Customer Services Division. I had the opportunity for extended discussion with Jagannath Rao, who is division president and also Galina Antova (Global Program Manager of Industrial Security Services), Seth Marellapudi (Segment Head, Industrial Security Services), and Tony Serrao (Marketing Manager--who, like me, passed up dessert, but we still had more than enough to eat).
Automation companies traditionally looked at service as a cost center--the cost of fulfilling warranty contracts. The entire point-of-view has changed dramatically over the past few years--especially at Siemens.
Rao said that Services is a new business unit begun only in October 2011. The goal is to associate with customers through Lifecycle of business. He mentioned that he was charged with bringing 22 separate services groups together under one head and then merging the cultures with the new expectations.
There are two groups in the new division. Lifecycle Services support products and help customers extract maximum value from their existing (and future) equipment. That is expected. But Rao's team asked, "What really differentiates services?" The answer was the Value Services business. Its conversations with customers revolves around outcomes--security, uptimes, reliabilities, remote services. "Not where we go in and give solutions, but where we collaborate with customer. Support industry help them go to next level."
Rao also said, "We consider ourselves a mega-startup within Siemens." A little later in a conversation with Antova, who is charged with establishing an overall security solution within the Values unit, talked about a recent Harvard Business Review article about "Lean Startups". That's what we are, she told me, within the Siemens organization.
My takeaway is that this is a great way to get closer to customers. And it fits within the vision of Siemens Industry US President, Helmuth Ludwig, who always talks about Manufacturing Renaissance and improving overall manufacturing performance.
Perhaps the hottest topic in process control continuing over the past couple of years has been "the control room of the future." I've seen examples at most of the solutions providers' users groups. Due to overlapping meetings and travel commitments, I could not make it to the 2013 edition of HUG the Honeywell Process Solutions user group meeting in Phoenix last week.
I did participate in two online press conferences and received a ton of news. Following is a brief list of the more interesting announcements.
From some of my sources, it appeared that attendance at HUG has recovered somewhat from the doldrums of a few years ago. Some of my friends shared the excitement that goes along with a conference with new products and solutions and the energy of committed experts.
Two things stood out for me. One is discussion and development of an improved control room. I've seen some cool technologies at competitors' (ABB, Emerson and Invensys) user events. And I know that Yokogawa is working on this as well. Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I love competition as the driver of innovation and advanced benefits for customers.
Secondly, I love these new collaboration boards I've been seeing. There are a couple of good ones. Think of the many uses--even outside process control. They'd be cool for Lean stand up daily meetings, for example. Hope more is coming.
News from the press releases:
The company previewed a futuristic console for its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) Orion platform that reduces operator fatigue with an improved, ergonomic design featuring a larger display and new alarm lighting. Honeywell expects to launch the Experion Orion Console – which was designed based on input from operators – with the platform’s next release in 2014 to provide better mobility for operators while improving situational awareness.
“In many ways, the control room of the future won’t be limited to the control room at all, and that concept is perfectly illustrated through technologies like OneWireless, because it extends the control room to the field,” said Jason Urso, chief technology officer, Honeywell Process Solutions. “At the same time, because we expect increasing connectivity, we’ll see a greater need for cyber security management systems like the Cyber Security Dashboard, and collaboration solutions like Experion Collaboration Station. These solutions complement each other to improve overall plant safety, reliability, efficiency, and sustainability.”
The common link between all of these solutions is the ability to help make control-room personnel more quickly aware of what’s happening in their facilities, including:
Cyber Security Dashboard – The Cyber Security Dashboard helps simplify the task of keeping automation systems up-to-date with cyber security requirements. The dashboard consolidates all data onto a single view for better visibility, and it allows users to easily drill down and access more-detailed content such as graphics, trends, documents and applications. Its advanced analytics allow the creation of customized alerts that advise personnel to take actions such as updating anti-virus protection, managing patches, and other ongoing cyber and network security-related tasks. Honeywell is previewing the Cyber Security Dashboard with customers in Phoenix and expects to roll out the tool globally in early 2014.
Experion Collaboration Station – Experion Collaboration Station enables faster responses to both routine and emergency situations by displaying a common view of how distributed assets at multiple locations are functioning. This tool is especially well-suited for production sites with distributed assets such as offshore oil and gas operations, pipelines, and large refineries with centralized control rooms.
OneWireless Network R220 – OneWireless Network is a universal wireless network that can simultaneously accommodate thousands of field devices to form everything from a simple field instrument network, to a completely integrated plant-wide, multi-application network. The new OneWireless Network Software R220 introduces a new interface for the Honeywell Enraf SmartRadar Flexline, which enables the device to communicate with the Honeywell Enraf Entis Pro tank gauging system, as well as the Experion Process Knowledge System platform. This allows storage terminal operators to cost-effectively improve their operations with reliable inventory data available in the control room.
Premium Platform for Experion Virtualization Solutions – Leveraging blade server technology, Honeywell’s new solution is customized to the specific control applications needed by the customer, making it a turnkey virtualization solution. Premium Platform reduces setup time by up to 90 percent, generates up to 40 percent more energy savings and has 22 percent greater density than alternative virtualized server platforms. In addition, the platform has a longer lifecycle, reduced facility footprint and remote management capabilities in a package that is pre-configured, saving time to deploy.
“The common thread among these services and solutions is that they will help shape the plant workforce of the future,” said Darius Adamczyk, President and CEO, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Manufacturers are being challenged to continuously improve operations, respond to ever-changing business conditions, and reduce overall costs. Services like Assurance 360 and Benefits Guardianship directly address those market challenges by making Honeywell technology experts extensions of a plant’s staff, while our Operations Excellence software offerings give operators and engineers better tools to serve as their companies’ most-important business assets.”
Assurance 360 Services – A multi-year service partnership offering that supports manufacturers in all industries, Assurance 360 Services allow plant personnel to focus on operations while Honeywell performance experts focus on maintaining, supporting and optimizing system performance to help the plant meet its goals. The offering provides remote monitoring, change management, risk mitigation, technology upgrade and new installation support, and performance-based metrics and reporting. Assurance 360 offers two service levels: Performa provides Honeywell support personnel to act in advisory roles across all areas covered by the program; Optima engages Honeywell personnel to both advise and directly handle tasks such as implementing change management, tracking and improving metrics, and scheduling and implementing new technology upgrades and installations.
Operations Excellence – Honeywell’s expanded portfolio of solutions designed to improve operational excellence includes three new software offerings. First, the Intuition Operations Monitoring software, built on Honeywell’s Intuition platform, is used to help operators keep the process within the best operating zone. Secondly, the new Control Performance Monitoring software helps engineers to monitor, identify, diagnose and remedy process control asset issues across all plant layers. Lastly, Honeywell’s latest Alarm Management software helps operators better manage their processes without compromising safe operations.
Benefits Guardianship Program Plus (BGP Plus) – Honeywell has extended its Benefits Guardianship Program, a premium service that delivers expertise beyond traditional product support, providing priority phone access to experienced and qualified specialists, to quickly resolve performance problems, and to deliver the latest software to improve functionality and to safeguard investments. The new BGP Plus service provides reactive and proactive engineering led services to increase uptime of the software, to provide early detection of performance drift and to recommend resolutions to sustain performance.
I just published a podcast interview with Glenn Schulz, managing director of The FDT Group. Glenn gave me a clear description of the technologies of FDT and DTMs plus a good description of the benefits to operations, maintenance and engineering.