A New Approach to Advancing the Connected Enterprise

A New Approach to Advancing the Connected Enterprise

This guest post is authored by Rob Gellings, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Integration, MAVERICK Technologies

In my 30 years in automation and system integration, I’ve seen a significant change in the meaning of the term “connected enterprise.” Early in my career, a connected enterprise was one that used conveyors to Apples and Orangesmove parts along the production line, and data sometimes moved with the parts on paper tags. Today, of course, a connected enterprise is one that gathers information from intelligent assets at every step of the process.

When manufacturers began integrating their islands of automation in the 1980s, the technology was brand-new so they didn’t have to worry about functionality overlap between new and existing systems. But today’s manufacturers do. For that reason, the model we used for moving from paper tags to computerized manufacturing intelligence systems won’t work for advancing today’s complex manufacturing systems.

A New Approach

We need a new paradigm for continuing to improve our capabilities in integrating and leveraging manufacturing data. It just doesn’t make sense to implement a comprehensive suite that significantly overlaps the functionality of an existing systems environment. Such an approach requires replacing existing functionality with similar functionality.

Instead, we need targeted apps that fill in missing functionality without replacing or duplicating existing functionality — much like smartphone apps. Such an approach to advancement may prove essential to maximizing ROI. That’s because many manufacturers have invested in intelligent assets and systems that offer up to a 30-year lifespan. Replacing these investments with new ones would not provide a viable financial return, but enhancing them would result in an attractive ROI.

Integration Through Enterprise Batch Records

There are several ways to take a component approach to advancing the connected enterprise. However, you should utilize the ISA 88 and 95 architecture guidelines for decisions on splitting functionality between information system components in a way that enables continued enhancements over time. In doing so I suggest that you enable data integration through a common architecture that uses a common data structure, rather than through a proprietary suite of products. For batch based manufacturers the most logical way to advance the connected enterprise is to use the batch record as the basis for all integration.

To be clear, I don’t mean just electronic batch records, which refer only to the information associated with the basic batching steps. I’m suggesting that we think about batch records from the overall enterprise perspective and use batch identity as the key for collecting and integrating all the information associated with a batch — including raw materials consumed, employees involved in production, production order and delivery. I refer to this approach as enterprise batch record (EBR), and I believe it’s the key to advancement.

I challenge today’s MES and MOM software suppliers to consider developing EBR-based solutions with independent apps — or other similar solutions — to help manufacturers advance their connected enterprise with high ROI.

Further Discussion at Automation Week

I hope we can continue the discussion of next-generation MES functionality at ISA Automation Week 2013. The show includes a track dedicated to the connected enterprise, with the specific goal of raising awareness of its financial impact. Another track focuses on protecting control system information from cyber threats — an essential aspect of the connected enterprise. I would appreciate your comments on these issues, and hope we can all work together as an industry to deliver the next generation of functionality while maximizing ROI.

Rob Gellings

About the Author
Rob Gellings provides operational leadership for MAVERICK’s Enterprise Integration business, which includes the integration of ERP/CRM, MOM/MES and strategic consulting practices. Prior to joining MAVERICK, Gellings spent nearly 10 years as president/CEO of EnteGreat, the manufacturing systems consulting firm he co-founded in Birmingham, Ala. He has also served as vice president of Raytheon Engineers as the head of its Consulting and Systems Integration division. Rob earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical and electrical engineering at Kettering University and his master’s degree in management and supervision at Central Michigan University. He is registered in Alabama as a Professional Engineer (P.E.).

Analysis of Wireless Industrial Automation Standards: ISA-100.11a and WirelessHART

This is an excerpt from the November/December 2012 InTech Web Exclusive feature by Márcio S. Costa and Jorge L. M. Amaral. For the entire article, please see the link at the bottom of this post.

ISA-100.11a network

The use of wireless transmission is part of everyone’s life. Every day, companies develop and update products with wireless capabilities. The benefits of mobility make the use of wireless equipment almost a necessity.

The online life is now possible not only through computer desktops but also through cell phones, tablets, notebooks, and TVs, which makes wireless transmission the first choice of the communication interface.

When one looks to the industrial environment, it is natural to ask if the “wireless wave” will reach industrial applications to be used in automation and instrumentation projects. This question will only be answered in the future. However, when one looks to the near past, very few people could have imagined a scenario in which wireless communication took over the world. So, it is reasonable to assume a similar speed of change will occur within a few years in industrial automation.

The use of wireless networks in industrial automation has increased in the past few years. It can be explained due to several advantages wireless technology presents, such as the reduction of time and cost to install new devices, since there is no need to provide a cabling infrastructure, along with the possibility of installing new devices in hard-to-reach or hazardous areas and the flexibility to alter existing designs.

With adopting wireless technology, many important requirements should be considered regarding the solutions presented by the new standards, protocols, methodologies, and support tools. The most important requirements are: reliability, security, robustness, determinism, quality of service (QoS), interoperability, integration with existing systems, networks with large amount of devices (scalability), and support tools for designing the network layout, process information, and monitoring.

Various solutions (proprietary or not) exist in the market to issues with using wireless transmission in an industrial environment. ISA-100.11a and WirelessHART are two of the most important standards available focused on applications of wireless networks in process automation. This article describes the main features and the solutions adopted, in order to facilitate the comparison between them. The article also briefly discusses some open issues that will have to be addressed in future versions of these standards.

To read Márcio Costa and Jorge Amaral’s full article, click here.

Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks: Trends and Developments

Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks: Trends and Developments

This is an excerpt from the September/October 2012 InTech Web exclusive feature by Mareca Hatler. For the entire article, please see the link at the bottom of this post.

ON World’s 2012 survey shows continued growth and new opportunities for wireless sensors

Despite a challenging economy, the industrial Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) market has doubled over the past two years. A recently completed ON World survey of 216 industrial automation professionals, in collaboration with ISA, HART Communication Foundation (HCF), and the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance (WINA), points to increasing WSN adoption and expanding markets.

When ON World started researching industrial wireless sensing 10 years ago, deployments of more than 20 nodes were rare. Today, network densities are increasing, and several sites have deployments of more than 3,000 nodes. What is responsible for much of this growth? The 2012 survey indicates this is a result of increased education, reliability of today’s WSN systems, maturing wireless mesh solutions, and a rapid migration to industry standards, such as WirelessHART and ISA100.11a.

In 2016, there will be 24 million wireless-enabled sensing points. At this time, 39% will be new applications, uniquely enabled by WSN.

Within the next five years, installed wireless industrial field devices will increase by 553% when there will be nearly 24 million wireless-enabled sensors and actuators, or sensing points, deployed worldwide. By 2016, 39% of deployed nodes will be used for new applications that are uniquely enabled by WSN technology. WSN is impacting industrial automation by disrupting wired automation, extending wired sensor networks, and driving new sensing and control solutions. …

To read Mareca Hatler’s full article, click here.

Video: Overview of the Parts of The ISA-95 Standard

The ANSI/ISA-95 Standard is currently divided among 5 parts with plans for a 6th part. Each of these “Parts” has a different focus, and with roughly 300 pages each, that can seem confusing. The folks at Avid Solutions put together a quick video that will hopefully give you a taste for the contents of each and how they relate to each other.

ISA-95 is a multi-part international standard for the integration of enterprise and control systems. ISA-95 consists of models and terminology. These can be used to determine which information, has to be exchanged between systems for sales, finance and logistics and systems for production, maintenance and quality. This information is structured in UML models, which are the basis for the development of standard interfaces between ERP and MES systems. The ISA-95 standard can be used for several purposes. A few are:

* A guide for the definition of user requirements
* The selection of MES suppliers
* A basis for the development of MES systems and databases


Intelligent Device Management Standards Committee Seeks Members

Intelligent field devices, pervasive in modern process manufacturing, bring the promise of transforming the way information is utilized related to these devices and to the processes they control. Devices with impending maintenance problems, for example, can be identified earlier, and information can be provided directly to process automation systems, plant asset management systems, or any other systems or software in a plant as required.

In many cases, however, the promise remains unrealized, often because users are employing old maintenance work processes with new technology. The new devices and applications are installed, but operators and technicians stick to their traditional approaches to preventive or routine maintenance and do not take advantage of the huge amount of information available to them.

A new ISA standards committee, ISA108, Intelligent Device Management, is currently seeking members. The committee will define standard templates of best practices and work processes for design, development, installation and use of diagnostic and other information provided by intelligent field devices in the process industries.

“With more than 80% of smart instrument data not being used or even connected to an online data collection system, the lost revenues to the process industries are tremendous,” said ISA108 Managing Director Ian Verhappen of Yokogawa Canada. “Thus, the need is clear for a series of standards on how to integrate this data into control systems and work practices to achieve the benefits of proactive maintenance.”

ISA108 will hold an initial meeting on 24 September 2012 in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with ISA Automation Week. The bulk of the committee’s work will be conducted electronically.

If you are interested in participating in ISA108, please contact Ellen Fussell Policastro of ISA Standards, efussell@isa.org.

All about loop-checking with new ANSI/ISA standard

“All of the instruments and software that work together to make a process measurement or control a process variable are referred to collectively as a loop. After initial installation and periodically during the equipment life, every loop is checked to ensure that it is performing properly. Hence a loop check,” said Jim Federlein, chairman of the new ISA105 standards committee, Commissioning, Loop Checks, and Factory & Site Acceptance/Integration Tests for Industrial Automation Systems. “

Now that we know what a loop check is, what’s so great about a newly approved standard? The new standard, ANSI/ISA-62382-2012 (IEC 62382 Modified), Automation Systems in the Process Industry − Electrical and Instrumentation Loop Check, provides a better understanding of what a loop check consists of and provides a standard methodology for executing a loop check. It defines procedures and specifications for loop checks, which include activities between the completion of the loop construction (including installation and point-to-point checks) and the start-up of cold commissioning. “Prior to these standards, there were no industry-wide formal requirements or guidance,” Federlein said.

The standard applies to the construction of new plants and to expansion/retrofits (such as revamping) of electrical and instrument installations in existing plants (including PLC, BAS, DCS, panel-mounted, and field instrumentation).

The standard is a US-modified adoption by the ISA105 standards committee of IEC 62382 Edition 1. While the content is largely the same as IEC 62382, this adoption includes an addition of increasing and decreasing directions to tests in order to identify any hysteresis issues. It also adds a category of standard loops and replaces various input/output check forms with a single-loop check form that can be used for all loops, including indicating and control. Another change is the expansion of loop-check examples. Specific loop checks must be established by the user, depending on the specific hardware and software to be verified on the project.

The ISA105 committee is responsible for coordinating ISA standards activities and documents in commissioning of instrumentation and control and electrical systems; instrumentation and electrical loop checks; and factory acceptance, site acceptance, and site integration tests.

For information about obtaining these standards, visit www.isa.org/findstandards, select “62381” or “62382” from the first drop-down list, and scroll down.

For more information on ISA Standards, contact Charley Robinson of ISA staff, crobinson@isa.org .

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