1 December 2005
Consume, connect, be safe
By Ellen Fussell Policastro
The world's going wireless, and we need to be ready. How secure are our systems? What about food safety? Do we have the proper processes in place to protect the world's food supply? Are our businesses operating for the good of the world? Experts talked about processes that worked for them and how we can best prepare for the future of our industry at ISA EXPO 2005 in Chicago.
Integrating the enterprise to meet global manufacturing process goals was first on the agenda. Kevin Roach, vice president of software at Rockwell Automation, kicked off the keynote address with a call to manufacturers to instill quality, safety, and immediacy in their processes, which is getting more difficult with global competitiveness. Data collection is the No. 1 barrier to putting processes in place. Significant culture change is second. Third is top management commitment. Yet the U.S. is still the largest manufacturer from a consumption perspective. And MES is the manufacturer's competitive weapon of choice.
Roach said MES establishes an environment where we can measure processes in real time, which "creates an environment for continued process improvement," he said. The main goal is to proactively manage production. But barriers lie in the gap between ERP systems and plant floor systems.
The top layer, enterprise systems, is a stable space housing multiple disciplines—purchasing, inventory management, and human resources. But the bottom layer, the automation layer, houses multiple control layers. So it makes sense to put all these things together to manage integration and deliver lower costs. While it's happened at the bottom and top layers, the middle layer Roach refers to as the "squishy space" where "those applications are loosely coupled. This is the elusive cloud that continues to evade integration." These loosely coupled systems in the middle, including MES, drive high costs, he said. They drive engineering and time. A lack of integration in the middle is a "mess" that is causing products to be late and costing competitiveness for customers.
China is the country to watch when it comes to industrial production growth, which continues to grow in double digits. MES adoption rate is 17% in the U.S. It's 34% in China. "That's significant. But the drivers are not cost. Manufacturers want to drive quality and innovation," he said. Globalization isn't just about locating low-cost manufacturing in low-cost geographies. "It's about balancing your needs with customer needs. Productivity is what creates wealth in a global economy," he said. There are some huge challenges but also huge opportunities.
Securing the wireless world
Experts on wireless security gathered at a forum with moderator Peter Fuhr, chief technology officer at Apprion Inc. Wireless sensor networks tend to integrate different standards than the IT department, Fuhr said. The IT side of security and the industrial plant side with the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] requirements layered on top creates "three things converging when you're trying to deploy and integrate wireless systems at some industrial setting."
Harry Forbes, senior analyst, ARC Advisory Group, reported on findings from an ARC manufacturers' survey that defined the plant as only part of the network infrastructures needed to maintain security and succeed in business. Forbes pointed to the potential for wireless voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) to grow over time with a mixture of critical and non-critical applications to support the plant. Wayne Manges, director of the industrial wireless technology program at Oak Ridge National Labs, talked about the uses of scrambling data and encryption. "If you encrypt the sequence, you've raised the ante on what it takes. If you scramble the radio, the bad guy must be present to win. He can't take your bits and play with them in his dorm room until he descrambles them."
Global nourishment good business
Cheese and dairy, coffees, special refreshment beverages, and biscuits are the types of products Kraft Foods is hoping will catapult them into a global success story. As the third keynote speaker of the week, Jim Durkin, vice president engineering, Global Supply Chain, Kraft Foods, gave an overview of his company's current engineering challenges and spoke on the importance of global standards and the implications to vendors and suppliers.
Adding distinct product categories to their strategic marketing is one direct response to demand for affordable protein in developing markets such as Latin America and Russia. "Daily component optimization and fortification technologies meet those needs in Russia. Within Latin America, we're fortifying our Tang products," Durkin said. There is also a "huge demand for supplements for vitamin deficiencies," such as calcium and iron, he said. In Latin America, the company's volume has doubled in the last year.
Equipment and service providers are equally challenged by a global business model. Western Europe strategies include providing hot beverages. One big product is Tassimo, a single cup dispenser that makes espresso, coffee, and hot chocolate in one machine.
The challenge with some of these products, Durkin said, is to transform the work from a developed market-centric model to a global focus. That will take focusing on engineering talent, equipment and services providers, processes and practices, and standards and specifications. "We call it thinking globally and acting locally," he said.
"Today talent is tough to find and retain," he said. "And at times, you don't have the necessary experience level in those markets." Durkin said the way to do that is to capture and reuse knowledge, especially since, "too often, we keep reinventing the same solution across the world," he said. One way to take advantage of great solutions could be a new soluble coffee plant in China.
Standards are key
"We'd like to see vendors adopting international standards," Durkin said. "But how do we act locally to execute?" Using the industry for best practices and processes is one way to avoid reinventing the wheel, Durkin said. And standards are a culmination of expert knowledge in a respective field. Durkin said the company has used the ISA-88 batch management series of standards, "and it's phenomenal to me the amount of time and money we've saved using these," he said. "Before, everything was a customer-coded process, so it's been a huge benefit for us. We have a library of reusable templates, and our vendors are enhancing those libraries for us."
The ISA-95 enterprise integration series of standards has also been a big help. "One of the questions we were involved in is working through with our information services organization on who owns what. My group pulled out the 95.01 standard and said, 'OK, here's the model; let's see how to divide it up.' It's given us a huge leap ahead in those discussions, and it's given us organizational clarity, whether business systems or plant floor systems going forward," he said. "We've done a lot of work in defining data structures and paths and also roles and responsibilities."
Safe sustenance a high priority
Food safety is more than programs inside a facility; there's tracking and tracing, lifecycle management, single source of records, and it all resides in ERP systems. That was the thought behind the forum on corporate due diligence in food safety and security. John Blanchard, principal analyst at ARC advisory Group, hosted the panel of experts from Wonderware, Savi Networks, National Center for Food Safety, and others.
Dr. John Larkin from the National Center for Food Safety Technology, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), identified major elements in the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) regulations, especially needed for seafood and juices. "The first thing people talk about is burden of record keeping," he said. "It's not regulatory driven, but driven by companies buying products or by the purchaser/buyer relationship."
Regulations began coming out in response to the bioterrorism act, Larkin said. One regulation deals with registration. "The FDA has to know you exist and you're producing a food product," he said. "You also have to notify the FDA of exactly when your food item will be there, within several hours." Manufacturers are now required to establish and maintain records of where they purchased an item and who they sold it to. There's also a tracing requirement about when they receive it and where it goes. Also underway is the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act to be effective in 2006, which requires labeling of major food allergens.
Some of the lessons from the past include a lack of trained staff; the food industry relied on so-called knowledgeable people who didn't know enough, "therefore we implemented unsafe procedures," he said. But the most important lesson is to stay informed of regulations and establish priorities. Manufacturers also need management direction and a developed plan.
Scott McCloud, vice president of marketing at Ross Systems, covered the importance of establishing operational records to tie everything into one system for "a single version of the truth, either for regulatory requirements or customer requirements," he said. "Customers say they're keeping a close eye on regulations across the globe," he said. And they're keeping a close watch on demands from large customers.
Watch technology or fall behind
Can a computer solve problems a human can't? It's already happened, and there's more on the horizon. It's a double exponential growth curve that can leave manufacturers in the dust if they don't pay attention to how fast technology is moving said Wednesday's keynoter Jeff Harrow, principal of the Harrow Group. This convergence rate of change is going to continue to climb and change everything, "enabling a god-like ability of control over knowledge, matter, and life."
In one experiment on human competitive machine intelligence, engineers gave a computer operating system merely a set of goals for a project to design a cubic signal generator. The computer design matched the engineers' design almost exactly except for one component whose purpose the engineers couldn't figure out. When they took the component out, the system didn't work.
"And it's going to get more interesting," Harrow said. Take something like gesture aware technology, which couples a gesture with an actual technology to fit that gesture, such as telephone sensors that fit on your little finger and thumb to mimic the ubiquitous gesture of talking on the phone. Scientists are also working on something called GPS Toes, whereby sensors worn on your toes communicate with a GPS receiver and computer you wear on your belt. "This is not science fiction," Harrow said. The concept of active jewelry will change how we get around the world, the way we interact with people, and the way we do business.
Nanotechnology is already on the rise in silicon dioxide particles, which are shrunk to make sheer sunscreen instead of opaque. By 2014, all products made will contain nanotechnology, Harrow said. In fact, transistors are already getting smaller than a flu virus. As they get smaller, "we can build devices that can go straight to the viruses and deactivate them," he said.
Don't ignore security
Control system security incidents are on the rise, and the biggest issue is everyone thinks security issues do not affect control systems. As vice chair of ISA's SP99 standards committee, Evan Hand, electrical CFL leader, Kraft, hosted a panel answering questions on control system security.
Response time is critical. "You can't apply IT systems without taking into account the uniqueness of the controls environment," Hand said. "It's similar but different because of tight timing. In information systems, they're willing to give up response time to do things. It's okay to require a password in the IT environment, but in a controls environment, that takes too much time. You need to get in soon or rely on physical security so people can respond quickly when you need to get in."
Sharing the knowledge is key, Hand said, to protect ourselves from current threats. "The larger issue is in the information environment; you can disrupt business and stop shipments," he said. "But in a controls environment, you can cause control to go out of kilter to the point you could have unintended release of material into the environment—fires or damaged equipment.
Games open students' eyes
A "real eye-opening experience to what you'll deal with in the work force," is how Brian Ward of Spoon River College described this year's ISA International Student Games. Ward represented one of seven four-member teams who worked problems posed by industry gurus during the games. The teams included student members from ISA's districts who share an interest in automation technology. Students also had a chance to network with other ISA student members and find out more about their cultural differences, problem solving techniques, and career outlooks.
"I've never been before, and I can work with instruments I've never seen before—new fields of instrumentation," said Dmitry Bodnya, a student from St. Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation in Russia and a $5,000 scholarship awardee.
During the practical problems, students are challenged because all five projects are different, said Spoon River College advisor Earl Godt. "So they have to know the whole array: wiring, radio frequency, pneumatics, PLC," he said. "And they have to work as a team."
Gold medal winner Jason Cote said having to answer a problem within a certain time limit "made you think about how to do it right. When it comes to doing that in the real world, you'll need to do it quickly," he said.
The winners were:
- Gold medal: Northern Maine Community College
- Silver medal: British Columbia Institute of Technology
- Bronze medal: Spoon River College
As far as next year's games, student competition committee member and district vice-president-elect Mary Cannon of Tyco Valves and Controls said the committee would like to implement more practical sessions for "more creative and state-of-the-art technology, such as fieldbus," she said. "The key to a successful competition next year will be to have end users and vendors to donate equipment."
2006 Alley to boost young careers
Introducing automation professionals to the future of the industry is technology innovator Dick Morley's goal in his debut of Innovation Alley at next year's ISA EXPO in Houston. Morley hopes to display the latest innovations from the next generation and lead the efforts "to bring kids in ... who know specialized technology and perform it well," he said.
Morley will recruit about 20 small innovative companies with promise in the future of automation applications, including hardware, software, and service suppliers presented in the traditional exhibits. Morley said the exhibits and products will be "sure to change the way we look at our industry."
—Nicholas Sheble and Emily Blythe Kovac contributed to this article.
Show products wrap-up
Crystal Engineering Corporation revealed the FastCalXP calibration software. It is a pressure gauge calibration system consisting of a Crystal digital reference and the GaugeCalXP pressure comparator. FastCalXP frees the user from manually recording gauge readings and interpolating the indicated pressure. The user doesn't read the gauge; the user sets the pointer exactly on the major or minor graduation that FastCalXP indicates.
CyboSoft announced it signed a long-term software license agreement for its Model-Free Adaptive (MFA) control software with Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. CyboSoft's patented MFA control technology has been embedded and delivered as part of the Siemens APOGEE Building Automation System (BAS). MFA control is an adaptive control method that does not require process models.
ProSoft Technology introduced the PROFIBUS DPV1 Master module for Schneider Electric's Quantum platform that provides a user-friendly connectivity solution for Quantum users to connect to PROFIBUS DP slaves. The module acts as a PROFIBUS network scanner, providing high-speed transfer of Cyclic Input and Output data between PROFIBUS devices and the processor memory table, over the backplane.
Martel Electronics Corporation rolled out the BetaGauge 301 Single Sensor Pressure Calibrator. The 301 is a single sensor pressure calibrator offering great performance at ±0.05% accuracy. It combines pressure with milliAmp or Voltage measurement. A built-in loop power supply completes the picture. With an optional BPPA-100 adapter, the 301 can even use industry standard BetaPort–P high performance pressure modules.
McCrometer offers the versatile Wafer-Cone Flowmeter with superior accuracy and repeatability in an easy to install space-saving instrument that requires almost no maintenance. The Wafer-Cone Flowmeter is designed for liquid or gas service in line sizes from 0.5 to 6 inches, which makes it ideal for either small process lines or many plant infrastructure tasks. Applications for the Wafer-Cone range from filtering in process lines to general plant needs.
MTS Systems Corp. Sensors Division developed a magnetostrictive liquid-level C-Series sensor based on patented Temposonics technology. This small sensor is designed for use in OEM and consumer products such as washing machines, dishwashers, and other level applications where a float based measurement can be used.
GarrettCom offered the Magnum 6K32T Managed Switch, which makes Gigabit port accessibility more available, more flexible, and less costly. The 6K32T switch is hardened for factories and other heavy duty environments. User-selectable Gigabit transceiver modules, auto-negotiating 10/100/1000 Gigabit copper, and a variety of fiber cabling types and distances allow custom port-type flexibility based on application requirements.
Tiger Optics exhibited the MTO-LP-H2O, which offers state-of-the-art moisture detection in milliseconds, with absolute accuracy. The MTO combines high technology with plug-and-play operation, very modest maintenance, freedom from calibration, and built-in capacity to measure up to four sample gases.
MEECO introduced the Tracer 2TM, which combines a simple yet innovative design with field proven technology to create the most cost-effective high-purity moisture analyzer on the market. Using the absolute technology principle of Faraday's Law along with a patented moisture-addition feature, the Tracer 2TM is capable of detecting moisture in high-purity gases to below 1 part per billion (ppb).
Watlow presented a SERIES PD high performance temperature and process controller that features EtherNet/IPTM communications. This feature makes the SERIES PD easier to integrate in machine and process control applications that include Allen Bradley programmable logic controllers (PLC). The Modbus TCP protocol is also included and offers another communications option.
Tracer Electronics introduced the series 4000 T-Buss Point Identification System. It enhances the performance of machine control systems, process control systems, and life/safety systems. The controller accommodates 99 monitoring or control united for distances up to a mile over a simple twisted pair. It supports proprietary as well as Modbus protocols.
Invensys Process Systems announced a wide range of key, Foxboro-brand pressure transmitters will achieve the industry's highest accuracy levels. These new accuracy specifications apply to both digital communications and the 4 to 20 mA output signal. The Foxboro Premium Performance line now carries an accuracy specification of +/- 0.025% of span for spans as low as 10% of maximum span (10:1 turndown).
AxissComm released the MeterPod, a data acquisition device with cellular and other wireless protocols for remote devices. It provides diagnostic, event, and error logging. It serves as an intelligent bridge between the cellular network and devices that contain an internal analog modem or other types of asyncronous communication channels.
HART Communication Foundation member companies approved enhancements to the HART Device Description Language Specification. The enhanced DDL simplifies and standardizes the presentation of intelligent device information for both automation suppliers and users worldwide. The DD Language enhancements have been incorporated into the HCF standard DDL tools — the Device Description Integrated Development Environment (DD-IDE) and the Smart Device Configurator (SDC-625).
Aspectrics displayed its core EP-IR technology. The rugged encoder spectrograph employs a highly-efficient modular optical system and a multi-channel precision rotary encoder, which is capable of acquiring spectra at rates up to 100 Hz. The company believes an opportunity exists for EP-IR to replace the Nondispersive Infrared (NDIR), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), and gas chromatographic technologies currently used for process monitoring and environmental applications.
SPECTRO Analytical Instruments introduced a new on-line sulfur analyzer designed to measure viscous hydrocarbons in crude lines, pipelines, terminals, and blending operations. The new 682T-HP system is faster, more sensitive, and more compact than previous systems and provides continuous, reliable detection of sulfur at pressures up to 800 psig.
Green Hills Software introduced its Partitioning, Journaling File System (PJFS). PJFS is a crash-safe file system designed for safety, security, and reliability-critical systems. Due to its high assurance design, PJFS has a very small footprint, making it ideal for embedded applications, yet it also scales to desktop and server system requirements.