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Product registry and online repository

FieldComm Group has launched its product registry and online repository—updating the previously standalone HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus product registries. It provides a unified tool to obtain the latest device files while also providing online access to APIs that host system manufacturers can tap to enable built-in real-time access to the latest versions of EDDs and FDI Device Packages for field devices. The release of these two systems comes as the organization simplifies the experience users have with industrial standards and their integration across systems and enterprises.

The product registry includes text search capabilities; advanced filtering by application and FDI; mobile-friendly functionality; a unified registry for FF, HART and FDI; and full device versioning support in EDD downloads (all registered versions provided in a single download).

The repository provides a cloud-based system with REST APIs, a single source for registered EDDs and FDI device packages irrespective of vendors and protocols, the ability to update hosts and handhelds automatically or by manual trigger through the cloud, streamlined device revision management, and push notifications for available updates.

Industrial companies using safety to increase profitability

Industrial companies are using safety to not only mitigate risks, but also to improve productivity and profitability, according to a survey by LNS Research. The survey finds organizations are using the three core elements of safety maturity—safety culture, procedures, and technologies—to avoid safety incidents and improve business performance. In addition, risk management increasingly includes both safety and security risks.

From a culture standpoint, the survey found that organizations in which environmental health and safety (EHS), operations, and engineering collaborate to improve all aspects of safety reported a median incident rate 15 percent lower than those without this collaboration. Organizations with cross-functional safety collaboration also had a 12 percent better on-time delivery performance. On the technology side, 75 percent of industrial companies said they have seen operational improvements from the use of advanced safety technology. Similarly, 60 percent of respondents said they have seen financial improvements resulting from the use of advanced safety technology.

The survey results also support original equipment manufacturers building safer machines, as 20 percent of respondents said they are willing to pay a premium for increased safety performance.

While the survey results confirm that many industrial companies are improving safety maturity, they also identify areas where manufacturers are falling short.

Culture: About half of respondents (49 percent) claim that safety is viewed as a core value in all levels of their organization. However, only 19 percent said their organization has C-level commitment to make the necessary investments in safety. This disconnect indicates that many companies do not have a culture that is fully supportive of safety. Additionally, only one in four respondents said their EHS, operations, and engineering EHS teams effectively collaborate to improve all aspects of safety.

Technologies: Almost half of respondents said top challenges to improving EHS performance included disparate systems and data sources. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents said they have not implemented dedicated EHS software. This indicates there is a big opportunity for companies to use modern information-management technology to better manage safety performance.

Only 24 percent of respondents said they use lockout/tagout alternatives to improve operational performance. And even fewer (11 percent) said their organization is using industrial IoT technologies to holistically manage operations and safety. However, 20 percent said they will start using industrial IoT technologies this way in the next 12 months, and 17 percent said they will require that new equipment be smart and connected within that same time period.

Procedures: Widely adopted standards call for a life-cycle approach to risk management, which can help companies address risks in their equipment and production from design to retirement. However, only 28 percent of respondents said they use such an approach. What is more, only 27 percent of respondents said they use a life-cycle approach to safety-system management.

Increased industrial IoT sophistication this year

According to an IFS research study of 200 North American executives, industrial companies achieved substantial year-over-year gains in Internet of Things (IoT) usage. Executives at respondent companies, ranging from manufacturers to oil and gas companies, are collecting more data from connected devices, integrating it with other systems in new ways, and making IoT more central to their businesses. The study shows:

  • There has been an increase of 17 percent in companies collecting IoT data on entire work cells or production lines rather than individual machines or machine components. This enables more advanced use cases, which helps explain a 30 percent increase in use of IoT to support asset performance management.
  • Respondents using IoT to monitor their customer equipment saw a 10 percent increase, potentially signaling transformational approaches to field service management.
  • Despite these advances, the percentage of respondents who have integrated IoT data streams with their enterprise resource planning software hovers at 16 percent. This reluctance may represent a barrier to leveraging IoT to deliver new business models or revenue opportunities.

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