Most of us use cloud services in our daily lives. Our email, music, financial software, and shopping are regularly becoming a browser experience or a data connected mobile app. This paradigm is now moving into for our automation platforms but what shape will it take as it pertains to Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Rockwell hosted a recent webinar highlighting its batch technology. It introduced the new capabilities of FT Batch V13 which were summarized as follows:
I am honored to be sworn in as president of the Rochester Engineering Society. For me it holds a special significance. We have had past presidents serve two terms, including the most recent, Jon Kriegel; however, I don't believe we’ve ever had a father and son both serve as president. And while it goes back thirty years, I certainly recall my dad’s selection as Engineer of the Year. This tradition of celebrating the profession in this way continues as one of the hallmarks of the Society.
It seems that its time has come and its more than we imagined.
As an ABB Chemical Business Unit employee in 1991, I attended an internal meeting by a corporate "think tank" group within the company that postulated on automation and where it was trending. The main theme was that user interfaces would be multi-faceted. Displays that offer configuration forms, loop drawings, and P&ID views for engineering; at the click of a button morph into a version with setpoint entries, alarm status feedback, and real-time trends for operators; another click transforms to I/O troubleshooting, statistical reports, and repair orders for maintenance; still more variations with cost of operation, yield and order status for production and management. It sounded like a great idea, but no products offered this type of seamless operation between stakeholders.
Manufacturers utilizing control systemswith obsolete components are faced with the daunting task of needing to replace their system, even though it may meet their production needs and is very well understood by the operations team. What can be done to help improve the success of a control system migration?
Add More Value
The ROI of a migration project is sometimes difficult to justify. It is often viewed as an "insurance policy" against losing the ability to replace a "likely to fail" subcomponent. In many cases this type of justification gets postponed for many years but most likely there are features of a new system that can improve a migration's value.
As we erase the mismarked year on our check book (scratch out 2016 and mark down 2017), it's time to reflect on where things are headed for the new year. Many believe it is going to be about “digitization" or adopting recent IT technology to maximize digital resources. Each market space has its own take on it.
In many ways automation is predicated on improving quality, consistency and efficiency. As process engineers, efficiency is a fundamental aspect of designing systems. It is probably true that efficiency of time, labor, or raw materials has had more priority than energy in our professional lives. While production cost is important, a national goal for less dependency on foreign oil and a global initiative to reduce our impact on the environment should drive our personal choices as it pertains to energy consumption.
It's been a few weeks since Rockwell's Automation Fair and I wanted to capture my thoughts before too much more time had transpired. I was mainly there for the Process System Users group meeting (PSUG) and it did not disappoint, but before going into the technical review, let me share some pleasantries about the city that is "too busy to hate."
This post originally appear in Automation World's CSIA Guest Blog.
As Rockwell Automation's Process Solutions Users Group Meeting draws near, what do you want to learn about your PlantPAx systems? For me, I would like to devise an even more standardized way to configure the virtual deployments.