Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Increasing Operational Agility with Industrial Automation

We have all heard the phrase "Work smarter, not harder" and have received tips like time management, bundling tasks, don't focus on the totality of a "to do list", etc... Truth is, hard work and smart work is not mutually exclusive and fortunately, with industrial automation, there are systems, tools, and products that enable operators the agility to spot opportunities for greater flexibility, speed, and workforce responsiveness.
      We focus on a few solutions that increase operational agility by:

  • Putting together systems to gather, share, and change processes quickly
  • A retrofit solution to save labor, energy, and cost while improving quality, accuracy, and precision
  • Managing data to spot opportunities and prompt troubleshooting
  • Resources for customization when standards don't work
Happy New Year,
Jane Mohr

Increasing responsiveness with real-time information 
Wonderware MES /Performance
Today's operations requires greater visibility, a reduction of product costs, and improvement of product quality. Wonderware MES offers solutions to help operators to recognize how their processes impact the business with key performance metrics. 72% of surveyed MES customers improved equipment uptime by 5-10% or more with MES Software.*
Manage both production and performance by:
  • Reducing lead times
  • Shortening Time to Market
  • Cost Cutting
  • Exceeding Customer Expectations
  • Streamlining processes
  • Managing the global operation

*Source: TechValidate. TVID:757-8B3-C2E

Retrofit helps operators modernize without the high cost 
ABB Drives and Controls

Operational agility often includes the ability to find solutions for simple and easy modernization. Being able to upgrade without having to go through a huge installation process can: 
  • Optimize the budget
  • Decreasing maintenance cost
  • Increase of productivity
  • Reduce production downtime
  • Extend the life of existing equipment
With the ABB DCS800 retrofitters can provide up-to-date technology at a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire system. With its special features, the DCS800 makes installation and configuration simple  by allowing you to customize the application to your needs.   

Quick troubleshooting to increase operational dexterity
Last month we discussed how MXstudio suite delivers easy management, mass configuration, smart visualization, and quick trouble shooting in developing best practices in Network Management. Two software features in this management suite helps operational agility by providing data for quick troubleshooting. The MXview studio offers:  
  • Auto discovery of network devices and physical connections
  • Event playback
  • Color-coded VLAN/IGMP groups and other visualization network data
The N-Snap Industrial Network Snapshot tool:
  • Takes network snapshots
  • Compares network and device data, and highlights the differences

 Unprecedented Flexibility:

The new BL67 Ethernet Gateway 
  Turck's BL67 offers an easy-to-deploy industrial  Ethernet solution. Though it combines the multiprotocol technology (one device - for three Ethernet protocols), it only allows one Ethernet master to control outputs while input is still available to the other protocols.  The BL67 provides unprecedented flexibility -already concealed, you can add more I/O without having to purchase a new, larger enclosure. The BL67 is ideal for harsh environments where conditions may not be conducive to traditional I/O.
Learn More

Friday, January 16, 2015

Even a slight reduction in speed can produce substantial energy savings

Coupling a motor with an ABB variable speed drive can lower energy consumption, reduce wear and
tear, and give the user greater precision over an application through control of the motor's speed rotation. Variable Speed Drives are often used with many different machines in manufacturing like pumps, ventilators, compressors, and belt conveyors. When a low capacity is needed, the Variable Speed Drive lowers the machine speed to save energy and drives down the cost of production. 

After all, the greenest energy is the energy that is saved and not used at all which results in a reduction to the bottom line and gives your organization a competitive advantage.

 ACS880 series, all compatible industrial drives, are easily adaptable and provide comprehensive and efficient process control that simplifies operations through intuitive control panels and advanced settings.
Learn how Fiskeby Board AB saved energy up to 80% with ACS880 drives.  
Read Case Study

Monday, January 12, 2015

Achieving Comprehensive System-Wide Standards

System-wide standards provide worker safety and product reliability, adherence to policies and legislation, interoperability among devices, and business benefits such as efficiency, profitability, and sustainability. In other words, system-wide standards are means to ensure quality among workers, processes, and products. In this issue, we focus on solutions that improve quality:

  • in products by standardizing formulas
  • in safety by standardizing safety relays across applications
  • in data by standardizing network connectivity
  • in environment by standardizing cable construction in harsh conditions

Best regards,
Jane Mohr   

 What do you do to improve quality through system-wide standards? We would like to hear from you. Email us.

Formula Management 

Wonderware Recipe Manager Plus is designed for standardization of operational recipe management across your business; it reduces the number of recipe systems and formats, increases operational efficiency and establishes governance to secure consistent quality of your products. 

A single safety relay for all of your safety applications

ABB Jokab Safety

The RT6 universal relay offers the most versatile input option available on the market, so you can select the safety level required for each installation. These universal relays are ideal for use with typical safety devices such as emergency stops, gates/hatches and light curtains.

Safety goes hand-in-hand with achieving system-wide standards. If safety standards are properly executed production can increase due to an environment that values workers, the machinery, and the product. Safety relays monitor a safety system and can switch off quickly and reliable in an emergency. ABB Jokab Safety offers many safety solutions to keep you up with requirements.

Gain greater control of your network using rugged, industrial managed switches with GB ports

Moxa EDS E Series 
The unique features of Moxa's industrial Ethernet switches enable nonstop network connectivity and include proven industrial design, seamless integrated security, and optimized price-to-performance ratio. Built-in fast recovery Ethernet redundancy also ensures excellent availability for business continuity and productivity. 
Managed switches provide control of the traffic traveling over the switch. These features include:
  • Quality of service - can ensure consistent  network performance by assigning a higher priority to critical traffic
  • Virtual LANs - allows a switch to group devices together to segment and isolate network traffic
  • Redundancy - safeguards a network if a connection fails by providing an alternative data path
  • Port Mirroring - to diagnosis problems without taking down the network

Cable Construction for Ethernet

  Ethernet cables have the communication capability to connect devices, switches, and routers and transmit and receive data. To achieve system-wide standards of durability and performance, especially from harsh plant floor conditions, use Turck solutions to find appropriate cable categories and type of twists that are critical in construction. Industrial Ethernet cables are better for the plant floor than commercial Ethernet cable.
Learn More

Monday, January 5, 2015

Don't Host Critical SCADA Applications on an Insecure Infrastructure

On July 14, 2015, Microsoft will end extended support for its Windows Server 2003 operating system. That means Microsoft will not develop or release any updates for the Windows Server 2003 platform.

Why is this important? Microsoft released 37 critical updates for Server 2003/R2 in 2013. Since security flaws could still be exploited in the soon to be unsupported Server 2003 platform, you should strongly consider your options for migrating to a supported operating system.

Maintaining legacy systems can also be costly and in terms compliance with industry standards. Over time, it becomes harder to support (or find) the hardware to run legacy software.

Running legacy systems might also cost your company in terms of compliance with industry standards.  Standards like NERC CIP already address systems security management. Deliberately choosing to remain on an unsupported, potentially exploitable operating system like Windows Server 2003 may not be appropriate mitigation of risk exposure called out in the standard.
Options for moving forward
Fortunately, there are quality options for replacing your existing Windows Server 2003 infrastructure. Just as Windows XP was replaced by Windows 7 and 8.1, Server 2003 has been replaced by Windows Server 2008/R2 and Windows Server 2012/R2.

Windows Server 2012 R2 offers relatively good application compatibility with Windows Server 2003. Although Windows Server 2012 R2 is delivered as a 64-bit operating system, most 32-bit applications that have no 16-bit code segments should install and run on Windows Server 2012 R2 through Windows on Windows 64 (WoW64) technology. The main exception to this compatibility story is for applications that operate in kernel mode rather than user mode. Security applications and some system utilities such as backup and management agents are among the applications that are likely to need an upgrade as part of a migration to Windows Server 2012 R2.

Lastly, since Windows Server 2008 is slated for end of mainstream support in January 2015, the whitepaper also recommends that customers looking to upgrade their Windows Server 2003 systems upgrade directly to Server 2012 R2.

Options for Wonderware users
Though operating system upgrades can be pricey and migrating applications can be time-consuming, there are certainly some perks that come from upgrading software.

The latest versions of Wonderware products (2014 and 2014R2) offer many new features. Here are a few you may want to explore:
·        Content-Aware Script Editor: A comprehensive new “Auto-Complete” behavior in the Script Editor anticipates the engineer’s next move and provides intelligent choices that match the likely intent. InTouch 2014 consolidates all scripting work within one development environment and helps shorten script engineering time by 40%.
·        Alarm Management tools: Improved alarm management minimizes nuisance alarms while enhancing operator focus on critical alarms through the use of alarm shelving, new alarm client symbols, and plant-based alarm suppression.
·        Situational Awareness Graphics Library: Situation Awareness Library symbols are designed to enhance an operator’s situational awareness of current process conditions using a variety of visual techniques.

To learn more about what the end of support for Windows Server 2003 could mean for your company, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-server-2003/ or check out Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 Migration datasheet.

Clint Schneider
Tech Services at Logic, Inc. 
P: 316-693-8805
E: clint@logic-control.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reducing deployment time and effort by managing your industrial network

Creating best practices in network lifecycle, requires the ability to optimize network efficiency and minimize total cost of ownership. Moxa's management software helps achieve this by providing an all-in-one tool to manage challenging installation, operation, maintenance, and diagnosis of your industrial network.  The MXstudio suite delivers an easier management experience by addressing theses challenges and provides three key benefits; easy configuration, smart visualization, and quick troubleshooting.
Learn more on how MXstudio network management suite reduces deployment time and effort.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

An Innovative Approach to Ethernet Applications

           Turck's Industrial Ethernet Multiprotocol delivers a simple and reliable solution for operators that have an application with the host systems Modbus TCP, Ethernet/IP, or PROFINET. Operators can employ one device for three different protocols and create easier integration and minimal maintenance.  Upon power-up, the station automatically recognizes the protocol of the master that tries to connect to it, and dedicates the outputs to that master while still allowing other protocols to access the input data and diagnostic information. 
          “With over ten years of design and tens of thousands of installations, the TURCK Industrial Ethernet product offering had become fragmented,” said Randy Durick, Director, Network & Interface Division at TURCK. “The Industrial Ethernet Multiprotocol project was developed with an objective to streamline our product offering and create a cohesive strategy across our distributed I/O product families, providing our customers with a more comprehensive, easy-to-deploy Industrial Ethernet solution.” 
This process helps create a more reliable industrial network by minimizing interruptions and downtime. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Improve Performance with Wonderware Historian

With business pressures increasing and organizations working towards best practices that include being more effective and efficient, tools that provide insight and manage performance are a necessity to face these challenges. Wonderware Historian is a high performance process historian that is scalable, flexible, and can connect to the widest range of data sources and systems in the industry. This software can highlight process and equipment issues and help industrial workers perform their best through increased situational awareness and operational readiness.

Some key benefits include:
  • Facilitates easy, cross-site reporting and performance metrics
  • Aids in regulatory compliance requirements
  • Single-software infrastructure for data storage and reporting
  • Reduces capital expenses and IT infrastructure costs
                  Learn More