At the SPS IPC Drives 2018, Siemens showed a newly developed hardware platform for edge applications as part of its Siemens Industrial Edge concept: The compact Simatic Edge Device works on the basis of the embedded industrial PC Simatic IPC227E, and features integrated connectivity to automation on the machine level. This allows manufacturing data to be captured and processed directly at the point of production. If there is a change to the framework conditions underlying the industrial application, Industrial Edge offers facility to adjust software applications on the Edge Device, keeping them right up to date using functional, feedback-free updates. The hardware comes with a closed all-metal housing, ensuring maximum industrial functionality for flexible, maintenance-free use under even the harshest of conditions. Rapid commissioning is guaranteed using pre-installed Edge software.
Siemens Industrial Edge affords users the opportunity to close the gap between classic local data processing and cloud-based data processing to suit individual requirements. Edge computing enables the local feedback-free processing of large data volumes practically in real time. Industrial Edge also enables users to cut the costs of data storage and transmission, as large volumes of data are processed in advance and exclusively relevant data is subsequently sent to the cloud or the company’s own internal IT infrastructure. Siemens Industrial Edge supports cloud transmission protocols for MindSphere, the open cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens. In future, it will also support Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), which will additionally guarantee the flexible exchange of data with other systems and clouds.
Savings through edge computing in the Siemens Electronics Factory Amberg
In the factory in Amberg, a printed circuit board cutting machine is used for the manufacture of Simatic products. During a milling operation, fine milling dust is produced which exerts an aggressive impact on the machine. This can cause the spindle bearing to jam, and potentially result in unscheduled machine downtime. To prevent this from happening, a number of the machine’s operating parameters are analyzed using artificial intelligence with a view to detecting any anomalies in spindle behavior which would indicate the possibility of an impending failure. This is done by transmitting data picked up by the sensors to the Edge device for analysis. A machine learning algorithm calculates the anomaly value in real time. A rise above a predetermined threshold value indicates that a machine failure is imminent. This Edge application enables cases of bearing erosion and machine downtime to be predicted between 12 and 36 hours in advance of an actual failure. In the event of anomalies, the machine spindle can be exchanged as part of the next scheduled service before a failure can cause costly unplanned downtime.
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Bidirectional Cloud Service for Industrial Automation
Turck Cloud Solutions uses preconfigured data evaluation for industrial tasks, data security and for simple handling in visualizations. The data is transferred directly from Turck’s controller and I/O components to the cloud. For this, Turck is using the Kolibri protocol recently purchased from Beck IPC, which guarantees encrypted communication to the cloud. Users can thus save and evaluate production data in the Turck cloud – either just for monitoring tasks or for optimizing their processes and plants. The benefit compared to other systems is the fact that the relevant data can be simply selected in the controller at the click of a mouse. The cloud user interface can then arrange this data directly in clusters and logically organize it in diagrams and charts without any additional configuration.
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Dialogue between manufacturers and users
Satisfied customers through integration
35 Open Integration partners gathered together at Endress + Hauser in Reinach, Switzerland, to share their experiences and thoughts for the first time. A highlight of the event was a presentation from representatives of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries outlining how they benefit from the partner program during digitalization of their processes – and what they would like to see in the future.
The goal of the Open Integration program initiated by Endress + Hauser can be summed up quickly: the simple, fast and manufacturer-independent integration of components and devices into various automation systems. And, almost more importantly, satisfied customers.
While it sounds simple in theory, when it comes to day-to-day system operation, it’s far from that. Even the most experienced automation specialists have great respect for multi-vendor systems. That also applies to complete solutions “from a single source.” After all, digital communications – a precondition for the extensive use of existing intelligence in field devices and systems – places serious demands on integration.
With its Open Integration partner program, Endress + Hauser is inviting providers of control technology, fieldbus infrastructure, measurement technology and actuator systems to test and document the interaction of their products even more extensively in the interests of their customers. The cooperation partners include Auma Riester, Bürkert, Festo, Flowserve, Hima Paul Hildebrandt, Honeywell Process Solutions, Mitsubishi Electric, Pepperl + Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric and Turck.
Open standards as a basis
The foundation of this effort is open communication standards (Hart, Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus, EtherNet/IP or Profinet), as well as open integration standards (FDT, EDD, FDI). With a nearly unlimited selection of options, the reference topologies represent practical combinations suitable for applications in the chemical, life sciences, food & beverage, oil & gas, power & energy, primaries & metal and water & wastewater industries.
The reference topologies take into account industry-typical requirements such as explosion protection, availability and redundancy. Each topology is thoroughly tested and documented in the lab in Reinach in conjunction with the partners, after which the recommendations are published.
Interoperability tests create added value
And how do customers benefit from the Open Integration partner program? Every problem that the integration experts discover prior to commissioning can be resolved at a much lower cost compared to fixing the issue in the field at some later point. Customers receive concrete, validated recommendations for automating their systems, which go well beyond established conformity and interoperability testing while ensuring seamless integration. Last but not least, they save time and money.
With developments such as IIoT and APL, users will face new challenges, plus integration testing will be given added weight. This makes it even more important for the Open Integration partners to work together over the long term. The participating customer and provider representatives were in full agreement on this point. Cyber security, in addition to the issue of connectivity, will play a key role in the future. They furthermore agreed that effective strategies need to be developed to counter new entrants in the automation industry such as IBM or Amazon.
One thing was clear during the get-together in Reinach in early June: the process control industry wants open, interoperable systems instead of proprietary solutions. One of the users wants uniform, structured access to static information via QR- and RFID-supported type plates in accordance with DIN 91406. Standardized diagnostics in line with NE 107 is also at the top of the wish list.
In the near term, Endress + Hauser wants to work with its partners to address these and other open issues with the aim of utilizing Open Integration to offer customers even more value-add during digitalization of their processes. The common goal: satisfied customers who can extensively utilize the opportunities that digitalization brings with little risk.