Friday, November 9, 2018

Speed and Direction Sensor Kit.

ZF Switches and Sensors have developed a very efficient modular approach to speed and direction sensing. The hall-effect sensor’s modular design allows customers to pre-select key sensor criteria including shaft length and output interface.

Supplied with a plastic housing and mounting flange all standard parts meet the requirements of IP67, and notably IP69 for harsh environmental conditions with ingress protection at depths of 20 to 60mm.

The modular design offers users a range of housing lengths of 20, 35, 45 or 60mm with alternative shaft lengths available on request (up to 80 mm).

Key features include measurements from near zero up to 20KHz, variable shaft diameter (12 to 20 mm), 2-wire, 3-wire or 4-wire output, rotatable shaft head (to determine angle of wire outlet), flexible wire orientation (horizontal or right-angle), available with open-collector, PWM or current signal outputs, typical air-gap 0.3–2.2 mm (target dependent). Options available upon request are cable interface (connector upon request) and wire harness option with customer-specific connector.

Typical applications include electric drives (stationary and mobile), automation systems, conveyor belts, and wind turbines.

Other popular sensors from ZF include the ANG- version for angular position measurements and the LIN-version for linear position measurements. Also modular designs, they offer the same flexibility and range of options as the speed and direction sensors.

Both versions provide 12 Bit resolution, are waterproof to IP68 allowing them to be used in harsh environmental conditions and comply with industrial and automotive EMC/EMI directives. The sensors are RoHS Compliant and suitable for wide air gap applications.

System designers will appreciate the compact size of the new ZF ANG- and LIN- sensor series, which require less space than other sensors offering similar performance. The mounting height is just 6.5mm which is a market leading, extremely flat design for linear and angular position sensing.

@cherryswitches #Pauto

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Testing PCBs.

Seica and Mentor (A Siemens Business) have announced the availability of a new release of their jointly-developed Test Programming solution.

The new release offers advanced Design-for-Test (DFT) capabilities to ensure right-first-time electrical test of PCBs as well as accelerated test programming. Customers using the Seica PILOT family of Flying Probe Testers can now enjoy the industry-leading test flow offered by the integrated solution.

“Our new integrated solution offers a breakthrough in test engineering addressing the rising complexity and density of printed circuit boards that our customers manufacture,"  said Antonio Grassino, President of Seica Spa. “With this new release we are able to import product data either in its original CAD form or in the form of machine programs and convert into optimized PILOT test programs in a matter of seconds even for highly complex boards with over 25,000 components”.

“Our joint solution leverages best-in-class technology from both Seica and Mentor to left-shift testability analysis and accelerate new product introduction”, said Dan Hoz, General Manager of the Valor Division at Mentor, “this is another fine example of how the use of digitalization enables smart manufacturing of electronics.”

@seica #Electronics @mentor_graphics

Power relationship celebrated!

Anglia and Renesas are celebrated 10 years of a successful relationship at a special dinner, with Anglia distributing the Renesas’ range of semiconductors, power and analogue solutions in Britain and Ireland.

Andreas Grauvogl , Distribution Management EMEA, Brian Gough, Regional Sales Manager, Renesas
          John Bowman, Marketing Director, and Andrew Pockson, Divisional Marketing Manager, Anglia
Anglia first distributed Intersil (who were recently acquired by Renesas) in 2008, offering a range of innovative power management and precision analogue solutions successfully for a decade. To mark the occasion, the team from Anglia and Renesas met for a special dinner in London.

Peter Jeutter, senior director sales EMEA at Renesas Electronics Europe GmbH explained, “Anglia’s deep technical expertise and outstanding logistical service has been a factor in expanding first Intersil’s and then Renesas’ presence in the market in the UK and Ireland.  We’d like to congratulate Anglia for 10 years and look forward to many more.”

Steve Rawlins, CEO at Anglia, commented, “We have enjoyed a close and successful relationship with Intersil and Renesas since their acquisition. Last year saw a significant expansion of our product portfolio which helped strengthen our relationship with all of our customers, and reinforced us as a strategic supplier offering a broad base of solutions.”

Anglia supports Renesas product ranges including the innovative Renesas SynergyTM Platform, microcontrollers, mixed signal ICs and System on Chip devices on Anglia Live, for same day shipment from stock. Anglia have trained members of its Field Application Engineering team to support Renesas devices and technologies. The Intersil range of innovative power management and precision analogue solutions is already well supported by the Anglia team and on the Anglia Live site.

@angliaComponent #Power @Renesas_Europe 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Social responsibility award.

Rating agency EcoVadis has awarded Gold Status to Harting Technology Group in recognition of the company’s ongoing corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. This marks the third time the company has been distinguished with the award by EcoVadis and places Harting in the five percent of top performers in its industry.

Gisela Eickhoff (left) and Ulrike Upmeyer
The individuals responsible for the CSR management system at Harting are delighted with the EcoVadis Gold Status recognition. “This benchmark is a very convincing signal for our customers and is very important for us internally. Practicing social responsibility is a long journey and the renewed gold status is a wonderful motivator to continue to pursue our course with consistency," says Gisela Eickhoff, CSR officer at Harting, on the occasion of the motivating award.

Today’s customers are interested in more than prices and delivery times. They want to ensure that they are working with responsible partners in their supply chain. Harting meets this challenge. Since 2011, the holding company, as well as two of its most important production locations and the German sales and marketing company, have employed a management system for corporate social responsibility (CSR) based on the international standard ISO 26000 and an external certification based on the ISO standard.

This is the third successive year that Harting Technology Group has been awarded EcoVadis’ Gold Status.  EcoVadis is a sustainability assessment platform for global supply chains which reviews and evaluates suppliers on the basis of a comprehensive questionnaire and the submission of associated documentation regarding companies’ environmental and social practices, ethics and supply chain.

"The recognition is due first and foremost to our employees, who create these values through their daily actions. You could hardly hope for a much better foundation for responsible action," added CSR deputy Ulrike Upmeyer.

#Harting #PAuto @ecovadis

Proportional Valves with Digital Communications Interface.

The ASCO Numatics Sentronic Plus (Series 614) and Sentronic LP (Series 617) proportional pressure control valves with the integration of IO-Link® communications to provide cost-effective and reliable control and diagnostics in support of predictive maintenance practices has been introduced.

Using IO-Link communications to gain insight into these devices on the factory floor supports future implementation of Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications that will contribute toward greater plant reliability, availability and profitability.

These versatile valves enable process optimisation, regardless of application requirements. Sentronic Plus digitally operated pressure regulator valves accurately adjust pressure, flow, force, speed and linear or angular positions. They regulate pressure up to 12 bar (174 psi) and are electromagnetic-compatible according to Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive 2014/30/EU. Sentronic Low Power (LP) valves are a highly efficient option for pressure regulation requirements, offering a small footprint, an easy-to-use and modular design, and advanced software capabilities. Their low-power consumption of less than four watts supports applications where power is limited.

IO-Link is increasingly being applied to a range of automation applications, providing a low-cost digital communication interface for sensors, actuators and controllers via unshielded, industry-standard M12 I/O cables. To reduce maintenance time and complexity, the IO-Link module allows the Sentronic valves to identify and configure themselves automatically during component replacement, thereby eliminating the need for reconfiguration via a laptop. Supporting greater ease-of-use, the addition of IO-Link technology to the Sentronic valves uniquely enables device parameters to be changed directly with the PLC during a process without the need of data acquisition software.

“Emerson is a leading innovator in driving IIoT technologies and strategies to facilitate the digital transformation of our customers’ operations across a broad range of industries,” said Harald Steinle, engineering manager for proportional products at Emerson Automation Solutions. “Adding IO-Link capability to the Sentronic Plus and Sentronic LP valves creates significant benefits for users. It not only makes the devices easier to control and operate, but also prepares them for future integration with IIoT applications, enabling improvements in plant reliability and availability.”

Increasing flexibility of choice, the new IO-Link interface is compatible with the full range of Sentronic LP Series 617 valves, as well as the Sentronic Plus Series 614 valves in sizes DN3 and DN6. These valves enable process optimisation in applications such as filling machines in food or cosmetics factories, assembly machines, conveyors and robotic hands.

@ASCO_EU  #PAuto 

Low air velocity!

The EE660 from E+E Elektronik measures very low air velocity accurately. It is ideal for laminar flow monitoring and clean room applications. The transmitter is now also available with an RS485 interface.

It is suitable for accurate measurement of very low air velocity down to 0.15 m/s (30 ft/min). It features an E+E hot film sensing element, which offers excellent long-term stability and short response time. Furthermore, the sensing element is highly resistant to contamination and has a low angular dependency.

Additionally to current and voltage outputs, the device now features an RS485 interface with Modbus RTU or BACnet MS/TP protocol, which allows for easy integration into a bus system.

The EE660 is available for duct mount or with remote probe. The enclosure with external mounting holes facilitates installation with closed cover.

The measured data is also available on the optional display. Backlight and 180° rotatability allow for comfortable reading independent of the mounting conditions.

The EE660 is user configurable with jumpers on the electronics board or via software. The adjustment and the display setup can be performed with an optional configuration adapter and the free EE-PCS Product Configuration Software.

• E+E Elektronik products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

 #EPulse #PAuto @ITL_IE

Data exchange.

Here is a simple and practical solution for connecting RS232 directly to IO-Link by Balluff with likely the first IO-Link converter for RS232 devices. The converter allows the connecting of devices like barcode scanners, printers or RS232 controllers directly to an IO-Link terminal.

The expensive alternative using additional special components such as RS232 cards for integration into the respective controller is now superfluous. The path is finally cleared for the user to switch to IO-Link and enjoy all the advantages of this modern communication standard. For example he can reliably monitor all the devices and quickly configure them from one central location

With dimensions of 118 x 18 mm and a weight of just 100 grams, the IO-Link converter features a rugged IP67, stainless steel housing and digital inputs (2 x PNP, type 3). Highly visible LEDs make diagnostics easier. Connection to IO-Link is made via a 4-pin M12 plug. On the RS232 side an 8-pin M12 female is provided. This also provides 24V power for the RS232 device.

@Balluff #PAuto 

Support for communication standard.

Just as HTML spurred growth of the Web, the new Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture (OPC UA) interoperability standard will enable industrial players to unlock the full potential of Industry 4.0.

In an announcement published by the OPC Foundation, the organization states its vision of becoming the worldwide industrial interoperability standard. This seamless IIoT communication standard, called Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture will apply for all levels of industrial automation. Combined with Time Sensitive Networking (OPC UA over TSN) it will be able to replace a myriad of different fieldbus systems. Forecasting the end of disparate protocols, it will enable devices from different vendors to talk to each other - from the field level to the controller level all the way to the cloud.

Peter Terwiesch
ABB is committed to support the industry-wide adoption of OPC UA over TSN. At the vanguard of driving interoperability in industrial automation, ABB and B&R - the acquired and integrated solutions provider for machine and factory automation - have played a pivotal role in bringing together industry stakeholders to establish an open standards based communication for Industrial IoT. Additionally, ABB will take up a designated seat on the board of the OPC Foundation in 2019 to further help accelerate development of the new technology.

As OPC UA over TSN is vendor neutral, customers will no longer see their efforts complicated by incompatible protocols or proprietary ecosystems. This will facilitate integration and spur innovation – an imperative as the Fourth Industrial Revolution accelerates digitalization via the interconnection of billions of smart devices worldwide.

"ABB has long been a pioneer within the automation industry developing leading-edge technologies to deliver solutions to some of industry’s greatest challenges,” said Peter Terwiesch, President, ABB Industrial Automation Division. “That we have taken a leading role in reaching this historic milestone for open standards and interoperability in industrial automation, which will see major dividends for both customers and suppliers alike, is further testament to our commitment, expertise and vision to unlock the full potential of Industry 4.0.”

Adoption of the OPC UA over TSN standard will allow companies to leverage the benefits of multi-vendor, peer-to-peer communications and control between sensors, control devices, programmable logic controllers and distributed control systems without the need for costly and time-consuming software development and cumbersome gateways and bridges.

"Customers across the industrial landscape will no longer be bound to suppliers based on the communications protocol used," said Bernhard Eschermann, CTO, ABB Industrial Automation Division and designated board member of OPC Foundation. "Adoption of the new standard will open up cross-industry collaboration and encourage partnerships driven by what creates the most value for customers."

@ABBgroupnews #PAuto @opcfoundation

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Partnership to expand in microalgae biotech sector.

AlgaEnergy, a Spanish biotechnology company specialising in the production and commercial applications of microalgae, and Yokogawa have signed a partnership & equity participation agreement. The strategic agreement involves an approximately 10 million euro investment by Yokogawa to acquire newly issued shares of AlgaEnergy, making the Japanese company a reference shareholder.
AlgaEnergy plant in Cadiz (ES)
Augusto Rodríguez-Villa, AlgaEnergy’s president, highlighted that, “This agreement is the best possible partnership in the journey to achieve our mission to leverage the potential of microalgae worldwide. We share the same vision for the future, the belief that more sustainable development is possible and that microalgae can be a key contributor towards that objective.”

Tsuyoshi Abe, senior vice president and head of the Marketing Headquarters at Yokogawa, added, “Yokogawa aims to contribute directly to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through its core business activities, and this year we established a new Life Innovation business unit in line with that. This is our first serious foray into clean technology in the bioeconomy, which was recently added as a new focus area in our long-term business framework, so we have high expectations for this exciting strategic partnership.”

Microalgae are a diverse group of unicellular photosynthetic micro-organisms that can thrive in a wide variety of aquatic habitats, such as oceans, lakes, and rivers. Their rapid rate of reproduction means they can be utilised effectively as a biological resource. They are recognised as having great potential to contribute to a more sustainable society through applications in diverse sectors ranging from agriculture, food, and animal feed through to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biomaterials and, in the future, sustainable biofuels.

AlgaEnergy has been a pioneer in the microalgae biotechnology field since 2007. It is currently operating a commercial production facility in the south of Spain, and, in late 2015, launched the world’s first line-up of microalgae-based biostimulant products to promote efficient crop cultivation. Biostimulant is a substance or micro-organisms whose function when applied to plants or the surrounding soil is to stimulate natural processes to enhance nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, and crop quality.

The entry of Yokogawa as a shareholder will enable AlgaEnergy to reinforce its position of international leadership, with the equity investment being used to fund a set of ambitious projects, including international expansion of its biostimulant product sales organisation, entry into new sectors such as food and cosmetics, and development of its promising product pipeline.

However, the scope of the agreement extends beyond just financial investment. The two companies, which share strong synergies and a common vision, seek to build an industry-leading partnership in the microalgae biotechnology sector worldwide by collaborating in the areas of R&D, manufacturing, marketing, and sales. AlgaEnergy will leverage its broad knowledge and experience in the microalgae biological processes, accumulated throughout more than four decades of R&D by its scientific leader, the world-renowned microbiologist Professor Miguel Garcia Guerrero of the University of Seville. Yokogawa will provide the advanced technologies and knowhow related to automation of industrial processes that will be key to maximising quality and efficiency as production volumes increase.

@YokogawaIA  #PAuto #Biotech @AlgaEnergy #Spain

Communications standard extended.

The OPC Foundation has launched its new setup to identify OPC UA and related TSN-harmonization needs and extends their standards and specifications.

The goal of this initiative is to deliver an open, cohesive approach to implement OPC UA including TSN and associated application profiles. This will advance the OPC Foundation providing vendor independent end-to-end interoperability into field level devices for all relevant industry automation use-cases. The OPC Foundation vision of becoming the worldwide industrial interoperability standard is advanced by integrating field devices and the shop floor.

A new set of working groups will identify, manage and standardise the OPC UA relevant topics focused on industrial automation including,

  • harmonization and standardization of application profiles e.g. IO, motion control, safety, system redundancy
  • standardization of OPC UA information models for field level devices in offline e.g. device description and online e.g. diagnostics
  • mapping of OPC UA application profiles related to real-time operations on ethernet networks including TSN
  • definition of certification procedures

The working groups will closely align with the TSN Profile for Industrial Automation (TSN-IA-Profile) which will be standardized by the IEC/IEEE 60802 standardisation group. This will help ensure that a single, converged TSN network approach is maintained so that OPC UA can share one common multi-vendor TSN network infrastructure together with other applications.

This initiative integrates well with existing joint working groups engaged in ongoing companion specification e.g. description of machines.

Stefan Hoppe, President of the OPC Foundation said “The benefit of membership in the OPC Foundation allows companies to actively engage and influence the direction of the OPC Foundation and includes early access to the specifications and technology. This initiative will grow OPC UA into new markets and I highly encourage all OPC Foundation members to contact the OPC Foundation to participate”.

Thomas Burke, Strategic Marketing Officer of the OPC Foundation, “We are very excited about the initiative to extend OPC UA including TSN down to the field level, and the number of companies that want to actively participate in this initiative bringing the technology into real world products. This set of working groups will pave the way for the broadest, easiest, and fastest market adoption of OPC UA over TSN.”

The OPC Foundation develops and maintains OPC UA as an open and secure communication platform comprised of an information model framework, communication models and underlying protocol bindings. As such, the OPC Foundation works non-exclusively with other organizations on various OPC UA related topics but continues to operate as a platform, technology, use case, and vendor agnostic standardization body.

@OPCFoundation  #PAuto

Temperature trasmitters with USB port.

A new generation of universal temperature transmitters, FlexTop 2212 and 2222,  announced by Baumer expands its proven range of products. With integrated micro-USB port, automated cable compensation and a fast sampling time of less than 50 ms, it stands out from other commercially available products and is also suitable for demanding applications in a wide variety of areas.

The digital transmitters with 4 ... 20 mA analog outputs are powered through the current loop. The model 2222 also offers HART communication. The sensor inputs can optionally be configured for resistance thermometers, thermocouples, resistance sensors and voltage signals. Depending on requirements, a 2, 3 or 4-wire input can be selected. This makes the transmitters very flexible in their application, keeps stocks low and saves costs. The integrated standard interface allows simple and direct programming at any time and in any place. An additional interface is not necessary.

The multi-colored indicator light provides a visual indication of the status of the measured values. This simplifies diagnostics and helps in troubleshooting. Automatic cable compensation eliminates complicated calculations, reduces the work involved in calibration and guarantees accurate measurements regardless of the length of the cable.

The FlexTops 2212 and 2222 are prepared for direct display connection using UnitCom cables. This allows for comfortable operation on site by touch screen and rules out conversion errors. They are molded in silicone rubber, which makes them insensitive to humid environments. The two mounting screws with standard 33mm spacing and pressure springs guarantee reliable sensor contact in DIN 43729-compatible heads, even when there are vibrations.

@BaumerGroup #PAuto 

Ensuring safe landings.

To improve the performance and reliability of the roll and pitch axes for its Cessna C172 ‘Skyhawk’ simulator, Happy Landings have recently replaced gear mechanics and rotary potentiometers with SP1 and SM1 draw wire position sensors from Variohm EuroSensor.
Happy Landings Flight Simulations GmbH build and run technically sophisticated flight training simulators that have equal appeal for leisure users and budding pilots. With six highly detailed simulator models covering a range of aircraft types including helicopters, jets and commercial airliners, they include motion controlled replicas of real cockpits and surround screen HD graphics for terrestrial features and international airports.

As directly coupled measurement devices, the Variohm draw-wire (or cable extension transducer) solution reduces the potential for lost motion in the control system and improves the control sensitivity - and ultimately enhances the flying simulation experience. The SP1 series draw wire sensor provides a robust and compact position measurement solution for up to 1.27 metres travel whilst the miniature SM1 has the ability for even more compact installation for travel lengths to 0.63 metres. For this application both sensors are configured for voltage divider output from integral potentiometers with a measurement resolution which is essentially infinite and repeatability in the region of 0.5% full scale. A sturdy nylon-coated stainless steel cable connects the moving load to the potentiometric sensor through a spring loaded winch mechanism. Typical working life is more than 2.5 million cycles. Featuring durable polycarbonate housings with multiple mounting points they are easily installed and do not require perfect alignment.

Draw wire sensors may also be specified with IP67 protective housings for use in harsh outdoor environments where long travel, high accuracy linear position measurement is required. A wide range is available from Variohm EuroSensor with optional mechanical fixings, selectable voltage and current outputs as well as CANopen, SSI and other fieldbus interfaces if required. Draw wire sensors are well proven for positioning and linear measurement tasks in demanding applications such as high performance car throttle controls, elevating bridge and crane controls, heavy industrial equipment, agricultural and construction machinery.

@Variohm #Aeronautics

A secure connection to IT and IIoT.

The new gateway families Anybus Communicator IIoT and Anybus X-gateway IIoT with support for MQTT and OPC UA have been released by HMS Industrial Networks. These enable data connectivity between equipment on all major industrial networks and IIoT applications.

The new gateway families Anybus Communicator IIoT and Anybus X-gateway IIoT from HMS open a straight-forward and powerful path to IIoT thanks to the new support for MQTT and OPC UA in combination with a complete coverage of industrial communication standards.

System integrators, machine builders and device manufacturers can benefit from the fact that data from virtually any industrial equipment communicating on industrial Ethernet, fieldbuses, CAN or serial protocols can be transmitted to IT systems and IoT software in an easy and secure way.

Regardless if the data is generated in a single device, a series of machines or entire automation systems, Communicator IIoT and X-gateway IIoT allow the data to be seamlessly integrated, monitored and analyzed from modern IIoT-systems.

Data from new as well as existing industrial equipment can be integrated allowing for improved transparency and decision-making across facilities, increased productivity as well as a more sustainable approach to manufacturing.

Anybus Communicator IIoT specializes on providing data from devices on serial protocols and CAN, while Anybus X-gateway IIoT integrates data from fieldbuses and industrial Ethernet networks. Typical use cases for the gateways involve data integration from e.g. Modbus RTU and TCP, CAN-based protocols, PROFIBUS-DP, EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, EtherCAT, POWERLINK and CC-Link.
Existing users will feel at home since no programming is needed and the configuration logic of the existing Communicator and X-gateway stays the same in these new IIoT-versions. By using the free configuration tool Anybus Configuration Manager, ACM, users can easily configure, convert and tag the desired industrial data for efficient use in IT-systems or IIoT applications. When setting up the IT-connection, the gateways can be presented either as MQTT Client or OPC-UA server.

The fact that Anybus Communicator IIoT and Anybus X-gateway IIoT are standalone hardware between OT (operational technology) and IT, ensures a high level of security. After installation, only one-way data flow from OT to IT is allowed through the gateways, which means that the industrial equipment and systems that are connected to the gateways stay isolated from any potential attack from the IT side. For example, instead of being directly connected to IT, a PLC on an underlying industrial network can safely and securely connect and transmit data through the gateways, without risking to be attacked.

About OPC UA

OPC Unified Architecture (UA) is a service-oriented industrial communication standard for secure and reliable data exchange. OPC UA is platform-independent and ensures a seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors. OPC UA defines services for data exchange between Clients and Servers including access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications. The standard is managed by the OPC Foundation.
OPC UA is today applied in a wide range of applications and solutions stretching from straight-forward M2M communication to new upcoming solutions like IT/OT bridging and cloud connectivity. As any other IP based communication protocol, OPC UA can co-exist with other industrial protocols on the same network complementing real-time control with a secure and service-oriented data channel.
About MQTT

MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) is a publish/subscribe messaging protocol ideal for IT/OT bridging and IIoT solutions. Based on its light-weight and straight forward approach, it has become one of the most popular protocols enabling industrial data and information exchange.
MQTT is based around a message broker to which industrial devices (clients) connect. The clients exchange information via the broker based on topics with a flexible syntax. The broker uses the topics to decide which clients to receive a message.
Compared to OPC UA, MQTT is more flexible and easier to implement. On the other hand, it lacks the data, service models and security schemes provided by OPC UA.

#IIoT @HMSAnybus #PAuto

Protecting energy sector from cyberattack.

Leading industrial cybersecurity officials from government and private industry gathered in Houston (TX USA) recently to discuss new ways of countering the rising threats of cyberattack in the energy sector.

“Using the Power of Analytics to Address Cyber Security” was a half-day workshop sponsored by the International Society of Automation (ISA) and its Premier Strategic Partner in Industrial Cybersecurity, Siemens. The workshop was held prior to ISA’s PCS 2018—Process Industry Event, a technical conference for professionals in the energy processing and process manufacturing industries.

During the workshop, featured experts reported that the rapid pace of digital technology and the increasing sophistication of cyber tools at the disposal of foreign entities are making it more difficult to protect critical infrastructure and the industrial control systems that operate them. However, they said advances in security analytics and machine learning are improving detection and threat assessment, and enabling more proactive and responsive defense measures.

Owners and operators of energy infrastructure also are recognizing the real threats to their businesses that cyberattacks pose and are more willing to invest in cybersecurity solutions—such as best-practice standards and in-house or outsourced security operations—and hire a qualified cybersecurity work force.

Leo Simonvich
The workshop was kicked off by Leo Simonovich, Vice President and Global Head of Industrial Cyber and Digital Security at Siemens. Simonovich set the stage by explaining digital technology and the cyber world in general are evolving too fast for government and private industry to fully keep pace.

Companies must take the lead, he said, “and data analytics are the key.” Armed with these tools, companies can “own their environment” by significantly improving detection when an operation system is being attacked and implement effective risk mitigation efforts. “Context and speed,” according to Simonovich, are the two necessary ingredients needed to identify and thwart a cyberattack.

Providing a vital perspective from the US government was Bob Kolasky, Director of the National Risk Management Center for the US Department of Homeland Security. Kolasky outlined the (USA) federal government’s functional approach to risk management in protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure. He reinforced the point that data analytics and data aggregation are critical in order to better anticipate and evaluate possible threats.

Kolasky reported that while many nations in the world do not pose a significant military threat to the US, they often do present threats from the cyber realm. He said that while some of these nation states are not currently attacking US domestic infrastructure, they are conducting attacks throughout the world and could, at some point, turn their attention to the US.

Because of the public/private nature of US infrastructure, Kolasky said it’s important to implement consistent cybersecurity standards and practices across public and private sectors. To further these efforts, he said the US government is incentivizing R&D and cybersecurity investment. He emphasized the importance of greater engagement among private companies in cybersecurity as solutions cannot come solely from government.

Kolasky agreed that data and security analytics hold great promise in identifying those risks that require greater and more immediate levels of response and connecting patterns and instances of vulnerability.

Seán Plankey
Seán Plankey, Global Cyber Intelligence Advisor at BP, urged more companies to take a more active approach to cybersecurity given the risks cyberwarfare presents to business operations. He said he is constantly gathering intelligence and scanning the external environment to identify and evaluate potential threats.

He is particularly focused on the operations side, where continuous processes may be affected by an attack. He agreed with Kolasky that cyberattacks differ in their ability to cause actual damage and impact business operations. By defining threats in a hierarchical manner, a business can establish a baseline.

This “baseline” concept was a recurring theme at the workshop. Given the number and types of cyberattack, it’s difficult for cybersecurity systems to engage them all. Plankey said for a security system to be effective, it must work from a baseline so it can accurately distinguish viable threats from non-viable ones. Plankey said one factor to determine is whether the attack is levied by individuals acting alone or through state sponsorship. State-sponsored actors, he noted, are much more capable of executing a potentially damaging intrusion.

Ernesto Ballesteros, the State Cybersecurity Coordinator for Texas, said he focuses his efforts largely on information sharing and analysis because his mandate extends beyond government facilities and systems. “We’re trying to secure the state as a whole,” he explains.

To combat the shortage of workers trained in cybersecurity, Ballesteros said Texas encourages students through scholarships, and supports workforce development programs and apprenticeships so staff can gain vital skills on the job.

Matt Stewart, Head of Research and Development for Industrial Cyber Security at Siemens, highlighted Siemens’ advanced security monitoring solutions. He acknowledged that many companies don’t have the resources to staff a dedicated Security Operation Center (SOC) and said it can be more efficient to outsource data analysis.

"Siemens," he pointed out, "can extract data on potential threats at a customer facility and then rapidly get the metadata analysis in front of Siemens’ cyber experts. Siemens uses an industrial security product to monitor traffic on the customer networks, looking for anomalies. Using machine learning, the system monitors all network traffic, defines what is “normal” operation based on millions of transactions, then continues to seek out and flag any abnormal activity.

Siemens technology can also distinguish between activity that is simply “different” from normal, and that which could be considered dangerous. Potentially harmful activity is either acted upon by the software, or circulated up to an expert, on-call team at Siemens that can evaluate and counter high-level threats."

#ISAuto @siemens #Cybersecurity

Monday, November 5, 2018

Main automation contractor for gas plant.

Emerson, in partnership with Fores Engineering, has signed a $32 million (€28.1m) contract with Sonatrach, Algeria’s state energy company, to modernise its gas processing plant in Alrar. As part of the contract, Emerson will combine its innovative technologies and operational certainty methodology to optimise Sonatrach’s production operations and improve the reliability and security of the Alrar plant’s processes.

Emerson’s modernisation programme at the Alrar gas processing plant, in the south-east part of Algeria, is designed to help Sonatrach achieve Top Quartile performance - defined as operations and capital performance in the top 25 percent of peer companies.

“Sonatrach has long been a valued customer to Emerson, and this contract further recognises Emerson as a leading automation technology company capable of executing complete, turnkey projects to achieve measurable business improvement,” said Mounir Taleb, vice president for measurement and analytical, Emerson Automation Solutions, Middle East and Africa. “This project also enables us to support Sonatrach to ensure its facility meets the latest standards for safe, reliable and efficient operations.”

The project strengthens Emerson’s presence in Algeria, which is a strategic market for the company in Africa. “We are proud to provide Sonatrach the automation it requires to expand its gas processing operations in Alrar,” Taleb added.

In its role, Emerson will update control and safety systems, fire and gas systems, field instrumentation control and isolation valves, and other equipment to improve production efficiencies, equipment reliability and safety.

The project includes the engineering procurement, commissioning and testing of the new integrated control and safety systems, fire and gas systems, boosters and compressor controls, field instrumentation, liquid and gas metering skids, control and isolation valves, and other equipment for improved production efficiencies, equipment reliability and safety.

Sonatrach, an Algerian government-owned company that processes the hydrocarbon resources of the country, has diversified its activities to cover all aspects of the oil and gas industry value chain, including upstream (exploration and production), midstream (processing and transport) and downstream (refining, petrochemicals and marketing).

 @EMR_Automation  #PAuto #Algeria @HHC_Lewis 

Paying employees to meet cost of living!

The so-called "National Living Wages," much vaunted by Governments underestimates what is actually required to live and often fails to keep-up with inflation.

Intelliconnect have become accredited Living Wage employers. The Living Wage Foundation is a movement made up of over 4,400 organisations, businesses and people across Britain, who believe that a hard day's work deserves a fair day’s pay and aims to ensure that everyone can earn enough on which to live.

In April 2016 the British government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age inspired by the Living Wage campaign, even calling it the ‘national living wage’. However, the government's 'national living wage' is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. Instead, it is based on a target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. Under current forecasts this means a rise to less than £9 per hour by 2020. For under 25s, the minimum wage rates also take into account affordability for employers.

The real Living Wage rates are higher because they are independently-calculated based on what people actually need to get by. Employers that can afford to do so are being encouraged ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the costs of living, not just the government minimum.

Roy Phillips, Managing Director of Intelliconnect, comments, "Our continued success is completely dependent on our workforce and we intend to ensure that all of them and any sub-contractors we use are paid a fair, living wage. After a year of exceptional sales growth we are relocating both our sales and engineering and production facilities to larger premises and will be recruiting new staff at all levels including offering apprenticeships”

The Living Wage Foundation recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living Wage Employers across Britain and is the organisation at the heart of the independent movement of businesses and people that campaign for the idea that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. They celebrate and recognise the leadership of responsible employers who choose to go further and pay a real Living Wage based on the cost of living, not just the government minimum

The Foundation is supported by a network of Principal Partners made up from major commercial, financial, fashion, education and charitable organisations.

• Our Irish readers may be interested in the local Living Wage organisation based at Ozanam House, 53 Mountjoy Square, Dublin. 
In Ireland the "Minimum Wage" is €9.55 per hour whereas the independently calculated "Living Wage" is €11.90 per hour.

 @Intelli_Connect  #PAuto  @LivingWageUK

MES & Connector partnership.

CircuitByte (formerly Router Solutions GmbH) has partnered with Aegis, integrating their advanced BOM Connector™ tool with Aegis’ FactoryLogix® digital MES platform. CircuitByte will also be providing local sales and support, within central Europe, further expanding Aegis’ market presence and accelerating growth.

LtoR: Kevin Decker, CircuitByte 
 with Stefan Häfele, Aegis
Kevin Decker, CEO of CircuitByte, commented, “Our customers look to us as a long-term trusted partner in the market, to help introduce them to sustainable and complementary Industry 4.0 solutions that bring them business value. Aegis’ FactoryLogix fulfills this expectation and enables us to integrate BOM Connector as part of a unique, modern, MES platform specifically designed for Industry 4.0.”

A quick and precise design-through-manufacturing flow, is an essential prerequisite to provide the level of engineering flexibility required for Smart Industry 4.0 manufacturing. A critical, underrecognized element in this process, is the complex technical and business process around the management of the many forms of Bill of Materials (BOM) data. CircuitByte’s BOM Connector, automates these processes in an intelligent way, linking optimal material sourcing with design, engineering and manufacturing, working seamlessly with ERP, selecting the most cost-effective, quality materials available with far shorter “live” pricing and lead time, thanks to its unique DistiDirect connections. Together with knowledge of production process costings from FactoryLogix, immediate information about real-world manufacturing cost is available for OEM and EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Services) companies, enabling the latter to make quick and accurate quotations for customers.

Daniel Walls, European Managing Director, Aegis Software, stated, “For Aegis’ FactoryLogix customers, the addition of BOM Connector provides a new, unique value, with the integration between design, manufacturing, material purchasing and the supply-chain, all within one simple, yet sophisticated flow. The close technical match between our Digital Manufacturing Engineering (DME) tools and BOM Connector, together produce an elegant and in-demand business solution.”

The partnership with CircuitByte also enables Aegis to meet increasing business demands from the most progressive Industry 4.0 aware customers in Central Europe, by further strengthening local support resources, as well as providing customers with the most advanced and affordable, Smart BOM management tools.

@CircuitByte #MES @FactoryLogix