Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Impressions of ARC European Forum!

"May you live in interesting times!" says the ancient Chinese blessing but of course this presents us with an unforeseen number of challenges, but it also can be perceived as the source of an array of opportunities for the industry. The last decade has seen technological development accelerating at a rate that leaves us breathless. So this could be the time to take a step back and evaluate.

Working session at ARC Forum
On March 5th and 6th 2014 experts, users and suppliers from all areas of industry came together at ARC’s European Industry Forum in Amsterdam. The platform offered the unique chance to participate in a variety of workshops, hear about cutting-edge findings as well as to gain insights in real-life applications, which already utilize the newest technologies.

The discussions in the plenary sessions, workshops as well as in the network breaks and even on the boat-trip through picturesque Amsterdam, revolved around the opportunities and challenges the industry faces. Modern communication technology offers us access to everything, everywhere, every minute of the day. Modern production demands flexibility in the production processes as well as in development and engineering. Rising energy prices and stricter regulations force the industry to look for alternatives, from energy-efficient devices to full-blown energy-management systems.

The quantity of data produced by industrial devices and control systems has risen exponentially over recent years, to the point where its treatment and analysis has become an arduous task and its usability proves to be a challenge in itself, yet Big Data holds the promise of insights which were previously inconceivable.

Terms like Big Data, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Internet of Everything, cyber-physical systems and self-organizing factories were omnipresent on the forum. The German Industrie 4.0 concept combines these ideas and predicts the fourth industrial revolution. After the mechanical, electrical, and digital revolution, the Smart Factory could be our next step.

As Nicolaas Smit, director at Cisco Systems said: “If humanity had stalled in front of every risk, we would never have reached the moon”. Humanity, and by extension the industrial world, has faced many challenges over the years. Technologically, sky seems the limit: “Many of the visions implied in Industrie 4.0 could already be realized today” informed us Marion Horstmann, Head of Strategy at Siemens Industry Sector.

But as always, when faced with visionary goals, we are forced to take a hard look at reality too. Our industrial reality contains brownfield installations with a host of legacy systems in need of updating. Resources are limited, whether it concerns basic commodities, energy, personnel or finances. Energy prices and environmental regulations oblige us to rethink our strategies. We feel the necessity for cyber-security systems to protect our plants from malicious attacks or cyber-espionage. The obvious choice would be to close off our processes to separate them from the risks, yet remote control, maintenance and automation are moving into the opposite direction. All these subjects were covered on ARC’s European Industry Forum, leading to informative sessions followed by often controversial debates.

But the one factor that it all comes down to is the most important: the human behind all this. Systems and solutions need to cater to the needs of the people relying on them, the operators using them, and offer security and information for those responsible. Technology can offer invaluable help in countless situations. But human interaction is what yields the most important results and progress, even in our technology-ruled world, making meetings like the ARC’s European Industry Forum so vital for all of us concerned with the industrial world.

A look at the Industrial Internet of Things at the METAV 2014 in DusseldorfStefan Miksch

Working Towards a More Profitable Model-Based Control TechnologyValentijn de Leeuw

ARC's European Industry Form 2014: Energy Management WorkshopFlorian Gueldner

ARC's European Industry Form 2014: Uslaender from Fraunhofer On The Impact of the Internet of Things and Services to Industrial ApplicationsValentijn de Leeuw

ARC's European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: J. Lario and G. Ferranti to Present Concepts and Usage of An Automation Engineering FrameworkValentijn de Leeuw

European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: Prof. Backx on Increasing Profitability of Model-based Control Applications, Results of Autoprofit project and OutlookValentijn de Leeuw

ARC's European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: S. Fabio Agnello About Open-source Technology for Reducing Compressed Air Leakage to Lower Energy Consumption and Increase ProfitabilityValentijn de Leeuw

ARC European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: Arjen Meijer (ISA) to Speak About Fighting Cyber EspionageValentijn de Leeuw

Prices and Energy Management - Why European Users take the LeadFlorian Gueldner

ARC European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: Bianca Scholten Will Report On Research About Ownership and Organization of Control and ITValentijn de Leeuw

ARC European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: W. Hazenberg speaking About Replacement Strategy and Aging Factors of Control SystemsValentijn de Leeuw

ARC European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: CO2-Savings in Over Fifty Bayer Plants Using Energy Management SystemValentijn de Leeuw

ARC European Industry Forum Amsterdam 2014: Maurice Wilkins on Decision Support During A CrisisValentijn de Leeuw

ARC EIF Amsterdam 5-6/Mar/2014: Clariant to Report On Global Energy Efficiency ProgramFlorian Gueldner, Valentijn de Leeuw

ARC EIF Amsterdam 2014: Workshop on Cloud Computing and VirtualizationValentijn de Leeuw

These papers and earlier ones may be found on the ARC website.

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