Cisco Brings Intelligent Networks to Industrial Automation; Unveils New Industrial Switch Series

Cisco Develops Switching, Routing and Wireless Networking Products for Industrial Manufacturing Environments to Accelerate Industrialization of the Internet

SAN JOSE, CA–(Marketwire -04/23/12)- Reinforcing its commitment to the industrialization of the Internet, Cisco(NASDAQ: CSCO – News) today announced the Industrial Ethernet (IE) 2000 switch series, a cornerstone product for the company’s Connected Industries business unit and industrial network offerings. The Cisco IE 2000 industrial switch series will help customers build intelligent networks for industrial automation, delivering highly secure, scalable connectivity from plant floor to enterprise network.

The Cisco IE 2000 switch series builds on the company’s enterprise networking expertise and existing Industrial Ethernet family of switches, delivering reliable and highly secure network connectivity to unique manufacturing environments. With the IE 2000 switch series, Cisco continues its leadership in providing intelligent networks that simplify the deployment of security, video and voice services for machine-to-machine communications on the manufacturing floor and industrial IP networks.

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI), by 2016, there will be nearly 2 billion machine-to-machine wireless connections — including GPS systems in cars and asset tracking systems in shipping and manufacturing sectors — demonstrating the need to more tightly connect and integrate devices, machines and vehicles with traditional enterprise networks. The resulting transition, which Cisco refers to as “The Industrialization of the Internet,” will accelerate the networking industry beyond the IT and service provider (SP) networks in industries such as manufacturing and transportation.

Cisco is uniquely positioned to address these new demands on industrial networks, which require a greater need for improved inter-connectivity across industrial equipment and enterprise networks. The Cisco IE 2000 switch series provides consistent network services between industrial networks and enterprise business applications, while also providing integrated security and better manageability — creating a truly intelligent network.

The Cisco IE 2000 industrial switch series also provides highly secure remote access and monitoring of automated systems and offers intelligent energy management with visibility into machine performance to help customers better manage costs. The IE 2000 industrial switch interoperates corporate and manufacturing floor networks in a cost-effective manner to deliver video and corporate applications to manufacturing plant floor.

The Cisco IE 2000 industrial switch portfolio will be formally unveiled at the Hanover Messe Industrial Automation trade fair beginning on April 23. Cisco will also be displaying (Hall 8, Stand D26) its complete line of industrial networking solutions from its Connected Industries business unit, including the Cisco switching solutions developed in collaboration with Rockwell Automation, showcasing switching solutions that enable faster deployment and reduced risk for manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, transportation and energy companies.

Supporting Quote:

 

  • Maciej Kranz, vice president and general manager, Connected Industries business unit, Cisco
    “Major sectors of the economy are undergoing a transformation driven by new requirements around production and factory automation, traffic management, data analytics and machine-to-machine communication. Cisco’s Connected Industries business unit was created to help customers realize the benefits of the transition to Ethernet and IP across the operational technology segments including manufacturing plants, transportation infrastructure and vehicles.”

 

Supporting Resources:

 

 

Tags / Keywords
Switching, Internet of Things, Intelligent Networking, Manufacturing Automation, VNI, Visual Networking Index, Borderless Networks, Connected Industries, Ethernet-to-the-Factory, Industrial Manufacturing, Industrial Networks, Machine to Machine, M2M, Digital Factory, Hannover Messe, Hanover Messe, IE 2000, Cisco Connected Industries Business Unit, Industrial Automation, Mobility, Wireless Factory, IT Solutions

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO – News) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found athttp://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found atwww.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

RSS Feed for Cisco: http://newsroom.cisco.com/rss-feeds

Cisco Builds Upon Smart Grid Portfolio to Help Modernize the Electric Grid

Delivers Utility Industry’s First Multiservice Communications Platform With New Field Area Network Solution, Professional Services, Enhanced Substation Offerings, and Architecture

MarketwirePress Release: Cisco – 34 minutes ago

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  • The new Cisco Connected Grid 1000 Series Router is ruggedized for the utility environment.  (Image: Cisco)The new Cisco Connected Grid 1000 Series Router is ruggedized for the utility environment.  (Image: Cisco)

SAN JOSE, CA–(Marketwire -01/17/12)- Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCONews) today announced additional solutions and services to its Connected Grid portfolio that will help utilities modernize the electric grid with built-in flexibility, security and interoperability enabled by the power of the network. Cisco’s new technology architecture, solutions and related services address key utility concerns around cost, reliability and scalability in their communications infrastructures.

As the electric grid becomes more intelligent and complex, utilities around the world want technology that can grow to address multiple operational needs over time, supports their unique market and organizational structures, and is designed so that different vendor systems can work together. They also need solutions that provide a high degree of security and allow them to utilize their existing installed base of technology as they modernize their electric grids.

Given these requirements, Cisco offers utilities and partners a comprehensive blueprint for smart grid deployments known as the Cisco GridBlocks™ Architecture. This provides a forward-looking view of integrating digital communications and the electrical grid, as well as specific deployment guidance for the various grid communications networks that exist today. It also provides a framework for utilities to design and deploy comprehensive management and security solutions across the entire grid.

The new Cisco offerings — which include a complete field area network (FAN) solution delivered in conjunction with Itron, as well as expanded transmission and substation products — are based on this architectural model and are designed to address key utility concerns around cost, reliability and scalability in their communications infrastructures. By delivering multiple applications over a single, intelligent and highly secure platform, electric utilities will benefit from lower total cost of ownership as well as derive value from new services and functional integration of networks.

The new Cisco Connected Grid services and integrated solutions help electric utilities in the planning, design and optimization phases of their grid modernization initiatives.

Key Highlights

Cisco GridBlocks Architecture

  • Cisco’s GridBlocks Architecture provides utility operators with a communications view of the entire power delivery chain with security woven throughout the design.
  • The modular approach allows utilities to focus on particular elements of their network at any given time and is adaptable to differing market structures and regions.
  • The Cisco GridBlocks Architecture provides a framework in which communications requirements can be specified at each level.
  • It allows customers to take a holistic view of how to evolve their electric grid and design phases of technology implementation.

Field Area Network Solution

  • Cisco’s Connected Grid FAN solution simplifies utility operations by enablingapplications such as advanced meter infrastructure, distribution automation, and protection and control to be delivered over a common network platform. The solution has a layered architecture that supports both wired and wireless communications.
  • Cisco and Itron deliver on their strategic alliance announced in 2010 by providing a complete FAN solution that integrates Itron’s smart grid solution onto the Cisco IPv6-based network. This provides a validated, interoperable solution for utilities that allows affordable and accessible upgrades as time goes by.
  • As part of the new FAN solution, Cisco is introducing the 1000 series Connected Grid Router. The router comes in models for outdoor pole-top mount (CGR 1240) and indoor din-rail mount (CGR 1120). Each supports 2G/3G, WiMax and RF mesh connectivity.
  • These ruggedized routers are specifically built to comply with electrical substation standards and designed for outdoor environments. The router has no moving parts (e.g., fans) and is built with industrial-grade components to support an extended temperature range.
  • The FAN solution also includes new endpoints, device management and network management systems that are open and flexible across diverse energy markets, providing a modular solution that can be reassembled as market structures change.
  • The Cisco Connected Grid Network Management System (NMS) provides network operators with end-to-end monitoring and control of the network communications, delivering enterprise-class visibility that can currently scale to manage up to 10 million endpoints.

Transmission and Substation Solutions

  • Cisco is expanding its transmission and substation solution to help utilities extend the useful life of their installed base of technology as part of a phased migration to standards-based networks. With this launch, Cisco offers a full set of communication modules for its 2000 Series Connected Grid Routers. These include the smart grid industry’s first wireless 4G/LTE module, WAN modules to support ISDN, and DSL networks.
  • Cisco has also enhanced security capabilities on the 2000 Series Connected Grid Routers and Switches. This includes the most advanced portfolio of VPN, encryption, access control, and threat detection in the industry. Features include intrusion prevention system (IPS) / intrusion detection system (IDS) and support for SCADA signatures. In addition, the Cisco 2000 Series Connected Grid Routers support synchrophasor deployments with source-specific multicast for efficient transfer and sharing of phasor management unit data across utility boundaries.

Connected Grid Services

  • Cisco has developed a set of tools and professional services to help utilities prioritize their communication investments by performing portfolio-level analysis of solutions on a shared multilayer infrastructure. This helps deliver an optimal design for technology deployment based on proven use cases and business requirements.
  • Cisco has developed the Connected Grid Visualization and Design tool to address the complexity of automating substation communications. The tool allows engineers to visualize in a single interface the energy delivery network CIM diagrams, IEC 61850 protection schema for intelligent electronic devices (IEDs), and the communications network. This helps enable engineers to design, model, and simulate all three networks dynamically, reducing design and deployment time and enabling engineers to standardize designs across hundreds or thousands of substations.

Supporting Quotes:

Laura Ipsen, senior vice president of Connected Energy Networks, Cisco: “The expansion of Cisco’s smart grid offerings will enable utility customers to more effectively and efficiently transition to a highly intelligent energy infrastructure for the 21st century. Cisco has developed solutions that will help utilities save costs and derive more value out of their existing technology networks as they transition to more robust and scalable standards-based networks. This architectural approach to smart grid, enabled by industry alliances like the one between Cisco and Itron, can help utilities achieve long-term, strategic objectives while reducing operational expenses.”

Philip Mezey, president & chief operating officer of Energy, Itron: “Together, Itron and Cisco are setting the stage for grid modernization. We have delivered on our joint vision to create a truly open, interoperable communications architecture to drive Smart Grid success for our utility customers and consumers. Through our extensive collaboration, we are helping utilities accelerate adoption and simplify deployment of smart grid solutions, reduce the total cost of ownership of these systems, and unleash innovation for smart grid applications and technologies in the marketplace.”

Customer Quotes:

Adrian Clark, chief technology officer, Ausgrid: “Cisco Services has recently worked with Ausgrid to understand the requirements for electricity substations today and as we move towards a more complex and integrated future environment. Their work is assisting us to transform the electricity network into a smarter grid. We highly value their ongoing partnership and commitment to our company and the industry.”

Gary Murphy, chief project officer, Smart Metering Program, BC Hydro: “The Smart Metering Program will help keep rates in British Columbia low by delivering $1.6 billion in savings to our customers over the 20 years. The Cisco-Itron alliance was a game changer for the industry. The ability to leverage our infrastructure with Itron’s smart grid solution and Cisco’s Connected Grid networking and security capabilities is a great stepping stone into smart grid. We will be able to leverage it for years to come.”

Miss Lu Hong, director of automation department, State Grid Corporation of China: “State Grid Corporation of China is leading the world by deploying full IEC 61850 Digital Substation architectures. For such large scale implementation the management of IED configuration and its communication network is very complex and time consuming. Cisco’s Visualization and Design tool enables our engineers to streamline substation network discovery, design, modeling and testing processes. It also helps validate and keep track of configuration changes, which meet our operational needs very well.”

Supporting Resources:

Tags / Keywords: Cisco, Smart Grid, Sustainability, Environment, Connected Grid, Substation Automation, Utilities RSS Feed for Cisco: http://newsroom.cisco.com/rss-feeds

About Cisco Systems Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCONews) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

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Contact:
Press Jennifer Greeson Dunn Cisco 202-354-2968 jegreeso@cisco.com

Manufacturing Technology Demand Was Strong in 2011

Although 2011 was marked by a mixed bag of economic strengths and weaknesses, demand for manufacturing technology was strong with the forecast for 2012 calling for continued but slow growth.

By Gary Mintchell, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief

The resurgence of manufacturing following the crash of 2008 is unprecedented according to a release from  AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology ( www.amtonline.org). The most current U.S. manufacturing technology orders put the year-to-date total at $4,529.11 million, which is up 80.5 percent compared with 2010 and are the second highest dollar amount in the last 15 years. As of October, manufacturing technology orders had already surpassed the total value accumulated in 2007.

“It’s long been recognized that analysis of manufacturing technology orders provides a reliable leading economic indicator, as it is an indicator that manufacturing firms are investing in capital equipment to increase their capacity and improve productivity. Manufacturing technology provides a foundation for all other manufacturing,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “These machines and devices are the equipment that turn raw materials such as steel, iron, plastic, ceramics, composites, and alloys from their original state as stock materials into what will become durable goods such as airplanes, cars, and appliances, as well as consumer and other goods that are used every day.”
The Midwest and Central regions of the U.S. have seen the greatest surge in manufacturing technology orders. The Midwest’s manufacturing technology orders in 2011 are 105 percent more than the comparable figure for 2010. This large increase is the result of the region’s large traditional customer base.
It is also where the oldest equipment resides and the industries impacted most by the weak dollar and reshoring trend are located. The Central region pick-up — 85 percent higher compared to 2010 — was powered by the growth in the energy business and secondly by the automotive industry.
Overall manufacturing robust
Beyond manufacturing technology, overall U.S. manufacturing is robust. Despite the past several years trend of offshoring, the value of U.S. manufacturing output increased by one-third to $1.65 trillion between 1972 and the 2008 recession. Even though China accounted for 19.8 percent of global manufacturing value in 2010, the United States was strong with a share of 19.4 percent.
“The factors that are fueling this tremendous surge are the traditional reasons that drive growth in investment, but what is unusual about the current rebound is that all factors have come together at one time. This is something that’s never been seen before and as a result we are seeing a true renaissance for manufacturing in the U.S.,” Woods noted.
“American manufacturers rushed to beat the end-of-year bonus depreciation deadline. Inventories were low – something we’ve never experienced going into a recession – and that accounts for the quick rebound,” he explained. Exports are rising as American manufacturers meet overseas demand. Manufacturing technology from the U.S. is less expensive than foreign equipment, and U.S.-made goods are more price competitive than many imports due to the weak dollar.
Replace aging equipment
The average age of machinery currently in use at U.S. manufacturing facilities crept up from nine years in 2007 to 13.5 years, and as demand started to increase the need for investment to replace the aging equipment became apparent. Those investments are being made in completely new technology. Multi-operation machines are profoundly impacting productivity.  Water jet cutting and hydroforming are experiencing massive growth because they offer all the benefits of traditional processes but eliminate distortion and deformation. Additive manufacturing is growing, nano machining has become commercially affordable, and the availability of new materials, such as compact powdered metals, is having a tremendous impact. Plus, the emergence of cloud manufacturing, which promotes collaborative efforts across organizations, is opening new doors to manufacturers.
Expanding markets worldwide are playing an important role as manufacturing grows. China seems insatiable and accounts for almost one half of the world’s total consumption of manufacturing technology. India’s economy is growing at double the Western economy’s rate, with expectations for more China-like development soon. As it prepares for major world events including the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup competition, South America faces the challenge of building infrastructure that can support the events. Russia, South Africa, the Middle East and South Asia are on the fringe, but nevertheless contribute to growth in the global manufacturing economy.
Reshoring helps
Another factor boosting U.S. manufacturing is the reshoring phenomenon. More work is coming back to the U.S. from foreign shores and there is greater foreign direct investment in U.S. facilities. The quality of work in the U.S. is proving to be more valuable than originally thought in the off-shoring investment calculation. Companies face increasing

costs in logistics issues with the delivery of components and the exporting of completed products to North America. Add to that the rapidly increasing labor costs in traditionally “low-cost” labor markets, and the continued decline of labor in the overall share of total production cost, and the reshoring picture becomes clear. “When the the total cost of manufacturing is calculated, the U.S. is a very favorable environment,” Woods notes.
“In fact, new research from the Boston Consulting Group shows that transportation goods such as vehicles and auto parts, construction equipment, appliances, electrical equipment and furniture are among the sectors that could create up to 3 million job as a result of manufacturing returning to the U.S.,” Woods says.
The outlook for 2012 remains positive. The weak dollar is making exports strong. Reshoring is in full bloom. The manufacturing base is reinvesting in the latest tools. Energy will continue to be a large investor in manufacturing technology. The automotive industry is making major changes to address green issues, which will lead to significant investments in production technology, as well as spending to support the shift of the industry’s center from Detroit to the South/Southwest. Aerospace green field investments will continue in the Southeast and West.
Help still needed
Woods says, “This all said, manufacturing in America still needs help. Jobs are an unresolved issue. Despite the high number of Americans out of work, manufacturing jobs continue to go unfilled. That is because the factory floor today is very different from what it used to be. It is awash with new technologies and processes that require advanced training and adaptable skills.  We need a “smartforce” of workers who are up to the job.
“Until we take steps to level the playing field for U.S. companies in the global marketplace by eliminating trade barriers, reining in regulations, and lowering taxes for manufacturers, we risk losing ground to our foreign competitors in new markets and industries. We must keep the pressure on our elected officials to come up with a focused plan for moving forward. AMT is poised to work with the Federal Government to implement a national manufacturing strategy – a Manufacturing Mandate that will establish America as the worldwide leader in next-generation manufacturing technologies and the world-class products and services they provide. Continued growth in our manufacturing sector is a necessary step on the path to sustainable economic prosperity and worldwide leadership and only achievable through the concerted, collaborative efforts of the stakeholders.”

Mobile SCADA Benefits

Make Timely Decisions Anytime, Anywhere
SCADA access on mobile devices empowers manufacturing managers and supervisors to make timely decisions anywhere. Remote access can be enabled through a secure VPN or external router. The Ignition Mobile Module can read and write to the control system, so you can manage operations just as if you were physically on the plant floor.

 

Fast, Easy Plant Floor Management
Manage your process system quickly and easily while walking around the plant floor. Go anywhere on the machine floor and manage the entire facility in the palm of your hand. With Ignition available on your cell phone, you can quickly implement changes or make notations.
Convenient Alarm Supervision
Receive and view automatic alerts on your phone, tablet or PDA. Respond immediately to SCADA alarms through mobile interaction with real-time data. Save a trip to the office and reduce the time it takes to resolve an issue that slows production.

3 Reasons Linux Is Preferred for Control Systems

By Krista Duty, Inductive Automation
Linux has long been on the “wishlist” for control systems. Until now, most systems have been locked-in to the Windows operating system due to reliance on classic OPC—a ubiquitous communication standard based on Microsoft’s Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM). The name of the game is changing, however, with the arrival of the next-generation OPC standard, the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC-UA). The new standard was designed for cross-platform compatibility, which makes room for Linux to gain popularity in the automated control industry.
Jonathan Gross, vice president of Pemeco , a 32-year-old IT consulting firm, explained why Linux will be a big player as the industry moves ahead. “The stars are aligned for Linux-powered servers to gain significant market-share in industrial automation environments,” Gross said. “Currently, security, stability and reliability make Linux the operating system of choice to support many web-server applications. With the increasing tendency to develop SCADA and control systems in web-based environments, it only makes sense that end-users will strongly consider Linux-based operating platforms. As icing-on-the-cake, Linux generally has a much lower total cost of ownership than Windows.”
Gross is not alone in his analysis. Others in the industry, such as Paresh Dalwalla, are also predicting a growing trend toward Linux. Dalwalla is president of OpteBiz Inc. , which focuses on providing real-time operational intelligence solutions to control system users in both the United States and India.
Dalwalla’s explanation closely mirrors that of Gross. “End users are looking for improved security, stability, and reduced total cost of ownership,” Dalwalla said. “More and more end users will see the benefits once they cross the learning curve of an open source operating system. This change will require some time and commitment, but it will be well worth the effort.”
Let’s look at why security, stability, and cost top the list of reasons why Linux is a great choice for control systems.
Reason #1: Security
If a computer system’s integrity is compromised by a virus or a malicious attacker exploiting a security vulnerability, it can cause downtime and equipment damage. Just this week, Managing Automation magazine published a story  regarding a virus that attacks the Siemens’ SIMATIC WinCC and PCS7 software through a vulnerability in Windows. The article also states that these types of attacks for process control systems have been on the rise during the past few years. (Editor’s note: Update from Siemens on Virus affecting Simatic WinCC SCADA systems)
Until recently, companies were tied to Windows as the base for their control system—and they were more likely to be a victim of system hacking than if they were using Linux.
“Compared to Linux, Windows is a bigger attack target,” Gross said. “On average, Windows operating systems are roughly twice as susceptible to hacks and cyber-attacks.  Also, an attack event on a Windows operating system has the potential to cause more widespread damage than a similar attack on a Linux system.”
 
Using Linux means less vulnerability, less downtime, and fewer headaches for companies.
Reason #2: Stability and Reliability
Linux is widely considered to crash less than Windows. It’s also easier to update the system without having to reset the system, as is needed in a Windows environment. This means that systems have more uptime and increased productivity levels.
“Operating system or server downtime introduces risks associated with a temporary inability to monitor and control the systems,” explains Gross. “Though today’s Windows systems are much more stable than they have historically been, they still experience more downtime than Linux systems. One reason for downtime is that Windows systems need to be rebooted to install updates. In contrast, Linux systems can generally be updated without a hardware reset.”
Reason #3: Less Cost
Last but definitely not least is the fact that Linux is more cost effective in the long run. Not only is it available free of cost because it’s open source, but it’s also easier to maintain by IT staff—which means substantial savings in ongoing administrative costs.
“The open source market has expanded tremendously in recent times due to the backing of large companies such as Sun and Google,” Dalwalla said. “Linux is an open source operating system that is considered more stable and comes with very little capital costs. There are ongoing support costs that are to be considered for both options, but Linux can definitely help keep it down.”
Bottom line, companies don’t have to spend money on licenses for Windows servers, nor spend as much time maintaining the system.
OPC-UA and Linux in Action
Now that OPC-UA is available, the next step to take is to find products that use the new standard. Integrator Kyle Chase described his story. Chase is a systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc. , located in Canada, who has always been a fan of Linux. Naturally, he was very excited about OPC-UA and being able to build systems on Linux.
Earlier this year, Chase found Ignition by Inductive Automation , which included an OPC-UA server, making the entire software system Linux compatible. Having used Inductive Automation software for the past three years with much success, he was confident in trying out the company’s newest release.
He gave an example of a project he implemented for a customer using Ignition. The customer’s distillation refinery has a single controller with 14 racks of remote IO. The facility needed both fast update performance, as well as reliability. Previous solutions from industry-leaders couldn’t deliver both. For example, one product gave them the reliability, but it could only give updates once every eight seconds—but the customer needed updates every second. Another product they tried provided the performance needed, but it would shut down every day.
Enter Ignition, OPC-UA, and access to Linux. Chase began testing to see how well it performed, and after going through dry runs, he has been very pleased.
“The performance is absolutely crazy!” Chase said. “Ignition is actively subscribed to 30,000 tags with updates every second. We can finally monitor all of our tags, at the speed we want with the reliability we need.”
Chase is sold on OPC-UA. “To me, the move to a true cross platform environment is important,” he stated. “This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well. Inductive Automation is the first to provide the software required to do this.”
Krista Duty is the marketing director for Inductive Automation. Since 2003, Inductive Automation has been producing software that reduces frustration and increases efficiency in the industrial automation market. Their software facilitates the instant accessibility of meaningful information throughout the enterprise.

Inductive Automation: Integrator uses software to deliver performance and reliability

Written by  Mary Del CiancioAugust 25, 2010
THE COMPANY: Backed by 40 years of experience, Drayton Valley, Alta.-based Surefire SCADA Inc. creates web-based hosted SCADA systems that encompass all aspects of industrial automation. The company designs and implements industrial control systems and maintains information technology.

THE CHALLENGE: One of Surefire SCADA’s customers was looking for a solution to get a fast, reliable update performance. Previous solutions from industry leaders couldn’t deliver both. Kyle Chase, a systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA, describes the dilemma: “One product gave them the reliability, but it could only give updates once every eight seconds, and the customer needed updates every second. Another product they tried provided the performance needed, but it would shut down every day.”

THE STRATEGY: Earlier this year, Chase found Ignition by Inductive Automation , which included an OPC-UA server, making the entire software system Linux compatible. Having used Inductive Automation software for the past three years with much success, he was confident in trying out the company’s newest release for the distillation refinery project.

THE RESULTS: After conducting dry runs with the system, Chase has been more than pleased with the results. “The performance is absolutely crazy,” he says. “Ignition is actively subscribed to 30,000 tags with updates every second. We can finally monitor all of our tags at the speed we want, with the reliability we need.”

Chase is sold on OPC-UA and being able to use Linux for control systems. “To me, the move to a true cross platform environment is important,” he explains. “This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well.”

For more information about Ignition by Inductive Automation, visitwww.inductiveautomation.com .

OPC Foundation

Top Six Benefits of OPC UA for End-Users

Thomas Burke, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, discusses why end-users are discovering the benefits of an OPC UA solution, including reliability, performance, multi-platform support and easy migration.

Welcome to the August 2009 edition of OPConnect, the official newsletter of the OPC Foundation. There have been a lot of things happening in 2009, and it’s been very exciting with respect to OPC Foundation and the OPC vendor community.

One of the most significant things is the recognition by the end-users of the value proposition for the OPC Unified Architecture (UA) technology.

There are six key features that OPC UA delivers to the end-users: The ease-of-use, plug-and-play, high reliability and redundancy, enhanced performance, multiplatform support, and easy migration plan for existing OPC products to the OPC UA technology.

That last feature–easy migration plan–is critical to its success. Even though OPC UA is a revolutionary new architecture, it still provides a rock-solid evolutionary migration mechanism to allow existing OPC products to plug in and get many of the benefits of the OPC UA technology… Read more

 

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

OPC UA Interoperability Proves Worth For Pharma

Gary Mintchell, Editor in Chief, Automation World, discusses one of the key features of OPC UA technology–interoperability–and the promise this holds to significantly reduce integration costs across complex systems.

Integrating various components of an automation system can cost up to ten times the price of just the components, depending upon the complexity of the system. This fact alone can destroy the benefits of an integrated system. The latest specification from the OPC Foundation–OPC UA–holds the potential of greatly reducing this cost penalty. All we need is for more suppliers to adopt the specification and make it available to those charged with implementing an integrated automation system… Read more

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

OPC Server Meets Demand for 64-Bit Systems

New OPC server suites from Cyberlogic have 64-bit kernel mode device drivers, so users can deploy 64-bit systems regardless of the type of network or network adapter.

Cyberlogic has released 64-bit versions of the company’s OPC server suites that deliver an easy migration path for users moving to x64 Windows platforms. The 64-bit versions of Cyberlogic OPC suites provide native 64-bit support, including 64-bit kernel-mode device drivers, for all x64 Windows operating systems, including XP, Vista, Server 2003, and Server 2008.

As the shift toward 64-bit systems is speeding up, there is a growing demand for the 64-bit versions of popular software tools. Complicating the picture is the fact that some of the new 64-bit systems may have to be deployed in existing environments, either as replacements or for expansion… Read more

CASE APPLICATION

Integrating OPC Servers and SCADA Systems

Engineers working on a high-security project in Denmark used the OPC DataHub, from Cogent Real-Time Systems, for OPC client connections between equipment at the secure facility and a remote monitoring station.

In a recent data integration project, Siemens engineers in Copenhagen, Denmark, were able to connect equipment and instrumentation running in a high-security facility to a remote monitoring location using the OPC DataHub. The goal was to allow technicians access to the machines they needed to work on, without breaching security or permitting any non-authorized personnel on site.

At first the project promised to be a typical OPC application. The main objective was to connect a chiller unit with an OPC server running at a secure facility to two SCADA systems at a monitoring station, each enabled as an OPC client. However, it soon became apparent that there would be some problems with networking. OPC networking depends on distributed component object model (DCOM), which at the best of times can be difficult to configure and slow to reconnect after a network break. To make matters worse, the OPC server provided by the chiller manufacturer was not up to the task… Read more

OPC WHITEPAPER

Process Analytics Finds Process Problems

In this whitepaper, Canary Labs outlines how companies, by using process analytical software, can gain great insight into their process operations to find problems and improve quality.

Process Analytics and Intelligence–sometimes called Manufacturing Intelligence–has transformed the way companies produce goods, understand their manufacturing processes, and ensure a quality product in ways we could not have foreseen ten years ago. Process Analytics and Intelligence can take many forms–from basic trend charts that highlight a single process variable to complex statistical analysis of multiple variables. Trending process variables allows you to go back in time and see what happened over the past minutes, hours, overnight, or over a weekend. When trend charts show that the data from the system is not typical, you can quickly determine the problem and resolve it before it becomes a major problem.

The cornerstone of any real-time Process Analytical and Intelligence solution is an effective data storage and retrieval capability. In manufacturing applications, data is generated from a multitude of sources, from devices as simple as a weigh scale to as complex as a PLC controlling a high speed bottling line… Read more

CASE APPLICATION

OPC Facilitates Increased Capacity

A water treatment plant in Utah doubled its capacity after deploying the System 800xA Extended Automation from ABB, which uses OPC 2.0 technology to gather and display data.

Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant (Quail Creek WTP) is part of Washington Counties’ Water Conservancy District, a political subdivision of the State of Utah. It is a regional water supply agency organized in 1962 under the Water Conservancy Act to develop a water supply for rapidly growing areas in Utah’s Washington County. The District is primarily a wholesaler of water to other agencies. The main role of the District is to develop or purchase water where it is available for its service area. The District is committed to serving its water customers in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The District serves water on a retail basis only when other local providers are not available or do not have facilities to do so. It is dedicated to development of a resource in an environmentally sound manner.

The Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant’s control system was in need of an upgrade in order to fulfill the District’s goals of efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound operations… Read more

OPC Foundation

OPC Gets Green, Goes Nuclear and Gets Embedded

Thomas Burke, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, discusses how OPC technology is advancing cutting-edge developments—from green energy and the world’s largest particle accelerator, to embedded intelligence and OPC UA-on-a-chip.

Welcome to the May 2010 edition of OPConnect, the official newsletter of the OPC Foundation. The year 2010 marks 15 years in the development of OPC technology. What began in 1995 as a task force to standardize on a device driver solution has morphed into the 400-member OPC Foundation, whose task it is to develop, support and maintain standards for moving data and information from embedded devices all the way through the enterprise.

OPC is “open connectivity” in industrial automation and enterprise systems based on “open standards.” These standards operate across multivendor and multiplatform systems, providing secure, reliable and interoperable communications for applications in industrial automation, building automation, energy management and more… Read more

 

CASE APPLICATION

Reaping the Wind in Real Time

The Matrikon OPC Server for Vestas Wind Turbines standardizes real-time access to wind farm data sources for improved management and control of distributed assets.

High oil prices and global warming concerns have more people looking at renewable energy sources such as wind power. Wind power installations have unique challenges due to energy variability and load balancing as well as accessibility of the many generating stations. The OPC Server for Vestas Wind Turbines can provide continuous access to real-time information needed for equipment monitoring and making production decisions… Read more

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Upgrade Performance, Downsize Complexity

Softing’s OPC Development Toolkits for OPC UA assist software engineers in implementing effective OPC Clients/Servers and embedding OPC UA technology directly into target devices.

Softing, the world leader in providing conformant OPC development tools, continues to enhance its OPC Unified Architecture (UA) Toolkits for Windows, VxWorks, and Linux. The latest version of the OPC UA Toolkit comes with significant performance optimization, support of Kernel Mode in VxWorks systems, more programming support and functional extensions.

Softing’s Toolkits are currently the only products available that include all necessary OPC libraries to develop OPC Clients and Servers based on the Classic OPC DA, Alarms & Events, XML-DA, and the OPC UA specification… Read more

CASE APPLICATION

OPC Helps Cool World’s Largest Particle Accelerator

The OPC Top Server from Software Toolbox monitors chiller data on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, to cool circuits when proton beams collide at seven trillion volts.

In March 2010 at the international physics laboratory of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), two proton beams collided with the energy of 7 trillion electron volts in the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). CERN, which features the most technologically advanced facilities for researching the basic building blocks of the Universe, built the LHC to test predictions of high-energy physics for particle physicists to help answer some of the most fundamental questions about the basic laws governing interaction and forces concerning elementary objects, structure of time and space, quantum mechanics and relativity.

The LHC results required years of investment in engineering, science and technology. Keeping the technology working reliably requires consistent monitoring of temperature and humidity in the tunnels and experimental areas of the LHC site… Read more

CASE APPLICATION

OPC UA Software Opens Up Linux Possibilities

A leading integrator uses the OPC UA server included with Ignition by Inductive Automation™ to provide better performance and reliability in a distillation refinery SCADA system.

Integrator Kyle Chase has begun to experience first-hand the benefits of OPC Unified Architecture (UA). Designed to allow for cross-platform compatibility, OPC UA delivers on the promise of performance and reliability. Chase explained that, although a fan of Linux, until now he could never use it in automation control systems because OPC relied on Microsoft’s Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM).

“To me, the move to a true cross-platform environment is important,” stated Chase, systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc. “This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well”… Read more

 

OPC Foundation

FOUNDATION LETTER
Partnerships: Newest Interoperability Initiatives for Industrial Automation 
A quick look at the latest interoperability initiatives such as OPC UA and FDT 2.0, FDI and its implications for FDT, how OPC UA meshes with ODVA, PLCopen, and MTConnect.
While the last decade has been remarkable for the number of automation and control technologies introduced, another market force has produced an effect on the industry much more notable—collaboration among vendors and industry organizations.
The concept of being locked into brand loyalty where an end-user company would purchase all of its devices and applications from a single vendor and its direct partners as a means of guaranteeing that the applications and devices would work together in a seamless fashion has become completely archaic. However, it was commonplace not so long ago.» Cloud Computing and the FDT/OPC Initiative» Machinery Initiative Explained

CASE APPLICATION
Oil & gas blending systems benefit from OPC historian, data trending and analysis 
Canary Enterprise Historian, Canary Logger, and Trend Link software run independent of the HMI, provide graphical display of trends to optimize maintenance and performance, and synchronizes/archives daily from remote sites.The Canary software installations include the Canary Enterprise Historian, Canary Logger and Trend Link. The ability to configure the historian and logger to run as a service is extremely valuable as well as having the added benefit of running independent of the HMI connecting directly to an OPC server. Remote data logging is done at locations where two servers exist, allowing the use of a single Canary Enterprise Historian.

Randy Walker, control systems engineer, says “Canary Trend Link is a valuable tool allowing us to graphically review archived data for maintenance issues and performance. Templates can be saved of commonly reviewed trends for quick future access. The export utility is used to generate viewed trends into reports for distribution”… Read More»

TECHNOLOGY NEWS
Practical tips for planning redundancy in an OPC data communications network
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New white paper from Cogent Real-Time Systems provides background information and practical considerations for plant engineers and managers interested in implementing redundancy in a data communications network based on the OPC protocol.The paper defines basic redundancy concepts such as cold, warm, and hot standby, seamless and smart switchovers, fallbacks, and object and link monitoring. It also points out common design problems like the timer pitfall and forced switching, and gives useful advice on how to get the best value in a redundancy manager.“As system up-time becomes more critical to financial success, many plant engineers are looking at adding redundancy to their mission critical control systems,” said Andrew Thomas, President of Cogent. “This paper is helpful for anyone interested in getting quickly up to speed on the main issues, so that they can make informed decisions”… Read More»

STRATEGY BRIEF
Why OPC-UA will be on every automated control system in the future
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Inductive Automation makes the case for upgrading to OPC-UA now versus later, and why OPC-UA will inevitably be incorporated into control systems in the future.OPC-UA is often seen as an evolutionary upgrade to the previous OPC specification, and one that will take some time to roll out into use. Many companies have been using classic OPC products successfully for years, and envision that the upgrade to OPC Universal Architecture (UA) will occur as part of a generational upgrade, “down the road”.However, in the context of today’s modern manufacturing environment, it is evident that OPC-UA is really more revolutionary than evolutionary, and offers a number of very compelling features that are well worth investigating immediately… Read More»

CASE APPLICATION
Oil & gas explorer switches to in-house process control, data acquisition in massive 1,800-site project
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Modern, Web-enabled application uses Kepware’s OPC UA solution for data collection, resulting in cost savings versus previous outsourced application, more efficient deployment of manpower, and better and faster information to manage 1,800 oil and gas fields.In the highly competitive oil and gas industry, the need for timely and accurate field data is critical. Optimizing production, planning future drilling and managing well reserves and spot gas supplies are more important than ever. Failsafe Controls is making the best-informed business decisions and saving their customers money in the process, using cutting edge process control and automation technology for its customers.Failsafe Controls’ customer, an oil and gas exploration and production company, embarked on a huge automation initiative in moving their outsourced process control and data acquisition management operations in-house. The idea was to empower all the teams and departments with the ability to recognize trends and identify any problematic areas to ensure optimal production levels are achieved…Read More »