Honeywell User Group Meeting: Installed Base Evolution to Business Performance
ARC recently attended the Honeywell Users Group meeting from June 22-24 at the JW Marriott convention center in San Antonio. The event was very well attended, and although we did not get final attendance figures it seems that attendees were at the very least in the 1,300 range that Honeywell had at last year’s meeting. This year’s meeting focused on the ability of Honeywell to support its customers who still have a significant investment in their installed base, while providing them with advanced technologies and approaches to drive them forward.
Last year, Honeywell Process Solutions was moved into the Performance Materials and Technologies group alongside UOP. The move is creating some interesting new product and application offerings that build on the synergies between technology licensor and engineering firm UOP and automation supplier HPS. HPS president Vimal Kapur kicked off the meeting with an excellent presentation that shows how Honeywell can reduce capex and opex spending for its customer, building on challenging market conditions that are forcing end users to do more with less.
The impact of the rapidly declining workforce and aging plant infrastructure was also heavily emphasized. Kapur cited that 50 percent of plants today are over 30 years old. The average asset age is 36.5 years. IT related issues also continue to beleaguer the industry, with Windows XP hitting end of support in 2014, and an over 48 percent rise in detected cyber attacked between 2013 and 2014. The regulatory side of the business also remains challenging, with the EPA reporting that it will cost businesses an estimated $480 billion to comply with new regulations on cleaner emissions.
Kapur Highlights New Capabilities in a Business Context
With all of these challenges, clearly operating safely and in compliance with regulations while leveraging technology to stay relevant and competitive, all while managing a major skills gap, is big challenge. Another challenge is moving away from the old age of the monolithic, “black box” DCS. According to Kapur, the DCS has evolved to a single platform for multiple islands of control and automation with a single user interface and single system infrastructure. Making a business case for modernizing automation is considerably easier today than it was even five years ago because the functionality of modern systems has expanded so significantly.
Kapur also waxed on Honeywell’s cloud computing capabilities. Cloud project use at Honeywell has now extended to over 2,000 projects, and Honeywell introduced a new cloud service for field devices at the show. The new field device cloud offers web channel ordering and download, and transmitters can be ordered to exact requirements and arrive preconfigured right out of the box. Honeywell also announced training through a cloud based infrastructure with a new virtual operator training simulator (OTS).
Automation as risk management is something ARC discusses often, and Kapur echoed this philosophy by discussing Honeywell’s integrated process safety management capabilities, integrated gas detection capabilities, alarm management, access control, and emergency shutdown. Kapur also showed a new cyber security risk manager dashboard. The goal of Honeywell is to be at all three layers of protection from detection, control, and prevention.
Modularization Approach Builds on UOP Relationship
The topic of modularization seems to pop up everywhere these days, and it really first started with the end user demand for more standard and configurable types of I/O and flexible approaches to project execution, which Honeywell made a splash with last year with its LEAP or Lean Execution of Automation Projects approach. This year Kapur built on this message to talk about how Honeywell is taking more modular approaches to automation project execution with modular gas skid offerings and pre-engineered plants that leverage the now closer relationship with UOP. Honeywell is promising up to six month reductions in project timelines, with standard templates for control system configurations with certain UOP process units for LNG plants, gas plants, and Naphtha complexes to name a few.
Field Device Advancements
Kapur’s discussion did not ignore Honeywell’s field device business, which has a large installed base of almost exclusively intelligent devices. Honeywell’s goal is to reduce errors at configuration and startup and reduce startup time by up to 50 percent at loop check. Honeywell sees its new auto-commissioning capabilities for devices as a big opportunity along with built-in, automated alerts and diagnostic capabilities.
ARC also attended a session on new SmartLine field device modularity capabilities, and transmitter messaging and maintenance mode. The company’s SmartLine transmitter range, which includes pressure, temperature, and level transmitters for process applications, share the same modular design, standardized look, common functionality, and diagnostics. The modular design offers many benefits and cost savings. Maintenance personnel can repair the transmitter quickly and easily just by replacing the broken hardware module, eliminating the need to stock large quantities of spare transmitters as before.
Transmitter messaging and maintenance mode allows the operator to send a message directly to the transmitter so the maintenance technician can quickly identify the right device for right work. Honeywell also announced that a new multivariable transmitter would be available in early 2016.
Emphasizing Support for OPC UA as the “Lingua Franca” of Industrial IoT
ARC moderated a panel discussion for media and analysts where key Honeywell personnel talk about their view on the Internet of Things and Honeywell is responding to this new industry challenge and opportunity. OPC UA was a key part of the discussion. Honeywell is now one of the biggest supporters of OPC UA with its acquisition of Matrikon a few years ago. One Honeywell representative stated that they hoped OPC would be considered as the “lingua franca” of the Industrial Internet of Things.
Bringing Data Sources Together Through Dashboards and Workflows
Application information exchange between data sources was a big topic at Mr. Kapur’s presentation, where he discussed Honeywell’s ability to bring information from disparate data sources together through advanced KPI performance dashboards and workflows through the Operational Insight application offering. Part of the workflow discussion focused on Honeywell’s increasing support of mobile devices and mobility technologies for operators and field personnel.
Honeywell Gets Open about Its Installed Base
HPS vice president of sales in the Americas Andrew D’Amelio was very open about the large installed base the need for HPS to continue to support and evolve their customers’ intellectual property investment. D’Amelio cited that Honeywell had over 11,000 Hiway boxes from the seventies that are still installed and working today. Over 6,200 controller power units from seventies are still running as well. Many products from the ‘80s are still up and running as well, including around 7,500 HMI workstations and over 1,300 history modules and over 2,100 controllers.
Of course, Honeywell has been in the lead of suppliers offering an evolutionary path from older systems to the new Experion system, and introduced an Experion Data Hiway Bridge at this year’s HUG that allows users to upgrade their controllers on older systems to new Experion controllers. The new Control Execution Environment or CEE provides a path forward for users who want to modernize their Experion C200 controllers. With CEE, users can export control strategies from C200 to C300. This can be done while the C200 is still running, enabling online upgrades. The third new area of evolutionary support at HUG was continued support of the older HPM controllers. Intellectual property and field wiring for HPMs will be supported through 2035.
Addressing Customer Concerns
Edwin van den Maagdenberg, vice president of business operations at Honeywell Process Solutions discussed many of the improvements that HPS is bringing to its business because of listening to their customers. Mr. van den Maagdenberg was fairly open about improvement efforts being made in many aspects of Honeywell’s business that touch the customer, including revamping its website, improving spare parts and replacement orders, improving customer case resolution, and more. The company did a voice of the customer survey that received 5,000 responses and it seems clear they are taking customer feedback seriously. Few companies are willing to share such details regarding their approach to the customer and needed improvements as much as Honeywell has. In addition, the response from customers seems to be improving, with two out of three customers telling Honeywell that they are improving in terms of scheduled delivery, service offerings, and parts.
New CTO Brings New Approaches
Bruce Calder is new CTO of Honeywell process solutions, and is the first executive ARC has seen from Honeywell to present a la Steve Jobs in a black t-shirt and jeans. This leadership change clearly indicates a new approach that will incorporate new technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and more advanced cyber security. The first topic mentioned by Calder was the support of Honeywell for OPC UA, and Honeywell clearly has a lot riding on OPC UA as the new protocol for the Industrial Internet of Things. Calder also strongly emphasized that HPS is back into the field device business in a big way, with smart, connected instruments being the first point of communication in the IIoT.
The transformation of process automation to a purely digital framework means that Honeywell must enable users to get meaningful information out of the building avalanche of data. Calder cited that many of their customers are already heavily using analytics, with two thirds of their customers stating that they were using analytics to help solve problems. Calder emphasized that Honeywell solutions allow end users to retain their intellectual assets as they continue to modernize. Honeywell enables users to install smarter devices, get wider connectivity, collect more data, and find ways to use that data to run a smarter operation.
Honeywell Continues to Focus on Oil & Gas
Oil and gas is now the biggest vertical market for Honeywell Process Solutions, and ARC had good face-to-face conversations with several experts at HUG. Honeywell is particularly focusing on the gas industry right now, which is still experiencing considerable growth in many segments despite the depressed market in oil and gas due to lower oil prices. LNG and gas to liquids technology is one example.
Experion R440 features more SCADA rich features, and the LEAP concept is catching on quickly in oil and gas as a way to significantly reduce project costs and time to competition. Honeywell Universal IO is a key enabler for modular construction and distributed system architecture, and allows for phased extensions in oil and gas projects more easily. Honeywell has also integrated wireless and intelligent device management into its new 2020 RTU, which is designed and manufactured by Honeywell. By integrating device management into the RTU, Honeywell can reduce the cost of the RTU by up to two to three times that of a conventional RTU.
Honeywell is also offering more advanced metering technology in its system with MeterSuite. Historically, metering is done with many thousands of flow computers installed worldwide, but MeterSuite allows users to integrate this functionality into the Experion system, eliminating the need for a flow computer. Honeywell is also making leaps forward in leak detection and pipeline reliability by bringing Abnormal Situation Management Consortium (ASM) concepts to the world of pipeline control.
Face Time with Vimal Kapur
ARC participated in a 30-minute face-to-face session with HPS president Vimal Kapur, along with other industry analysts and media representatives. Kapur discussed the rate of technology change and how Honeywell is responding, and how this is affecting Honeywell’s customer service approach. Kapur stated that Honeywell is engaging in more and more “outcome based contracts” with customers through the Honeywell Assurance 360 program. These are somewhat different from performance-based contracts that many suppliers tried to establish with customers many years ago, with little success. Key KPIs with outcome-based contracts include uptime, loss of view, loss of control, and have more to do with the performance of the automation equipment versus production KPIs. Outcome based contracts also come with provisions for keeping automation equipment current, through modernization and migration approaches. Honeywell’s new Assurance360 outcome based contracts can look at certain KPIs over the cloud. Assurance 360 gets users out of the transactional world and focuses on the outcome. Honeywell currently has nine sites with Assurance360 contracts and expects to more than double that by the end of the year.
Lots of New Activity at Honeywell Advanced Solutions
ARC also had some significant face time with Honeywell Advanced Solutions people, and there are many new advancements in this business. There is much focus on the KPI dashboards, as well as other system and historian agnostic applications that are not necessarily tied to Honeywell DCSs. Honeywell has worked with major oil and gas companies over the years to develop a collection of key KPIs, so inexperienced end users can have a good starting point to meet their specific needs.
The new Honeywell Uniformance Asset Sentinel application embeds asset management functionality into the historian, continuously monitoring equipment and process health, assisting industrial facilities to predict and prevent asset failures and poor operational performance. The new offering expands HPS’ Uniformance software suite and supports the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in the process industry, enabling companies to collect, organize and analyze data for a specific asset or “thing.” These analytics can transform work processes from reactive to proactive, helping industrial plant operators avoid unplanned downtime and improve plant performance and safety.
Honeywell claims that Asset Sentinel helps companies with industrial assets increase utilization of those assets by up to 10 percent by reducing unplanned downtime. It can also cut maintenance costs by up to 15 percent by better predicting and preventing catastrophic equipment failure and inefficient operations. The newest version of Honeywell DynAMo alarm management software combines alarm and operations management together, with functions such as operating envelope monitoring, and a better overall window into operations.
Honeywell’s UniSim 3-D simulation software now offers hosting of generic model on the cloud. Many mid to small tier owner operators don’t have resources to do simulation for abnormal situations or even a way to do competency management effectively. UniSim now offers a cost effective way for these users to keep track of who is trained and who needs to be trained.
Honeywell also sees the areas of energy efficiency and energy monitoring as still going strong. Honeywell is beefing up its applications that monitor energy usage with enhanced visibility, energy dashboards, and more. The company is also developing specific dashboards for performance monitoring of specific process units with UOP. Eventually Honeywell process solutions should be able to use big data and analytics to compare performance from unit to unit. Meanwhile UOP has already gone to market with its own performance monitoring solution called UOP OpAware, which provides remote, real-time collaboration with UOP technical specialists to maximize on-stream performance and profitability. Installed at more than 100 process units worldwide, the OpAware system provides standardized data across units or facilities.
Through its work with the ASM Consortium, Honeywell has long had a strong hand in developing more advanced operator graphics and providing for better situational awareness. Resolution, console design, placement of screens, and other ASM research projects are helping Honeywell to better understand how to more effectively use those technologies. Eye tracking techniques, range of standards and guidelines on sight lines, how high a screen can be, are all considerations in the new HMI design, as are usability tests.
All in all a great and very informative user group meeting. Thanks to Honeywell for their hospitality and hard work.