Nov 25

Enterprising Manufacturers Connect at Rockwell Automation’s 23rd Annual Automation Fair Event

Report from ARC automation expert Craig Resnick on the recent Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group meeting and Automation Fair last week in Anaheim:

Craig Resnick

Rockwell Automation’s 23rd annual 2014 Automation Fair event in Anaheim, California was held with an event-wide focus on The Connected Enterprise.  The Automation Fair event was held Nov. 20 and 21.  This year’s exhibits showcase advanced power, control and information solutions that secure shared information with suppliers and consumers across processes and facilities.  Attendance was about 10,000, with about 4,850 customers from around the globe, with over 144 exhibitors from members of its Partner Network program, which includes encompass partners, solution partners, OEM partners, alliance partners, universities, publications, and standards organizations.  9 industry forums were also held for OEM, Food & Beverage, Mining, Safety OEM, Connected Enterprise, Oil & Gas, Power & Energy, Safety, and Water & Wastewater.  At the event, attendees have free access to 99 technical education sessions, 18 hands-on labs, and 17 workshops to receive professional development credits.  This is often the driving force that helps Rockwell Automation’s customers justify event attendance.

Before Automation Fair, the annual Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group (PSUG) meeting was held on Nov. 17 and 18.  Attendance was over 900, from 30 countries and 22 industries, with 20 educational sessions being offered to attendees.  On Tuesday, Nov. 18, global media and industry analysts attended the half-day media forum, Automation Perspectives, to hear how manufacturers and producers are operationalizing The Connected Enterprise, discussing the benefits, such as improved flexibility and agility in meeting demand, and its challenges, including increased security risks. Speakers addressed the role of information-enabled machines at the site-level, best practices for employee training and utilization, and ways to manage uptime in facilities.  They also discussed the role of remote asset management, business growth with their customers, and how MES brings it all together.

There were a number of announcements made throughout the week:

Rockwell Automation and AT&T to Work Together to Make Smarter Machines

Rockwell Automation and AT&T are collaborating to improve remote asset utilization and connected machine management. The companies plan to deliver cellular solutions that help enable Rockwell Automation customers to more securely collect, manage and take action on data from industrial equipment located in plants and remote sites around the globe.

By bringing together the AT&T Global SIM and M2X Data Service platform with Rockwell Automation cloud-enabled service offerings, customers can connect automation assets and industrial machinery to remote experts. This allows for more timely and proactive preventive maintenance and operational improvement practices throughout the life of these assets.

The companies are also working to develop reference architecture and validated designs for cellular IoT deployments within industrial sites. These tools will help guide customers in the design and use of cellular connected assets in ways that can complement the existing in-plant network infrastructure. This will help plant owners to leverage connected machine management services offered by multiple equipment suppliers without overburdening their in-plant network infrastructure or violating enterprise security standards.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco Develop Design and Implementation Guide for Deploying Wireless Equipment in The Connected Enterprise

Rockwell Automation and Cisco announced the release of a white paper and design and implementation guide titled, “Deploying 802.11 Wireless LAN Technology within a Converged Plantwide Ethernet Architecture.” The detailed design guidance will help control system engineers, IT network engineers, and system integrators implement IP-based wireless networks.

The guide provides information on 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions within a Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architecture, including design considerations for fixed position, nomadic and mobile equipment use cases. It also includes explanations for how to configure, maintain and troubleshoot WLAN for each use case, and detailed documentation on how the architectures were tested and validated by Cisco and Rockwell Automation. With this new resource, network designers can create a small network within a plant using a single autonomous access point, and scale up to create a larger, unified WLAN architecture.

The recommendations provided in these documents were demonstrated in the Industrial IP Advantage booth at this year’s Automation Fair event in Anaheim, California. The entire booth, a small-scale representation of the CPwE architecture, featured a plant operations control room equipped with a WLAN controller and Cisco Lightweight Access Point. The network extends to process and packaging areas in the booth via the Allen Bradley Stratix 5100 wireless access point/work group bridge, which was jointly developed by Rockwell Automation and Cisco.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco position its partnership as a resource in industry for helping manufacturers to improve business performance by bridging the technical and cultural gaps between plant-floor automation and higher-level information systems. Through collaboration on products, services, validated architectures and educational resources, the two companies seek to help manufacturers converge their network infrastructure, and bring together IT and operations using an IP-based network to help to achieve the connected enterprise.

Rockwell Automation Extends Modern DCS Capabilities with PlantPAx System Update

Rockwell Automation has added new virtualization, batch management and integrated motor control capabilities to its PlantPAx process automation system. With the latest system release, Rockwell Automation extends the capabilities of its modern distributed control system (DCS) platform to help simplify the system’s design, deployment, operation and maintenance.

Integrated Virtualization: Virtualization has become the rule more than the exception in global process facilities. It helps speed system integration time, lower hardware costs and burdens, and extend the lifecycle of plant equipment. The PlantPAx platform now makes it easier for users to implement virtualization. Built into the core documentation of the system is a selection guide that provides guidance and best practices for adopting a virtualized automation system.

Batch Recipe Management: Upgraded batch software more tightly integrates with the PlantPAx system for a range of applications, from small, basic sequencing to large, complex batch and sequencing. With new version-control capabilities, the software automatically tracks recipe changes and genealogy, and provides approval traceability in order to more easily manage recipes. This helps to simplify the management of recipes throughout their life cycle.

Rockwell Automation has also updated the batch and sequence manager in its modern DCS platform. This helps reduce engineering time for process machine builders and system integrators by allowing users to configure sequences directly in the controller. Incorporating batch management and optimizing continuous sequencing, the batch and sequence manager is suited for both skid control and stand-alone process units, such as mixers, blenders and reactors.

Intelligent Motor Control: Through integration with motor control devices – such as the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 520-Series of AC drives, and Allen-Bradley motor starters and electronic overload relays – the PlantPAx system helps ease motor control configuration and delivers diagnostic information directly to the operator at the HMI level. This helps ease maintenance activities and helps allow operators to diagnose issues before they occur. System users can monitor key process conditions leveraging the EtherNet/IP network. Tying intelligent motor devices into the plantwide control architecture helps make an immediate, measurable impact on asset availability, operational efficiency and energy management.

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Nov 25

NAMUR General Assembly 2014:  Major Progress Towards Standardized Data Exchange between Computer Aided Design and Process Control Systems

An interesting report from our analyst Valentijn de Leeuw who went the NAMUR General Assembly recently.

Valentijn de Leeuw

At the NAMUR General Assembly  (November 6th and 7th, 2014) Thomas Tauchnitz of Sanofi reported about spectacular progress in adoption and implementation of a standard data exchange between Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools and Process Control Systems (PCS).  Mr Tauchnitz published a vision for “Integrated Engineering” that includes the possibility to configure and program a PCS in a generic manner in a CAE application, and export the configuration to a PCS where it is compiled.  In collaboration with Mr Tauchnitz, Siemens implemented this between COMOS and PCS 7.  The interface was made bidirectional because Mr Tauchnitz’ objective is to keep the asset information up to date in the CAE tool, that literally becomes an Asset Information Management (AIM) plus a CAE tool, where both engineering and maintenance activities work off the same, up to date asset information.

Simultaneously with the proof of concept, NAMUR worked on a specification for a standard data exchange format for DCS tags that was published a few weeks ago as NAMUR recommendation NE 150.  The standard preserves the intellectual property of all parties by providing a temporary data structure that contains the information related to a PCS object that a user of either system wants to transfer to the other system.  A ‘container’ serves only one transfer (it is not a databank), and has no checks for completeness, in order to be used in both early and advanced project stages.

Mr. Tauchnitz initiated a working group in the German GMA, including 5 NAMUR companies, 5 CAE suppliers, 6 Automation suppliers and three universities.  Much faster than expected, he reported that four CAE (Aucotec, Bentley, ESP, Siemens) and three PCS providers (ABB, Siemens, Yokogawa) implemented demonstrators of the standard.  In one year, the group built a working set of demonstrators, in which applications transfer information on a specific DCS tag to each other, using the NE 150 standard implemented in AutomationML.

In our ARC Europe blog, we provide more detail on the background of Integrated Engineering, and we elaborate on what we believe to be important potential benefits of using this standard, both for vendors and users.

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Oct 20

ABB Wins Order for FPSO in North Sea

ABB has won an order to provide both power and automation technologies for an FPSO destined to the Kraken oil field, which happens to be the largest subsea oilfield project in the North Sea.  From the press release:

The FPSO vessel will be delivered to EnQuest UK as the company plans to exploit the Kraken field’s estimated 140 million barrels of oil starting in 2017.

The vessel’s newly installed system will contribute to efficient and safe operations as well as reliable power distribution on board. The order includes an integrated e-house solution with drives and systems for electrical distribution, integrated control, safety and power management.  

You can read the entire press release here.

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Oct 17

Take our Best Practices for Process Safety Lifecycle Survey!

Survey is at:  Best Practices in the Process Safety Lifecycle

ARC is conducting a survey to determine the best practices for end users in the process safety lifecycle, from layer of protection analysis (LOPA) to SIL assessment, SIL studies, use of KPIs, and more.  Your responses will be kept strictly confidential and in appreciation for taking our survey, you will receive a free consolidated copy of the survey results once we have tabulated all the responses.  This survey should take about 15 minutes to complete.  For questions or further information, please contact Larry O’Brien, Vice President of research at ARC Advisory Group at  Thanks for taking our survey.

Who should complete the survey? 

Anyone with experience in managing process safety systems throughout their lifecycle is encouraged to take this survey.  End users, owner/operators, suppliers, system integrators, engineering firms, OEMs, skid mounted equipment manufacturers, and independent consultants are invited to respond, but we are primarily looking for input from end users and owner/operators.  Those who are not end users or owner/operators should complete the survey from the viewpoint of their main customers. It should take about 15 minutes to complete the survey.

Benefits of taking the survey 

You will receive a FREE survey summary report upon publication that will enhance your understanding of best practices across the process industries for managing the safety lifecycle.

All responses will be strictly confidential. No individual or company specific information will be disclosed. All responses will be tallied and only aggregated results will be published.

The survey can be accessed at

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Sep 26

Siemens Acquires Dresser-Rand. Now what?

Siemens announced Monday that the company has entered into an agreement with Dresser-Rand to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Dresser-Rand by way of a friendly takeover bid. Siemens’ bid is unanimously supported by Dresser-Rand’s Board of Directors. The offer price is $83 per common share in cash, or a total transaction value of approximately $7.6 billion (approximately €5.8 billion).

With its comprehensive portfolio of compressors, steam turbines, gas turbines and engines, Dresser-Rand is a leading supplier for the oil & gas, process, power and other industries in the related energy infrastructure markets worldwide. The acquisition complements Siemens’ existing offerings, notably for the global oil & gas industry and for distributed power generation.

David W. Humphrey, ARC Advisory Group, commented, “This acquisition is in line with Siemens’ announced strategy to grow its presence and solution offering in the oil & gas industry with a focus on North America. In fact, plans are to make Dresser-Rand the ‘oil & gas company’ within Siemens, giving the company a strong base in the US from which to operate. Dresser’s portfolio complements Siemens’ strengths in turbo compressors, downstream and industrial applications and in larger-sized steam turbines.”

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Sep 25

New Immersive Technologies Expand Scope of Operator Training Simulator Market

ARC has just released its new operator training simulation study, and it shows some exciting new developments in a growing market. For more information on this study, please visit

The research study includes information about software technologies, tools, and methodologies for high-fidelity solutions that accurately replicate and simulate plant operations. Training simulators considered in the study include both field and console operator training simulators (OTS), 2D, 3D, generic high-fidelity, dynamic high fidelity, and immersive (virtual reality) training simulator (ITS) applications. Process industries and regional markets are also included.

The urgent need to quickly and efficiently transfer knowledge from today’s aging workforce to the new generation of workers is one of main reasons industrial organizations invest in simulator-based operator training.  “Process simulation training is vital to prevent incidents and accidents and help new operators understand how to respond quickly and appropriately to worst-case scenarios. While operator training simulators are already well proven in many industries, new virtual reality-based immersive operator training simulator technologies are emerging that create an even more realistic and interactive training environment that is particularly appealing to the new ‘digital generation’ of workers. As a result, these immersive operator training solutions are expanding the scope of the market, as reflected in our research,” according to Janice Abel, the principal author of ARC’s latest Operator Training Simulator and Immersive Training Simulator market study.

Immersive simulators provide a 3D virtual environment in which graphical representations of the users (avatars) interact with the virtual plant or upstream production assets, in many cases, even before the actual asset is completed. Suppliers are developing more and better immersive virtual reality training simulators for control room operators, but also for other types of workers. These simulators are very effective for training workers for hazardous industrial environments, both onshore and offshore.

According to the study, a number of factors will lead to an expanding market for operator training and immersive simulation solutions for the process industries, particularly in selected industrial sectors. The ability to transfer knowledge quickly is a key factor. The new tech-savvy, digital generation workers that are replacing the current workforce often lack the experience needed to operate a plant safely and efficiently. In some emerging countries, workers change jobs on average every two years, and this drives the need for simulator-based operator training solutions.

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Sep 17

New YouTube Videos from ARC India Forum

In July ARC held our 12th annual India Forum in Bangalore.  We just posted a series of YouTube videos to our channel.  You can practically view the entire forum through these videos and the team did a very nice job putting them together.  You can also access the agenda and presentations from the forum at our web site here.  Key panelists and presenters included industry luminaries (in no particular order) from ARC, NTPC, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, GE, B&R Automation, Schneider Electric, BHEL, Reliance Power, AVEVA, Ranbaxy, TCS, and many more.

Here’s a few selections, the link to the entire list is at the bottom of the page.

“Importance of Construction Management in Project Execution” by Rainer Lamping, AVEVA

Panel Discussion 2nd Day in the Morning Session- July 11th 2014

Panel Discussion First Day Evening Session- July 10th 2014

“Integrated and Interconnected Enterprise” by Ganapathiraman G, ARC

Asset Lifecycle Management, By Ralph Rio,ARC Advisory Group

Link to ARC India Forum Presentations in PDF Format (plus agenda, etc.)

ARC Forum India YouTube Video Series (Most Recently Uploaded, 27 Videos)

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Sep 17

Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation will Merge

It’s been over a year in the making, but it looks like the merger of Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation will go ahead. Members of both FF and HCF have voted to approve the merger.  To be more specific, the two foundations will be reborn in the form of a new organization that will be called the FieldComm Group, with current HART Communication Foundation president Ted Masters serving as president of the new organization.  The new chairman of the board will be Hans-Georg Kumpfmueller of Siemens.  From the press release:


The final step in constructing a single organization to lead process automation communications and integration technologies was completed when the members of both the HART® Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation™ approved the merger proposed by their respective boards through a voting process that concluded on August 30. This completes a yearlong study and diligence period by a dedicated team of volunteers representing each of the foundations.

The new corporation, called FieldComm Group, will be led by a board of directors composed of representatives of the collective companies from the current boards of each foundation. Hans-Georg Kumpfmueller has been elected as the inaugural chairman of the board. Mr. Kumpfmueller will lead the direction of the FieldComm Group and oversee the addition of FDI LLC in mid-2015.


The formation of the FieldComm group should benefit both end users and suppliers of FOUNDATION fieldbus and HART technologies.  Most suppliers are members of both groups anyway, so there should be reduced costs for membership, and it will provide a single organization for device and host system testing and registration.  The merger of the two organizations is also reflective of continuing cooperative efforts such as Field Device Integration (FDI), which will provide a single tool for integrating intelligent devices that rationalizes EDDL and FDT technologies.  It should be noted that Mr. Kumpfmueller was instrumental in the advancement of FDI as well.


You can read the full article at the Fieldbus Foundation blog here.

Press Release: Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation Members Approve Formation of FieldComm Group

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Sep 11

ExxonMobil Submits Permit for $45 Billion Alaska Project

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Sep 11

Check Out Our Twitter Feed from ABB Energy & Automation Forum Calgary

We are happy to be attending the first ever ABB Energy and Automation Forum in Calgary this week at the Telus convention center.  The event in Calgary is one of many regional events ABB is doing this year and not surprisingly there is a big focus on oil and power and sustainability.  You can read our twitter feed from the event here and we will be compiling a full report on the event after we return.

ABB Energy And Automation Forum Calgary

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