Digitalization, interoperability help with industrial sustainability

Think Again: Industrial challenges such as carbon emission reductions, increased capacity and skilled labor shortages require factory automation and process control users apply more digitalization and require interoperability.

By Mark T. Hoske August 14, 2022
Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand pressures on industries, including emissions reductions, capacity growth and finding talent.
  • See how better industrial information flow can help.
  • Learn how decoupling hardware and software is helping interoperability.

The need for efficient, sustainable industrial operations requires rethinking and reinventing how automation can be more open and software-centric, explained Craig Resnick, vice president, consulting, ARC Advisory Group, at the Schneider Electric breakfast session sponsored by Schneider Electric during ARC Industry Forum Orlando 2022, on June 7. With growth in the low double digits, many industries need to be more sustainable, efficient, agile, and resilient, intelligent, automated, integrated and more people-focused so the available workforce can reach its full potential.

Industries: Emissions, capacity, talent

Industries have many increasing pressures, said Nathalie Marcotte, senior vice president and president, process automation, Schneider Electric, including pressure to reduce carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions, demand for increased capacity, and a challenge to find qualified talent. Together these create a perfect moment for those in manufacturing and facilities to be more creative in looking for solutions to become industry of future now, Marcotte said.

Those designing new installations should consider digital from the get go from design through operations and maintenance, Marcotte said. For existing installations, augmented reality (AR), or virtual reality (VR) can help organizations be more resilient and sustainable in face of challenges such as workforce shortages. Digitalization enables co-innovation and collaborative development, which optimizes use of talent, time and resources, Marcotte suggested.

Better industrial information flow

Moving data out of silos for use in operations and maintenance is the foundation for more effective decisions, explained Harpreet Gulati, senior vice president planning and operations, Aveva. Schneider Electric is majority owner in Aveva.

Existing businesses have a series of tradeoffs built on models, Gulati said. Collaboration underlies resilience needed across the lifecycle. Open systems provide data fidelity and one version of truth.

Resnick encouraged automation and software consumers to challenge vendors to be more open and interoperable, able to work with multiple vendors’ products.

Gregory Boucaud, chief marketing officer, UniversalAutomation.org, said his non-profit organization is working to help software to be more sustainable, modular, easier to setup and independent of underlying hardware. It’s based on the IEC 61499 standard as a basis for an ecosystem of portable, interoperable, “plug and produce” solutions as a new category for industrial automation.

Automation and controls interoperability is needed, said experts at the ARC Forum in June. Left to right, are Gregory Boucaud, chief marketing officer, UniversalAutomation.org, Nathalie Marcotte, senior vice president and president, process automation, Schneider Electric, Harpreet Gulati, senior vice president planning and operations, Aveva, Craig Resnick, vice president, consulting, ARC Advisory Group. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

Automation and controls interoperability is needed, said experts at the ARC Forum in June. Left to right, are Gregory Boucaud, chief marketing officer, UniversalAutomation.org, Nathalie Marcotte, senior vice president and president, process automation, Schneider Electric, Harpreet Gulati, senior vice president planning and operations, Aveva, Craig Resnick, vice president, consulting, ARC Advisory Group. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

Decouple hardware, software for interoperability

Marcotte said companies find advantages in decoupling of hardware and software, especially with engineering done over the years. It is possible to decouple and carry on in a more sustainable automation journey.

Automation and controls leaders have been talking about and working on this for years. It’s time to think again about requiring standards-based interoperability in every request for proposal.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Industrial automation, digitalization, process controls

CONSIDER THIS

Do your requests for proposals for automation, controls and instrumentation include requirements for standards-based interoperability?

Original content can be found at Control Engineering.


Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.