Bentley's Year in Infrastructure: Future Built on Digital Twins

Posted by Joe Perino on Thu, Dec 05, 2019

This year’s Bentley Systems “Year in Infrastructure“ users conference was held in Singapore with over 1,400 attendees from 45 countries, including Bentley staff and about 130 media and analysts from 25 countries. This year’s theme was Advancing BIM through Digital Twins. No matter where you went, the message was digital twins, twins, and more twins across the entire asset lifecycle and every industry segment from roads, bridges, and buildings to transportation, utilities, and the process industry. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling, but isn’t just for buildings, but for all physical structures and assets as they are planned, designed, constructed, operated and maintained. Digital twins are digital representations of physical assets and their engineering information that allow users to understand and model their performance in the real world over their lifecycle. In effect, Bentley says “evergreen” digital twins advance BIM and GIS through 4D.

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Categories: Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Asset Performance Management (APM), Digital Twin

Don’t Let Your IIoT Program Succumb to Cultural Conflicts

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Mon, Dec 02, 2019

IIoT has become a primary talking point about not only Industry 4.0 (I4.0), but all of the other digitalization topics around I4.0 such as analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality and digital twins. The ability to get information from the factory floor and move it anywhere and to anyone cheaply and in real time has driven IIoT into virtually every manufacturer and asset intensive industry client and vendor community discussion lately. With so much focus, both from management and leadership and technical and engineering staff, why then, have so few industrial internet of things (IIoT) projects moved out of pilot purgatory and into full scale production. Some will argue the business case isn’t there yet, others will argue that the technology is not ready or scalable yet while others say something else is lacking like leadership support or adequate deployment and support skills. There is possibly an even more fundamental cause projects are stalling; cultural wars inside the organization are inhibiting progress.

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Categories: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

Schneider Electric Innovation Summit: Sustainability and Scalability

Posted by Andrew Hughes on Tue, Nov 26, 2019

We recently attended Schneider Electric’s global innovation summit in Barcelona. While LNS Research is most focused on the industry division, it is very interesting to catch up with Schneider Electric’s overall strategy for efficiency and sustainability across the energy and automation solutions spaces. It is great to see a major energy company like Schneider Electric being so singularly focused on sustainability and for that attitude being driven from the top down and into industries where the emphasis on the planet has sometimes been seen as somewhat less important.

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Categories: Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation

Don’t Let Recent Robot Failures Sour You on Automation

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Fri, Nov 22, 2019

In the last several weeks there have been two big stories about major manufacturers abandoning robots, reverting to manual labor instead. Boeing struggled with fuselage assembly robots that were supposed to drill and rivet 777 aircraft fuselage sections and will revert to using human machinists instead. Adidas announced it was closing its “Speedfactory” plants in Germany and is moving production back to Asia where it has relied on humans to assemble footwear. Adidas has said that it does plan to introduce some of the Speedfactory technology into its Asian plants in the future. With two large multinational manufacturers seemingly reducing automation, in both low volume (Boeing) and high volume (Adidas) environments it may lead other manufacturers to question whether automation investments are wise at this time. The best way to answer that question is to understand the limits of technology, the organizational readiness to accept technology and assessing how technology will support the business strategy.

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Categories: Industrial Automation, Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

Siemens Acquires PSE to Deepen Process Industry Portfolio

Posted by Joe Perino on Wed, Nov 20, 2019

Siemens announced on September 16, 2019 that they have agreed to acquire Process Systems Enterprise (PSE) according to Eckard Eberle, CEO of Business Unit Process Automation. Siemens plans to purchase 100 percent of the share capital of PSE and to integrate its business into the Business Unit Process Automation, which is part of Siemens Digital Industries. Siemens has now followed through on their June 2018 long-term collaboration agreement to bring the power of PSE’s gPROMS APM technology to Siemens automation and digitalization offerings for the process industries. Under the original agreement, the companies promised to bring to market a new set of solutions for long-term equipment and health monitoring, soft-sensing, prediction of future process performance, real-time optimization, and operator training incorporating high-fidelity models. The agreement aimed to extend Siemens’ capabilities in the process industries and would result in the close linkage of Comos, Simatic PCS 7 and Simit with PSE’s gPROMS.

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Categories: Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Asset Performance Management (APM), Digital Twin

The Pace of Technology Change is Turning Standardization in the Industrial Automation World Upside Down

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Mon, Nov 18, 2019

Technology has almost always proven most beneficial when it operates within an ecosystem. The adage “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is especially true in the world of technology. Smartphones have changed the world because they operate within multiple technological ecosystems. If they did not allow phone calls to landlines or to subscribers of other providers, they would be of limited use. Without GPS much of the smartphones value would gone. Bluetooth makes lining the smartphone to other devices easy and provides not only wireless headsets but connectivity to vehicles and other devices. What makes all of this connectivity work? Standards. The same holds true in the industrial automation sector.

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Categories: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

Operational Sustainability → Operational Excellence: First Impressions

Posted by Joe Perino on Wed, Nov 13, 2019

On September 9th and 10th of 2019, Operational Sustainability, LLC® held its second Operational Excellence (OE) Conference at the Norris Conference Center at City Centre here in Houston, Texas. Approximately 100 people attended, including partners and industry SMEs. Founder and CEO David Drerup opened the conference keynote with a renewed commitment to serving customers with their OESuite™ of intelligent, real-time decision support and risk management applications that integrate heretofore silos of multiple products. The company is celebrating its 10th year in business. OESuite focuses on the oil & gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, utilities, mining, water / wastewater, and food & beverage markets. They have more than 30 clients, some with 50+ sites.

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Categories: Operational Excellence, Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Environment, Health and Safety (EHS)

IX in Regulated Industries: Some Sectors Polar Opposites

Posted by Patrick Fetterman on Tue, Nov 12, 2019

During our inaugural industrial transformation (IX) event, The IX Event, principal analyst Tom Comstock led a roundtable discussion about IX in regulated industries, focusing on aerospace and defense and life sciences (pharmaceuticals/biotech, medical device, etc.). These industries provide an interesting contrast in approaches to IX, with one leading the way and one trailing.

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation

GE Digital's Users Conference – Reemerging and Refocusing

Posted by Joe Perino on Fri, Nov 08, 2019

In mid-September 2019, GE Digital (GED) held its reconstituted User Conference in Austin, Texas. Unlike past Minds & Machines mega-events, this event was smaller and more focused, with approximately 300+ attendees, of which 100 were GED, and the balance being 150+ customers and 45 channel partners from a variety of industries and global locations. GE Digital’s new CEO, Patrick Byrne, keynoted with a renewed commitment to serving customers with deep domain knowledge, long-time asset and process operating experience, digital solutions and services, and the ability to support customers globally. This message seemed well-received as many customers had previously voiced concerns about GE’s viability and continuity in the market.

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Categories: Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Asset Performance Management (APM), Digital Twin

Industrial Transformation (IX): Who’s Ready?

Posted by Patrick Fetterman on Wed, Nov 06, 2019

During our inaugural industrial transformation (IX) event, The IX Event, we hosted dozens of companies that are at different stages in the IX journey. They range from enterprises co-presenting with LNS Research about the successes they've achieved, all the way to industrial organizations trying to figure out how to get started (or in some cases, re-started).

One of the key topics of discussion was “readiness” ― in other words, what separates companies ready for a successful IX journey from those that are destined to stumble? Principal analyst Tom Comstock spoke on this topic and led a roundtable discussion about it.

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation