By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com
Featuring numerous displays of the newest technologies, along with dozens of Honeywell and customer led sessions and technical discussions on how to implement these technologies, the Honeywell Users Group Americas (HUG) buzzed in San Antonio this June with over 1,300 attendees. There was a heavy focus on software, as was indicated by Honeywell Chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk’s presentation at the company’s May 22 Electrical Products Group Conference which shared Honeywell’s strategic priority to become the, “premier Software-Industrial company”, with approximately 205 CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for software sales.
The event began with John Rudolph, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), putting digitalization into focus in his opening keynote, “Digital transformation has to be about more than just moving data into the cloud, it ultimately has to be about the outcomes, including driving increased productivity and savings for our customers while allowing them to increase knowledge capture, knowledge sharing and knowledge retention among their employees.”
Rudolph, who was named president of HPS on May 31, 2018 (succeeding Vimal Kapur, who was named president and CEO of Honeywell Building Technologies) led the Projects and Automation Solutions, and Lifecycle Solutions and Services businesses for HPS over the past six years. Rudolph also has held leadership roles with TAS Energy, General Electric and Ingersoll Rand. In talking with John Rudolph, it was clear that his visions were influenced by a great deal of in-the-field experience.
John Rudolph, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), putting digitalization into focus in his opening keynote
Honeywell’s Batch Offering
Also highlighted at the event was Honywell’s new Batch solution based on the ControlEdge Unit Operations Controller and Experion Batch software, that appears to be aimed as an answer to PLC based solutions.
The Experion Batch software uses patent-pending visualization technology to provide operators with insights into upcoming events or potential delays. It also makes operations less critically dependent on individual operator experience. Experion Batch is targeted for industries such as pharmaceutical, specialty chemical and food processing. Configured with the ControlEdge Unit Operations Controller that incorporate a batch runtime engine this approach eliminates the need for a centralized, dedicated batch server.
The ControlEdge Unit Operations Controller (UOC) incorporates an IEC61131-3 controller and a C300 module. The unit offers a variety of I/O choices for flexibility. Universal I/O provides remote configuration and design change flexibility for project implementation. Universal I/O enables the entire cabinet to become a standard part, with I/O channels quickly configurable to allow modules to serve as analog or digital and as input or output. Engineers can accommodate late configuration changes remotely with a software configuration change. The UOC supports OPC UA providing an IIoT-ready open platform that enables users to leverage data. It also adds a compliant integrated configuration tool to design, configure, program, and maintain PLC investments.
ControlEdge Unit Operations Controller (UOC)
The Push for Cybersecurity
Also featured was Honeywell’s ICS Shield software solution for industrial control system cybersecurity, combined with Managed Security Services. These products were designed to protect connected sites from evolving cyberthreats. The multi-site solution for cybersecurity management is based on Honeywell’s ICS Shield, which provides a top-down operational technology (OT) security management solution for securing connected industrial control system (ICS) environments with multiple physical sites and multiple automation equipment types. It also enables secure management of remote field assets through a single security operations center. Honeywell integrated and enhanced its ICS Shield technology following its acquisition of Nextnine in 2017, and the solution has become a widely-used ICS cybersecurity platform with more than 1 million industrial nodes managed globally. Jeff Zindel, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Industrial Cybersecurity described the growth, “With industrial companies connecting operations worldwide to drive greater efficiencies, there’s a real need for multi-site cybersecurity technologies designed for ICS environments,” He went on to share how Honeywell’s 50 year track record helped them to build the trust to partner with many companies. To futher strengthen cybersecurity operations, Honeywell recently opened the company’s second industrial cyber security center of excellence (CoE), in Asia (headquartered in Singapore) following the first industrial cyber security center of excellence (COE) at its Middle East headquarters in Dubai.
Bill’s Thoughts & Observations
On the Batch Offering
Since the last downturn in oil prices, DCS companies have been working to diversify their business into other process control areas including pharmaceutical, specialty chemical and food processing. Honeywell Process has obviously spent a lot of time aiming the Experion Batch software, coupled with the ControlEdge Unit Operations Controller, to focus on these industries. That said, system integrators have played a strong role in these industries and working with these independent organizations has not been an evident Honeywell strength. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
On the Control Edge Unit Operations Controller (UOC)
I believe the ControlEdge Unit Operations Controller (UOC) product is an acknowledgment by Honeywell Process that a PLC-like solution has proven to be successful in process applications and embraced by users. Honeywell Process has been developing a PLC/PAC strategy for some time, which we first identified with this 2008 interview article, Do PLCs Eliminate Need for a DCS?, with industry veteran Jamie Bohan, Senior Segment Marketing Manager at Honeywell Process Solutions. In that interview we discussed the differences between PLC and DCS and it’s likely that some of these issues were part of the development of the ControlEdge™ Unit Operations Controller (UOC).
The forerunner to this latest offering was the MasterLogic PLC, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) programmed with standard IEC-61131-3 programming languages. Reference: Return on Imagination – Honeywell User Group (HUG) 2009
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