As manufacturers accelerate digital transformation and workforce evolution, Emerson has unveiled significant enhancements to its Plantweb digital ecosystem, the industry’s most comprehensive Industrial IoT automation platform.
“Manufacturing jobs are rapidly becoming data-centric roles, requiring immediately actionable information for experts across the enterprise,” said Peter Zornio, chief technology officer for Emerson Automation Solutions. “Through a deep understanding of customers’ vision for organisational effectiveness and business performance improvement, Emerson is innovating breakthrough products and services to accelerate that organisational transformation.”
A 2017 Industry Week survey of manufacturing leaders revealed more than 60 percent of those surveyed indicated active pilot projects in IIoT, but only five percent identified clear business objectives at the heart of their programmes. Of the 205 industry executives responding, 34 percent stated that lack of clear technology strategy was a barrier while 61 percent confirmed that a scalable approach to investment is preferred.
“A clear message from the industry is that a one-size-fits-all, vendor-prescribed IIoT approach won’t work,” Zornio continued. “They want to identify specific business challenges, target technology to improve performance, then scale up their investment based on results achieved. That’s why we have architected Plantweb to enable companies to get started where they can gain the greatest near-term impact.”
Built on the foundation of best-in-class process control and safety systems, Plantweb expands on existing automation infrastructure to make the promise of Industrial IoT scalable and achievable, with a broad portfolio of Pervasive Sensing technologies, an extensive suite of analytical software tools, secure and robust data infrastructure devices and expert services.
During the 2017 Emerson Global Users Exchange event in Minneapolis, Emerson introduced extensive enhancements to the Plantweb digital ecosystem portfolio, including:
- Pervasive Sensing™: Emerson’s Pervasive Sensing is the foundation of the Plantweb digital ecosystem, providing enhanced visibility into process performance and asset health, so experts have the information needed to drive operational improvements. This increasingly robust network of sensing, measuring and monitoring technologies features more than 50 wireless devices for temperature, pressure, corrosion, vibration, acoustic and more. The portfolio has been expanded to include the new wireless Rosemount 928 toxic gas and Therm-o-Disc Power Meter monitoring products.
- Secure First Mile™: As global adoption of Industrial IoT increases demand for robust cybersecurity strategies, Emerson’s Secure First Mile provides secure transfer of actionable data from Operational Technology (OT) systems to authorised internet-based applications, services or mobile users. Emerson’s data-security portfolio has been enhanced through certification by ISA Secure, the industry standard for secure systems deployment. Additionally, to accelerate adoption of new service relationships like Emerson’s Connected Services, the Plantweb Secure First Mile works with a variety of standard security models to integrate with customer IT infrastructure to create a secure connection best suited to the existing technology architecture. This includes cloud-to-cloud or direct Edge connection to field level sensor and instruments via Azure IoT technology.
- Plantweb Insight™: Emerson’s Plantweb Insight is a scalable and lightweight, web-based software platform that helps users instantly make sense of plant data by leveraging Pervasive Sensing technologies and pre-built analytics to provide relevant-time monitoring and identification of abnormal situations for specific asset classes. Plantweb Insight now includes applications for air-cooled heat exchangers, corrosion, heat exchangers, network management and pressure relief devices.
- Plantweb Advisor™: Emerson’s Plantweb Advisor Suite is a scalable set of software applications that utilise deeper analytics to provide reliability and energy specialists with critical information about equipment health and efficiency as well as energy consumption and emissions. Originally introduced as the Energy Advisor, Health Advisor and Performance Advisor applications, the Plantweb Advisor suite has been expanded to provide analytics applications for metrology and mining.
- Always Aware™: Formerly known as Always Mobile, Emerson’s new Always Aware suite of solutions builds on previous mobility capabilities, expanding them to focus on delivering role-based, relevant-time information and alerts to plant personnel, regardless of locations, enabling more effective collaboration and driving actions to improve asset and process performance. Updates include RFID asset management tags and AMS ARES™ integration with various interfaces such as AMS Device Manager, AMS Machinery Manager, Plantweb Insight and Plantweb Advisor to streamline workflows, enhance collaboration and enable more effective response.
- Services: Emerson is expanding its role as a trusted industry partner with consulting and service offerings that complement its leading portfolio of automation and IIoT-based technologies. These services provide companies with access to the information and engineering expertise needed to establish a successful path to Top Quartile performance as well as empower their personnel with the competencies and skillsets needed to become invaluable assets to their organisations. Services include:
- Connected Services – offering remote assessment of a plant’s equipment and processes by Emerson experts to empower customers with the information needed to improve efficiency and avoid unplanned downtime. Updates include new capabilities for subscription-based services that require limited to no capital cost. These include industrial Wi-Fi network management for system health monitoring of Cisco Wi-Fi networks and engineered Plantweb solutions such as management of Plantweb Insight and Advisor applications by Emerson personnel.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – leveraging the cloud to transform project engineering and a plant’s long-term operations by enabling engineering configuration and virtual testing online as well as virtualisation of a plant’s control systems for simulation, testing and operator training.
- Operational Certainty Consulting – combining the business justification for investment with a scalable roadmap governed by business impact achieved is the mission of Emerson’s new Operational Consulting team…more than 100 industry experts helping deliver digitally enabled infrastructures with optimal organisational process approaches that generate significant financial returns.
- Workforce Skills Development – focusing on enriching the skills of today’s workforce through the Control Performance Academy, the industry’s first comprehensive competency development programme, capable of equipping inexperienced engineers with the equivalent of 5-10 years’ worth of training in as little as 18 months; and Interactive Plant Environment, a fully-immersive, hands-on training experience for control systems personnel.
- Foundational Solutions: The underpinning of modern plant automation, these technologies provide the core process control and safety systems critical to plant operations. Enhancements to Plantweb include the DeltaV Live Operator interface, which utilises Human Centered Design principles to integrate thousands of data points in the plant and improve control system functionality with a more efficient, intuitive interface that can be used in project design as well as daily operations.
To help customers understand the impact these new technologies can have on personnel productivity and organisational effectiveness, Emerson brought the next-generation digital workforce to life with the ‘Digital Workforce Experience’ during Emerson Exchange. The immersive, role-based simulation demonstrated first-hand how various manufacturing roles are evolving and the impact they have on business performance.
“The industry’s technology evolution over the past 30 years has delivered tremendous improvements in efficiency,” Zornio said. “Now it’s time to fuel the next-generation workforce with the actionable insights they need to become even more strategic assets in their companies.”