Control News from Europe May 2008

Read Andrew Bond’s Industrial Automation Insider, a monthly newsletter covering the important industrial automation news and issues as seen from the U.K.

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The global low-voltage motor drive market continues to exceed all expectations, according to early indications from IMS Research that growth in 2007 continued at double digit rates and, in some regions, even surpassed the levels seen in 2006. While EMEA continued at a similar rate to 2006, growing by some 15% over the previous year, the Americas and Asia Pacific grew faster than the previous year. In the U.S., growth was better than 15% and in Asia Pacific more than 25%. “Motor drives continue to provide decision-makers with an effective way to manage their long-term energy costs, as well as significantly bringing down the total cost of ownership for a majority of the motors used by industry,” said IMS motor drives analyst Alex Chausovsky.

The worldwide market for radar level devices is set to grow at 5.9% compound over the next five years from $316m in 2007 to $421m in 2012, according to ARC’s newly published “Radar Level Devices Worldwide Outlook.”

“Radar level measurement technology has advanced significantly and is more broadly applicable in a number of difficult level measurement applications, such as bulk solids,” explains analyst and report author Allen Avery. “Increased accuracy, along with easy installation and a low maintenance profile, even when applied in harsh process environments, have helped radar level devices enjoy greater acceptance among users, making it one of the fastest growing level measurement technologies.”

While substantial increases in shipments to the chemical and marine segments are the major contributors to growth, sectors such food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and water and wastewater have all seen double-digit increases in shipments in recent years. And while non-contact or microwave radar devices still account for the majority of shipments, guided wave radar continues to see strong growth because it meets process industry requirements for loop power, low cost, applicability to liquids and bulk solids and interface detection.



Cyber security database helps users identify risk

Wurldtech Security Technologies, the Vancouver-based process automation cyber-security specialist established in 2006, has launched what it claims to be the first cyber-security vulnerability database for industrial control systems. Known as Delphi, it is designed to provide vendors, operators, system integrators and service providers with new levels of visibility into the reliability, safety and security of systems and networks supporting critical infrastructure. “We understand the unique security challenges facing the industrial automation industry today, particularly when attempting to address the issue of securing legacy industrial control systems,” explained Wurldtech president and CEO Tyler Williams, who described Delphi as a tool to “help our customers accurately identify real risks and make better-informed decisions to protect their industrial operations.”

Legacy systems

Delphi is designed to address the shortcomings of the current situation in which security solutions for legacy industrial control systems are delivered through a small number of companies and through disparate commercial products from different vendors which lack integration and interoperability. This results in unnecessary complexity, increased operational costs, limited visibility and a reliance on inappropriate data in making critical security decisions. In consequence, the company claims, most industrial organizations have a weak security risk profile which manifests itself in insecure network infrastructures, incomplete regulatory compliance, security audit failures and increased security management costs out of line with business objectives.

Key questions

Delphi leverages Wurldtech’s Achilles Security Analysis Platform to create a comprehensive database of known and unknown risk profiles for industrial control systems which can be used by plant operators, integrators and industry professionals as the basis for developing and implementing security strategies. It allows the user to answer questions such as “How secure am I?”, “Where should I focus my resources?” and “Am I doing everything I can to protect my enterprise?” and includes a repository of new signatures, vulnerabilities, safeguards and response guidance updated on a regular basis.

“A major industry challenge is the lack of known specific security risks that could impact the reliability and/or availability of industrial control systems,” said leading cyber- security guru Joe Weiss of Applied Control Solutions, who is a member of the ISA SP99 Process Control Security committee and has repeatedly testified to the U.S. Congress on cybersecurity issues. “Databases such as Delphi can provide a valuable source of information from which to plan, develop and deploy the appropriate security solutions for the unique requirements of industrial operations.”



OPC interoperability test lab opens in Germany

The OPC Foundation’s first Independent Certification Test Lab has opened at Ascolab’s facilities in Erlangen, Germany. Products validated and certified by the lab will carry a new OPC Foundation-Certified logo to provide end users with an assurance of excellence. As a result of the certification program, users can expect reduced system installation costs and products that will perform reliably in multi-vendor installations.

“To successfully integrate complex systems using products from multiple vendors requires that products be completely interoperable and simple to maintain, while providing plug-and-play configuration and high reliability,” explained ABB consultant engineer Paul Hunkar, who is the OPC Foundation’s director of Compliance & Certification. “The Independent Certification Test Lab system provides the infrastructure to ensure that vendors are designing and shipping high-quality, high-performance and high-functionality products.”

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