Honeywell Users Group Americas connects plants, users to IIoT future

Jul 17, 2017

What will take to get you into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) today? Multiple useful answers to that question were provided to more than 1,300 attendees at the 42nd annual Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Americas 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. The conference by Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) focused on delivering Honeywell's Connected Plant strategy for helping process engineers and their organizations join in and profit from IIoT-based connections and solutions.

"Challenges facing manufacturers and plant operators today haven't dramatically changed in the last 40 years," said Vimal Kapur, president of HPS. "Safety, efficiency, reliability, productivity and security continue to drive innovation across industries. What's changed is our ability to better address these challenges. Today, we can leverage the power of the Internet to employ a broader range of data to transform operations. At Honeywell, we call it the Connected Plant. Manufacturers are looking to increase production from existing assets while managing finite investment dollars. Connected Plant can help them do it.”

Kapur reported that Honeywell’s efforts to support Internet-empowered capabilities and its product releases over the next 18 months will center on five technologies: virtualization, the cloud, connected plant, digitalization and virtual reality.

Cloud aids human connections

One way Honeywell is leveraging virtual and cloud technologies is with Experion Elevate, a cloud-based SCADA application that eliminates needs for an on-site data center and backup system. “It takes a few weeks to deploy, instead of 8-10 months,” said Kapur. Experion Elevate moves capital expenditures (CapEx) to operating expenses (OpEx), and it’s flexible. Users can start small, and add and delete as equipment and needs change. “It’s secure, because the software is always updated,” he added. “It’s a fundamentally different way to do this.”

A second cloud-based application by HPS is Uniformance Connected Historian, which handles historian and analytical capabilities. “Will process control move to the cloud? Maybe, maybe not,” said Kapur. “But Experion Elevate and Uniformance Connected Historian are here today and are much better, so why not use them?”

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Just as connected process control lets experts improve plant reliability and leverage process licensors, and just as connected assets allow plants to work with equipment OEMs to optimize and improve equipment reliability, Kapur stated that connected people let organizations use the Internet to understand competence, analyze skill gaps, and provide training. “We understand needs analysis—the competency requirements of an operator or technician,” said Kapur. “How can we know their skill levels, do a gap analysis, and provide the most effective training? We can use plant data in real time to determine individual competency and do training intervention, online and customized for different roles rapidly and using virtual reality, to raise skill levels. Connecting people is the most critical leg to make the Connected Plant vision into reality.”

Connected processes, assets and people products are now in applications such as heat-exchanger monitoring, shift handover and vessel lifecycle, and Kapur added that Honeywell will release additional applications during 2017-18.

In conjunction with the Connected Plant, HUG visitors took in many of Honeywell’s other new industrial automation technologies, including:

• LEAP for Operations extends Honeywell's Lean Execution of Automation Projects (LEAP) efficiency principles to optimize, simplify and run ongoing operations more efficiently;

• Honeywell Trace documentation and change management software to reduce configuration errors, improve troubleshooting, reduce unplanned shutdowns, and improve auditing and regulatory compliance; and

• Secure Media Exchange (SMX) program to reduce cybersecurity risks and operational disruption by monitoring, protecting and logging use of removable media such as USBs.

For more detailed coverage of Honeywell User Group 2017, visit www.controlglobal.com/industrynews/2017/live-from-2017-honeywell-users-group-americas

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