Yokogawa / Systems Integration

Yokogawa Contracts with Dell for Dedicated PCs and Servers

Agreement Leverages Dell's Global Supply Chain, Doubles Life of PCs and Servers

By Paul Studebaker

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Yokogawa Electric Corp. announced today that it has signed a contract with computer-maker Dell Inc. for the global provision of select PC models, pre-configured and shipped directly to Yokogawa customers. "We are a leader in designing, engineering and delivering automation solutions where we integrate control, safety, instruments and more to meet the business challenges of our customers," said Chet Mroz, president and CEO, Yokogawa Corp. of America, to a gathering of industry press at the company's 2014 User Group Americas meeting this week in Houston. "This has lead to a higher level of applications -- more IT-type projects, integrated and supplied with multiple servers," Mroz said. "As we do more and more of these, we have requirements for standardized PCs and data servers with our solutions in them. Today, we are announcing an alliance with Dell for just that purpose."

Yokogawa customers are increasingly relying on the automation supplier to implement solutions ranging from condition monitoring for leak sensing and corrosion to IT solutions for reliability, the Internet of Things (IoT) and security. "More customers depend on Yokogawa as the main automation contractor, a single source of responsibility to integrate Yokogawa solutions with alliance partners' products and engineering services," added Chiaki Itoh, vice president, head of IA Marketing Headquarters, Yokogawa Electric Corp.

High-performance PCs that incorporate the latest technologies are being used more and more in the control systems field, for example, by replacing the dedicated terminals used as human machine interfaces and to connect with host systems. However, while a production control system usually remains in use for a period of one to two decades or even longer, new PC hardware, operating systems and application software incorporating the latest technologies and offering ever higher levels of performance are continually being released. When incorporating this new PC hardware and software in an industrial automation (IA) system, the control system supplier must take care to ensure that the overall system continues to meet the highest quality standards. To satisfy this need and offer quality system solutions, Yokogawa has contracted with Dell for the supply of dedicated Yokogawa PC models.

"PC vendors release frequent updates, introducing challenges to mission-critical systems," said Nabuaki Konishi, vice president, head of PA Systems Business Center, IA Platform Business Headquarters, Yokogawa Electric Corp. "Dedicated and preconfigured Yokogawa PC models help to solve this problem. But new PCs and servers are only introduced after Yokogawa interoperability testing and certification to assure smooth transition."

Tested for Compatibility

Under the terms of the contract, Dell will supply PCs that have been tested to verify their compatibility with Yokogawa products. Yokogawa will globally distribute these PCs as Yokogawa Certified Models for use with IA system-related products. These are "long-life products" that will remain available for twice as long as equivalent commercial off-the-shelf products. To meet a variety of operating conditions and installation requirements, they will be available in a rack-mount or desktop configuration with either a server or client operating system.

The provision of Dell PCs under the terms of this contract is intended to enable Yokogawa to offer high- quality system solutions with reduced maintenance costs. Key benefits are:

  • Stable operation: As the PC hardware and OS to be used with the Yokogawa system-related products is set for a specified period of time, stable operation is ensured.
  • Fewer model changes: Because individual models are available for longer periods of time, model changes will be less of a concern when purchasing a new PC, either as an add-on or replacement.
  • One-stop maintenance service: Yokogawa's maintenance service will cover both its system-related products and the PCs.

"How to combine IT and IA is an important management issue for manufacturers because they urgently need to strengthen their competitiveness in the global market and ensure that they are managed in a sustainable fashion," said Itoh. "By making the best use of Yokogawa's IA technologies and know-how accumulated over the years and Dell's latest technologies and extensive supply chain, Yokogawa will continue to be able to offer its customers solutions that achieve the goals of our VigilantPlant initiative," he added.