GE’s Automation and Controls business has released its new Industrial Internet Control System (IICS) consisting of “outcome optimizing” controllers that, together with mix-and-match input/output hardware, cloud connectivity and the company’s Predix app environment, are intended to allow industry to quickly, easily and flexibly integrate real-time controls with industrial Internet analytics at scale.
Early IICS adopters report a 7% gain in asset performance and 22% increase in efficiency, according to Jim Walsh, president and CEO of GE’s Automation and Controls, who unveiled the new system at the recent 2016 Connected Controls Symposium at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y. “IICS was designed to help our customers meet the challenges they face every day in running their organizations with increasing efficiency,” says Walsh. “With IICS, we’ll be helping customers get more out of their assets—more productivity, more reliability and more profit.”
Two structural innovations help to future-proof the system for GE’s users. First, Hypervisor (virtualization) technology separates real-time control operations from less time-sensitive optimization and communication functions. This allows non-control software to be upgraded and maintained without affecting the controller. Second, ComExpress processor technology allows the “information-side” processor to be updated, again without replacing the controller. This is critical to taking advantage of the growing computational power (hardware and software) available to industrial Internet systems, such as GE’s Digital Twin predictive model for optimizing assets with minimal interruption.