Rudolph frames Honeywell digitalization vision

By Jim Montague

Jun 10, 2019

On the occasion of the 44th annual Honeywell Users Group Americas conference this week in Dallas, Texas, Honeywell Process Solutions President John Rudolph announced two major solutions designed to streamline and advance the digital transformation initiatives of the company's industrial customers.

The first, Honeywell Forge for Industrial, is a software solution that provides actionable recommendations, highlighted with potential economic impact, for intelligent business and operations decision-making. Based on process and asset digital twins as well as comprehensive, role-based analytics, Honeywell Forge enables enterprise-wide visibility and helps to sustain overall performance of processes, assets, people and safety.

The second, Experion PKS Highly Integrated Virtual Environment (HIVE), represents a new approach to engineering and maintaining industrial control systems. Experion PKS HIVE simplifies control system design, implementation and lifecycle management by decoupling I/O module assignments and control strategies from specific controllers, and leveraging IT capabilities in existing data centers. It also helps to increase employee visibility into the effects they can have on overall process and business performance.

In his keynote address to the more than 1,400 attendees of HUG Americas 2019, Rudolph reflected on the improved enterprise visibility that Honeywell Forge finally affords. "Early in my career, I was out on a project with a highly qualified engineer, who knew exactly what she was doing and what was happening in her process. However, when I asked how she knew when she'd succeeded, she defined it as just finishing on time and knowing the process was working right,” Rudolph said. “I thought there had to be more to it," he added. "I mean, how can you feel good about your job if you don't know how you're contributing to your business and its success?

"Now, we're talking more about digitalization and analytics that are changing the organization of processes. In the past, we'd drive up to jobs, find out what the previous person did, learn what mistakes were made, and write a report that probably wouldn't be looked at until something went wrong. We didn't know what lessons we could share with others, or how to measure success. This was unfortunate because engineers don't want to do work over, but they do want to build on what's been learned before. This what's really fun, but they need a way to prove it. Finally, Honeywell Forge can help them demonstrate their success."

Decoupling = freedom

Rudolph reported that the primarily attribute of Experion PKS HIVE is that it fully separates hardware from software for much greater flexibility. "This lets users see their full control system on a laptop, which means dramatic operational improvements," he explained. "For instance, PLC functions are now on a server, instead of being daisy-chained together as they were in previous control environments. This means one system can quickly scale up from being just one RTU to 100 PLCs to a full DCS, and be engineered from the edge to its HMI with solid solutions on each end."

Experion PKS HIVE can likewise enable other process disciplines, such as operator training simulation and process safety. "Safety is something we're always working on, but Experion PKS HIVE can take users to a different level," added Rudolph. "Where process safety reports and responses could previously take two weeks, Experion PKS HIVE can base its safety reporting on live events and alarms.

"Each user can now see their individual contribution, know what success is, and how they contributing to their company. In the past, users might not know what do without telling them, but no one likes to be told what to do. Experion PKS HIVE is better because it gives users the metrics to help decide what needs to be done."

Overcoming process obstacles

Rudolph added there are four main challenges that Experion PKS HIVE can address, including aging infrastructure costs, visibility of operations and risk status, lost of critical skills, and churning technology. "We have to ask if we're captive to old infrastructures, because obsolescence isn't good for us or our customer base," said Rudolph. "We can't stop technological change from happening or the churn that goes with it, so we have find a way to make it easier and more natural. Basically, a PLC is no longer just a PLC, and a DCS is no longer just a DCS. Even the Purdue control hierarchy model isn't the same anymore, but fortunately we now have the technology to handle these changes."

Not only can Experion PKS HIVE and its I/O, control and IT elements improve routine process operations, they can also aid everything from disaster recovery to simulation used for training. "Everyone is already overloaded with work, so it helps that Experion PKS HIVE can look into existing systems, and pull that data it needs to help users manage their processes on their own," explained Rudolph. "PKS HIVE lets us empower users to improve their functions and process safety by reducing risk each day.

"Experion PKS HIVE provides freedom of engineering and truly standardized control that can streamline DCS environments. It's a different way to communicate because one controller can talk to any I/O, which lets users to look at their processes differently, and know they can do it securely."

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