Photo by Keith Larson
“What will happen to my support if I haven’t migrated my legacy system by the end of 2025?” This urgent question from a user facing imminent system obsolescence was among those posed by Honeywell’s Cindy Bloodgood to a panel of the company’s technical leaders to wrap up this year’s Honeywell User Group in Madrid.

Tech panel Q&A brings Honeywell Users Group to a close

June 12, 2024
“What will happen to my support if I haven’t migrated my legacy system by the end of 2025?” This urgent question from a user facing imminent system obsolescence was among those posed by Honeywell’s Cindy Bloodgood to a panel of the company’s technical leaders to wrap up this year’s Honeywell User Group in Madrid

Remarkably, after three discussion-packed days centered on the latest technology advances in the field of industrial automation, attendees of this week’s Honeywell Users Group (HUG) meeting in Madrid, still had a few questions to ask.

In what has become a centerpiece of the event’s closing session, Cindy Bloodgood, offering director for the company’s lifecycle support services, posed a series of customer questions—submitted through the event app—to a panel of subject matter experts from the Honeywell Process Solutions organization. These included Nisha Lathif, general manager, upstream oil & gas; Alicia Kempf, director of offering management, process automation systems; Liz Jones, director of engineering; and Brian Reynolds, CTO projects and automation solutions.

She started with one for Nisha Lathif aimed at Honeywell’s support of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications: “How is Honeywell adapting to offer innovative solutions that leverage the existing installed base?”

“Honeywell has been developing IIoT applications since before there was an IIoT,” began Lathif, going on to describe the company’s Experion Elevate, a cloud-based, software-as-a-service SCADA solution, and well as the new Versatilis Signal Scout, a detector of methane fugitive emissions that communicates via LoRaWAN wireless protocol for extended reach. “There are other wireless sensors for equipment health and a lot more solutions coming,” she said.

“It’s been about a year since Honeywell acquired Compressor Controls Corporation,” resumed Bloodgood, this time addressing Brian Reynolds. “What has been done to integrate CCC applications into solutions like Experion PKS?”

Reynolds responded, referring to the longstanding relationship that already existed before the acquisition, and affirmed that tighter integrations are in the works. “Turbomachinery Advisor already exists as an advanced module within Honeywell’s Asset Performance Management portfolio and can be deployed on premise or in the cloud via Honeywell Forge.” Other integrations include function blocks to execute CCC functions within the Honeywell C300 controller, as well as within the Experion Field Device Manager, Reynolds noted.

Moving on to question three, Bloodgood asked Nisha Lathif: “Which protocol does Honeywell think is the best to connect between OT and IT for Industry 4.0? Any thoughts on OPC UA vs. MQTT?” 

Lathif was suitably diplomatic, noting that “we don’t pick sides” among protocol standards. She added that Honeywell supports both OPC UA and MQTT, depending on customer needs. “The two standards often work hand in hand.”

Bloodgood then framed the question that is perhaps most often asked of solution providers like Honeywell in this day and age: “How will Honeywell utilize AI in industrial automation in the near future?”

Alicia Kempf handled this one on behalf of the team, identifying operations, engineering and services as key arenas where AI is proving beneficial. In the operations realm, AI is auto-generating operator graphics based on the particulars of the situation. On the engineering front, AI is proving useful in the migration of legacy PLC code. “It helps to identify required test cases,” she said. “Structure and layout of engineering documentation is another use case. Standard templates can be automatically populated with data and yield finished documents with less engineering effort.”

“Solutions like Field PKS and the Experion Operator Advisor are about improving safety and productivity for our customers,” added Liz Jones. “Enabled services and Honeywell Digital Prime, the always on, digital replica of your system, will benefit from AI. And TechGPT, currently in pilot, is a solution that quickly retrieves relevant information from documentation to guide customer service representatives to the help solve customer problems more quickly.”

Bloodgood’s final question to the panel may have been a plant, but nevertheless addressed a key pain point for some users in attendance: “What will happen to my support if I haven’t migrated my legacy system by the end of 2025?” she asked, referring to the imminent obsolescence of the company’s TPS, or TotalPlant Solutions, control systems that first debuted in 1998.

“Parts for TPS systems will simply not be available beyond 2025,” responded Liz Smith. “Please plan your migration now,” she pleaded. “As a last resort, we will recycle parts that have been taken out of service,” she said, “But only as a last resort.”

“Use AMT,” added Brian Reynolds, referring to the company’s Advanced Migration Technologies. “Migration can be done on process (without shutting down), and it’s only one hop to current technology.”

About the Author

Keith Larson | Group Publisher

Keith Larson is group publisher responsible for Endeavor Business Media's Industrial Processing group, including Automation World, Chemical Processing, Control, Control Design, Food Processing, Pharma Manufacturing, Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Processing and The Journal.

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