X-Change 2016 - Reviewing the art of industrial solutions
X-CHANGE 2016, Wonderware Southern Africa’s 24th annual User Conference was held at a brand new facility in the heart of Sun City from 17th to 20th April. The conference was host to 350 local and international industry professionals and this year featured the introduction of new solution integration possibilities and approaches in the areas of HMI and Supervisory Control, Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) and Plant Information Management (PIM).
The numbers speak for themselves:
3 keynote addresses
33 international and local presenters
65 breakout sessions including 20 end-user presentations featuring major Southern African projects
19 partner exhibitors and 11 Wonderware stands featuring the latest product releases and capabilities
The conference showed conclusively that the 4th industrial revolution is in full swing and starting to affect the way businesses operate and decide on infrastructure solutions. The Internet of Things is bringing an avalanche of connectivity possibilities and forcing cleverer ways of transforming data into decision-support information.
At the same time, the Cloud is lowering hardware and software infrastructure costs by providing ready and secure accessibility to computer resources as well as the Internet of Services including SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).
Oddly enough, this is only the start because Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things, the Cloud and all the application solutions in Wonderware’s arsenal are only the tools to the next step - industry-specific solutions that can be developed and configured to suit any environment faster than one can draw up a list of requirements. What’s gone before are connectivity and information intelligence tools. What’s coming now is the intelligent industry-specific enterprise.
To this end, X-CHANGE 2016 explored some of the latest solutions and approaches available to the production and business aspects of manufacturing and mining companies. Today, this is a complex business and the solutions shown highlighted the fact that the easy integration of these solutions, even from different vendors, was key to overcoming the growing complexities of the industrial market space.
What follows are shortened and paraphrased summaries of the three keynote addresses:
Ravi Gopinath, Executive Vice President, Software Business, Schneider Electric
Driving the transformation of the industrial software market
2015 was the first year after Invensys that Wonderware became part of Schneider Electric and a year down the road, I’m happy to announce that the integration of the Wonderware as well as the rest of the Invensys software portfolio has been successfully integrated into Schneider Electric’s business.
Significant investments were made to strengthen our software portfolio and as a result, we have sustained the momentum that we’ve always had on innovation – and we are innovative. More than 40 major releases and 24 new patents across our software portfolio are testimony to our innovation in the world of industrial automation and operations technology. Not only that, but we’ve also had a 25% increase in software quality.
Mindful of the investment our customers are making in our solutions in these difficult times, we have improved our global capacity to support our installed base in such a way as to give users the best possible service at the regional level.
Today, software has become a central element of Schneider Electric’s group strategy which sees software as key to its evolution, integration into its own industry solutions and differentiation in the marketplace. As well as 24 product execution centres worldwide, we also have 10 R&D centres which, together with an R&D partner, employ over a thousand people to ensure that we supply industry-leading solutions to our customers and large ecosystem of more than 3500 system integrators – many of whom are in this audience – thank you for your continued support.
2015 was a momentous year on many counts, specifically with market forces influencing crude oil prices through oversupply, increased commodity prices, tightened regulatory compliance (especially with regard to health and safety) and the slowdown in the Chinese economy. But there was another significant factor and that was the “generation shift” which leads to what the next generation of employers and engineers are looking for in terms of industrial software solutions.
There are 6 key imperatives that today’s industrial customer looks for and that dictate our approach to solution development:
Process engineering efficiency
Effective process monitoring and control
Realistic operations planning and scheduling
Profitable operations management
Optimal asset management
Information management that provides the right decision support at the right time
We refer to these 6 aspects as our solutions platform and everything we do is with reference to improving our customers’ capabilities in these key areas. The Wonderware brand plays a crucial role in this strategy by addressing the all-important areas of operations and control, HMI/SCADA and operations management.
The industry is currently undergoing changing needs in software solutions reflected in 3 very significant inflection points:
Reduced lifecycle costs – This is driving the movement to the Cloud by ensuring that software is easy to access as well as deployed and maintained at low cost. Developing cloud-ready software isn’t “trendy” but satisfies very specific customer needs.
The Internet of Things (IoT) – Currently, this is one of the hottest and most debated topics around. The proliferation of low-cost and available sensing technology means that measurements can now be done on things which were previously not measured. This is causing an equal proliferation of data which, if not governed by standards, will soon become unmanageable. It’s not about connectivity because that’s been solved long ago: it’s what to do with the data in order to turn it into actionable information.
As the world of data expands, we have to ensure its contribution not only by through its capture at the real-time control platform level but make sense of it through a contextualisation process before delivery to the business layer of the enterprise in order to complete the closed loop of shop floor to top floor information management.
Industry-specific solutions – Once the technology is proved to be reliable, flexible and easy to use, we believe that the next important step is the development of industry-specific solutions. Technology by itself is only a starting point and an enabler towards solving industry-specific problems. We already have an outstanding and proven portfolio of solutions that address most areas of the enterprise. It’s now a matter of applying these to address specific industry needs while still making provision for a configuration layer to suit the specific needs of individual companies. All three levels are based on standards so that end users are assured of application longevity and lower maintenance costs.
Whatever we do, we have to ensure that cyber security is always front and centre and this is especially important in our on-line collaborative engineering initiative which is aimed at giving customers faster time-to-value when deploying Wonderware solutions. Collaboration is also about making an engineering environment available to a far broader audience of users who may be physically in different locations – and we know how to do that.
We’re in the business of transforming data into information in order to provide knowledge and, ultimately, wisdom – and we’re uniquely placed to do so because not only do we have a proven portfolio of solutions but because we let end-user and SI needs drive our development on a continuous basis.
So, in summary:
We have a wide and proven market-leading portfolio of applications which are being aligned to handle industry-specific needs.
We have a robust growth strategy backed by significant R&D resources and proven innovation.
Our support structure is geared to improve customer time-to-value on a worldwide basis.
The Wonderware brand is central to Schneider Electric’s strategy and product offerings.
Rob McGreevy, VP, Information, Operations and Asset Management, Schneider Electric
Product technology, roadmap and release plans
With 41% market share of the HMI/SCADA market, analysts rate us as number 1 in the field as well as holding the top position in the MES marketplace. And for 13 years running we also rank top of the list with regard to customer service. These are great achievement thanks to your support and we aim to go from strength to strength going forward.
When we look at what we’re planning, it’s useful to know the key issues that are driving product development by looking at industry trends and direction:
Workforce dynamics – people are spending far less time in their jobs than previously (from 10-15 years to 2-3 years currently). Experienced people are retiring and technology needs to bridge the gap to the new generation. One way of doing this is by encapsulating their intellectual property in solutions so as to pass it on to their replacements.
Productivity – getting the most from technology investments.
Safety compliance – a must in any industry.
Adaptability – this includes the ability to reconfigure solutions to cope with changing business and operational needs.
Standards – to reduce engineering costs and insure a unified approach to project implementation.
Cyber security – this is a key component of every one of our products.
Collaboration – a vital element between end-users, SIs and us for the development, deployment and use of practical and needed solutions.
Life cycle and modernisation – how to safeguard past investments while facilitating modernisation initiatives.
Cost pressures – doing more with less in a competitive industry and difficult economic times.
We marry industry trends with technology trends to provide the best possible solutions to our customers. Technology trends include:
The Cloud and SaaS – surveys indicate that two thirds of manufacturers are adopting “Cloud first” or “Cloud also” (hybrid). Where such applications as analytics will move to the Cloud. Interestingly, “Public Cloud” is dramatically increasing whereas “Private Cloud” is dramatically decreasing as manufacturers turn to the public alternative mainly because of the cost and convenience benefits.
Virtualisation - just a few years ago, less than 10% of our installed base was using virtualisation. Today, that’s risen to 80%.
Mobile and web applications – letting the right people know at the right time wherever they are.
Connectivity, IoT and IIoT (Industrial IoT) – whatever it is, we’ve been doing it forever so nothing new here. But as already mentioned, the next piece in the data/information puzzle is the high fidelity capturing of process data and its contextualisation. I believe that one of the main application focuses for IIoT will be in the area of preventative maintenance and we have examples of where this has saved customers millions.
Big Data – the result of IIoT. How to handle it, validate it and secure it at source.
Analytics – how to make sense of it all through end-user-defined reports.
AR / VR – Augmented and Virtual Reality are becoming increasingly important and you can expect more emphasis on their use especially for maintenance purposes. This doesn’t mean the use of fancy headsets but rather the access to information about plant items including CADD drawings, maintenance procedures, etc.
Simulation – This is becoming increasingly important for the training of operations personnel.
Our production roadmap for addressing the above consists of developing solutions to address 6 main topics:
Information accessibility and mobile facilities - we’re going to be focusing on making it easier to capture high-fidelity data from your existing assets, view it, analyse it and make it available to anyone, anywhere and at any time. This means that the right people can get the information they need, where and when they need it, to be more effective (e.g. maintenance, production, etc.). This is all available as Software as a Service (SaaS).
Enterprise asset performance management – this focuses on getting the most from expensive assets by ensuring their availability and reliability through predictive maintenance analytics using PRiSM technology.
Transforming manufacturing operations – how to optimise manufacturing execution and enforce standard procedures – especially useful for multi-site companies. This is a model-driven approach for putting business rules into practice through configuration rather than programming.
Advanced visualisation – Situational Awareness principles have transformed the HMI but we’ve made great strides in improving this further by making it easy and intuitive to combine information sources (e.g. analytical information, maintenance records, etc.) using InTouch – especially when using touch-sensitive screens. We’ve also blurred the line between real-time and historical information to make it easier to integrate both.
Rapid configuration of managed solutions – Using Development Studio Online makes it very easy to instantly configure, scale and deploy an entire System Platform / InTouch system without having to install any software, configure settings or contend with operating systems, thereby reducing hours of work to a few minutes.
Standards and configuration management – This is going to be a huge topic over the next few years, especially with respect to IIoT. The project name for this is Prometheus and this will allow for a unified control strategy for a variety of devices such as PLCs. This means that the control logic can be developed in the Prometheus environment and downloaded directly into diverse PLCs, for example.
Bruce Whitfield, award-winning financial broadcaster, writer, TV presenter and master-facilitator
The upside of down
(Bruce made a brilliant audio/visual presentation using South African history interwoven with his personal experiences to illustrate a positive message with regard to this country’s current status. Unfortunately, what follows won’t do his presentation justice.)
Most of the time, South Africans complain about one thing or another. They complain about Julius Malema, Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille, the economy or the taxi driver that cut them off on the way to work. Yet there is an upside to down.
Where were you on 9/11? What about 9/12? With a different date format, on the 9th of December 2015, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Musa Nene was fired by Jacob Zuma. What were we to do? Would our nest eggs be safe?
There again, where were you at all the pivotal moments in South Africa’s recent history? Do you remember Nelson Mandela’s release?
Continuing on this theme, when people say that history repeats itself, they’re not wrong. When Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the eldest of Simon van der Stel’s six children and governor of the Cape Colony, built a mansion on the Vergelegen estate, he was accused of greed and extravagance. He was also accused of misappropriating Dutch East India Company (VOC) funds to build his mansion. This eventually led to his dismissal and recall to the Netherlands. Sound familiar? But should Zuma be told to say goodbye to the people of South Africa, his only answer will most probably be; “Why? Where are they all going?”
Fifty years of aberration followed DF Malan in 1948 as the 1950s heralded the advent of Apartheid which HF Verwoerd described in 1958 as “... a policy of good neighbourliness.” During the 1960s, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu start to become household names. Harold McMillan, the British Prime Minister, addresses the South African parliament and warns of “the winds of change blowing across Africa” while March 1960 saw the Sharpeville massacre.
The Republic of South Africa is declared in 1961 and the Rand is introduced to replace the South African Pound. That coin, containing one ounce of pure silver, is today worth around R250 and so has retained its commercial value. But that only holds for the coin – not the currency. In June 1964, Mandela is condemned to lifetime imprisonment at the Rivonia trials. Verwoerd is assassinated in 1966 in the old Houses of Parliament by a parliamentary messenger named Dimitri Tsafendas.
In the1980s, sanctions start to bite and there’s revolution in the country with the ANC on one side and the “Rooi Gevaar” of communism on the other. The Rubicon Speech of 1985 clearly states that PW Botha would not change his position regarding Nelson Mandela and Apartheid. As a result, the JSE closed for a week after Barclays Bank and others disinvested in South Africa.
In 1989, PW Botha had a stroke and was succeeded by FW de Klerk. In the 1990s, there’s a new air of optimism and the international community promises investments if South Africa adopts free-market policies. The white people of South Africa voted for democracy at a whites-only referendum resulting in Nelson Mandela’s presidency. Many South Africans were taken aback when they saw the horrors revealed by the Truth and Reconciliation commission.
In 2009, Jacob Zuma succeeded Thabo Mbeki as president after having been fired by his predecessor as well as accused of rape with a further charge of corruption 4 years earlier.
There have been a string of upheavals in South Africa’s political and economic history as far back as one can remember but thankfully, every time we get to the brink of the precipice, we pull back. While events may dictate market activity temporarily, the JSE index shows that we always bounce back. We’ve been doing it since 1887 - positive proof that there’s an upside to down.
Delegates were treated to 45 sessions of new industrial operations and enterprise information technologies, products and approaches designed to help them cope with the increasingly difficult challenges they face on a daily basis.
The informed enterprise - The industrial marketplace has expanded its horizons like few other industries. Just a decade ago, the integration of operational and business information was news. Today, we’ve moved far beyond that and are starting to view the entire business as a unified production process. Since HMI works so well at the process control level, why not apply it elsewhere? Hence the introduction of an Operations Management Interface (OMI) to provide a holistic view of production. But none of it can happen without human knowhow and enabling technologies. From HMI to ERP, information as well as human collaboration is the name of the game. So we add the human factor with Wonderware’s Skelta BPM and the logic and benefits of process control can be applied to more than just the shop floor.
A new foundation - Central to this in the Wonderware landscape is the new release of its unifying foundation product, System Platform, which is host to new variations of InTouch HMI (mobile HMI with Access Anywhere and Machine Edition for embedded operating systems) as well as the company’s legendary Historian and its companion information solution, FLOW Software.
New software releases - Other releases included Alarm Adviser to optimise alarm efficiency, Recipe Manager to facilitate formula and recipe management including easier switching between control system setups as well as major new releases of Wonderware MES and Wonderware Enterprise Integration among many more.
Wonderware partners - ACP, MDT and Software toolbox were there in force. ACP introduced a major release of ThinManager and the ease with which it can be configured for mobile-enabled applications. MDT’s AutoSave for System Platform showed the benefits of automatic software archiving for disaster recovery and system security while Software Toolbox showed major enhancements to its TOP Sever and Omniserver products and how Galaxy Toolbox enhances Wonderware’s HMI offerings.
Schneider Electric – After only a year of merging Wonderware solutions with their hardware offerings, Schneider Electric demonstrated the tight integration between their PACs and System Platform and how to reduce downtime and optimise asset performance with their new PRiSM predictive asset analytics software. The company also showed their approach to cyber security and how their leading Ampla software helps mining companies improve productivity through the capturing of real and virtual downtime.
In summary - Ten years ago only a fraction of the solutions shown at X-CHANGE 2016 existed – and what you could do with them represented even a smaller fraction. Today, the question is no longer: “How can we do this?” but rather “what should we be doing?” because virtually anything is possible – and has probably already been done given the choice of integrated solutions available. The key word here is integrated because what counts today is the rapidity with which company-specific functionality can be implemented with the lowest cost of engineering and ownership while maximising the use of past investments and catering for a variable future. When we say integration, we don’t just mean Wonderware or some hardware or software. We mean that whatever plans you have for your company should preserve your past investments and make the most of your present assets to give you the decision support you need to make a difference now and in the future. Wonderware is very good at that sort of thing.
20 end-user and system integrator presentations illustrated the successful application of Wonderware solutions in 10 projects and in a number of industries:
Cennergi is transforming wind into megawatts:
Mention electricity and in South Africa at least, you’ll be the focus of attention. Cennergi is generating significant green energy from two wind farms and has plans to contribute in the order of 2000 MW to the national grid by 2020. They’re using Wonderware solutions to remotely monitor both wind farms located in the Eastern Cape from the company’s head office in Centurion. Cennergi used the services of Control Systems Integration for this project.
Egoli Gas saves 95% of personnel time and energy through automated network monitoring:
With a “shop floor” covering the greater Johannesburg area, Egoli Gas had an understandable problem reading their meters and getting a grip on the true status of their vast pipe network. Today, manual data collection is a thing of the past and Egoli Gas can do a better job of looking after its customers by meeting their needs in real time. System integrator Systems Anywhere was responsible for the project.
Utilities management at Hulamin – how to save money while increasing customer satisfaction:
A global player in aluminium rolled products, Hulamin uses Wonderware solutions to monitor their usage of gas, air and water to reconcile vendor billings. But the system does much more than that. It’s highlighted poor air quality, helped improve final product excellence and, as a consequence, improved the satisfaction of Hulamin’s customers. But how did all this also reduce production and maintenance costs? For this project implementation, Hulamin chose system integrator Convenient Software Solutions.
Improved batch tracking and monitoring at Lonmin Marikana:
Maintaining profitability in a high value industry such as platinum production is becoming increasingly difficult when faced with a depressed world market as well as local problems. By automating their batch tracking and monitoring process, Lonmin Marikana has reduced cycle times and bottlenecks, resulting in a significant increase in product recovery.
Wonderware Sentinel Services (WSS) in action at Lonmin’s Marikana Smelter:
This massive plant has one of the largest industrial control and IT infrastructures in South Africa with a correspondingly large ArchestrA Galaxy. So much so that its supervision requires an equally capable solution. So Lonmin uses WSS to identify underlying issues early in order to improve system uptime and performance by 20% over conventional approaches.
Historian plays a central role in utilities management at Namibia Breweries: ► Award Winner
Optimal utilities management contributes to a greener environment and a healthier bottom line. At Namibia Breweries, Wonderware Historian helps to generate daily, weekly and monthly consumption reports for water, electricity, chemicals, thermal energy, solar generation, carbon dioxide and air and to compare results with KPI targets. Linking Historian tags to the company’s production system has also led to faster and more accurate problem detection.
Configuration beats customisation at Rio Tinto:
If you have software that was developed uniquely to suit your environment, you’ll probably be familiar with the problems associated with its support and the ability to modify it to cater for your changing needs. Rio Tinto decided to replace such a system with Wonderware’s MES Performance solution and the benefits of a configurable rather than a custom system immediately became obvious with a 3-month rollout and minimised engineering effort and time to enable new functionality.
SAB implements super-critical visualisation solution to safeguard million-Rand batches: ► Award Winner
At SAB Alrode Maltings plant, a single batch is actually a living organism which could be worth in the region of R2.5 million Rand. So the visualisation of its status and the rapid identification of problems are essential to avoid massive financial losses. By using established standards and a comprehensive device database, SAB saved months of design time and costs. System integrator Advansys was commissioned for this implementation.
SAB goes thin to improve security, reliability and redundancy:
While PCs decentralised processing and put it where it was needed, they also decentralised maintenance and software updates which can be time consuming and costly. This is particularly relevant in large systems and they don’t come much larger than SAB’s with its national footprint. The answer was thin clients and ACP’s ThinManager which cut repair/update/replacement times from 2 hours to less than 5 minutes.
Sibanye Gold optimises energy and resource usage in a complex environment: ► Award Winner Sibanye Gold uses System Platform to optimally match equipment usage with production schedules in order to minimise the use of energy. In other words, they maximise production with the least energy – not something readily achieved in the complex mining environment. They also match real-time predictive maintenance with demand scheduling so as to make their maintenance planning more effective.
X-Change Open Awards
The Best HMI and Supervisory Control implementation award: SAB Alrode Maltings
The Best Manufacturing Operations Management implementation award: Sibanye Gold
The Best Plant Information Management implementation award: Namibia Breweries Limited
SA Mint won this award for their innovative application of Wonderware's model-driven MES software in their extensive modernisation initiative.
Best Presenter award
Top system integrator award
System integrators are ranked according to the new product sales revenue for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016:
Top system integrator:Business Connexion
Runner-up: Convenient Software Solutions
2nd runner-up: Systems Anywhere
3rd runner-up: Control Systems Integration
4th runner-up: Bytes Universal Systems
Schneider Electric awards
This prestigious award was won by system integrator Control Systems Integration for having won the Top SI award seven years in a row from 2008 to 2015.
19 local and international hardware and software solution vendors demonstrated their real solutions to real problems. Every year, these industry solution providers choose the unique opportunities offered by X-CHANGE to network with existing and potential customers and to showcase their capabilities. From instrumentation to software and from consulting to system integration, these solution suppliers are at the top of their game and combine their skills, knowledge and experience with Wonderware solutions to provide world-class implementations to Africa and beyond .
But why collaboration? Wonderware solutions alone may not be able to fix the problem. They may require the expert implementation of professional system integrators and other solution providers who are keenly aware of the problems their end-users are facing. And then there are the complementary hardware and software solutions required to provide end-users the cost-effective value and customised solutions they’re looking for. This is the world of Collaboration Partners who chose X-CHANGE 2016 to showcase their professional solutions. After all, they’re mostly responsible for the process control and information sourcing, processing and delivery aspect of most mining and manufacturing companies in South Africa and in the rest of the continent.
Collaboration expo partners
An event like X-CHANGE takes more than six months to plan and organise. From the invitation of international guests and call for presentations to venue logistics and awareness campaigns, this is no casual event and Wonderware Southern Africa would like to thank everyone who contributed towards making X-CHANGE 2016 the success it deserved to be on this, the 24th anniversary of the longest-running and most successful conference of its type on the continent.
We also want to thank media partner Technews for their continued support over the years as well as before and during the conference.
Still number one and for good reason - Delegates saw that Wonderware remains number one in HMI / SCADA and MES and that robust plans are in place to keep it that way. These plans centre on meeting and excelling the needs of the various industries in which we’re involved and include such aspects as improving process engineering efficiency, profitable and optimal operations and asset management as well as effective decision support anywhere and at any time.
Making sense of it all - Delegates also saw that trendy issues such as Big Data and the Internet of Things are no strangers to Wonderware who’s been doing it for years. The challenge today is not connectivity to data sources that will proliferate exponentially with the advent of low-cost sensing technology but how to transform, cross-correlate and contextualise all this data into decision-support information across the enterprise - easily.
Industry-specific approach - Since there’s no room in the current world economy for mistakes, delegates could appreciate the drive towards out-of-the-box industry-specific solutions that can be rapidly configured to suit the unique needs of individual companies for a quicker and lower cost approach to wealth generation.
What did delegates take away? - The most important take-away was probably that current and planned industrial software process control and information technologies exceed current needs and expectations – and yet, they offer some alluring prospects for increased wealth creation much faster than ever before. So, perhaps the question delegates are asking themselves is: “If my thoughts can be turned into reality, what should I be thinking about next?”
Previously, the excuse for not doing this would be cost and uncertainty about the outcome. Thankfully, that’s no longer valid.
X-CHANGE 2017: Call for Presentations
Whether you’re an end user or system integrator, use X-CHANGE to showcase your success. That’s what ten of them did at X-CHANGE 2016 and what we’re asking you to consider for Wonderware’s 25th User Conference, X-CHANGE 2017.
If you’re an end user, your stakeholders (and that includes your staff) will see that you’re maximising their investment and effort and you will retain their trust in your company. Also, as an end user, you can attend this prestigious event totally free of charge if your presentation is accepted. Together with the article, it’s like someone just gave you R18000 and a lot of really useful information at one of South Africa’s best resorts and conference venues. What’s not to like?
If you’re a system integrator, you can show prospective customers what you can do and get more business by proving your expertise instead of just talking about it.
Whether end user or SI, beyond X-CHANGE, you will reach thousands more professionals nationally and internationally through a professional article about your project that you can also use for your own marketing and sales efforts as well as at board meetings to justify further profitable improvements based on past successes.
This is the longest-running, most popular and trusted venue of its type on the continent that shows the most qualified audience and industry professionals in Southern Africa the benefits you have experienced through implementing Wonderware solutions. We’ve been refining this event for 24 years so that everyone can win.
For more information, contact Denis du Buisson at firstname.lastname@example.org – act now - don’t leave it to the last minute. You may think 11 months is fair warning so why do we always get last-minute submissions? Surely you know how to control time – real time?