ARTICLE The latest news in Automation technology for professionals in the Automation industry
Honeywell System Integrator Program 'Firing on all Cylinders'
By Bill Lydon, Editor
The Honeywell system integrator initiative was launched in 2009 and has quickly become a solid program to serve small to midrange customers with Honeywell’s modular systems. There are 200 system integrators in the program with 55 of them located in the United States. The products served by third-party System Integrators are referred to as System Integrator Modular Systems (SIMS) and include Experion LS, HS, HC900, and Master Logic products. Applications areas include fine chemicals, food, packaged goods, and water/waste water.
In this short time, Honeywell has built an independent delivery channel to service customers using Honeywell distributors and independent system integrators, collectively referred to as Channel Partners. At the 2013 Honeywell Users Group (HUG) event, Matt Smith, Honeywell Global Director of Channel Development and Excellence, emphasized that Honeywell is heavily investing in the channel products, channel partners, and Honeywell people to support the program.
The Channel Partner meeting, held concurrently with HUG 2013, attracted 170 channel partners. The meetings were also conducted online in multiple languages, which is how 30 of the partners participated.
A few Channel Partner distributors are setting up authorized training centers. The training center program was piloted by Lesman Instrument Company, who, as a result, was awarded Americas 2012 Channel Partner of the Year Award at the conference. “Our channel partners are critical to helping Honeywell meet customers’ needs worldwide,” said Don Maness, VP/GM Field Products at Honeywell Process Solutions. “They are an essential and complementary part of our sales force allowing Honeywell to expand its footprint in markets where Honeywell is not present while at the same time providing the high-quality service, expertise, support, and training that Honeywell customers expect.”
Maness explained at the Channel Partner meeting that the R&D investment in channel products has tripled over the last year. The scope of product capabilities for system integrators is increasing. In the fall, there will be an evolution of Experion LS for system integrators that adds other features, yet to be announced. In addition, later this year, a TUV-certified, SIL 2, channel-ready version of the HC900 will be available to trained and qualified system integrators. Another new product for Channel Partners will be a low power RTU programmed with IEC 61131-3. The RTU will feature a -40C to 75C temperature range, flow calculations and support HART, DNP, and Modbus.
Honeywell-appointed system integrators benefit from a comprehensive training program as well as access to information including product and application know-how, and industry-leading expertise in process control.
At HUG, I talked with a principal of a large, experienced un-named system integrator firm, who happened to be one of the first in the Honeywell Partner program. He stated that, in his company’s experience, the Honeywell program is the best system integrator program in the industry. I asked him what distinguishes the Honeywell program from other programs. He responded that it is the quality, integrity and consistency of the Honeywell organization program that creates a trusting relationship.
PLC vs. DCS
In some respects this is an offensive and defensive move by Honeywell. Many PLC vendors are pushing into process control applications and working with system integrators for project implementations. In October 2011, I wrote an article on the topic, PLC vs. DCS - Competing Process Control Philosophy. The article was posted in our LinkedIn discussion group and has become an active ongoing discussion - Browse the discussion.
The integration between the Experion and the Master Logic PLCs is a twist on the idea that a hybrid system can make it easy for the user to achieve control objectives with a cohesive systems approach. This integration feels like a good engineering alternative as opposed to the implementation of one single system architecture for an entire plant.
Thoughts & Observations
In a very short time, Honeywell has built an impressive, highly-respected system integrator program. I have been watching this “overnight success” develop over the last few years, and it is obvious to me that Honeywell understands their systems integrators and how they go to market.
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