Driving Technology and Innovation Together

Driving Technology and Innovation Together

 
By Bill Lydon - Editor
 
2010 Siemens Automation Summit
June 8-10, 2010 Charlotte, North Carolina
 
The theme of the 2010 Siemens Automation Summit was, “Driving Technology and Innovation Together.” The summit had an enthusiastic group of users and system integrators that benefited from attending over 70 unique breakout sessions covering the breadth of manufacturing, including discrete automation, process automation, and motion control.   The event also featured in-depth educational sessions, networking, product roadmaps presentations, best-practice exchanges, and technology exhibits where users talked with product experts in a hands-on environment about their particular applications. The final awards dinner was held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame which was built to honor the history and heritage of NASCAR.   Attendees were treaded to full access to this interactive, entertainment attraction.
 
Inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame
 
Event Opening
 
Raj Batra, President Industry Automation Division
Raj Batra, President Industry Automation Division, Siemens Industry opened the event. His major focus was on energy, noting that industry consumes nearly 2/3 of all energy. There has been little utility and electric grid modernization in the past 50 years in the U.S. Power outages cost over $150 billion a year. The systems need to be upgraded soon - a massive project. The profile of utilities in the U.S. today includes 9,200 electric generation plants with over 1,000,000 megawatts of capacity, and 300,000 miles of transmission lines. Batra noted that there is $11 billion earmarked in recovery money for the Smart Grid. In addition, over next 20 years, it is estimated that $1.5 trillion will be invested in upgrading the electric generation and transmission systems.   The challenge with the Smart Grid is it’s going to create a flood of data that can be used for analytics to improve operations – this date needs to be managed and presented in a useful manner.
 
Batra noted that a new PROFINET feature provides a function to set equipment into standby, power down, production, and wake up states to save energy. Batra says, “During idle periods, equipment consumes up to 60% of energy used during production.” The Mercedes Benz pilot project reduced energy cost during non-productive periods by 75%.
 
Batra also discussed Siemens role in Wind energy and the new wind turbine pant in Fort Madison, Iowa that created 600 jobs. Siemens is also in the process of building a plant in Hutchinson, Kansas that will create about 400 jobs to manufacture nacelles - the structures that house a wind turbine's generating components, including the gearbox, drive train and control electronics.
 
PLM is another trend Batra suggested is having an impact on both discrete and process industries. He described how PLM can lower cost noting, “75% of manufacturing costs are predetermined in the product design phase.”
 
Siemens User Advisory Group
Bruce Slade, Operations Manager at AE Solutions and Co-Chairman of the Siemens User Advisory Group, explained that the User Advisory Group is open to any customers. The User Advisory Group has subsections that addresses process automation, factory automation, MES, and solution partners. The mission is to provide a forum for communication and information sharing between Siemens and its customers. The Board meets monthly with representatives from Siemens senior management team and has influence over the Siemens products and services. The groups maintain top ten lists in each functional area.
 
Siemens Solution Provider Council
Brian Merriman, P.E., President of AE Solutions and Chairman of the Siemens Solution Provider Council, described the Siemens Solution Partner Program using a NASCAR analogy that the single most important part of a NASCAR is the trained team with the technology to get the job done.   The Siemens Solution Partners are selected system integrators that act as solution providers, qualified to a uniform global standard for the Siemens range of products and services in the fields of automation, power distribution and product lifecycle management. There are approximately seventy Siemens Solution Partner companies in the United States.  More information.
 
Shameless Self Promotion
Bruce Slade discussed networking as one of the valuable parts of the event and then introduced Debbie Allen author of the book, “Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters.” Allen started by telling the audience, “If you don’t toot your own horn you can’t enjoy the music.” She offered some great thoughts about how to effectively promote your ideas. You may have the best idea in the world but if no one is buying your idea it is not going anywhere. More information.
 
Process Control
Siemens continues to refine their offerings for process control applications. Their commitment is demonstrated by the release of a new Intelligent Predictive Controller and most exciting is a new Advanced Process Control (APC) function block library.
 
Intelligent Predictive Controller
Siemens demonstrated add-on software for use with S7 SIMATIC 317CPU or higher that is an intelligent predictive controller for multi-zone slow processes, designed to replace PID. The algorithm is based on Model Predictive Control theory and uses recursive self-adaptive techniques to achieve more stable control. The code is resident on the controller and corresponding HMI faceplates are provided.
 
Process Control Function Blocks
Siemens also demonstrated a new set of function blocks for process control that include APC functions.
 
Democratizing Advanced Process Control
The most striking new offering I saw at the Siemens Automation Summit was the new advanced process control functions blocks that come as part of the latest version of PCS7 software version 7.1. Siemens is commoditizing these functions to “democratize Advanced Process Control” (APC). This is an impressive set of lean and easy to use function blocks that reside in the controller. In addition to the large number of standard pre-engineered control modules, for example, monitoring measured values or controlling on-off valves or motors, the standard library contains control modules (templates) for basic analog control functions, the library includes advanced functions such as:
  • Gain scheduling
  • Butterworth Low Pass Filter
  • Override Control
  • Lead-lag / Feed-forward
  • PID tuning
  • Control performance monitoring
  • Smith predictor
  • Fuzzy control
  • Soft sensor/Neural Networks
  • Model-based predictive control (MPC) - Up to 4 x 4: internal (“lean”) MPC
 
Industrial Communications
I discussed communications with Jeremy Bryant, Siemens’ Manager of Industrial Communication. Siemens continues to broaden their wired, fiber, and wireless Ethernet switches as control and monitoring devices are all driving to Ethernet.
 
Siemens introduced the Scalance XR-324 managed industrial Ethernet modular; high port density switch in a compact, 19” rack housing that is well suited for rugged industrial applications. The XR-324 switch is a 19” rack mount with 12 slots, each slot in the XR-324 can accommodate a selection of 2-port electrical or optical (10/100/1000 Mbit/s) media modules. The optical media modules are available with single mode or multimode fiber. They are also available with small form factor pluggable (SFP) media modules with LC type connectors. The units are fan less with operating temperature range of -20°C and +70°C.
 
They also view GSM, GPRS, and cellular technology as another piece of the puzzle.    Siemens has a GSM product, the EGPRS router MD741-1, that has an RJ45 interface and permits data transmission using the GPRS and EGPRS. The MD741-1 has an integral VPN router and firewall.
 
I asked Bryant how Siemens views wireless communications standards and they now see 802.11 as the major workhorse with standards such as WirelessHART for process I/O. Siemens introduced a line of WirelessHART products delivering on their commitment to the industry. Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller, Division President for Sensors and Communication at Siemens stated their commitment to support WirelessHART at the 2009 ISA Expo along with executives from ABB, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, and Pepperl+Fuchs. WirelssHART products include temperature transmitters, pressure transmitter, WirelessHART Adapter for wired HART/4-20 mA devices, and a WirelessHART to Ethernet gateway.
 
Distributed Panel Devices
Siemens has been introducing a series of products designed to be field mounted without cabinets and with integrated communications options that conform to IP65. This includes the SIRIUS MCU Motor Starters, Compact MSP Starters, and G120 series drives. These devices are all designed to lower cost, reduce installation time and integrate communication.
 
My Thoughts
Siemens continues to evolve and extend their system architecture to meet all automation needs from discrete to process control. Siemens is constantly doing things to lower installed cost with more IP65 compliant products that can be used without cabinets and incorporate communications such as Profibus, PROFINET and ASi.   These devices are the fruition of the smart distributed field devices originally envisioned when industrial communications devices were first introduced.
 
There is a constant stream of new ideas and products coming from Siemens - efforts that are impressive and reflects Siemens research and development investments. In fiscal 2009, Siemens invested €3.9 billion (approximately $4.9 billion U.S. dollars) in research and development. In 2009, Siemens employees disclosed 7,700 inventions (35 inventions per workday) and the company maintains strategic partnerships with leading research institutions such as the Munich Technical University, the Aachen Technical University, MIT in Boston and UC Berkeley, U.S., as well as Tongji University and Tsinghua University in China.
 
Siemens keeps refining their process control offerings to further penetrate the process control markets with an integrated system. The new APC function blocks included with PCS7 is intriguing because it gives engineers functions in the controller to improve control and efficiency in new ways.