Honeywell Leaps Ahead with Digital Transformation Unit

Honeywell Leaps Ahead with Digital Transformation Unit

By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com

The rapid rise of the cloud and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has spurred dozens of companies to harness the new technologies and drive the evolution of the manufacturing industry. One such company, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), recently launched a new business unit to help manufacturers leverage these IIoT, cloud, and analytics technologies to better manage and analyze data with the goal of making their operations safer, more reliable and increase efficiency.  “As manufacturers are looking to take the next step to manage and exploit data across multiple sites in locations across the globe,” described HPS President Vimal Kapur, “Our new business unit will be a focused resource to provide that expertise.”  I sat down and discussed Honeywell’s new Digital Transformation Unit with Andrew Hird, vice president and general manager, who was recently appointed to run the initiative.

Andrew Hird, Vice President & General manager Honeywell’s new Digital Transformation Business Unit

Over the last 18 months, attending a number of events, I have talked with many companies who are working to promote the power of cloud analytics to improve manufacturing processes and production.  The majority of these organizations have roots in the computing and information technology industries.  Typically these organizations will also have a team of data scientists that study existing information, create models, and build analytics in order to foster these positive results.  While it does seem possible that some opportunities for improvement can be found using this methodology, it seems to me that without also using subject matter experts, this process inherently would appear to limit success. 

In contrast, Andrew Hird described how Honeywell is leveraging subject matter experts, drawing from a company pool of knowledge that has come from over 40 years of process automation experience.  Hird believes that Honeywell’s deep expertise in IIoT allows them to solve customer challenges by consolidating data in the cloud from multiple disparate systems, applying higher-level analytics and leveraging subject matter experts.  Honeywell has the advantage of being able to draw from the expertise of their subsidiary, UOP, an organization which is highly regarded for their process knowledge. 

The new Digital Transformation Unit intends to incorporate  the following existing and complementary Honeywell offerings into their IIoT strategy:

  • DynAMo®- An alarm and operations management system;
  • Industrial Cyber Security Risk Manager- Software which proactively monitors and manages cyber risk for industrial environments;
  • Assurance 360- A multi-year cooperative service arrangement to maintain, support and optimize the performance of Honeywell control systems
  • Honeywell Pulse™- A mobility app that allows plant managers to easily monitor real-time operations from a smartphone.

Success Factors

There are three success factors which Hird believes are important to successfully achieve benefits with the application of these technologies. 

  1. Consolidate data from multiple sources for example process data from the process control system, environmental data, and data from third-party equipment acquired by various methods including OPC and OPC UA.  Bringing those pieces of data to one place, typically the historian, facilitates solving bigger problems.
  2. Developing and performing analytics on that data including looking for patterns and equipment failures to be able to predict failures. 
  3. Using subject matter experts that apply domain knowledge to the patterns to identify the root causes of problems/issues and recommend ways to improve operations.  Hird noted that Honeywell intends to partner with subject matter experts that have knowledge in various applications.

Enterprise Data Model

Honeywell is supplying Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud, and analytics technologies to users in an enterprise data model. This model utilizes Honeywell’s patented software infrastructure in order to give customers a secure and simple method to capture their big industrial data in a secure portal that can be scaled to meet the varied needs of single-site or enterprise-wide operations. Honeywell’s innovative solutions are designed to help manufacturing plants eliminate unplanned shutdowns, maximize output, minimize safety risk and optimize supply chain strategies.

Honeywell Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Enterprise Data model

The cloud has unveiled a golden opportunity for organizations to understand seemingly random events, which have been impossible to predict in the past due to a lack of data in the right hands, and to build true predictive data models.  Further Honeywell representatives and the customer’s experts are often physically remote from the plant and production sites. With today’s technology, they do not have to be on the site in order to solve seemingly unsolvable problems.   The Honeywell approach leverages their own data analytics engines and draws from other industry analytics tools and engines, to meet the needs for their IIoT applications.

Opportunity

Andrew Hird believes the timing is right for companies to take advantage of IoT, because huge amounts of data can now be stored efficiently safely communicated, and there are refined data engines and analytic tools. As he sums up, “We are entering a new era in the process industries. Advanced computing, mobility, cloud-based solutions, enterprise digitization are beginning to enable the next big revolution in performance and operations: turning data into actionable knowledge.”

Real-World Applications

Hird cites specific examples of customers, who have adopted Honeywell’s IIoT solutions, as examples of achieving gains not previously possible with conventional methods.  One offshore oil and gas customer in the Gulf of Mexico now monitors all their assets, connects their people with real-time data, using predictive analytics for fast problem diagnosis. This incorporation of IIoT has boosted their production efficiency, and decreased downtime, yielding operational costs saving of $10 million a year.  A South American mining customer now optimizes operations in real-time, by connecting multiple plants to each other. They save $2 million a day, by leveraging IIoT to improve reliability and reduce energy usage and shutdowns. The final company he referenced was an Indian refining customer who is saving $4 million per site per year, by connecting data from more than 18 different systems for better analytics and accurate KPIs, improving optimization across their enterprise.  For companies like Honeywell, this IIoT revolution is clearly already driving a profitable manufacturing evolution.

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