Andreas Milbradt 14/06/2017
In the MindSphere Lounge at Hannover Messe, Microsoft introduced its portfolio for MindSphere, the cloud-based open IoT operating system. Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure strengthens MindSphere in the areas of infrastructure and analysis. And Microsoft plans to make further functions available on MindSphere.
Simple connection to Microsoft products
MindSphere on Microsoft Azure includes hosting of MindSphere on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Microsoft Azure offers additional functions that are also available on MindSphere, including the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which provides services for big data applications as well as machine learning. A further advantage is that many Microsoft applications can easily be integrated into MindSphere through their connection to Office 365 or Visual Studio. Microsoft Azure creates a variety of interfaces to established software solutions in this way. Microsoft also provides .NET support to make it easier to program applications in the future.
Hardware for new service models
In the MindSphere Lounge, Microsoft gave a presentation to show how the Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset can be used to visualize data from MindSphere, making it possible to perform future remote support service work using digital images. In the live demo, visitors in the MindSphere Lounge were able to check the current status of a S7-1500 controller in a digital image from Microsoft HoloLens. Via the mixed-reality headset, experts from a service center are connected and can see the same thing as workers on site and can give the workers information that will appear directly on the HoloLens display. This technology can be used on different devices and machines to enable faster repairs and maintenance. This is leading to new business and service models for OEMs and end customers which are now possible thanks to MindSphere in combination with hardware such as Microsoft HoloLens.
Tobias Knieling 01/06/2017
The SINAMICS Winder Project Assistant guides the user through a graphical interface, step by step, to configure a complete winder and tension control solution for SINAMICS S120 Drive Systems.
Software generation instead of programming – the winder standard application for SINAMICS S120 has everything required for efficient winder engineering.
Parameterization based on parameter lists is not necessary – users just define their desired configuration in selection tables offered by the Project Assistant.
The diagnostic view of the Project Assistant allows a later performance optimization of the winder drives. Through the online interface to the drive, parameters can be individually modified with the Project Assistant.
Kristina Dotzauer 19/05/2017
Increasingly, companies must provide smaller batch sizes and individualized products in order to meet their customers’ requirements. A secure energy supply is vital when it comes to reliable and efficient production. However, centralized grids are prone to disruption and cause a complete standstill in production in the event of an outage. Microgrids and TIP offer a decentralized, secure, and efficient solution.
Traditional power grids supply energy – at least most of the time. But when environmental damage or security breaches threaten the grid, it can lead to widespread outages in the entire service area. This presents major problems to industrial companies in particular because these types of outages cost a great deal of money. And this is something that no one can afford in the age of increasingly individualized products, shorter production times, and batch sizes that are becoming ever smaller. With microgrids and our Totally Integrated Power (TIP) power supply portfolio, we offer companies a holistic approach for a decentralized, secure, and integrated energy supply.
Complete control over your own power grid
“Microgrids are small, independent power grids,” explains Heike Onken, an expert in distribution grid applications. “They can be operated as part of the main grid as well as fully autonomously.” To ensure optimal operation, they need to be perfectly tailored to the specific requirements. With our SICAM Microgrid Manager, we help companies to plan and dimension microgrids to meet the needs of their plant.
To be independent of the main grid, microgrids primarily rely on power from renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, photovoltaic systems, and cogeneration power plants. Generating energy from renewable resources, however, can be unpredictable and lead to fluctuations and imbalances between generation and load. These factors have an impact on the grid stability and the supply quality. With SIESTORAGE we offer an optimal solution to stabilize the grid and integrate more renewable energy sources. This enables companies to avoid peak loads or to access an alternative energy supply in the event of a failure.
With software and hardware products, systems, and solutions from our TIP portfolio, we enable companies to enjoy a reliable and secure power supply along the entire value chain of their plant. This makes the energy flow significantly more targeted and efficient – while simultaneously reducing operating costs.
Thanks to their decentralized structure, microgrids are also less susceptible than the main grid to weather-related power outages and cyberattacks. This provides companies with a secure energy supply – and thus reliable operation. If a disruption ever does occur, our integrated systems and solutions ensure that the system is immediately restarted, independently of external power sources – a black start – and smoothly resynchronizes the system with the main grid. With this approach, we increase the sustainability of the microgrid.
Reliable power supply for Mexico’s mines
Grupo Mexico, a Mexican mining firm, is using our individually configurable control technology in an industrial microgrid to tap into hidden potential. In its Buenavista del Cobre copper mine, the company automated the data acquisition and developed a maintenance approach that can be implemented during ongoing operation.
During this process, the most important goal was to reduce the number of operational disruptions and major maintenance standstills – along with the associated additional costs. Our integrated solution consists of an energy storage system, a data network, and the configuration of substations with SICAM PAS technology.
Our Spectrum Power grid control platform as a central element makes it possible to display consumption reports in real-time. This creates greater transparency and boosts competitiveness. As a result, the mine was able to reduce downtime by 60 percent, cut the operational risk for the staff, and save a substantial amount of money.
This example shows that, even in challenging environments, microgrids are a good option for remaining sustainable in an age when power grids are becoming increasingly intelligent. Thanks to their flexibility and consistency, microgrids are the key to a secure, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly energy supply.
Andreas Milbradt 18/05/2017
At the Hannover Messe, our partner Bluvision demonstrated just how easily functioning solutions can be made available on MindSphere. As an Industrial IoT specialist for beacons and SaaS-based solutions, Bluvision is making its hardware and software solution for condition monitoring and real-time location tracking available – quickly and cost-effectively – in MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens.
One of our first MindSphere partners is Bluvision, whose offering was also presented in the MindSphere Lounge at our Hannover Messe booth. The U.S. company provides Bluetooth sensors for condition monitoring and real-time location tracking. The sensor data can then be visualized and analyzed in a specially programmed application. Bluvision is now making this IoT solution available on MindSphere.
Collecting data intelligently
Bluvision manufactures compact, low-energy Bluetooth devices known as beacons, which can simply be attached to devices and then start collecting data. Beacons are suitable for any type of mechanical equipment, such as conveyor belts, water pumps, bearings, etc. The product’s distinctive feature is that a beacon does not have to be configured for the corresponding device, but learns on its own. The sensor measures temperature and vibration and creates a profile of normal values based on the measured values. The recorded data is then collected from BluFi gateways via Bluetooth and transmitted directly to MindSphere via WLAN for analysis, which is performed using a suitable application. The condition of individual machines can thus be monitored and operators can respond to developing failures at an early stage or before the failure happens. Bluvision offers an easy-to-install, straightforward sensor network for carrying out preventive maintenance for a variety of devices.
Real-time location tracking, easily implemented
In addition to condition monitoring, the Bluvision sensor network also enables real-time location tracking. For instance, if equipment or inventory is equipped with a beacon, this beacon can be tracked in real time at an accuracy within one meter. Customers can use the Bluvision application Bluzone to display the locations of all objects fitted with beacons, and thus maintain an overview of all work processes. Using the condition data of the monitored machines, they can monitor the work processes and machine availability at any time in order to check and improve the system’s efficiency. Apart from providing real-time location visibility, Bluvision’s location-based solutions also provide history of path, dwell times and deeper analytics.
By providing the technology to MindSphere, Bluvision is enhancing the Siemens IoT operating system with a complete solution for an intelligent sensor network.
Andreas Milbradt 29/04/2017
To be able to analyze MindSphere data, MindSphere works with partners such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). This cloud platform provider also presented its cooperation with our IoT operating system in the MindSphere Lounge at the Hannover Messe.
Everything comes together on the Internet of Things. Information from innumerable machines is collected, but the added value comes primarily from analyzing this information. As an IoT operating system, MindSphere is the platform where the efficiency of the connected machines can be improved through intelligent analyses. MindSphere customers thus boost their systems’ productivity.
AWS provides the global infrastructure
Amazon Web Services provides both its cloud infrastructure and its services to Siemens. Through the provision of the AWS infrastructure, MindSphere customers receive access to the 42 Availability Zones operated by AWS. Specifically, these zones consist of physical locations with multiple data centers that are distributed in clusters around the world and that have a redundant power supply and connectivity. In addition, applications can be hosted in the country where they are actually used in order to comply with internal company rules and legal regulations. MindSphere and AWS are thus able to offer solutions that are highly available and scalable.
Digital services enhance MindSphere
However, there’s more to AWS than just the provision of data centers. MindSphere customers benefit from the services made available through AWS, such as Amazon Athena, Amazon Elastic MapReduce, and Amazon CloudSearch. The package also includes artificial intelligence and security solutions. Thanks to the cooperation with AWS, MindSphere customers can use these digital services as needed to intelligently process machine and system data quickly and without a lot of effort.
Andreas Milbradt 27/04/2017
MindSphere demonstrates how new technologies lead to new business models. This is precisely what Accenture views as its strength: being at this intersection of business and technology. The company uses its expertise to support customers in their digital transformation and is thus a perfect partner for MindSphere. Accenture is one of eight partners presenting its offerings in the MindSphere Lounge at Hannover Messe.
Accenture’s orientation as a company active in the areas of strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations fits perfectly with the requirements of MindSphere. Together with Siemens, Accenture offers a comprehensive portfolio for tailored solutions for MindSphere customers. Fundamental consulting services – for defining new business models with a subsequent road map, for example, or validating a concept – are among Accenture’s offerings along with the scaling and implementation of applications. Accenture thus establishes the link between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) for its customers in an open, cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens.
Tapping into new business models
Especially for machine builders and industrial equipment suppliers, the linking of OT and IT opens up the previously untapped opportunities for new business models. Plans can be devised more reliably and decisions made on a well-founded basis thanks to data-driven analyses. MindSphere helps companies to reduce costs and produce more efficiently through predictive maintenance. Studies performed by Accenture revealed that this can reduce maintenance costs by 30 percent and the number of stoppages by as much as 70 percent. The MindSphere solutions provided by Accenture enable OEMs to take advantage of these new business and service models and fully leverage the digital transformation. This results in a win-win situation: OEMs benefit from new business models, and their customers benefit from higher plant availability.
Remote monitoring and remote services
Accenture is currently demonstrating in the MindSphere Lounge what its solutions look like. The Connected Asset Manager monitoring application visualizes all connected devices and machines on a world map and monitors their status. If a previously defined maximum value is exceeded, the application triggers an alarm to allow companies to respond to indicators such as excessive temperatures or elevated motor speeds at an early stage and thus prevent downtimes. Accenture is exhibiting a model at the trade show to demonstrate how the Connected Asset Manager works when implemented. Visitors can see just how easily a robot can be connected to the cloud.
In addition, Accenture also offers a remote maintenance solution. With the Connected Worker solution, an on-site employee can, for example, access data from MindSphere via a hardhat with integrated augmented-reality (AR) glasses. The collected data helps the employee recognize weak points or problems while servicing the machine. Optionally, an expert can also be consulted. This expert sees the colleague’s local work area through the AR glasses and can insert visual cues in the AR glasses’ field of view. This technology is also suitable for remote training sessions.
Visit the MindSphere lounge at our Hannover Messe booth in hall 9, D 35, to gain further insight into our partners’ work.
Andreas Milbradt 26/04/2017
Just as at SPS IPC Drives, our partners are presenting their offerings for our open, cloud-based IoT operating system at this year’s Hannover Messe in the MindSphere Lounge. Atos, one of our first MindSphere partners, is also demonstrating its solutions. The company uses its wide range of IT and digital services in various applications for MindSphere.
It has long since ceased to be a secret that data is the key to fully exploiting the potential of digitalization. However, it’s not enough to just collect the data. The real key lies in processing the data. And it’s precisely this processing that Atos offers through its end-to-end solutions for MindSphere. The company’s areas of expertise include consulting services as well as implementation. Use-case consulting and rapid prototyping help the company quickly find the right solution to meet customers’ requirements. Atos then evaluates the solution’s feasibility in a proof of concept and its added value in a proof of value.
Expertise in developing applications
After a design phase comes the implementation, for which Atos likewise offers support for all the necessary steps. In terms of app development for MindSphere, Atos utilizes the experience it has gained from previously implemented applications. Currently, Atos’ portfolio comprises 12 applications, most of which are already offered as a mobile version. After programming the app, Atos supports customers during integration and implementation, thus offering support from the idea phase all the way through until the application is running.
One app from Atos is Manufacturing Sustainability, in which users can display the energy consumption from production data for the entire factory as well as for individual machines or jobs. The database thus created not only provides a general picture of consumption – in order to help a company adhere to its own specifications, for example – but also uncovers potential savings that can improve the sustainability of manufacturing.
Atos apps live at the Siemens booth
Representatives at the Siemens booth are also presenting what previously implemented applications look like in practice. Directly below the MindSphere Lounge, visitors can view a demonstration of two of Atos’ apps, Process Quality and Filling & Packaging Performance. These are demonstrated in an application for the food and beverage industry in which customers can have their own individual milkshake bottled. By analyzing process performance, customers always have an eye on a plant’s productivity and quality in the area of filling and packaging. Through the integration of multiple systems at different production sites, customers can view the app’s dashboards to see information on availability, quality, and performance. The Filling & Packaging Performance app uses the values to calculate overall equipment effectiveness, allowing customers to monitor the equipment’s performance at any time. As a result, customers can monitor average and reference values after just a short time. Furthermore, the app also displays the values of individual sites and machines. Deviating values in production are then displayed at the touch of a button, and the faulty value of the batch is highlighted. In this way, Filling & Packaging Performance provides a comprehensive overview of filling and packaging, from the company level right down to the individual machines.
Andreas Milbradt 26/04/2017
The MindSphere Lounge floats above our booth at the Hannover Messe. We’re making topics related to digitalization, Industrie 4.0, and IoT tangible through numerous presentations by Siemens and our partners as well as through an impressive backdrop with a 180° video installation. Visit us at the Hannover Messe at our booth in Hall 9, D35, and discover the MindSphere Lounge.
MindSphere, our open, cloud-based IoT operating system, is steadily growing. More and more partners are making a contribution to the MindSphere ecosystem, ranging from infrastructure to applications. To this end, we’re offering improved connectivity – in the future, it will be possible to use even more devices to connect machines and plants to MindSphere. The MindSphere applications from Siemens, MindApps for short, then enable users to collect and analyze machine data. Moreover, many of our partners are also working on applications for MindSphere that meet specific customer requests. At the Hannover Messe, our breathtaking MindSphere Lounge offers the ideal stage for presenting MindSphere in general, along with our partners’ offerings and our new MindSphere startup cooperation.
Space for partners
Next to the stage of the MindSphere Lounge, you can gain insights into collaboration with MindSphere at our partners’ tables. In addition to Atos, Evosoft, and Microsoft, who already participated as MindSphere partners at SPS IPC Drives 2016, the number of partners continues to increase. Accenture, Amazon Web Services, Bluvision, and SAP will now present their contributions to the MindSphere ecosystem in the MindSphere Lounge at the Hannover Messe. Follow our Competitive Industries blog to gain further insight over the next few days into our partners’ work.
Dynamic spirit through startups
In addition to our collaboration with the companies just mentioned, we’re already working on other cooperation agreements. In the cloud environment, startups in particular offer enormous potential. The speed and diversity for which startups are known greatly contribute to developments of the Internet of Things. For this reason, MindSphere is increasingly seeking out partnerships with young companies. Together with next47, Siemens’ own unit for startups, we’re incorporating this dynamic spirit into our ecosystem. Working jointly with our well-known partners, we’re providing selected startups with access to MindSphere and selected use cases. This cooperation with young companies will continue to grow in the coming months. Two pilot projects are already running today with the companies Coresystems and Seeq. To subsequently expand the project, we’ll launch the global MindSphere Rocket Club startup program in autumn 2017.
You can find a complete overview of all presentations related to MindSphere on the Events page of the MindSphere Lounge
Christian Stiegler 29/03/2017
Inventory monitoring, overspill protection and loss control, emissions monitoring, leak detection and localization and, of course, product metering – these are all tasks that every bulk storage facility has to deal with everyday. One thing they all have in common is the need for reliable and accurate information on stock inventories and movements.
Newly developed tank level monitoring instrumentation from Siemens, for example, incorporates advanced software algorithms for highly accurate continuous tank level measurements. Using guided wave radar, the software detects interference signatures and dynamically updates signals in accordance with desired measurement levels, thereby enabling maximum fill capacity utilization. It’s the kind of finely tuned instrumentation technology and smart sensors that enables sound returns.
Picking up the beat
Clearly, the tank storage industry requires additional capital investment to provide the capacities needed, which in turn calls for concerted actions aimed at becoming more attractive to investors. It means working on key performance indicators (KPI) to, for example, reduce the total cost of ownership and improve return on investment.
The increasing speed of transfer logistics necessitates faster, more efficient operations and resource distribution, as well as optimized asset management and utilization. The situation is further compounded by a growing need to improve tank farm and terminal safety. Faced with increasingly tighter safety regulations, the industry urgently requires more highly integrated and automated processes, as well as intelligent and reliable measurement and control solutions. Reducing the number of technology suppliers and outsourcing certain maintenance and other services such as process instrumentation and analytics tasks, would certainly also help to further lower overall lifecycle costs. In this case, tank storage instrumentation is no longer part of the operational comfort zone.
Tuning every instrument
Often seen as a trivial aspect of tank storage management, smart instruments have become indispensable for boosting productivity and safety. Intelligent measurement solutions for monitoring and control functions from Siemens help companies comply with government and industry regulations for tank storage installations as well as ensure reliable and safe operations. Our comprehensive process instrumentation, analytics, and weighing portfolio comprises solutions that deliver outstanding precision, transparency and usability for all types of tank farm tasks – from our tank level measurement products SITRANS L and our Sitrans F flowmeters, SITRANS P pressure and SITRANS T temperature transmitters, to emissions monitoring with our continuous gas analyzers, valve positioning with our intelligent SIPART sensor systems, as well as truck and rail car weighing with compression load cells and the built-in intelligence of our SIWAREX weighing systems.
So what does a clever arrangement of products, systems, and solutions get you? With the right instruments, you benefit from improved operations safety, maximum process transparency, and back-up technologies. Innovative digital platform concepts and high-level process integration enable you to further enhance your operational efficiency. Finally, advanced diagnostics functions and the use of low-maintenance devices that provide continuous performance updates needed for efficient asset management help you lower your total cost of ownership. Doesn’t that sound good?
Christian Stiegler 27/03/2017
Automated processes are essential for storage operators to achieve efficiency and therefore to reduce the total cost of ownership and stay ahead of the competition, especially in volatile markets. Process control and tank management are integrated parts of the automation and deliver transparency from the field device level up to the management execution level. Looking at the safe plant operations of tank farms and terminals there are also several underlying systems, such as communications, electrical, and fire and gas detection.
A modular tank management system such as can be used as a standalone solution. However, more often than not, it is operated within an existing infrastructure, for example, with Siemens SITRANS instrumentation, the Siemens process control and safety system SIMATIC PCS 7, Siemens XHQ Operations Intelligence, third party MES/ERP solutions, and many more. The openness to the Cloud is beneficial for increasing integration and for future developments.
Digital technologies play an important role in the tank terminal industry, not only in terms of future investments, but also for accelerating established processes and incorporating greater transparency and flexibility. Furthermore, it is important in analyzing all lifecycle phases from the initial plant design to the engineering, construction, installation, and commissioning through to ongoing operation and maintenance. A quick response to market demands is crucial, i.e., adapting capacities to maximize output through minimal downtime, ensuring flexibility in supply chain management including storage, and above all, using safe and efficient processes. Together with the modular approach of the tank management system, digitalization offers a solution to meet these demands.
Siemens brings automation and digitalization to the storage core processes through the integration of engineering and operation. A so-called digital twin creates economic value for tank and terminal operators as it enables them to simulate assets and operations and see a virtual copy of what is being installed or what is happening in their real plant and vice versa. The digital twin provides a common, consistent data model that optimizes operations and increases productivity.
Effective, digital data management
With the engineering software COMOS, Siemens offers the ideal platform for optimizing engineering transparency and process flow efficiency over the entire lifecycle. SIMATIC PCS 7 forms a solid basis for a variety of add-ons that enhance process flexibility. SIMIT software enables simulation and testing and even facilitates virtual commissioning of the automation designs prior to implementation. XHQ is an effective analysis solution for continuously monitoring and improving operations performance as it enables better decision-making through the use of key performance indicators and dashboards.
Digitalization also extends to the field level. Smart sensor technology is needed to handle the various stored products, the increasing number of tanks and field instruments at each tank farm, and the intense frequency of the loading and unloading processes. Smart sensors allow remote parameterizing, monitoring, and diagnosis and therefore enable safer operation and simplified maintenance.
Further developments for tank storage
Advanced technologies such as telecontrol and area surveillance enable remote operation, not only for smaller operations but also for partially unmanned plants in order to reduce personnel costs. Telecontrol means that supervision of several plants is carried out remotely from a central control station, whereas tank truck drivers perform the loading and unloading processes themselves. With video signals from Siveillance, Siemens helps to protect operations against unauthorized movement of people or assets by detecting, tracking, and creating alerts to emergency situations.
Plant managers can benefit immensely from energy savings when using variable speed drives (SINAMICS), energy-efficient frequency converter technologies in pumping operations, and motor management systems designed for improved asset utilization. SIMATIC PCS 7 PowerControl integrates all this data into the automation environment.
Maximizing process safety in complex logistics
Together, all of these solutions offer a solid foundation not only for providing the flexibility and performance needed to optimize tank storage installations, but also for ensuring terminal and process safety. Siemens safety lifecycle engineering tools help to streamline the specification process, thereby significantly reducing engineering and maintenance requirements. An integrated safety approach can help to significantly raise safety levels at tank farms and terminals – and together with SITAS TMS, can also boost productivity and performance levels.
Automation combined with digitalization enables tank storage operators to enhance plant availability and profitability without compromising on plant safety – thus giving them a competitive advantage.