Eva Gansen 30/01/2018
Enterprise IT and industrial communication networks are considerably different, and yet have one thing in common: their secure connection is decisive for creating added value in a company – especially in the age of big data and increasing data volumes. Only those that understand the requirements of the enterprise IT and industrial networks can establish a reliable connection – and keep communications running.
By 2020, up to 15 billion smart machines will be connected in the industrial IoT and exchange information, which offers huge potential. With the help of intelligent data analysis, processes can be planned in advance and implemented in a way that saves resources. However, this is only possible if the enormous volume of data can also be stored, processed, and transmitted – in real time. High-performance industrial communication networks lay the foundations for this. They ensure data security, stability, and high plant availability. The prerequisites are the reliable connection of industrial networks to the enterprise IT network and the knowledge of how to meet their varying requirements. But what are they exactly?
A lossless exchange of data
The communication is set up differently for each of the two networks: while traditional IT transmits telegrams, industrial communication focuses on applications. Network components and topologies must therefore be tailored to suit the respective requirements.
Terminal equipment in the office, for example, generally communicates with one or more servers, and the network topology is vertical and designed for a wider bandwidth. If individual clients fail, it does not usually have a critical impact on the business. Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is different: integrated data exchange – without delay or loss – is a vital prerequisite for avoiding plant downtime and the resulting high financial losses. For this reason, data transmission in industrial communications must be conducted and completed within a defined response time (deterministic).
This major difference is also reflected in the infrastructure. A network designed purely for vertical communication, as in traditional IT, cannot ensure a continuous flow of data. This is why certain network designs have been established with appropriate redundancy mechanisms, among other things, to facilitate an Ethernet-based information exchange in industrial networks. They are developed specifically for applications in various industries and enable a connection to the enterprise IT.
Service and security make all the difference
An additional factor is quick and easy troubleshooting. If a malfunction occurs in an industrial network, a rapid recommissioning of the components is the top priority. Employees must be able to identify faults and access the location of the faults for maintenance purposes. Because unlike standard IT, where outsourcing is widespread, the responsibility in industry is lies with the company’s own IT experts or trained automation engineers.
Safety and security leave no room for compromise in data transmission. In an emergency, for example, safety-related communication must switch entire plants to a safe state via the industrial network to prevent harm to people and machines. In order to fully protect plants against cyber attacks, industrial networks require holistic, scaled security concepts that provide reliable protection against unauthorized access.
The differences between industrial networks and enterprise IT are considerable, but are they irreconcilable? What’s the secret to ensuring both networks work together?
Curious? Then read the whitepaper “Connecting two worlds”.
Eva Gansen 29/01/2018
This much is certain: The increasing digitalization in industry demands future-proof (infra)structures. As one of the drivers of the industrial (r)evolution, Siemens is very aware of this and therefore offers customized components and concepts to help companies on their way to becoming a digital enterprise. Reliable and future-proof industrial communication networks with targeted services are particularly important.
Digitalization has by no means reached its peak. This puts considerable pressure on manufacturing companies who have been forced to react in order to prepare for the Internet of Things and to remain competitive. They must be able to ensure a short time-to-market, more flexibility, and increased efficiency. Higher quality is also expected while saving resources and energy.
Progress will not be possible with a just a single automation solution. New potential can only be tapped by means of a holistic digital approach: the comprehensive digitalization of all processes along the value chain with a common database. We support companies from various industries on their way to becoming a digital enterprise. In order to fully utilize the benefits of Industrie 4.0, companies rely on the four core elements of our Digital Enterprise Suite: the integration of industrial software and automation, the expansion of communication networks, security in the area of automation, and the use of business-specific industrial services.
Expertise in industrial networks
Integrated horizontal and vertical communication is essential for any digitalization solution. As a supplier of automation technology, we are aware of the industry demands on the open and secure industrial communication networks that are required to achieve this. Linking the real world with the virtual world requires a continuous exchange of data. This in turn demands a powerful network infrastructure and industry-suitable network mechanisms.
However, it’s not just powerful network components that are vital for the digitalization of industry: the expertise to design, plan, implement, and connect to a corporate network is also necessary. This expertise has to be continually built on and developed, during which time we offer users full support.
Companies that lack the necessary personnel can use Siemens’ tailored Professional Services and draw on a global network of Siemens Solution Partners with in-depth industry and IT experience. The basis for a successful implementation is a preliminary on-site inspection, evaluation, and analysis of existing network structures, from which specific recommendations can be derived. If required, experienced specialists can advise on the design of the network infrastructure and mechanisms and carry out the on-site commissioning and optimization. This accelerates the implementation and enables the first-hand transfer of expertise to the user. For example, we offer customized training courses with experienced instructors. Further training courses from the Industrial Networks Education program will teach you how wired and wireless data networks can be planned, implemented, and connected to a corporate network.
Always on the safe side
Digitalization and the increased networking of machines and industrial plants bring with them an increased risk of cyber attacks – Industrial Security offers protection measures in the digital enterprise. All levels have to be addressed simultaneously if industrial plants are to be comprehensively protected from cyber attacks, both internally and externally. This is why we use an in-depth defense strategy: “defense in depth” is an overarching protective strategy based on the recommendations of ISA99/IEC 62443, the leading standard for security in industrial applications.
Industrial communication networks form the basis of any digitalization solution. You can find more information regarding the differences but also the similarities of industrial networks and enterprise IT systems in another blog post.
Andreas Milbradt 29/11/2017
Chemicals in fluid form are the crucial raw materials of industrial production, while oil and natural gas represent the primary energy sources driving modern society. But ensuring the safety of transportation and storage of such critical process media is anything but simple.
Plant operators not only need to comply with increasingly tighter safety regulations. They also face the challenge of ensuring ever higher levels of efficiency and availability.
Siemens automation systems and sensor technologies are the key to achieving faster and more efficient operations and to optimizing pipeline systems and storage facilities.
Measuring, detecting, and controlling
Efficient process management relies on a combination of reliable tank level control, precise process monitoring and intelligent analysis. With its SITRANS range, Siemens offers a comprehensive product portfolio that provides the sensors and actuators to support integrated solutions for highly efficient automatic process control.
The newly developed SITRANS L sensors for tank level monitoring use guided wave radar detection combined with advanced software algorithms to enable maximum tank level utilization while maintaining high environment and process safety standards.
These sensors interact closely with SIPART sensor systems, as well as SITRANS F flow meters, SITRANS P pressure and SITRANS T temperature transmitters. Perfectly tailored to the respective application, this highly developed process instrumentation helps to precisely control inbound and outbound fluid flow while maximizing the use of storage capacities. Sophisticated truck and rail car weighing with compression load cells mark the end of the storage and transfer process. Together with intelligent SIWAREX weighing systems, this forms the basis for highly efficient loading processes.
Intelligent product transfer
Transferring fluids or gaseous process media through a pipeline network from a defined source to a defined destination requires a complex control system based on highly complex algorithms.
With SIMATIC Route Control, Siemens offers a highly intricate media routing solution designed for pipeline systems of any size and complexity. The solution incorporates a variety of diagnostics functions and allows the operator to automatically or semi-automatically control transport routes for all types of fluid or gaseous media.
Route Control is an extension of the SIMATIC PCS 7 process control system from Siemens. It can be adapted to just about any process media and represents a comprehensive solution for the configuration, control, monitoring, and diagnostics of material handling.
Working much like a navigation system for the pipeline system, SIMATIC Route Control provides the plant operator with a graphic search system to identify unwanted path combinations. It also supports automatic transport path identification and enables the storage and activation of predefined transport paths.
PCS 7 and Route Control are well established technologies with a successful track record in the global oil and gas industry. In combination with SITRANS and SIPART field instrumentation they make Siemens the ideal technology partner for the complete transportation path – from ship or refinery to the tank and from the tank to any transportation vehicle.
Want to learn more? Visit us at Tank Storage Hamburg, Booth A19, November 29 to 30, 2017 – or check out our tank storage solutions at siemens.com/sitas and our process instrumentation solutions at siemens.com/process-instrumentation
Andreas Milbradt 28/11/2017
Automated processes are essential for storage operators to achieve efficiency and to therefore 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 system and deliver transparency from the field device level up to the management execution level.
To ensure safe plant operations in tank farms and terminals, several core systems such as communications, electrical equipment, and fire and gas detection are also required. A modular tank management system such as SITAS TMS can be used as a standalone solution. However, more often than not, it is operated within an existing infrastructure, for example, with SITRANS instrumentation, the SIMATIC PCS 7 process control and safety system, XHQ Operations Intelligence, third-party MES/ERP solutions, and many more. The openness to the cloud with our Digital Services and Apps from the Siemens Asset and Process Performance Suite helps increase integration and supports future developments.
Digital technologies play an important role in the tank terminal industry, not only in terms of future investments, but also for streamlining existing processes and achieving greater transparency and flexibility. Furthermore, these technologies are important in analyzing all lifecycle phases from the initial plant design to the engineering, construction, installation, and commissioning, through to ongoing operation and maintenance. Reacting quickly to market demands is crucial, for example, adjusting 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 tank management system’s modular approach, digitalization offers a solution to meet these demands.
Siemens brings automation and digitalization to core storage processes through the integration of engineering and operations. A so-called digital twin creates economic value for tank and terminal operators by enabling 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. SITAS TMS provides integrated tank farm and terminal management using a variety of functions for inventory and sales orders as well as for blending, loading, and unloading. 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 high frequency of the loading and unloading processes. Smart sensors allow remote parameterizing, monitoring, and diagnostics, thereby enabling safer operation and simplified maintenance. This also applies to non-intelligent field devices such as pumps, drives, and converters when integrated into the automation environment.
Further developments for tank storage
Combining automation with digitalization enables tank storage operators to enhance plant availability and profitability without compromising on plant safety – thus giving them a competitive advantage. For instance with cloud-based analytics and services such as improvement of the control system performance or the supervision of critical assets like pumps, valves, compressors or complete power trains. Energy savings and process improvements can be achieved when streamlining engineering, operations, and maintenance by using energy-efficient equipment or creating more data-driven, mobile applications. Advanced technologies such as telecontrol and area surveillance enable remote operation, which reduces personnel costs for smaller facilities as well as for partially unmanned plants. With telecontrol, supervision of several plants can be carried out remotely from a central control station. Using video signals from Siveillance, Siemens helps to protect plant operations against unauthorized access or movement of assets by detecting and tracking errors and creating alerts in emergency situations.
Want to learn more? Visit us at Tank Storage Hamburg, Booth A19, November 29 to 30, 2017 – or check out our tank storage solutions at: siemens.com/sitas
Andreas Milbradt 28/11/2017
Siemens presents the new SIMATIC HMI Option+ application at SPS IPC Drives 2017
As the digitalization of manufacturing processes increases, so does the need for a simple and reliable configuration of IT-related functions in HMI systems within the manufacturing environment, particularly in the areas of network connection, remote access, communication, and user identification.
An easy and manageable gateway between the runtime and the operating system
The new SIMATIC HMI Option+ application, which we will present at this year’s SPS IPC Drives, enables access to these IT-related functions. With this application we have addressed our customers’ requirements for a simple and manageable tool and have leveraged the experience gained from our SIMATIC HMI Toolbox – one of our most widely used SIMATIC HMI applications.
SIMATIC HMI Option+ acts as a gateway between the SIMATIC HMI Panel runtime and the operating system. It enables the user to display system information, configure interfaces and services, and use advanced functions for machine monitoring from the runtime. To ensure that only authorized employees can use these functions, access to Option+ can be restricted and protected with a password.
A variety of options for SIMATIC HMI
With SIMATIC HMI Option+ we offer the user a variety of options for the configuration of IT-related functions in his or her SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panels and thus emphasize the performance and flexibility of the devices, which are one of the most successful products in machine-level operator control and monitoring – and for good reason. SIMATIC HMI Option+ is expected to be available for TIA Portal V15 in the first quarter of 2018. In addition to SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panels in 7" to 22" as well as the Comfort PRO and Comfort Outdoor devices, the application supports the SIMATIC HMI Advanced device series.
Article: Marcel Roske, SIMATIC HMI Marketing Manager, Siemens AG
Elisabet Sangra Sole 05/09/2017
With the energy revolution, the number of new wind plants and photovoltaic systems is increasing. However, the fluctuating infeed of renewable energies leads to fluctuations in power quality. This has consequences for industry, which increasingly has to be prepared for unplanned plant downtimes. But there is something that can be done about it. The key word is energy management and power monitoring. Both major industry and small-to-medium-sized companies can use it to optimize their consumption and significantly lower their energy costs. In addition, with the proper components, the grid supply quality during operation can be improved.
Good power quality needs to fulfill the following criteria: availability, voltage quality, stability of the grid frequency and ultimately service quality. Industrial firms, and here above all small-to-medium-sized companies can contribute to this as well with an energy management system.
It all starts with continuous monitoring of energy consumption. The relevant systems are flexible and can be adapted to the needs and size of the particular company. It is easy to get started. All you need is a PC, the appropriate software and communication-capable measuring devices.
Cloud-based solutions are also possible – the latter are of particular interest to smaller companies that always need to keep a close eye on cost/benefit ratios. The hardware and software of power monitoring systems can be intuitively operated. With graphic displays, the user can detect load peaks and power-intensive processes and identify inefficient loads at a glance.
This enables a company to always keep tabs on actual energy consumption. From the analyzed data, the company can also derive measures for optimization, which ultimately results in costs savings. Be it through intelligent control of thermal loads or the use of fast energy stores.
Lowering energy costs
Thanks to our experts, we know that with intelligent energy management, energy costs can be reduced by up to 30 percent. Here you'll find several reference projects with the experiences of our customers.
Another argument in favor of deploying the system: With a TÜV-certified power monitoring system, companies can create the foundation for regular energy audits and a company power monitoring system according to ISO 50001.
Improve power quality
If small-to-medium-sized companies opt for power monitoring, they automatically benefit from digitalization and automation, and at the same time, they make inroads towards Industry 4.0.
The power monitoring system offers even more advantages, however. It can be flexibly expanded to maintain stable power quality during operation. Load changes may already lead to deviations in the mains voltage under normal operating conditions. And electromagnetic causes of faults such as damaged inverters and non-linear loads may cause unwanted signals in the frequency band, false tripping of circuit breakers or an excessive thermal load on capacitors and cables.
All the parameters can be measured via communication-capable measuring devices, integrated into the power monitoring system. If the detected data deviate from the setpoint value, the plant can identify causes of faults in the system and immediately optimize its processes.
Ultimately, the continuous monitoring of the power quality leads to greater fault tolerance. Responsible managers can pinpoint and remedy malfunctions and faults in production in a timely manner, boosting system availability and thus avoiding costs.
You can find an overview of the opportunities for improving power quality under