An Internet of Things as seen at ARC Industry Forum

Where to find the technologies and expertise for information technology (IT)-driven automation gains: Industrial IT technologies can augment automation productivity.

By CFE Media February 28, 2017

The digital enterprise was the theme of the 21st annual ARC Industry Forum held in Orlando in February. As such, content and solutions related to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) abounded.

Each year at the ARC Forum, the day prior to the full event, about a half-dozen technology solution providers participate in a series of press conferences with the industry-trade journalists present. Aaret least several make product-solution and other type announcements.

The stories below highlight some of the announcements made this year.

Digital engineering models make common cause

Siemens and Bentley Systems have formalized a strategic-alliance agreement to accelerate digitalization in infrastructure project delivery and asset performance. The companies will initially invest at least €50 million in developing joint solutions that, among other things, will use cloud services to support engineering-model convergence.

In addition, about €70 million of secondary shares of Bentley’s common stock were acquired by Siemens, under a program that will continue until Bentley Systems’ stock is publicly traded.

Siemens and Bentley Systems previously licensed each other’s technology in areas including the Digital Factory, process industries, and drives. Their respective software offerings are integrated. For example, Bentley’s reality modeling is integrated into Siemens Process Simulate to use laser-scanned point clouds in modeling the in-situ context of brownfield industrial environments.

Siemens’ solutions benefit from Bentley’s complementary applications for design, analytical, construction, and asset-performance modeling. For example, Bentley’s applications for the 3D modeling and structural analysis of industrial and infrastructure assets complement Siemens’ solutions and unparalleled domain expertise in electrification and automation.

"Only with Siemens could we so purposefully advance beyond merely linking the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ to ultimately leverage digital engineering models for visual operations and connected infrastructure asset performance," said Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley.

In fiscal year 2015, which ended September 30, 2015, Siemens generated revenue of €75.6 billion and net income of €7.4 billion. At the end of September 2015, the company had about 348,000 employees worldwide. More information is available at

Founded in 1984, Bentley has more than 3,000 colleagues in over 50 countries, more than $600 million in annual revenues, and since 2009 has invested more than $1 billion in research, development and acquisitions. Additional information about Bentley is available at

Consultants plus simulation put eyes on projects

The KBC Co-Pilot Program brings together KBC Advanced Technologies (KBC) strategic and technical consultants with Petro-SIM simulation technology. The simulation platform connects to a cloud-based Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), data-as-a-service solution to remotely monitor and improve process operations.

KBC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yokogawa Electric Corp., announced the launch of the KBC Co-Pilot Program. The KBC Production Core vision "sees" automation of all aspects of production operations using integrated technology and consulting best practices that leverage the cloud. The KBC Co-Pilot Program assures asset owners and operators simulation and planning tools are up-to-date, and that actions taken by operators result in the best possible process performance and safe operation.

The KBC Co-Pilot Program is suited to process operations where one or more of the following is true:

  • An inexperienced work force causes the operation to miss plan
  • The plant is not confident that their operating plan is always realistic and achievable
  • Engineers do not always have the tools and knowledge to maximize profit or reduce risk
  • Operators do not always know when they are deviating from plan.

The first KBC Co-Pilot solution is for remote performance monitoring of oil refinery facilities such as crude distillation units, fluid catalytic crackers and catalytic reformers. Key elements of this solution are:

  • Automatic LP vector updates from recalibrated model
  • Regular health check of unit performance versus plan and versus potential
  • Consulting and assistance to implement recommended changes
  • Reset of baseline operating plan due to major changes in external impacts such as economics, demand or asset capabilities.

KBC Co-Pilot Programs related to production and supply-chain optimization, energy management, operator effectiveness and automation will be released shortly. 

WirelessHART gas detector has five-year battery life

United Electric Controls, a producer of safety, alarm, and shutdown technology, announced availability of a WirelessHART gas detector that monitors presence of harmful gases for more than five years without a battery replacement. The Vanguard WirelessHART gas detector reduces monitoring costs and increases safety by eliminating fixed wiring.

"The cost of adding just one new gas-measurement point, including obtaining ‘hot’ work permits, running conduits for wires, burying them, and so on, can be in the neighborhood of $10,000 for land-based systems and as much as five times that for offshore applications. Wireless technology can reduce the cost of adding a monitoring point by up to 90 percent," said Wil Chin, an United Electric Controls vice president.

United Electric says it developed the Vanguard detector in response to the market need for a cost-effective way to add multiple gas measurement points. Field-interchangeable gas sensor modules detect and record hydrogen sulfide or methane gas in parts per million or percent of lower explosive limits respectively, along with network and battery status.

WirelessHART 7.2 technology carries signals to local 128 x 64 pixel digital displays or other IEC 62591 compatible connections—all of which integrate seamlessly with existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) or asset management (AMS) systems. The Vanguard detector has been designed and tested to interoperate with Emerson Smart Wireless Gateway 1410 and 1420.

Once on a wireless network, the detector serves gas-monitoring functions, including the following:

  • Wireless remote and local gas detection, such as at tank farms, oil-and-gas production facilities, refineries, pipelines, abandoned wells, and waste treatment plants.
  • Temporary situations in which the cost of setting up a wired solution is completely unfeasible, such as a maintenance turnaround, natural disaster, security breach, or plant expansion.
  • Asset management initiatives, where trending of emissions over time through the deployment of multiple wireless sensors can initiate the necessary predictive and preventive maintenance or pollution-control monitoring.

For information about wireless gas-detection technology and applications, download the white paper, Wireless Gas Monitoring.

Cost of wireless solutions continues to decline

Wireless Industrial Networks (WIN) announced availability of cost-effective wireless process sensing and condition-based monitoring solutions with significant benefits and value for the industrial, factory and commercial markets. The wireless products include a gateway, universal transmitter and selection of measurement sensors.

The communication transmission is industry-standard 900 MHz, license-free and has a range of 5,280 feet. The self-configuring communication network is "plug & play," works in minutes rather than hours and requires no prior wireless experience. The price for a single measurement starts at $1,300.

The wireless solution consists of four items:

  • Wireless gateway—a small, light-weight, 900 MHz communication gateway with standard Ethernet output, supports 200+ transmitters located 5,280 feet away.
  • Universal wireless transmitter-battery (replaceable) powered transmitter accepts up to three universal sensor inputs, mix of any sensor measurement types, 900 MHz, IEEE 802.15.4 standard radio, frequency-hopping, auto configure and AES 128-bit industry standard encryption in a small light-weight NEMA 4x enclosure.
  • Sensors—line of measurement sensors using V-Bus patented technology uniquely characterizes each sensor with a pre-programing calibration curve eliminating the need for on-site calibration. Sensors include temperature, pressure, 4-20 mA, current voltage, humidity/temperature, dual temperature, vibration, discrete, and proximity.
  • Data manager and web dashboard-PC-based software applications provide status of all network sensors and an intuitive navigation tool to access sensor details and measurement history.

Common applications include: motor temperature and current draw, pump vibration, bearing vibration or temperature monitoring, conveyor vibration monitoring, exhaust and cooling tower fan monitoring, filter monitoring and many more. 

For more information go to

Discrete output module for secure electronic fusing, latching

Bedrock Automation announced release of a cyber-secure 20-channel discrete-output (DO) module for its Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA) system. The SIO8.20 DO enables software-selectable electronic fusing, latching and fail-safe shutdown for each 24 VDC output at 1 A max current per channel. It features galvanically-isolated output switching in a rugged, all-metal enclosure and one of the smallest footprints in the industry. Delivering programmable electrical capability within the cyber-secure control platform reduces external electrical connector visibility.

The SIO8.20 cyber-security capabilities and benefits exceed those of typical DCS or PLC offerings, including:

  • Reduced footprint, via 20 galvanically-isolated DO channels, for high possible density of channels-per-inch for rack-space optimization
  • Programmable electronic fusing-each of its 20 channels are electronically fused to a programmable threshold up to 1 amp per channel
  • Overcurrent retry—enables programming a channel to latch off and retry during overcurrent
  • Failsafe output—protects the module if communication with the controller fails, directing output to a configured fail-safe value or holding it at last known value
  • Extreme hardening and long life-thanks to a pin-less backplane Interconnection and sealed all-metal construction that protecti against extreme temperature
  • Scalable redundancy—user-selectable single/dual/triple redundancy
  • Extreme Digital Performance-32-bit Secure ARM and an additional microcontroller on each of the 20 DO channels.
  • Integrated Support of IEEE 1588-time precision protocol enables SOE synchronization with +/- 0.5 mSec accuracy on all channels.

Control application developers can integrate all such features for discrete, hybrid and continuous control applications using the Bedrock IEC 61131-3 compatible engineering environment.

"The SIO8-20 DO module complements our other high-density AI and DI to deliver on PLC or DCS applications with up to 400 I/O per rack and thousands of I/O per cabinet," said Albert Rooyakkers, a Bedrock Automation company vice president.

Each SIO8.20 occupies a single position on the patented Bedrock electromagnetic backplane. The pin-less 4Gbit BMI supports advanced controller, power supply and I/O Modules with scalable single/dual/triple I/O redundancy. Over the past year, Bedrock has introduced a secure universal I/O module with 10 software-configured channels of field input/output for analog, discrete, or pulse sensors, as well as field actuators; a secure Ethernet I/O module with five software- configured Ethernet I/O channels; and a secure configured serial five channel I/O module that brings printers, plotters, and a wide range of legacy industrial devices into the realm of secure industrial control.

– Edited by CFE Media. See more stories from the IIoT for Engineers supplement linked below.

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