OPC and MES Day Finland 2014: Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0
The OPC and MES Day Finland 2014 was held on October 7th at Dipoli, Espoo. This year the theme of the event was the Internet of Things in industrial environment. Something that’s referred to as Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things, etc. According to the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014, Internet of Things is now at the top of the hype curve! So it was indeed time to talk about it the whole day :)
The audience of 140 people were listening keenly to the key notes, which were started by Lennart Christensson from General Electric. GE is using the term Industrial Internet and putting a lot of effort in improving the connectivity and information available from different systems that they are developing. In his presentation Mr. Christensson told us how OPC UA is seen as the major standard enabling the communications in practice.
Lennart Christensson (General Electric)
Peter Seeberg from Softing Industrial Automation presented in his keynote the respective national program of Germany, Industrie 4.0. Mr. Seeberg took us first back in history to remind of the Moore’s Law, which Gordon Moore introduced already back in 1965. Since then the transistor counts and therefore also the computing power has been doubling at a steady pace. In practice the smart phones of today are more powerful than super computers of the past. Since small chips with full computing power can be inserted in almost anywhere, the next big issue is how to make the things communicate with each other. The Germans have formed the Industrie 4.0 program, named to mark the ongoing 4th industrial revolution of smart manufacturing. It is a national effort that enables the researchers concentrate on the development of the vision to practice, towards the Smart Factory. The first demonstrations have already been shown at the Hannover Fair 2014.
The big benefits that can be expected from the smarter production systems are of course energy savings, savings in manufacturing preparation times, better production quality, decreasing the amount of waste production - all which can reduce the costs remarkably. According to the GE presentation, 1% savings can easily convert to millions of dollars in various processes.
In manufacturing, flexibility is going to increase. There’s need for Quantity “1” manufacturing, meaning highly customized products, available with quick delivery to the end customer - and all this with the costs of mass production. One alternative is to enable production at smaller sites that are located near the customer - even at home.
Peter Seeberg (Softing), Thomas Burke (OPC Foundation) and Jan Snoeij (MESA International)
Jan Snoeij from MESA International presented several insights to smart manufacturing and finally a Smart City vision to visualize how the Internet of Things may affect our future lives. He also told about the co-operation between MESA International and Finnish Society of Automation that has been agreed on.
OPC UA as the Enabling Technology
Thomas Burke, the president of the OPC Foundation, made an insightful presentation of OPC UA, which makes a perfect environment for enabling the Internet of Things in industrial environment. OPC UA is providing inherently secure interconnectivity plus full information modelling capabilties, which will become very vital when the amount of data increases. It is no longer enough to deliver pure data; you also need to work on the semantics that enable understanding what the data is. This will be extremely important with systems that are provided by different manufacturers. OPC Foundation is playing a key role here, putting a lot of effort in collaboration with various organizations that have already defined information models for there field of practice. OPC UA provides a practical means to communicate this information through a secure communication channel.
In the afternoon sessions we heard several interesting talks. Pasi Ahonen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland announced an OPC UA Security Evaluation which has just been initiated. Mika Karaila from Metso Automation talked about interoperability and their experiences in applying OPC UA to the Metso DNA automation system - work that is based on Prosys OPC UA Java SDK. Uwe Steinkrauss from Unified Automation presented JSUA - the solution that is being developed to enable OPC UA directly in a mobile web browser running Java Script. Myself, I announced a couple of new products that Prosys OPC is making available: OPC UA File Transfer and OPC UA Historian applications. An interesting presentation was also given by Valtteri Mustonen and Keijo Yli-Opas about OPC UA at the Neste Oil Naantali refinery.
Keijo Yli-Opas presenting OPC UA based NAPCON at Naantali refinery
Along with the OPC track another half of the audience was enjoying the MES presentations. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to hear those, but what I heard they were also very interesting. Go and check the programme below and find all the presentations of the day from there.
All in all, the day was extremely successful. We had a great number of people, sponsors and invited speakers of the best quality. It is a pleasure to host such an event with the Finnish Society of Automation!
Chief Technology Officer
Expertise and responsibility areas: OPC & OPC UA product development, project work and customer support
Prosys is a leading provider of professional OPC software and services with over 10 years of experience in the field. OPC and OPC UA (Unified Architecture) are communications standards used especially by industrial and high-tech companies.
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