InTech steams into your iPad!

13/03/2014

We don’t usually plug automation publications per sé although we have from time to time publicised articles which we feel might be of interest to our visitors. One of the most respected publications in the Automation world is InTech, the periodical of the International Society of Automation. They have just launched a tablet version of the magazine – initially for the iPad but shortly for other platforms.

InTech Plus is a new mobile app from the ISA, for the Apple iPad that enables automation professionals to rapidly access, scan and digest a diverse range of technical and educational content—and utilize valuable tools and calculators—through a highly interactive and inviting format.  InTech Plus may be downloaded at no cost through the Apple App Store.

InTech Plus_Part One

“The InTech Plus mobile app has great new content delivered in a new and engaging way,” said Peggie W. Koon, Ph.D., ISA President. “Downloadable free of charge, InTech Plus connects automation and control professionals to all things automation. It’s interactive, intuitive, fresh and fun. From the latest technology news and ‘how-to’ videos featuring ISA subject matter experts to Q&As, quizzes and calculators, our new mobile app delivers added value to automation professionals on the go.”

Because InTech Plus provides on-the-go access—whenever and wherever—to an extensive array of automation content and functionality, Dr. Koon says it supports the ISA mission of better connecting automation and control professionals with the information they need and want.

“In addition,” she says, “InTech Plus represents our commitment to innovation, and to pursuing the ongoing development of new tools, products and programs with the “coolest delivery” available to our members and the automation community at large.”

A fresh and engaging format designed for ease of use
As users move through InTech Plus, they will immediately notice they’re engaging in a totally new way to view and digest information. Highly colorful and visual in approach, the pages feature intuitive navigation that will guide you to captivating success stories, to best-practice overviews, and to “quick-read” call-out boxes and sliders—all of which encourage you to learn more and dig deeper.

“ISA is extremely excited to introduce InTech Plus to the automation community,” says Susan Colwell, Manager of ISA Publications Development. “There is so much to discover and explore. Useful information and tools are on display right at your fingertips. Tap on a button to read about a hot topic or view helpful conversion tables, or get a refresher on a specific area of automation fundamentals, such as how to select field instruments. Polish up on wireless devices, HMI, pressure transmitters, level, temperature, batch and so on. Take a quick quiz on CCST® or CAP® certification. A slide of a finger will lead you to the next feature, video, fun fact or news item. Download a calculation or scientific app on the go, when you need it most. You can even learn about the history of automation.”

InTech Plus content, which will be updated on a regular basis, is derived through a variety of authoritative sources, most significantly through the insights and perspectives of ISA’s world-renowned subject matter experts. In addition, the entire spectrum of ISA’s products and services—including its automation standards; education, training and certification programs; technical symposia; publishing resources and leadership development capabilities—is represented.

While InTech Plus is currently only formatted for the iPad, Colwell says additional formats are under development.


Insider to Sound Off – analysing automation in 2014 and beyond!

19/01/2014

New team for the INSIDER, to analyse the news in 2014

Operating in the Measurement, Control and Automation business sector, the Industrial Automation & Process Control INSIDER, founded and edited by Andrew Bond and more recently by Nick Denbow (from 2010), and the Sound Off! blog from Walt Boyes, have provided analysis and comment for many years – effectively as competitors. The difference between the two has always been one of style, perhaps based on geography, because the INSIDER could be described as having a solidly British, if not European, physical and cultural base. (Indeed on occasion Read-out has been known to contribute a bit of an Irish flavour from time to time!) Sound Off! has, without doubt, the a distinctly North American, if not USA,  approach and style.

Europe & America in Automation

Europe & America in Automation

The strengths of both these organs is that they are demonstrably vendor independent, unreliant on advertising, possibly unique in trade publications in the world of automation.

Modern communications and the Internet have changed everything today, in that most developments and press releases are available world-wide, once they are written. Even User Group conferences held around the World in specific locations, are reported with video interviews, live streams and tweets available to everyone, and we in Read-out have found tweets particularly useful in this regard using these to give a differently nuanced report on proceedings from venues that we have never visited in the flesh! These factors have increased the overlap between the publications.

An opportunity for change
We learned last November that Walt Boyes had left Control magazine and Putman Media, but he has continuing to write his Sound Off! blog on his own account. Walt, as those of us who know him would know, was keen to expand his activities we now learn that he is joining the Editorial team of the INSIDER. Over the past year, Nick Denbow has been seeking a future development route for the newsletter, that would take away some of the workload involved in typesetting and administration, and also create further expansion opportunities. He tells us that some of this requirement has arisen from developing eye problems caused by glaucoma and the consequent increase in typos that can remain undetected. Probably this is more likely a result of 14 years in front of a PC screen! So we come to a link-up with Spitzer & Boyes.  “The result is that Walt and I have agreed that he and David Spitzer will become the co-publishers of the INSIDER, with Walt sending out the newsletter as from the February issue – next month!”

Walt is to be be the Managing Editor, and the main editorial contact (based in Saint Louis, Missouri USA), and he is also to deal with the subscription administration. This agreement also enables Nick Denbow to continue writing editorial reports for the INSIDER, as the European Editor (based in Winchester, GB) – maintaining the European contacts and approach established over the years by the INSIDER. Walt has, in fact, started his involvement with the INSIDER already, and has provided some of the review articles featured later in the January issue.

Nick continues, “The monthly issue of the INSIDER subscription newsletter will continue as it has done for the last 17 years, and we will do our best to expand and improve the publication for the future. Walt and I believe that the format around the newsletter, with the associated websites and other services, needs to develop and change, to bring in new ideas and publishing techniques. But the INSIDER newsletter is set to continue, with both Walt Boyes and Nick Denbow as editors, writers, commentators and columnists throughout 2014.”

Hopefully the combination will bring both the European, American and indeed global view to the INSIDER news analysis!

This story on Sound Off
Spitzer and Boyes LLC Acquires Industrial Automation INSIDER

Now! Anybody interested in Read-out?


Walt!

26/11/2013

The automation world was a bit stunned to read the following tweet from major automation pundit and personality Walt Boyes: “I will be leaving Putman and Control magazine to return to Spitzers & Boyes. My last day will be December 13.”  He made the same announcement on his face book page! Later he amended it “Oops, now it seems I will be leaving Putman November 30, not December 13.”

Walt

Of course we don’t know the full story nor I suppose should we pry too much. Indeed one of the responses to the news on social media says “Realising there is untold backstory here, I hope this turns out as a super good thing for you!” Suffice it to say that nearly all print publications, especially, those in dedicated or dare I say, niche, markets are struggling to find a position in a world dominated by electronic communication. How they react is perhaps a measure of their understanding of their audience.

Walt_Boyes

Another scoop!

Control Magazine, like all automation periodicals has shrunk somewhat in size although, under Walt’s editorship through its internet presence, ControlGlobal it has managed to reach audiences far beyond the shores of North America. Another comment hearing the news, “It will be Control Global’s loss and Spitzer & Boyes gain! If I remember….they didn’t have an on-line magazine until you took over as editor. You and your connections brought them world-wide exposure.” Probably true but in fact an on-line presence would have happened whether Walt was there or not. It is valid however, to surmise that it would not be as effective as it is without his lively input!

Walt, needs little introduction in the area of automation. This writer has known him since the eighties at least and indeed maybe further back through his involvement as a leader in the International Society of Automation. His authoritative presence in the ISA Publications Department, including as Publications VP, was an inspiration to many. When he was appointed as Editor in Chief of Control Magazine his ethical side came to the fore and he disengaged immediately from involvement in any ISA activities which could have been seen as compromising to the society’s interest. This was not universally recognised and led to some estrangement from some members especially in the early days. However thankfully the Society has recognised his expertise and dedication when he was created a Fellow some years ago. He continues to support ISA in those areas where there is no clash of interests and indeed at the ISA Automation Week earlier this month was presented with another award by the Management Division recognising his “special contributions,” to that division.

He is a man who calls a spade a spade. Sometimes people might think him to be too forthcoming in his opinions but what no one can deny is his sense of devotion to what he sees and understands as the truth. One might say that in automation terms his motto might be “Fiat justitia ruat caelum!” His robust interventions in the wireless standard debates are a case in point.  His well named “Sound-Off Blog” is a never to be missed yet at times very personal  commentary on the automation sector. It is to be hoped that Putman sees fit to leave these postings on the control website rather than remove all trace of his prodigious input.

His venture with David Spitzer in Spitzer & Boyes, is another useful resource and David’s monthly e-zine is a welcome delivery in many automation mailboxes advice and explanations of the various technologies. This is a consultancy providing flow and level measurement engineering, market research, and related consulting services to instrumentation users, manufacturers, and representatives on a worldwide basis. We look forward to Walt’s & David’s strengthening of this input into our discipline. “You have an amazing ability to improve things wherever you may be. Best of luck with this, and all your endeavours.” says another on hearing the news!

We mentioned previously that we have known Walt for many years. A very human being who has had his share of sadness especially when his wife of many years died suddenly a few years ago. He has recently found happiness with a lady called Joy (in name and in nature!) and indeed we in Read-out cherish their visit to us in Ireland during his honeymoon in the Summer. All his many friends were delighted that in Joy he has again found a soul-mate.

Hopefully in this development automation professionals throughout the world will be able to continue to benefit from Walt’s unique expertise and opinions for many years into the future.

Reading this it looks like an obituary but of course it isn’t thank God. It is however an opportunity for this writer at least to express appreciation and perhaps gratitude for a contribution to the world of automation that is the life to date of Walt Boyes!

Good luck Walt, and every good wish for success in this new phase of your life.

news-flashWalt is Sounding Off again! (10 Dec 2013)

#ISAutowk: World-class technical content at Nashville automation event!

11/11/2013

ISA’s Automation Week: Technology and Solutions Event 2013 wrapped up on Thursday (7/11/2013), in the well known Music City, Nashville in the USA. Three days of comprehensive technical sessions, keynote addresses, networking events, standards meetings, and training courses were availed of by hundreds of automation professionals.

Nashville, TN, USA. 5-7 November 2013.Follow events on twitter #ISAutowk

Releases received at Read-out from ISA and others about the event!

# Industrial Security Expert Eric Byres Receives ISA Award (David Greenfield, Automation World, 4/11/2013)

# Peter Martin speaks at #ISAutoWk as replacement keynote (Walt Boyes, ControlGlobal, 5/11/2013)

# Preventing a Cyber Pearl Harbor (David Greenfield, Automation World, 5/11/2013)

# Building an ROI for Industrial Cyber Security (Eric Knap, Security Week, 6/11/2013)

#  Maverick Technologies’ Paul Galeski explains his strategy for drawing higher attendance. (Interview with Control Engineering’s Peter Welendre, 7/11/2013)

# ISA104Meeting (Terry Blevins, Modelling & Control, 25/11/2013)

The Automation Value Proposition (Walt Boyes, Sound Off, 10/12/2013)

The ISA Automation Week program also included 24 technical sessions, organized into six educational tracks. These tracks, which included Industrial Network Security; Creating Business Value through Automation; The Connected Enterprise; Wireless Applications; Industrial Automation and Control; and Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy, were organised with a focus on the critical components of successful automation – safety, people, business and technology.

This was the first time we have actually been unable to travel to the event and so we had to rely on the tweets of those who were happy to share information. The number of tweeters was surprisingly small though some were very good a keeping us informed especially Control  Global’s  Walt Boyes and Joel Don who was tweeting under the ISA Interchange identity. There were one or two sharings commenting on the paradox of an excellent high class programme and the fact that the number of delegates was small. “The program is terrific. The audience is small,” said one, and another “I don’t know what we have to do to build it up again.” It has always been a bit of a mystery to me how the incredibly valuable and unaligned resource treasure of ISA does not appear to attract American professionals in the way it seems to internationally.

The event was preceded by some governance meetings of the ISA itself which had delegates from throught the world discussing and voting on important changes in how the Societ is governed. The delegates were also treated to a pre-view of a new ISA website which is the result of mammoth work behind the scenes. This will make the virtual leviathan of information already on the ISA site more easily accessible to members and other visitor. The beta-version should be on line in matter of weeks. Watch out for it!

Eric Byres accepts his award!

Eric Byres accepts his award!

Another stalwart of Automation Week is the eve event of the ISA Honours & Awards Banquet where Automation Professionals are honoured by their peers. These included Eric Byres, of Tofino, one of the pioneers in expertise and leadership in the quest for cybersecurity solutions to protect industrial control systems.

Yes! Automation can!
Dr Peter Martin, vice president of business value solutions for the Software and Industrial Automation division of Invensys, delivered the opening keynote address on the Tuesday morning, entitled “The Future of Automation.” He focused on the importance of automation professionals in solving the world’s most significant problems. “When people say you’re biting off too much of a project, they might use the expression that you’re trying to solve world hunger. I want you to understand that in the automation industry, we can solve world hunger. We can do it, and we’re the only people who can do it.”

Dr. Martin stressed that the barriers to solving the world’s most significant problems include access to energy, water, food, material goods and chemicals. Automation professionals, he said, can figure out how to solve those access problems, and “that challenge must be a rallying cry for the next generation to pursue careers in our industries and make a real difference in our futures.”

One phrase impressed our tweeters “Collaborate, it’s a nice thing to do, just doesn’t work. You need to incent for it.”

Preventing a cyber Pearl Harbour
Wednesday morning’s keynote address was delivered by an American General, Robert E. Wheeler, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the United States Department of Defense. He is responsible for Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and Information Infrastructure Capabilities (DCIO for C4IIC) and serves on the executive staff of the US Secretary of Defense. This address focused on the importance of industrial infrastructure cybersecurity and the threats posed daily to our nation’s critical infrastructure networks.

General Robert Wheeler USAF

General Robert Wheeler USAF

“In the Department of Defense, our job is to assure mission execution in the face of cyber warfare by the most capable adversaries in the world,” said Wheeler. “We have to get the bad guys, protect the good guys, take out insurgents, and not hurt anyone else. That’s very hard.”

Wheeler went on to discuss the protection of America’s SCADA systems, power grid, and other key infrastructure assets. “Information assurance must be baked in from the very beginning of your work as engineers and automation professionals – you can’t just bolt it on,” he said and this was reported by our tweeters. The Automation Federation and ISA cybersecurity experts have been invited by the White House and NIST to participate in developing the framework for the President Barack Obama’s executive order PPD-21 calling for the cybersecurity of industrial automation and control systems and critical infrastructure.

Other tweets: “We have not gone down the BYOD (Buy your own device) road. We don’t think it’s going to save us that much money in the long run.” and “We are always going to have some cyber weakness because it is open- this is not the same view in other countries.” Perhaps more rivetting were these:  “The closed systems of yesteryear are open today” and more bluntly  “SCADA has lost its protection by connecting to the Internet.”

When asked about the importance of training and recruiting future cybersecurity professionals, Wheeler stressed the importance of STEM education initiatives combined with mentoring programs that can ignite the curiosity and intellect of future engineers, inspiring them to become the next cyber warriors in the fight to keep American companies and infrastructure safe and secure.

Workforce Development
Thursday’s keynote address, the final keynote of the conference, featured a distinguished panel of experts discussing workforce development issues within our industries. Moderated by Maurice Wilkins, Ph.D., vice president of the Global Strategic Marketing Center, Yokogawa Corporation of America, the panel included Paul Galeski, CEO & founder of MAVERICK Technologies; Dr. Martin of Invensys; and Steve Huffman, vice president of marketing and business development for Mead O’Brien, Inc. “Workforce development is one of the largest issues facing industry and one that will have a quick and lasting impact on process automation personnel,” commented Dr. Wilkins. “We need to bring together supplier, systems integrator, and educational communities to reverse the trends and inevitabilities that will affect us all – they each bring a unique and valuable perspective.”

“Our rich technical sessions and thought-provoking keynotes provided attendees with new take-home tools, tips and techniques to help them deliver even better performance in their jobs,” said ISA Automation Week Program Chair Paul Galeski. “We are very proud of the technical content we’ve put together for this unique, world-class event.” Or as we have ready quoted above:  “The program is terrific”

Attendees agreed with Galeski’s sentiments about the depth and breadth of the technical content in the program. “I have been attending ISA Automation Week for three consecutive years. The conference offers great technical sessions, always something new, and always something to learn,” said Hector Torres, senior process and control engineer, at Eastman Chemical.

In addition to technical sessions and keynote addresses, the event also featured a networking hub with ISA partner companies, technology briefings and social events.

BYVaRyjIMAAO5s_As the event drew to an end this somewhat plaintive tweet, “Need titles for the flight home? Check out the #ISAutoWk bookstore, across from the Networking Hub.” This is of course the indefatigable Publications Department which issues a regular supply of books, the Society Magazine, the incomparable ISA Transactions, the Journal of Automations and innumerable papers since the formation of the Society almost 70 years ago. The proceedings for this years are now available free to members for download!

“ISA Automation Week was a great opportunity to meet new prospects, spend time with our customers and network with experts,” noted Ned Espy, Technical Director at Beamex, which was announced as ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for Calibration earlier in the week. “The presentation content was the best in years with relevant topics. I also learned we are part of an organization that is striving to end world hunger!”

Additional ISA partners participating at ISA Automation Week included ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for Systems Integration, MAVERICK Technologies; ISA’s Corporate Partners, Honeywell and OSIsoft; and ISA’s Automation Week Partners, aeSolutions, ARC Advisory Group, Eaton, ExperTune, and Falcon Electric.

<hr>

Automation Week 2012 – Orlando, Florida USA

Automation Week 2011 – Mobile, Alabama (USA)


Who are the automation thought leaders?

05/08/2013
Which automation thought leaders are in your INBOX?
Nick Denbow
Nick Denbow muses over thought leaders and publications in the Automation Sector on both sides of the Atlantic.
(This article appeared in the July 2013 Issue of his publication Industrial Automation & Process Control Insider.)
Current Issue

Today was a brilliant day, a sunny day, but one at the month-end when I should be writing. So in an unusual day off, a few things became clearer. That ‘Automation Thought Leader’ – why should we only look at suppliers? There are plenty of others who make a call for attention in the automation community. But the ones with a major part to play are the editors and commentators, both on paper and on-line.

The thing about such editors is, mostly, they just don’t want to shut up. In comparison to the company ceo or technical guru, who retires, or steps down, one way or another, at – well maybe 60, possibly as late as 65, but often at aged 55 – these editors just keep on going. Maybe because the writing and opinionating is in their blood, but maybe because they need to keep earning some publication fees: one way or another they keep going.

But while we have seen a major change in the respected ceo list recently, fully reported, maybe another change in the editors and commentators, the major industry pundits, has also been happening, and we have changed some of our normal sources? So look at what you now read, and think whether the major media sources you follow, and people who you listen to, have changed in the last few years?

Plus, break your normal reader silence and tell me who you listen to, maybe we can learn something from one another!

INSIDER leads the pack
Looking close to home, it was around three years ago that Andrew Bond retired as the Editor of the INSIDER, after 14 years, in September 2010. In May 2012, Jim Pinto stopped his weblogs and automation newsletter (INSIDER, May 2012 page 5). As a part of the media hiatus following the crash in 2008 and the turmoil following the rise of the internet, the very successful UK-based Talk websites, where I was an editor from 2002 to 2010, all crashed out, after being acquired by a panicking publisher. Maybe the media publishers are still trying to find their new position in the world, after riding through that downturn of 2008, but not having the right approach for the internet based age that followed.

Patrick Raleigh

So in the UK we have the Process Engineering paper magazine that was about to be chopped, bought out of the publishers by a management group, who retained the services of the editor, Patrick Raleigh (right). Always a champion of reports written from the customer point of view, Raleigh has now decided to leave them and start a freelance venture of a newsletter in this format. (Though he remains in an advisory capacity – More on this story!)

USA-based magazines
Maybe the automation and control printing industry in the USA has embraced online content and websites better than in Europe and the UK. Or maybe they have more reserves, deeper pockets, and less freelance competition. To an ‘outsider’, it does seem that the main freelance web-based competition from the USA is more specific, topic led, like the blogs from Eric Byres at Tofino Security, or Black Hat and others.

However, there are two people that stand out, in editorial circles in the USA, and these are Walt Boyes from Control Global, and Gary Mintchell from Automation World. It was in the March 2013 issue of the INSIDER where we reported that Mintchell was stepping down from his role as editor-in chief at the magazine, the one he founded 10 years ago. While his photo still appears on their website, Gary has started a personal blog, Manufacturing Connection, as a freelance vehicle.

What was more of a concern earlier this year was that Walt Boyes’ regular contributions to his ‘SoundOff’ blog on  seemed to tail off! Lucky guy, he seems to have been able to take some time out. Now, despite some really off-putting major bugs in the ControlGlobal website over the last month, he seems to have come back in full voice, which is reassuring for us all. (Note: He had other things on his mind – including his wedding!) One of his interesting blog comments was that he was disappointed to not have Darius Adamczyk of Honeywell answer any of the Control magazine pre-submitted questions in the press briefing held at the end of May. Needless to say Adamczyk did not answer the question posed by the INSIDER either, but a written answer did follow, as reported last month, from Jason Urso. Where did the questions come from, that Adamczyk did choose to answer, one wonders?

The aging issue
These two guys in the USA, and at the moment, the INSIDER from the UK, and Read-out from Eoin Ó Riain, firmly grounded in a beautiful part of the west of Ireland, are the main editorial based sources from, with respect, relatively aging editors who don’t have to toe the company line any more, so are more than likely to say what they actually believe.

What seems to happen in UK magazines is that the ‘Publishers’ use relatively young (low cost?) editors, typically from another industry, to edit their automation/control magazines. Plus their actual column inch space for editorial is very restricted, the suppliers write most of the articles and pay for the pages. Plus after cutting their teeth in automation/control for a year or so, they are moved on to a different industry.

Where we can find exceptions in the UK and English language magazines are in the UK with Suzanne Gill, editor on Control Engineering Europe, and from Germany with Frank Jablonski on Process Worldwide. But whose articles do you read and appreciate? Let me know, I can’t read them all. In the USA, I have been impressed with some of the past reports from Renee Robbins Bassett, on Automation World, but I have not found many of her on-line articles traceable here recently.

So let’s look at some of the more interesting comments in the last month: Walt Boyes on the ISA topic – again To be honest Boyes was preaching to the converted when I read his comments on the appointment of the new ISA ‘presidentelect/ secretary’. On 23 June his report, said that he had stopped writing about the ISA some years ago, but this new event needed a comment. Back in the March 2013 issue of the INSIDER I also took up a similar issue with the ISA when suggesting in a review of their approach to wireless standardization that their commercial interests in the WCI organization had been the main factor behind their rejection of any WirelessHART compromise.

But the new guy, selected to be the future president of the ISA, is reported by Boyes to be an investment banker, someone in whose hands hopefully the investments of the large reserves of cash propping up the ISA will be made safely: he has already attained the leadership of the ISA investment committee. So maybe the ISA is to become a financial vehicle pure and simple, and ignore the membership: Walt knows about these things, as unlike me, he is still a member. Maybe the new president will also consider another name change – I suggest to the Investment Society of America – but probably that will not be on behalf of the membership.

• Readers might also like this blog item from ControlGlobal: Next-Gen Process Control Leaders (16/7/2013) and Process Automation Generations Talk to Each Other (5/8/2013)


A handy compilation of expert cybersecurity resources!

01/08/2013

“…the latest cybersecurity strategies, recommendations and tools that can immediately be applied to protect your industrial control systems and process control networks..”

A complete list of inclusions in the Cybersecurity Tech Pack.

Technical papers
cybersecurityshieldCyber Security Implications of SIS Integration with Control Networks
Practical Nuclear Cyber Security
Establishing an Effective Plant Cybersecurity Program
LOGIIC Benchmarking Process Control Security Standards
Stronger than Firewalls: Strong Cyber-Security Protects the Safety of Industrial Sites
Integrated Perimeter and Critical Infrastructure Protection with Persistent Awareness
Applying ISA/IEC 62443 to Control Systems
Establishing an Effective Plant Cybersecurity Program
Getting Data from a Control System to the Masses While Maintaining Cybersecurity–The Case for “Data Diodes”
Reconciling Compliance and Operation with Real Cyber Security in Nuclear Power Plants
Wastewater Plant Process Protection—Process Hazard Analysis
Water/Wastewater Plant Process Protection: A different approach to SCADA cyber security
Using Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET) for a Wastewater Treatment Plant
Improving Water and Wastewater SCADA Cyber Security
An Overview of ISA-99 & Cyber Security for the Water or Wastewater Specialist

Technical books
Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security Principles by Ronald L. Krutz
Industrial Network Security, Second Edition by David J. Teumim

InTech magazine articles
“ISA Fully Engaged in Cybersecurity”
“Leveraging DoD wireless security standards for automation and control”
“13 ways through a firewall: What you don’t know can hurt you”
“Defense in Depth”
“Executive Corner: What’s on YOUR mind?”
“The Final Say: Securing industrial control systems”
“Uninterruptible power supplies and cybersecurity”
“Physical Security 101: Evolving ‘defense in depth’”
“Web Exclusive: Control network secure connectivity simplified”
“The Final Say: Network security in the Automation world”
“Executive Corner: Defense in depth: It’s more than just the technology”
“Web Exclusive: Stuxnet: Cybersecurity Trojan horse”

To help manufacturers and plant and facility operators improve their cybersecurity defenses and better confront the growing dangers of cyberwarfare, the International Society of Automation (ISA) has produced the ISA Cybersecurity Tech Pack.

“The ISA  Cybersecurity Tech Pack is an assembly of the latest technical papers, PowerPoint presentations, technical books and InTech articles developed by some of the world’s leading experts in cybersecurity and industrial automation and control systems security,” says Susan Colwell, manager of publications development at ISA. “These materials—which can be downloaded from the ISA website—include the latest cybersecurity strategies, recommendations and tools that can immediately be applied to protect your industrial control systems and process control networks.”

As a widely recognized, world leader in cybersecurity standards development, training and educational resources, ISA provides the proven technical expertise and know-how to help safeguard industrial automation and control systems.

For instance, the ANSI/ISA99 (IEC 62433), Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards—developed by a cross-section of international cybersecurity subject-matter experts from industry, government and academia—represent a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity in all industry sectors. ISA and its sister organization, the Automation Federation, is currently assisting the Obama administration and US federal agency officials develop the initial version of a national cybersecurity framework—as called for by President Obama in February of this year.

The ISA Cybersecurity Tech Pack also includes two cybersecurity-focused ISA books: the popular Industrial Network Security by David J. Teumim; and the recently introduced Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security Principles by Ronald L. Krutz, Ph.D. As an added bonus, the compilation includes many highly relevant and informative cybersecurity articles published in InTech magazine, ISA’s bi-monthly magazine for automation and control professionals.

• See also our ICS & SCada Security page


Insider manages to come out on time!

12/04/2013
Battles with hardware and virtual software overcome as leading independent automation and process control publication meets deadline even with a new format.

One of the publications we look forward to, and we know we are not alone in this, is the arrival of Industrial Automation & Process Control Insider.  Indeed we have been receiving this since it was first published under the editorship of Andrew Bond. For some years now it has been edited by by his worthy successor Nick Denbow.

A few days ago something happened.  Nick wrote, “This month the INSIDER comes with a new format and style, basically because of a PC failure that meant the aging software did not run properly any more…” Our heart went out to Nick as one of the great fears in using computors is the dreaded “update.” Invariably one finds that not all the programs which  have jollied along together smoothly suddenly up and complain.

I’ll let Nick himself explain his problem:

VMware comes to the aid of the INSIDER, as cybersecurity uses virtual machines to replace hardware


Topics in this issue!New management
appointed at
Endress+Hauser

Closures and future
plans in the UK power
industry

Natural gas offshore
for Cyprus and Japan?
Plus developments in
Australia

RuggedCom for the
power industry

Honeywell responds
over ISA100

Siemens targets
improved margins

New high-efficiency
motor designs

Major PAS conference
on human reliability

Blame the cold weather, or even the run down state of British industry, but actually a couple of computer failures brought forward a change of format and operating system for the INSIDER this month.

The new two column rolling format on a smaller page width should hopefully make this newsletter easier to read on a hand-held device, while for those who wish to read a printed version, the text is still legible after printing a group of four pages on one standard sheet.

VMware used to run the INSIDER More interesting was the procedure needed to make possible a simple transfer of the original Pagemaker publishing programme onto the currently available Windows 7 software, a problem possibly faced on various plant operating systems when updating servers. This has currently been solved by creating a virtual workstation on the new PC, using the free of charge personal use VMware Player, a component of the VMware Fusion Professional system. More often used perhaps to create new operating systems on old machines, to test out the operation of current software on the next generation system, this time the need was to go backwards to either XP or Vista to run the Adobe Pagemaker adequately, because despite what the screens might suggest, Windows 7
does not want to run this older generation software.

The result was interesting, in that it gave an on-screen instant demo of how operating systems have progressed, and become smoother and faster. For the moment it is just reassuring to have the INSIDER editing process up and running again.

Talking to him later he recounted his adventures including frustrating PC failures, and incompatabilty issues. He eventually stuck at it making his deadlines.

The full page version

The full page version

So why did he do it? With the proliferation of mobile appliances, intelligent phones and tablets, he sensed a certain demand for a format which satisfied this cohort of his readers. He thought a 50:50 ration would be there. 50% for full page size and 50% for the smaller “mobile” version. “At first it was US people and editors who wanted the mobile version, and Europeans who wanted full page or paper format. These latter were maybe office based people. But then the whole response pattern reversed, and quite a few Americans went for the paper version!” The new format lacks pictures a he feels the quarter page format can’t display pictures well but this may change.

In short as he says himself “VMware came to his aid of the INSIDER, as cybersecurity uses virtual machines to replace hardware!”

He has learned a lot in developing this new format, and no doubt earned a few more grey hairs. Mercifully the quality of the articles in this issue are up to the usual high standard as can be seen in the list of contents in the box on the right.

He ends his item on the traumatic experience in getting this issue out with the request, “As ever, write in and say what you think! And whether you can read it – at all!”

 


Energy efficiency report

28/03/2013

New report challenges simplistic claims for energy efficiency in automation processes

festoenreport

The energy report provides a simple introduction to the subject of efficiency with pneumatic and electric drives.

Festo has published a new report which evaluates energy efficiency measures in the automation and positioning technology fields. The report helps manufacturers to better understand and identify methods, tools and the alternative advantages of pneumatic and electric drive technologies for improving energy efficiency in automation processes.

The report provides a simple introduction to the subject of efficiency with pneumatic and electric drives. The paper has been produced as part of a joint ‘EnEffAH’ project, part of the German Government’s energy research programme, and clearly outlines a broad range of technical and organisational topics. It explores the basic principles and measures for increasing energy efficiency and shows that the correct selection of technology (effectiveness) and the correct operation (efficiency) are critical.

“Energy is an ever-more important issue and this guide is an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with pneumatic and electric drives systems as a whole,” says Steve Sands, Product Manager at Festo. “The research shows that the requirements of the application entirely determine the right technology mix for energy efficiency.”

“As one of the leading automation technology companies, we have a deep understanding of both pneumatic and electric drive technologies. Through this report we can share our knowledge to help our customers make informed decisions on the correct selection of technology to maximise their energy efficiency.”

Steve concludes: “There are no quick-fix solutions for increasing energy efficiency, as it must be viewed in an overall context. Trying to save money at a component level without considering the overall system is in-effective and parameters must be looked at in detail to provide lasting efficiencies and savings. Life time costs really must be considered; it makes no sense for it to take 10 years to achieve a payback on an initial investment through improved efficiency if the expected life of the machine is only five years! Selecting the right measures and using drive technology correctly, means notable energy and cost savings can and must be reached.”

The secret is in the mix: the most energy-efficient solution will often be a mixture of electric and pneumatic drive technology

The secret is in the mix: the most energy-efficient solution will often be a mixture of electric and pneumatic drive technology


Floreat Jim Pinto!

21/09/2012

Many readers of Read-out, and followers the Read-out Instrumentation Signpost and our assorted blogs look forward to Jim Pinto’s insights as narrated in his newsletter, Connections for Growth & Success™, which is published now at varyingly regular or irregular times. The September issue has just hit our mailbox and is as usual filled with interesting and thought provoking insights.

For many years he hosted what were called Automation Company Weblogs, originally intended as an aid to the improvement to the running these companies by showing what people thought should be done. The companies themselves rarely appreciated the good intentions behind these writtings and observations which, I think, meant that these desended into a collection of gripes, real and imagined, into the activities and/or idiosyncracies of these enterprises. He comments:

“Many regular JimPinto.com website visitors will have noticed that, after 10 years, I stopped the automation company weblogs. The consistent negativity was getting me down, and I’m happy I stopped. Some cynics actually wondered if I’d been “bought off”, while most others wrote with positive support and understanding.

I must tell you, I did consider giving up on eNews. But, I’m a writer. As my friend Jack Grenard said, “a writer cannot not write”. So, I’ve decided to continue to write the “irregular and irreverent” JimPinto.com eNews. But, the tone and flavor will change. It won’t focus much on automation business commentary. So, those who’ve signed up for automation company news may not wish to stay on the list. For those, please send me a simple email with “Remove from eNews” in the subject line or text.”

However we need not fear that he is, like all good rugby players, in any danger of fading away. In fact I think he is more active than he ever was in his eventful life in automation! And again to streach my rugby analogy still ready for a set scrummage any time!

“I’ll continue to write my monthly column for Automation World – I’ve been doing that for about 10 years now and I’ve witnessed the magazine’s emergence to US leadership in the automation business. Founder and editorial director Gary Mintchell feeds me with ideas and I enjoy his regular demands to come up with original, challenging editorial.

Your regular feedback is gratifying  – thank you!

Being a Technology Futurist remains my primary avocation, so you’ll read more of my prognostications. In addition, I’ll include commentary on societal trends (I’ll avoid politics) and global economic shifts (related to futures). And anything else I can sniff out; wherever my nose leads.

In addition to my writing, I do an occasional consulting gig with people or companies I like. Plus my regular speaking engagements which often generate enjoyable world travel.

Hey! If your company needs an entertaining and motivating speaker for your sales meeting or industry gathering, please get in touch.”

I have heard him speak and waht he says in no idle boast, he is interesting, entertaining and above all challenging.

Book him and tell him Read-out told you to.

And our message to Jim Pinto is simple, “Floreat!”


Rising demand and competition drives proximity sensor market

26/06/2012

After the devastating recession in 2009, the market for proximity sensors recovered quickly in 2010 and marginally exceeded pre-crisis levels in 2011.  In 2012, we see a slowdown in growth but positive momentum will continue to dominate the market developments from 2013 onwards.  Overall ARC expects a CAGR of around 8 percent during the forecast horizon.

The market for proximity sensors is strongly connected to the business cycle and the overall performance of automation markets.  During the last few years, most products have commoditized and reached a mature state, the only exception is ultrasonic sensors.  The latter still offer the potential to technically differentiate from competitors, and markets are growing fast despite falling prices.  For inductive and capacitive sensors, prices have nearly bottomed out.

“The proximity sensor market is mature, highly competitive, and hosts a large number of suppliers.  This has created a market that appears settled, but actually has a lot of movement going on beneath the surface.  This especially includes brand labeling and partnering agreements,” according to Analyst Florian Güldner, the principal author of ARC’s “Proximity Sensors Worldwide Outlook”.

IO-Link Further on the Rise
Smart sensing is a market that we expect to grow at an above average rate during the forecast horizon.  The technology enables new applications and enhanced performance in existing applications.  Proximity sensors are normally not equipped with a microcontroller for signal processing simply for cost reasons.  We talk about smart proximity sensors if:

  • A sensor communicates more than its measured variable
  • A sensor has built-in intelligence to self-adjust to the environment or the detected object
  • A sensor can communicate with the controller or other devices to receive parameters
  • A sensor is enabled for band-sensing

The definition includes all devices using IO-Link.  The additional intelligence also adds complexity and cost, and ARC sees ultrasonic, photoelectric, and capacitive sensors as the first target markets for smart sensors.  IO-Link has a strong value proposition for end users, sensor manufacturers, and also machine builders.  “We see this technology growing much stronger during the forecast horizon,” according to Florian Güldner.

Ultrasonic Sensing Grows Faster than Market Average
Ultrasonic sensors is a fledgling market in the discrete sensing sector.  The technical challenges, combined with relatively high R&D costs, have kept many suppliers of low-cost products from entering the market.

Compared to other discrete sensor markets, technological advancements are still possible.  As the technology gets more reliable and accurate, many applications which have previously relied on photoelectric and capacitive technologies now use ultrasonic sensors.  These can lead to increased competition with capacitive sensors and photoelectric sensors.  The high growth rates, in turn, will certainly attract new market participants. In general, extensive brand labeling is one of the key characteristics in the ultrasonic sensor market.


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