Sensors in space – will they last 100,000 years?

22/02/2015

ROSETTA+LANDERWhen the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta space probe arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko it had been travelling for ten years and had travelled 4 billion miles on just one tank of fuel. If the fuel had run out before the probe reached the comet, the navigational thrusters would not have been able to make the numerous course corrections needed to rendezvous with the comet and then establish a stable orbit from which to launch the Philae landing module.

Throughout the long journey, Kistler pressure sensors monitored the fuel consumption continuously for the whole ten years to ensure that Rosetta arrived at its destination with enough fuel to make the final corrections to put the probe into orbit.

The Rosetta mission was one of the most ambitious projects executed by the ESA and two Kistler piezoresistive sensors played a small but valuable part in the success of the project by providing precision fuel monitoring from March 2004 onwards.

Sensor in space!

Sensor in space!

The key selection criteria for these sensors included their proven longevity and total reliability despite high levels of vibration at lift-off and years of zero gravity conditions. Rosetta’s cargo includes what is known as the Rosetta Disk – a nickel alloy disk with information etched onto it in image form. The disk contains about 13,000 pages of text in 1200 different languages, and it should still be readable after 10,000 years: durable though they are, even Kistler’s sensors are unlikely to be functioning after such a lengthy period!


Connectivity & Convergence:  Core Catalysts for Innovation Impacting All of Humanity!

08/02/2015
The driving forces of step-change innovation will be explored at Frost & Sullivan’s GIL 2015: Europe in London

gileurope15The core catalysts of innovation impacting all of humanity are connectivity and convergence, the theme of Frost & Sullivan’s Growth, Innovation and Leadership (GIL) 2015: Europe. The GIL congress returns to London for its seventh consecutive year on Thursday, 14th May in Kensington, London (GB). Over 200 industry leaders are expected to convene from all over Europe to share ideas and strategies to make their business choices successful.

With his keynote on “New Convergence Business Models,” EIA Partner & Director Dorman Followwill will discuss why convergence plays a key role in identifying new business models that drive growth. Directly after there will be a ground-breaking keynote address showcasing global leadership in connectivity and convergence driven innovation in healthcare through the 100,000 Whole Human Genome Sequencing Project lead by Genomics England. The Chief Scientist spearheading this most important project globally on genomics and personalised medicine, Professor Mark Caulfield, will explore this project. This represents an excellent case study of connectivity & convergence across multiple IT platforms and research/care facilities in Britain coming together to drive global leadership in an initiative that will ultimately impact every person on the planet.

“We are seeing that the core catalysts of step-change innovation across industries and geographies are connectivity & convergence, and one of the most incredible examples of global leadership in innovation is happening right here in the UK with the 100,000 Whole Human Genome Sequencing Project.  It is a joy to see the UK taking global leadership in such an exciting initiative, and we look forward to learning best practices that can be applied across industries and initiatives from Professor Caulfield,” said Mr Followwill.

The one-day congress is part of Frost & Sullivan’s exclusive Growth, Innovation and Leadership community that represents a global network of over 5,000 senior executives.  It will start at 9 am with a welcome speech by the Head of UK Operations, Partner Gary Jeffery.

Highlights include: Global Trends in Connectivity and Convergence by Partner Sarwant Singh, Techvision 2020 by Practice Director Ankit A. Shukla and the 2015 Frost & Sullivan Growth Excellence Awards Banquet.

Frost & Sullivan’s Global GIL Community continues to be the industry’s only resource that supports CEOs and their management teams in critical decision-making, offering tools that help industry leaders in achieving the three essential objectives of Growth, Innovation and Leadership. GIL 2014: Europe will provide CEOs and their growth teams an opportunity not just to attend GIL, but to actually experience it.


Technology Modernisation of Plant Automation Systems.

04/02/2015

The Ireland Section of ISA is holding its 2015 seminar this year in Dublin.

The theme of this year’s seminar is to showcase new developments within Technology in the Manufacturing/Service Industries realm under the banner of“Technology Modernisation of Plant Automation Systems”.  This is themed around system aspects that are required to allow a plant system to be upgraded for example to a new platform or utilising virtual the environment sphere.

booknowOnThe venue is to be the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 and the date 25th March 2015.

Given regulatory and cost pressures, driving technology modernisation and innovation programs with a change in plant systems can be a challenge. But it’s more important than ever. With the advent of evolving operating systems for computer based control systems and recent “end of support” for “old” operating systems such as XP, this places new challenges to system vendors and integrators in adopting new ways of upgrading existing legacy plant systems and ensuring that plant infrastructure is protected in the backdrop to new OS platforms. Utilising technologies such as virtualisation reduces physical hardware costs but requires investment in this environment.

Ensuring that plant systems are able to smoothly communicate from the plant floor layer to the corporate enterprise layer is another factor to consider in any approach with technology modernisation projects without interrupting daily plant operations and controlling technology risks from models going haywire.

This seminar will bring together key industry guest speakers who have successfully implemented such programs for “Technology Modernisation” along with industry solutions from vendors based on past case studies.

A number of vendors and guest speakers from industry will be contributing to the event during the day. Attendees will be able to meet and discuss with fellow industry colleagues their own experiences in technology modernisation.


Increased Activity in Multiple End-use Industries Rejuvenates Global PLC Market!

24/01/2015
Competition spurs innovation in technology and pricing

The global programmable logic controllers (PLC) market witnessed a strong decline in growth in 2012 due to the uncertain economic scenario in the developed world, most notably in the mature markets of North America and Europe. Since 2013, however, the market has witnessed positive growth across all regions. In particular, emerging regions such as Asia-Pacific are displaying uptrends due to increased activity in the construction, water and wastewater, and power industries.

typplcNew analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Global Programmable Logic Controllers Market, finds that the market earned revenues of €8.92 billion ($10.37 billion) in 2013 and estimates this to reach €12.55 billion ($14.58 billion) in 2018. The study covers services, software, modular input/output modules, programmable automation controller as well as large, medium, small and nano PLC. In the coming years, the small and medium PLC segments will be instrumental for market development.

In Europe, the need to enhance efficiency, comply with regulations as well as improve safety and control capabilities are driving the uptake of PLC. Market progress in the rest of the world is primarily fuelled by the desire to optimise assets, engage in reliable process planning, and achieve operational agility.

“With increasing customer demand and intense competition among tier-one companies, the global PLC market is poised to witness a surge in technology and pricing innovation,” said Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Industry Analyst Karthik Sundaram. “Market participants have been developing products with new design and control functions that surpass traditional definitions.”

For the innovative wave to have a definite impact, boosting the security features in PLC hardware, software, and the network infrastructure should be a key focus area. As cyber security influences end-user perception of PLC, addressing threats will be equally important for continued market expansion.

“PLC manufacturers must offer robust support services, roll out cost-effective products, and communicate winning value propositions to customers,” advised Sundaram. “They should also strive to expand their geographical presence and refine their domain expertise to taste success.”


ABB Process instrumentation, analytical technology and gas detection in Ireland

19/01/2015

Hanley Measurement & Control has built a reputation for the supply of specialist solutions and expertise in process instrumentation, process analytical technology and gas detection. Founded in 1981 it has long been considered as a leading automation in Ireland. The company has recently been appointed as channel partner in Ireland by ABB, to expand its instrument and analyser offering into the Irish process market

Left to Right: Chris Kennedy, Gavin O’Driscoll & Eoin O’Neill of Hanley Measurement & Control together with Aidan Edwards of ABB stand next to a representation of a 3 meter magnetic flowmeter (the largest every supplied!) during a recent visit to the ABB flow meter manufacturing facility in Stonehouse, GB.

Left to Right: Chris Kennedy, Gavin O’Driscoll & Eoin O’Neill of Hanley Measurement & Control together with Aidan Edwards of ABB stand next to a representation of a 2.4 meter magnetic flowmeter (the largest every supplied!) during a recent visit to the ABB flow meter manufacturing facility in Stonehouse, GB.

The partnership will see the company acting as the official sales agent for ABB’s complete portfolio of instrumentation and analyser products for applications in the pharmaceutical, chemical, food and beverage and other related industries.

Chris Kennedy, Managing Director of Hanley Measurement & Control commented that “partnering with ABB enables the company to provide its customers with an enhance product range specifically in relation to flow measurement and analytical solutions.”

Commenting on the partnership, Tim Door, General Manager for ABB’s Measurement and Analytics business in the Britain and Ireland says: “The partnership with Hanley Measurement and Control marks a positive move forward that underlines our intent to grow our presence in the Irish process market. The company is a great fit for our growing range of measurement and control products for improving process performance and efficiency.”

“Utilising a well-known and respected partner such as Hanley Measurement & Control will allow our customers in Ireland to get full access to support and service going forward into 2015 and beyond.”

• Following the completion of a management buyout Hanley Measurement & Control is no longer part of the Hanley group of companies. Hanley Measurement & Control is now a subsidiary of Eolas Scientific which also has an operating company in the UK called Eolas Technology. The management team of Chris Kennedy, Gavin O’Driscoll and Eoin O’Neill are committed to ensuring our customers receive exceptional service and a world class range of products.

#HM14 Without data integration there will be no Industry 4.0

30/12/2014

Eoin Ó Riain:

This was one of our most popular posts in 2014: Without data integration there will be no Industry 4.0 #Pauto

Originally posted on Conference & Exhibition Releases:

From CAx to MES – the digital factory makes product data available to all systems over the entire life cycle. Experts explain how the software interacts.

Everyone is talking about “Industry 4.0 – in other words, the vision of a fourth industrial revolution. In the near future it will provide intelligent, networked products from networked, systems that to a large extent operate autonomously,” says analyst and technical author Ulrich Sendler. “However, there is one major condition to Industry 4.0: all types of digital products and production data need to be merged with the real world.” For the PLM expert this means “that the many systems which are currently being used as islands need to be networked in the future in order to provide real data integration for the entire life cycle of the products.”

integrated-industry_stage_desktopModern production relies on data from products, production planning and manufacturing engineering. “The continuous availability…

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Complacency significantly raises risk of damaging cyberattack worldwide!

19/12/2014
Inadequate training and a culture of complacency among many owners and operators of critical infrastructure are significantly raising the risks of highly damaging cyberattack throughout the world.

That’s the viewpoint expressed by Steve Mustard, an industrial cybersecurity subject-matter expert of the International Society of Automation (ISA),  an European registered Eur Ing and a British registered Chartered Engineer and consultant with extensive development and management experience in real-time embedded equipment and automation systems.

Mustard, fresh off a trip to the Caribbean where he delivered a presentation on industrial cybersecurity to industry officials in petroleum and petrochemical operations, says that despite greater overall awareness of the need for improved industrial cybersecurity, not nearly enough is being done to implement basic cybersecurity measures and reinforce them through adequate staff training and changes in corporate culture.

cybersecurity“Everywhere I go I see the same issues, so this is not so much a company-by-company issue as it is an ‘industry culture’ issue,” maintains Mustard, an ISA99 Security Standards Committee member and an important contributor to the development of the ISA99/IEC 62443 industrial cybersecurity standards. “So much work has been done in the IT world on security that many believe they have mitigated the risks.

“For example, most security experts at the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) meetings on the US Cybersecurity Framework could not understand why we were still discussing the most basic security controls, but yet a visit to almost any critical infrastructure facility will reveal that while there may be established policies and procedures in place, they are not properly embedded into training and the operational culture. Too many owner/operators I meet believe that because they have not seen a cybersecurity-based incident themselves that it will never happen. This sort of complacency is why there will be a major incident.”

He points to the steady flow of cyberattacks on industrial automation control systems (IACS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks being tracked by the Repository of Industrial Security Incidents (RISI).

“There have been many incidents in the past 10-15 years that can be traced back to insufficient cybersecurity measures,” he says. “There are many every year, most of which escape public notice. In fact, it’s widely believed that there are many more that are never reported,” he discloses. “The RISI analysis shows time and again that these incidents are generally the result of the same basic cybersecurity control failures. It is often only the presence of external failsafe and protection mechanisms that these incidents do not lead to more catastrophic consequences. Many use these protection mechanisms to argue that the concern over the consequences of cyberattack is exaggerated, and yet incidents such as Deepwater Horizon should teach us that these protection mechanisms can and do fail.”

Emphasis on security seldom matches emphasis on safety; security influenced by significant reliance on third-party workers
While the need for safety is well understood in facilities such as offshore drilling rigs, attention to security is often minimal.

“This is partly because these facilities are usually so remote (i.e. 50 miles offshore) and/or appear to be secure (It’s not possible to just walk into an offshore or onshore facility without having the appropriate clearance.) and also because there is little or no experience of cybersecurity-related incidents, whereas there is usually some direct or anecdotal experience of safety-related incidents.

“Another issue is the very significant reliance on third parties to install and support IACS equipment,” Mustard continues. “This creates two issues—in-house staff often lack complete understanding of the equipment needed to provide reliable on-site support and there is a continuous flow of third-party staff in facilities. Although security is generally tight in these facilities, there is a lot of reliance on third parties to ensure their own contract staff are correctly vetted, and yet third parties may not be as thorough as owners and operators.

“Furthermore, third-party employees will have their own computers and removable media. The owner/operator may rely on the third party to scan their devices for malware before they are connected to the IACS equipment, but there is no guarantee that this is the case.”

USB flash drives and other USB devices continue to pose serious cybersecurity threats
“Use of USB devices still remains one of the most common ways an industrial control network can be infected. There are a number of factors at play. Many, or even most, IACS equipment runs without anti-virus software. Rarely, is the equipment ‘security hardened’ and very often default accounts and passwords are either hardcoded or not removed/changed before go-live.

“In addition, the operating systems and applications are often not patched at all or if they are, they are not patched regularly. This creates a whole host of vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malware. While most standards recommend the elimination of USB removable media devices and that all ports be locked down, this is rarely the case. Since machines are usually not connected to the Internet, removable media is often the only way to transfer files. And while IT policies might enforce virus scanning of such devices before and after use, this often does not get enforced in IACS environments.

thumbI heard recently anecdotally that a major oil and gas company detected the Stuxnet virus on its networks, and was found to have originated from an infected USB drive. This company has relatively good cybersecurity controls in place so you can imagine how easily this can happen in other organizations that have not yet grasped the importance of cybersecurity.”


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