Society goes to the polls.

07/09/2016

Irish candidate goes forward for most senior role in Automation Society

The polls were opened recently for the election of leadership positions for 2017 in the International Society of Automation (ISA). The ballot is for election of new leaders by direct vote of eligible ISA members.

This year for the first time a candidate from the Ireland Section has been nominated for the position of President-elect Secretary. This position is a commitment for three years, the first year as Secretary of the Society, the second year as World-wide President and the third as Past President.

Those nominated for this (and indeed all officer positions in the Societed) are subjected to a rigorous pre-nomination process before their name is placed on the ballot paper. Nomination for an elected Society leadership position is an honour accorded to only a small percentage of the ISA membership.

Brian_J_CurtisBrian J. Curtis (G E Healthcare) Cobh, County Cork, Ireland (right), is one of the candidates this year. He has an impressive leadership background both in the automation industry and in other sectors industrial, commercial and recreational. He has 35 years Pharmaceutical Control Systems experience.

Speaking recently he told us that he has been a member of the ISA for over twenty years and has served in most offices in the very active local section. “I joined my local section to access ISA technical meetings, technical papers, standards and networking opportunities.” However he was also willing to participate more actively in the running of the Section and later in the greater Society, in Europe and Globally.

Brian served in many portfolios within the Ireland Section down through the years including a term as section president (1999-2000). He became Vice President District 12 of the Society (Europe, Africa & Middle East) in 2013.  He also served on the ISA Executive Board 2013 to date, and also on the important ISA Finance Committee. The various society offices involved visiting sections in Europe and the Middle East as well as attendance at various Society governance and  leadership meetings.  His service through the years has been recognised by the Society, as a recipient of the Distinguished Society Services Award, as well as recognition at Section and District levels. He says “My current challenge is working with ISA on our five strategic goals!”

electVoting in the Leadership Elections is relatively easy. Go to the ISA Home Page and look for the button “Vote Now” and follow the instructions.
Only eligible members may vote. You’ll need your ISA ID information of course.
The Ballot lists the candidates with a link to their Biographical details. The voting is simply a matter of ticking the candidate of your choice.

He shared his vision for the Society: “That ISA Sections and Divisions all work together so that membership and industry feel the benefits, both locally and globally, ensuring “ONE ISA” will prosper into the future.”

“I believe we must nurture the volunteer in the society and encourage sections, divisions and standards to work together across geographic and technical boundaries so as to harness and build upon the strength and integrity of ISA in meeting the automation challenges of the future.”

He is particularly in supporting the ISA’s pioneering work in the emerging area of cybersecurity. Industry and production methods are evolving at a fast pace and it is important to identify emerging trends and seize these as opportunities for our member’s and for automation.

He wants to strengthen the Society by encouraging co-operation and communications between sections, divisions, standards and all areas of ISA around the world. He is not afraid to support the tough strategic decisions that will allow ISA to continue to be the leader in the automation industry. It is important also to promote the lifelong opportunities that automation presents as a career for school and college graduates.

There are two other candidates for this position. They are Eric C. Cosman (OIT Concepts, LLC) Midland, Michigan, USA. He was one of the speakers at the groundbreaking Food and Pharmaceutical Symposium in Cork earlier this year. The other candidate is Glynn M. Mitchell (US Nitrogen) Greeneville, Tennessee, USA.

Although most of the Presidents of ISA since its foundation have hailed from the US there have been a handful of Presidents from other regions of the World.

#ISAuto #PAuto

Future factory – a moderator’s impression!

01/02/2016

Read-out was asked to moderate the automation stream at the National Manufacturing & Supplies conference held last week outside Dublin. (26th January 2016). In their wisdom the organisers selected “Future Factory!” as a title for this half day seminar and there were 11 speakers organised to speak on their particular subjects for about 15 minutes each. This was replicated in the the over a dozen different seminars held on this one day.

q#MSC16

Long queues lasted well into the morning to enter the event!

We were a little sceptical that this would work but with the help of the organisers and the discipline of the speakers the time targets were achieved. Another target achieved was the number of attendees at the event as well as those who attended this particular seminar.
In all between exhibitors, speakers and visitors well over 3000 packed the venue. Probably far more than the organisers had anticipated and hopefully a potent sign that the economy is again on the upturn. Indeed it was so successful that it was trending (#MSC16) on twitter for most of the day.

Seminar
But back to our seminar. If you google the term Future Factory you get back 207million links, yet it is difficult to find a simple definition as to what it means. The term automation similarly is a very difficult term to define though the term in Irish “uathoibriú” perhaps is a bit clearer literally meaning “self-working.”

uturefactory.jpg

Good attendance at the Seminar

Background
The world of automation has changed to an extrordinary degree and yet in other ways it remains the same. The areas where it has experienced least change is in the areas of sensing – a thermometer is a thermometer – and final control – a valve is a valve. Where it has changed almost to the point of unrecognisability is in that bit in the middle, what one does with the signal from the sensor to activate the final control element.

From single parameter dedicated Indicator/Controller/Recorders in the sixties which transmitted either pnuematically (3-15psi) or electrically (4-20mA). Gradually (relatively speaking) most instruments became electronic, smaller in size and multifunctional. The means of communication changed too and fieldbus communication became more common to intercact with computors which themselves were developing at breaknech speed. Then transmission via wireless became more common and finally the internet and the ability to control a process from the computer that we call the intelligent phone. There are problems with these latter, internet/cellphone, of course. One is that the reach of the internet is focussed at present on areas of high population. Another is the danger of infiltration of systems by hostile or mischivous strangers. The importance of security protocols is one that has only recently been apparent to Automation professionals.

• Many of the presentations are available on-line here. The password is manufac2016

The Presentations
Maria Archer of Ericsson spoke on the enabling and facilitating IoT in the manufacturing industry. Diving straight into topic she drew on her experience of big data, e-commerce, media, cyber security, IOT and connected devices.

The second speaker was Cormac Garvey of Hal Software who addressed Supply Chain prototyping. The Supply Chain ecosystem is incredibly complex, usually requiring significant integration of each suppliers’ standards and processes to the manufacturer’s. Cormac will introduce the concept of supply chain prototyping, where easy-to-use, standards-based technology is used to wireframe out the entire supply chain ecosystem prior to integration, thus significantly reducing cost, time and risk on the project. This wireframe can then be used as a model for future integration projects.

Two speakers from the Tralee Institute of Technology, Dr. Pat Doody and Dr. Daniel Riordan spoke on RFID, IoT, Sensor & Process Automation for Industry 4.0. They explained how IMaR’s (Intelligent Mechatronics and RFID) expertise is delivering for their industrial partners and is available to those aiming to become a part of Industry 4.0.

Smart Manufacturing – the power of actionable data was the topic addressed by Mark Higgins of Fast Technology. He shared his understanding of the acute issues companies face on their journey to Business Excellence and how leveraging IT solutions can elevate the business to a new point on that journey.

Assistant Professor (Mechanical & Manuf. Eng) at TCD, Dr Garret O’Donnell,   explained how one of the most significant initiatives in the last 2 years has been the concept of the 4th industrial revolution promoted by the National Academy for Science and Engineering in Germany- ACATECH, known as Industrie 4.0. (Industrie 4.0 was first used as a term in Germany in 2011).

Another speaker from Fast Technologies, Joe Gallaher, addressed the area of Robotics and how Collaborative Robots are the “Game Changer” in the modern manufacturing facility.

Dr. Hassan Kaghazchi of the University of Limerick and Profibus spoke on PROFINET and Industrie 4.0. Industrial communications systems play a major role in today’s manufacturing systems. The ability to provide connectivity, handle large amount of data, uptime, open standards, safety, and security are the major deciding factors. This presentation shows how PROFINET fits into Industrial Internet of Things (Industrie 4.0).

White Andreetto

Maurice Buckley CEO NSAI

The CEO of NSAI, the Irish National Standards Authority, Maurice Buckley explained how standards and the National Standards Authority of Ireland can help Irish businesses take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution and become more prepared to reap the rewards digitisation can bring.

The next two speakers stressed the impact of low forecast accuracy on the bottom line and how this coulbe be addressed. Jaap Piersma a consultant with SAS UK & Ireland explained that low forecast accuracies on the business performance is high in industry but with the right tools, the right approach and experienced resources you can achieve very significant result and benefits for your business. Following him Dave Clarke, Chief Data Scientist at Asystec, who mantains the company strategy for big data analytics service development for customers. He showed how are incredible business opportunities possible by harnessing the massive data sets generated in the machine to machine and person to machine hyper connected IoT world.

The final speaker David Goodstein, Connected Living Project Director, GSMA, described new form factor mobile SIMs which are robust, remotely manageable which are an essential enabler for applications and services in the connected world.

All in all a very interesting event and useful to attendees. Papers are being collected and should be available shortly on-line.

It is hoped to do it all again next year on 24th January 2017- #MSC17.

See you there.

@NationalMSC #MSC16 #PAuto #IoT


The impact of AI on education.

07/12/2015

Emerging technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to have a big impact on education and are already being used worldwide as an effective tool to enhance the learning experience. AI expert Toby Walsh, a professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales (AUS), says developments in this field have already proven that “it’s not difficult to replace a teacher with a machine.”

Toby_Walsh

Professor Toby Walsh

Over the past 21 years, OEB, the global cross-sector conference on technology-supported learning and training, has attained international esteem by presenting eminent experts whose strength lies in identifying new trends in learning and technology. At this year’s event, which opened today with more than 2000 participants from over 90 countries, AI and robotics will be put in the spotlight. World-renowned industry experts will demonstrate and discuss the opportunities presented by these fast-evolving technologies – and their implications.

“We’re seeing MOOCs and intelligent tutoring systems all start to replace some aspects of teaching,” explains Walsh, keynote speaker at the recent OEB 2015 in Berlin (D). He says that in “well-defined domains like maths”, it is already possible to bring AI, in the form of tutoring systems, into the classroom.

In addition to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects, the realm most commonly associated with AI, researchers and developers are experimenting with how it can be used in artistic contexts such as music and dance. On OEB’s Spotlight Stage, which will play host to creative thinkers and innovators, AI pioneer Dr Luc Steels of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel presented the results of a three-year project in which he created a “smarter” MOOC for learning music using artificial intelligence.

Over a period spanning more than two decades, OEB has earned – and sustained – the reputation of being an education conference that is widely recognised as one of the world’s most exciting, challenging, and inspirational. Over the next two days, the future of learning will be explored in over 100 parallel sessions, presented in a range of formats including workshops, plenaries, discussions, debates, labs, demonstrations, and performances. Furthermore, the expansive exhibition area will feature 79 international edtech providers, ranging from established market leaders to emerging start-ups.


Wireless production test.

07/08/2015

The Wireless Test System (WTS), is a solution from National Instruments (NI), that dramatically lowers the cost of high-volume wireless manufacturing test. Although faced with the rising complexity of wireless test, companies can confidently reduce test costs and multiply throughput on the production floor with a system optimised for measurement speed and parallel test.

wts_05_bdr“Megatrends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), will push more devices to include RF and sensor functionality, which has traditionally been expensive to test. But test cost shouldn’t limit innovation or the economic viability of a product,” said Olga Shapiro, Program Manager for Measurement and Instrumentation at Frost & Sullivan. “To remain profitable in the future, companies will need to rethink their approach for wireless test and embrace new paradigms. Because the WTS is built on the industry-proven PXI platform and backed with the market expertise of NI, we expect it to have significant impact on the profitability of the IoT.”

The WTS combines the latest advances in PXI hardware to offer a single platform for multi-standard, multi- DUT and multi-port testing. When used with flexible test sequencing software, such as the TestStand Wireless Test Module, manufacturers can significantly improve instrument utilization when testing multiple devices in parallel. The WTS integrates easily into a manufacturing line with ready-to-run test sequences for devices that use chipsets from suppliers like Qualcomm and Broadcom as well as integrated DUT and remote automation control. With these features, customers are seeing considerable efficiency gains from their RF test equipment and further reducing their cost of test.

“We tested multiple wireless technologies ranging from Bluetooth to WiFi to GPS and cellular all with the same equipment using the NI Wireless Test System,” said Markus Krauss, HARMAN/Becker Automotive Systems GmbH. “The WTS and NOFFZ’s RF test engineering expertise helped us significantly reduce test time and the time it took to get our test systems up and running.”

The WTS is the latest system from NI built on PXI hardware and LabVIEW and TestStand software (see the Semiconductor Test System launched in 2014). With support for wireless standards from LTE Advanced to 802.11ac to Bluetooth Low Energy, the WTS is designed for manufacturing test of WLAN access points, cellular handsets, infotainment systems and other multi-standard devices that include cellular, wireless connectivity and navigation standards. Software-designedPXIvector signal transceiver technology inside the WTS delivers superior RF performance in the manufacturing test environment and a platform that can scale with the evolving requirements of RF test.


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.


Cybersecurity cert programme launched!

19/12/2013
Programme based on its ISA99/IEC 62443 series of industrial automation and control systems security standards

Drawing on its internationally recognised leadership and expertise in industrial automation and control systems security, the International Society of Automation (ISA) has developed a knowledge-based industrial cybersecurity certificate program.

Through the work of its Committee on Security for Industrial Automation & Control Systems (ISA99), the Society has developed the ANSI/ISA99, Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards (known internationally as ISA99/IEC 62443).

ACFF741This new certificate program, the ISA99/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Specialist Certificate, is designed to help professionals involved in IT and control systems security improve their understanding of ISA99/IEC 62443 principles and acquire a command of industrial cybersecurity terminology.

Developed by a cross-section of international cybersecurity subject-matter experts from industry, government and academia, the series of ISA99/IEC 62443 standards apply to all key industry sectors and critical infrastructure, providing the flexibility to address and mitigate current and future vulnerabilities in industrial automation and control systems.

The ISA99/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Specialist Certificate will be awarded to those who successfully complete a designated, two-day ISA classroom training course, Using the ANSI/ISA99 (IEC 62443) Standards to Secure Your Industrial Control System (IC32), and pass a 75-question, multiple-choice exam.

While there are no required prerequisites to register for the certificate program and an application is not required to take the exam, it is helpful if interested professionals possess at least three to five years of experience in the IT cybersecurity field, with at least two of those years in a process control engineering environment in an industrial setting.

“Our new cybersecurity certificate program is another step forward in ISA’s development as a global leader in industrial cybersecurity standards, training and education, and in building on our commitment to meeting the needs of industrial control systems professionals throughout the world,” says Dalton Wilson, ISA’s Manager of Education Services.

Throughout 2013, both ISA and its sister organisation, the Automation Federation, have played prominent roles in helping the US government develop a national Cybersecurity Framework designed to thwart a potentially devastating cyberattack on critical infrastructure, such as a power plants, water treatment facilities and transportation grids.

The exam
The paper/pencil-formatted version of the ISA99/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate Program exam is available now. The electronic version will be available through the Prometric global network of testing centers during the first quarter of 2014.

In order to sit for the exam, applicants must register for both the aforementioned ISA course (IC32) and exam, and successfully complete the course.

The exam will cover the following areas:

  • Understanding the Current Industrial Security Environment
  • How Cyber Attacks Happen
  • Creating a Security Program
  • Risk Analysis
  • Addressing Risk with Security Policy, Organization, and Awareness
  • Addressing Risk with Selected Security Counter Measures
  • Addressing Risk with Implementation Measures
  • Monitoring and Improving the CSMS
  • Designing/Validating Secure Systems

Certificate renewal requirements
Because the ISA99/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate Program is a certificate and not a certification, certificate holders are not required to renew the ISA99/IEC 62443 Certificate.

However, once obtained, the certificate will only be considered current for three years. After the three-year expiration date, a certificate holder will no longer be able to claim that he or she holds a current/active ISA99/IEC 62443 certificate. In order to extend the current status of an expired certificate, a certificate holder must register for and take the related ISA99/IEC 62443 Certificate Knowledge Review. A score of 70% or higher is required to extend the current status of a certificate.


2014 lineup of technical division symposia announced!

04/12/2013

Deadlines for abstract submission are fast approaching

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has announced the dates, locations and Call for Papers (where applicable) for its technical division symposia for 2014.

Download ISA Brochure (pdf)

Download ISA Brochure (pdf)

These annual technical division symposia bring together innovators, thought leaders and other automation and control professionals around the world to explore and discuss the latest technologies, practices and trends, and gain high-value, peer-reviewed technical content across a wide variety of automation fields and disciplines.

There are several new or innovative features to be seen in the list. There are two new arrivals on the slate. These are the Food and Pharmaceutical Industries Division Symposium scheduled for their HQ in North Carolina (USA) 5-6 March 2014 and the  Process Control & Safety Symposium, which will be held in Houston (TX USA) 6-9 October 2014.  

Another innovation is the holding of one of these symposiums in Europe. The 60th ISA International Instrumentation Symposium will be held in England (London) in June (23-27 June 2014). This is possible the first time one of the main-stream seminars has been held outside of continental North America.

We notice that the 9th Sales & Marketing Summit will be held on-line. Again this is a first from the ISA for one of their ‘main-line’ conferences. The dates are 9-11 September 2014.

Details of the full slate of symposia may be accessed for the ISA website here!

The Society also publishes a Training Monthly which lists training courses and webinars.

Plan now to attend the 2014 ISA technical symposium or conference of your choice and professional interest and expertise.