#SPS Largest automation event in 2010

09/12/2010

We missed (again) the biggest automation event of the year in Nuremberg (D) this year. There are only so many things one can do and with the proliferation of user group or company sponsored events in the final four months of the year it is difficult to spread the limited resources – both fiscal and physical – to cover everything. That is why we try to use the social media resources to cover so many of these events.

An unbroken rush of visitors!

Products Releases:

  • Operator panels for demanding visualization tasks in harsh industrial environments (Siemens)
  • Key panels for use in tough and safety-related industrial applications (Siemens)
  • Customized HMI unit fronts in industrial quality (Siemens)
  • Fail-safe distributed I/O modules for use up to Ex Zone 1/21 (Siemens)
  • Efficient and uniform handling of operator control and monitoring tasks (Siemens)
  • Efficient engineering system for all Simatic controllers (Siemens)
  • A new age in modern engineering with the TIA Portal (Siemens)
  • Measuring technology and communication come together (Krohne)
  • 1st Industrial PC with MS Windows XP Pro operating system (Schneider)
  • Cables for automation applications (Nexans)
  • IO-Link starter kit simplifies the development of automation solutions (Fujitsu)
  • Connecting networks (HMS Industrial Networks)
  • Programmable automation controller (Aerotech)
  • Complete servo drive in a compact EtherCAT Terminal (Beckhoff)
  • Beckhoff elevates Motion division
  • Cost-effective EtherNet/IP Bus Coupler in a compact design (Beckhoff)
  • Machine safety in harsh conditions (Beckhoff)
  • Bus Terminals for extreme climates (Beckhoff)
  • Slide-in Industrial PC features extremely flat design (Beckhoff)
  • Quick evaluation with extremely flexible I/O (Kontron)
  • Unified middleware for simplified access and control of hardware resources (Kontron)
  • Extremely high I/O flexibility off the shelf (Kontron)
  • Successful show (Contemporary Controls)
  • The SPS/IPC/Drives has been consistant in delivering a very useful and practical showcase for the European and Global automation market for many years. This year was no exception.

    52,028 trade visitors poured into  Nuremberg and chose this exhibition as their highlight of the year for the electric automation industry. During the three days of the show the industry showed its condensed ability and its optimism which it will use to profit from the positive economic situation. Indeed the boyancy of the show belied the gloom and doom of the mass media predictions of the economic state of Europe. Especially the increase in visitors  from abroad was significant. 10,147 (+34%) came to inform themselves about the offers of 1,323 exhibitors.

    The concurrent conference showed a growth as well. 302 (previous year: 281) participants took part in the event to discuss new trends, exchange knowledge and network intensively

    Last year we reported on this show too – Major show in the heart of Europe – and this year topped it in size with nine halls full of automation and having to fight your way through the crowds to see what you wanted to see.

    One of the most complete reports is from Leo Poner’s Industrial Ethernet Book in their SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2010 Show Report published on 7th December 2010. They report that the shopw emphasised green issues and security.

    Microsoft listed Windows Embedded Partner Innovations Showcased at the show.

    Carl Henning, the ever-active ProfiBus US guy, put two contemporaneous reports on their stand on his ProfiBlog.  Both offer a pictorial guide to the stand entitled “Technologies in the PI Booth” and the next one “Welcome to the PI booth” They are good pen pictures support with generous pictures and videos of what one stand’s experience was. He also alludes to the US automation journals who sacrificed time so close to their beloved Thanksgiving festival to report on this event.

    He may have another report. This and some of their reports will appear below appear below, newest at the top.

    Other reports

    Innovation abounds at a record-breaking SPS event (Control Engineering EME 13/12/2010)

    ProfiBlog SPS/IPC/Drices ReCap (10/12/2010)

    Walt Boyes tells How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation! (9/12/2010)

    HBI Table talk says SPS / IPC / Drives – really all pure automation? (Google translation – 8/12/2010)

    On Windows wrote Microsoft partners at SPS/IPC/Drives (8/12/2010)

    Around the show (Carl Henning 7/12/2010)

    Automation World’s Gary Mintchell’s Mintchell Report comments in living colour on his way home from the show on key trends and new products from Siemens and Beckhoff are highlighted. He also has a few pictures on his Flikr page: SPS-Drives Trade Fair Nuremberg.

    ProfiBlog ProfiBus & ProfiNet News (ProfiBlog 1/12/2010)

    Highest hopes exceeded – more than 52,000 came (Organiser’s release 25/11/2010)

    EPN Industrial Automation Blog reports on Box IPC with Core-Processor (23/11/2010)

    The next SPS/IPC/Drives 2011 show is scheduled for 22 – 24 November 2011, so mark your diary.


    Security threat to the control system world!

    19/07/2010

    " threat to the control system world!"

    We became aware of this through Gary Mintchell on twitter on Saturday (17th – “News item says virus exploits Windows hole to get Siemens WinCC”). He had heard of it through news feeds. The following are some links from Gary, Control Global and ComputerWorld. The oldest posts at the bottom. Some of these links carry the same basic information.


    Siemens themselves became aware of it on 14th July 2010,

    Aktuelle Informationen zur Malware in Verbindung mit Simatic-Software

    Current information on malware in connection with Simatic Software

    Siemen’s statement (19 Jul 2010)


    Control Systems a New “Bull’s-eye” for Hackers (Wes Iverson Automation Week)

    Stuxnet Siemens SCADA Worm (Industrial Defender – Findings from the Field)

    ‘Stuxnet’ Trojan Targets Siemens WinCC
    (Control Engineering)

    Update on Virus Affecting Simatic WinCC SCADA Systems
    (IEB)

    Siemens Media Advisory regarding the virus affecting Simatic WinCC SCADA Systems
    We Knew It Was Only a Matter of Time
    Malware hits Siemens software
    (ControlGlobal)

    Observations about the Siemens PLC vulnerability
    (Discussion on Control Global)

    Latest Siemens Statement on Malware
    Siemens SCADA Security Byres Response
    (Gary Mintchel)

    New virus targets industrial secrets
    Microsoft confirms ‘nasty’ Windows zero-day bug
    (ComputerWorld)

    Scada virus
    (Chemical Facility Security News)

    This morning  (Irish Time – 07.30) the following appeared in the Signpost Mail box. There had been some tweets (notably from Gary Mintchel of Automation World) on this topic over the weekend but this is the first meaty piece about it. We have decided to include the entire text of his email. Text of email from Eric Byres P.Eng., Chief Technology Officer, Byres Security: “I don’t normally send emails about security vulnerabilities or incidents (that is the job of groups like the US CERT), but over the last 72 hours I have become aware of a potentially serious threat to the control system world that might affect your organization. Over the weekend my team has been investigating a new family of threats called Stuxnet that appear to be directed specifically at Siemens WinCC and PCS7 products via a previously unknown Windows vulnerability. (Here is the result of a MS’s Malware Protection Center for the term “Stuxnet”: Ed) At the same time I also became aware of a concerted Denial of Service attack against a number of the SCADA information networks such as SCADASEC and ScadaPerspective mailing lists, knocking at least one of these services off line. Thus, I decided to create this email to let my friends and associates in the process control and SCADA world know what is happening. As best as I can determine, the facts are as follows: This is a zero-day exploit against all versions of Windows including Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2003 SP 2, Windows Vista SP1 and SP2, Windows Server 2008  and Windows 7.

    • There are no patches available from Microsoft at this time (There are work arounds which I will describe later).
    • This malware is in the wild and probably has been for the past month.
    • The known variations of the malware are specifically directed at Siemens WinCC and PCS7 Products.
    • The malware is propagated via USB key. It may be also be propagated via network shares from other infected computers.
    • Disabling AutoRun DOES NOT HELP! Simply viewing an infected USB using Windows Explorer will infect your computer.
    • The objective of the malware appears to be industrial espionage; i.e. to steal intellectual property from SCADA and process control systems. Specifically, the malware uses the Siemens default password of the MSSQL account WinCCConnect to log into the PCS7/WinCC database and extract process data and possibly HMI screens.

    The only known work arounds are:

    • NOT installing any USB keys into any  Windows systems, regardless of the OS patch level or whether AutoRun has been disabled or not
    • Disable the displaying of icons for shortcuts (this involves editing the registry)
    • Disable the WebClient service

    My team has attempted to extract and summarize all the relevant data (as of late Saturday night – 17 July 2010) and assemble it in a short white paper called “Analysis of Siemens WinCC/PCS7 Malware Attacks”which I have posted on my website in a secured area that can be accessed from this page. If you would like to down load the white paper, you will need to register on the web site and I will approve your registration as fast as I can. I have chosen to keep the whitepaper in a secure area as I do not want this information to be propagated to individuals that do not need to know and might not have our industries’ best interests at heart. People who are already www.tofinosecurity.com web members do not need to reregister. In closing, I have considered long and hard whether to send this email or not, as I don’t want to fill your Inbox with junk. However I think that this is serious enough to warrant that risk for once. And if you don’t wish to receive emails from me on this sort of topic again (that is, if I ever send them again, which I hope I won’t need to), please click on the unsubscribe link below and it will mark you in my address list as a “do not email”. Feel free to foward this to anyone you feel needs to know this information. In closing I hope this information and our white paper summary of the malware will be helpful to you, your organization and the ICS community as a whole.”


    Power, Energy and er Automation? #APW10

    24/05/2010


    Last week the ABB Users’ Conference, Automation & Power World, descended on the oil city of Houston with something over 4000 participants.

    ABB Automation & Power World 2010 Blog Spot

    APW10 Blogspot

    YouTube Presentations

    on Facebook

    LinkedIn

    on Twitter #APW10


    ARC’s Forum at APW10
    IBM Workshop Sessions at APW10

    As we learn of other reports and comments we will add them!

    Read-out’s resources have never been sufficient to attend many of the user-group meetings of the various “big boy” automation companies but of late we have been able to get a flavour of them vicariously through the tweets and other online sharings of the attendees with active thumbs and a friendly mobile phone or Blackberry. The ABB event was no exception. As the different talks and presentations occured so tweets were being sent on twitter using the hashtag #APW10 so although people who were not among the throngs present they could eavesdrop while at their desks or on their mobile devices!

    “Automation & Power World,” according to ABB, “was designed with a specific focus – to provide engineers and business leaders with a single event where they can experience and learn the latest in Automation and Power technology, and more importantly how it can benefit their business’ profitability.”

    Malcolm Shearmur of ABB in Zurich (CH), reported from this ABB’s largest customer event for ABB in a special blog, (though his views, as he points out, are his own rather than those of ABB!). The exhibit area was some 9000 squre metres and opened on the 17th May. Some idea of the exhibits and the venue may be gained from the limited number of pictures on their picasa album and also from presentations which may be found of YouTube (See box on right for links to these and other reports!)

    ControlGlobal’s Walt Boyes was among those tweeting and his publisher also provided a daily update of the talks and presentations suplemented by additional “in-depth” clarifications from Walt’s own “Sound Off” blog. For instance his “Peter Terwiesch Explains It All to Us!” and “Who Says the single loop controller is dead?” (Incidentally, and compl;etely of the point, Walt, always looking for information, recounts an encounter while he  was waiting for his plane at Houston airport with a guy who’s product sounds like the answer to a maiden’s prayer post the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – take a look!)

    The event kicked off with a wide-ranging address from ABB Group CEO Joe Hogan. He seems to have covered virtually everything from the Greek failure inside the Euro-zone, to the future for e-mobility; the fact that ABB robots polish the back of iPads and Carbon Dioxide emission (“60% of CO2 reduction solution will come from energy efficiency!”). He said “Smart Grids are where Power and Automation will merge!”

    “Much of Hogan’s talk, as well as many sessions and exhibits in the 100,000 square foot exhibition hall, focused on power and energy efficiency. The theme begun last year at the merged “Power World” and “Automation World” conferences continued this year–the confluence of power and process automation.” reports Automation World’s Gary Mintchel in his Feed Forward blog. He goes on, “This fact was backed up by Chief Technology Officer Peter Terwisch’s presentation at the press briefing where he threw in one process automation comment at the end of an otherwise power and energy focused talk.”

    So what new products impressed from afar? The new ABB Fieldkey device is a loop powered small footprint WirelessHART adaptor. Also a new generation of Swirlmeters. And Gary mentions an as yet un-launched producy “cpmPlus History – a new historian that not only is capable of acquiring tremendous quantities of data, but also has built-in tools for analysis and scripting capability for development custom analysis built on more complex math and algorithms if required by the customer application.”

    Also highlighted was ABB’s recent acquisition of Ventyx an Atlanta (GA US) based software provider to global energy, utility, communications etc enterprises. They increase ABB’s offering with a broad range of solutions including: asset management, mobile workforce management, energy trading and risk management, energy operations and energy analytics. The company also provides software solutions for planning and forecasting electricity needs, including renewables.

    All in all it appears to have been an interesting event, well attended and hopefully indicating the start of a slow climb into optimism!

    It is hoped that  Automation & Power World will return to Orlando (FL US) April 19-21, 2011 where the 2009 event was held!

    Automation & Power World Brazil – 17/19 Aug 2010

    Large attendance at ABB's biggest customer event!