Cybersecurity at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

08/02/2017
Ray Dooley, Product Manager Industrial Control at Schneider Electric Ireland examines the importance of maintaining security as we progress through Industry 4.o.
Ray Dooley, Schneider Electric Ireland

Ray Dooley, Schneider Electric Ireland

A technical evolution has taken place, which has made cyber threats more potent than at any other time in our history. As businesses seek to embrace Industry 4.0, cybersecurity protection must be a top priority for Industrial Control Systems (ICS). These attacks are financially crippling, reduce production and business innovation, and cost lives.

In years gone by, legacy ICS were developed with proprietary technology and were isolated from the outside world, so physical perimeter security was deemed adequate and cyber security was not relevant. However, today the rise of digital manufacturing means many control systems use open or standardised technologies to both reduce costs and improve performance, employing direct communications between control and business systems. Companies must now be proactive to secure their systems online as well as offline.

This exposes vulnerabilities previously thought to affect only office and business computers, so cyber attacks now come from both inside and outside of the industrial control system network. The problem here is that a successful cyber attack on the ICS domain can have a fundamentally more severe impact than a similar incident in the IT domain.

The proliferation of cyber threats has prompted asset owners in industrial environments to search for security solutions that can protect their assets and prevent potentially significant monetary loss and brand erosion. While some industries, such as financial services, have made progress in minimising the risk of cyber attacks, the barriers to improving cybersecurity remain high. More open and collaborative networks have made systems more vulnerable to attack. Furthermore, end user awareness and appreciation of the level of risk is inadequate across most industries outside critical infrastructure environments.

Uncertainty in the regulatory landscape also remains a significant restraint. With the increased use of commercial off-the-shelf IT solutions in industrial environments, control system availability is vulnerable to malware targeted at commercial systems. Inadequate expertise in industrial IT networks is a sector-wide challenge. Against this backdrop, organisations need to partner with a solutions provider who understands the unique characteristics and challenges of the industrial environment and is committed to security.

Assess the risks
A Defence-in-Depth approach is recommended. This starts with risk assessment – the process of analysing and documenting the environment and related systems to identify, and prioritise potential threats. The assessment examines the possible threats from internal sources, such as disgruntled employees and contractors and external sources such as hackers and vandals. It also examines the potential threats to continuity of operation and assesses the value and vulnerability of assets such as proprietary recipes and other intellectual properties, processes, and financial data. Organisations can use the outcome of this assessment to prioritise cybersecurity resource investments.

Develop a security plan
Existing security products and technologies can only go part way to securing an automation solution. They must be deployed in conjunction with a security plan. A well designed security plan coupled with diligent maintenance and oversight is essential to securing modern automation systems and networks. As the cybersecurity landscape evolves, users should continuously reassess their security policies and revisit the defence-in-depth approach to mitigate against any future attacks. Cyber attacks on critical manufacturers in the US alone have increased by 20 per cent, so it’s imperative that security plans are up to date.

Upskilling the workforce
There are increasingly fewer skilled operators in today’s plants, as the older, expert workforce moves into retirement. So the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents a golden opportunity for manufacturing to bridge the gap and bolster the workforce, putting real-time status and diagnostic information at their disposal. At the same time, however, this workforce needs to be raised with the cybersecurity know-how to cope with modern threats.

In this regard, training is crucial to any defence-in-depth campaign and the development of a security conscious culture. There are two phases to such a programme: raising general awareness of policy and procedure, and job-specific classes. Both should be ongoing with update sessions given regularly, only then will employees and organisations see the benefit.

Global industry is well on the road to a game-changing Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is not some hyped up notion years away from reality. It’s already here and has its origins in technologies and functionalities developed by visionary automation suppliers more than 15 years ago. Improvements in efficiency and profitability, increased innovation, and better management of safety, performance and environmental impact are just some of the benefits of an Internet of Things-enabled industrial environment. However, without an effective cybersecurity programme at its heart, ICS professionals will not be able to take advantage of the new technologies at their disposal for fear of the next breach.

@SchneiderElec #Pauto #Industrie40


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

Nobody knows!

30/06/2016
I thought they had a plan!” – Junker

At this stage it is difficult to say how automation will be effected. Ireland has always tended to be regarded (despite our best efforts) to be lumped in with Britain by many automation suppliers. In many cases Irish business is handled directly from Britain rather than within the country itself – despite the fact that not everybody in Britain understands that Ireland is different and not a smaller version of the British Market. There was also the problem of different currencies but that was a problem that pre-dated the introduction of the Euro.

BrexitNobody really expected this  result. So despite people saying that they had “contingency plans” in reality the answer to all questions is “Nobody knows!”

The puzzled words of the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Junker sum up European frustration – “I don’t understand those advocating to leave but not ready to tell us what they want. I thought they had a plan”

Arc Advisary’s Florian Gueldner has written “The impact could exceed the 2009 crisis for European companies, but ARC is actually less pessimistic. However, we think that the Brexit will hinder growth in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Overall, it is a difficult and challenging task to identify all the dynamics and even more to quantify them later.”

Comments from others!
Post-Brexit manufacturing investment to slow, report finds (Process Engineering – 7/11/2016)
Modelling the Medium to Long Term Potential Macroeconomic Impact of Brexit on Ireland (White Paper from ERSI – 7/11/2016)
Irish engineers say Brexit has slowed down business – but they won’t be sacking staff (The Journal.ie – 31/10/2016)
Irish engineers feel the effects of Brexit (Dominic Coyle, Irish Times – 31/10/2016)
Physics focus ‘can help’ food & drink manufacturing post-Brexit  (Process Engineering – 26/10/2016)
“Engineering a future outside the EU: securing the best outcome for the UK” (Report- pdf- Royal Academy of Engineering – Oct 2016)
‘Clumsy’ Brexit deal could do lasting damage says EEF.(Process Engineering – 21/9/2016).
GAMBICA publishes survey report on member priorities post EU referendum (6/9/2016)
Brexit woes continue (Nick Denbow Industrial Automation Insider 2/8/2016)
After Brexit: It’s Time to Model Your Supply Chain (Phil Gibbs, Logistics Viewpoints, 6/8/2016)
Brexit May Take A Toll On Tech Jobs In The UK And EU (Ron Schneiderman, IEEE Careers July 2016)
The two sides of solar (after Brexit) (Neil Mead, Automation, 21/7/2016)
Manufacturers fear ‘Brexit’ fallout as trading outlook weakens (Process Engineering 19 July 2016)
Fresh air with Brexit!

(Nick Denbow @processingtalk 5 July 2016)
How Will Brexit Affect Global Supply Chains?
(Steve Banker Logistics Viewpoints 5 July 2016)
The Future for EU and UK Laws on Cookies after ‘Brexit’
(Bmon 3 July 2016)
Concerned but Hopeful views from Irish Construction Industry Experts after Brexit Vote
(Irish Building 29 June 2016)
Effects of Brexit on the Automation Markets
(Arc Advisory Group 24 Jun 2016)
Industry bodies call for ‘clear’ exit strategy
(Process Automation 24 June 2016)

Ireland is unique in that there is a land border with the British state and it is our biggest trading partner. What will happen? Ireland an Britain have had a mutual co-operation and passport free travel since 1928 – pre European Union. That is now all has changed. What exactly this will mean? Nobody knows!

Britain may become less attractive to foreign investors as it may be cut off from the single market. This will effect Ireland of course. Trade in both directions will probably suffer. Nobody knows!

In Britain Siemens has stopped a major project it was planning in the energy field and we are hearing of more and more postponements in projects there. Certainties have become “maybes” or “Don’t knows!”

The IET said the vote to leave the EU could result in a number of negative impacts on engineering in Britain, including exacerbating their engineering and technology skills shortage by making it more difficult for companies to recruit engineers from other EU countries, including Ireland.

Other issues identified include changes to access to global markets and companies, a decline in funding for engineering and science research, and a weakening of their influence on global engineering standards.

In the area of Standards, there has been a gradual assimilation of standards between all 28 countries to a common European Standard in all sorts of areas. Standards, and many other activities are handled by European Offices which are based in various countries. (For instance we have just learned that the EU Office of Bank Regulation, which is based in London, will be moved to another European city.)

Engineering qualifications is another area where things may change. Will the EU recognise British qualifications and vice versa? Probably, but we don’t know! As a straw in the wind we do know that the legal profession may be effected and the Law Society of Ireland has had an extraordinary increase in applications from British Lawers for affiliation as outside of the EU they will not be able to practice in European Courts. Will that apply to other professions?

The legal situation at present is that Britain is a fully paid-up member and will remain so until they activate Article 50 application. In reality Britain is being excluded already from important meetings for the first time in forty three years.

As mentioned earlier Arc Advisory issued a short paper, in the immediate aftermath of the referendum result, on the effects of Brexit on the Automation Markets. It is worth a quick look.Florian Gueldner concludes his paper, ‘All I can say at this point is, to quote the British writer Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic!”’

 

#Brexit #PAuto #TandM

Food & Pharmaceutical Futures.

21/03/2016

ISA’s first international symposium outside of North America is adjudged a success.

centreview

From the time it was firsted mooted for Ireland in 2015 the planning for the 3rd ISA Food & Pharmaceutical Symposium was embraced with enthusiasm by the local Ireland Section. This was in Philadelphia early in 2015  and since then the ISA’s Food & Pharma Division under the able directorship of Canadian Andre Michel has ploughed forward overcoming setbacks and the not inconsiderable distances between North America and the capital of Munster. Chair of the symposium and former Ireland Section President, Dave O’Brien directed a strong committee charged with ensuring the this, the first such international symposium organised by the ISA outside of North America would be a resounding success.

And it was.

Venues were assessed, speakers recruited and the various minutiae associated with organising an international event were discussed, duties asigned and problems solved over many late night transatlantic telephone conferences. Using the experience of the ISA staff in North Carolina and the many years experience of organising table-top events and conferences in Ireland by the Ireland Section a very creditable event was staged at the Rochestown Park Hotel. With some justification the Symposium Chair could state before the event started “We have assembled a truly outstanding program this year, featuring some of the world’s most accomplished experts in serialization, process optimization, cyber security and alarm management to name a few. These experts will speak on the vital issues affecting food and drug manufacturers and distributors. We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring this event to Ireland for its first time outside of the United States!” Indeed upwards of 200 registrands attended the two day event and it was notable that the bulk of these stayed until the final sessions were completed.

• All through the event highlights were tweeted (and retweeted on the Ireland Section’s own twitter account) with the hashtag #FPID16. See also the ISA official release after the event: Food & Pharma symposium almost doubles in size!

day1e

ISA President Jim Keaveney (3rd from right) with some of the speakers ath the FPID Symposium

Technology and Innovation for 2020 Global Demands
Two fluent keynote speakers, Paul McKenzie, Senior Vice President, Global Biologics Manufacturing & Technical Operations at Biogen (who addressed “Driving Change Thru Innovation & Standards”) and Dr Peter Martin, VP and Edison Master, Schneider Electric Company (Innovation and a Future Perspective on Automation and Control) may be said to have set the tone. The event was also graced with the presence of ISA Internationa President for 2016 Mr Jim Keaveney.

We will highlight a few of the sessions here!

Serialization:
The important subject of serialization which affects all level of the pharmaceutical business especially in view of deadlines in the USA and the EU. From an overview of the need and the technology to a deep dive into the user requirements, this session provided the latest information on the world requirements and helping provide the solution needed in each facility. Speakers, as in most sessions, were drawn from standard, vendor and user organisations as well as state enforcement agencies.

Track & Trace:
In the parallel Food thread of the symposium the role of track and trace technologies were examined. Product safety, output quality, variability and uniqueness of customer requirements manufacturers are facing increasing demands on the traceability of raw materials, real-time status of manufactured goods and tracking genealogy of products throughout the value chain from single line to the multiple sites of global manufacturers. The evolution of data systems and technologies being offered means greater benefits for Industry and presenters Vision ID and Crest will show these solutions and the advantage of modernization.

 

day1a2Both threads came together for much of the event mirroring the similarity of many of the technologies and requirements of each sector.

Digitalization:
Digitalization in industry shows what bringing the worlds of automation and digitalization together provides true and advanced paperless manufacturing with more complex devices and interconnected data systems. This is an enabler to integrated operations within industry. Using MES as a core concept to create a Digital Plant and optimized solutions with data driven services was explained. And a practicale example of a plant was discussed showing the journey to paperless manufacturing and a real pharmaceutical strategy of integrating automated and manual operations.

 

eric_cosman

Eric Cosman makes a point!

Cybersecurity:
Of course this is one of the key topics in automation in this day and age. Without implementing the proper preventative measures, an industrial cyber-attack can contribute to equipment failure, production loss or regulatory violations, with possible negative impacts on the environment or public welfare. Incidents of attacks on these critical network infrastructure and control systems highlight vulnerabilities in the essential infrastructure of society, such as the smart grid, which may become more of a focus for cybercriminals in the future. As well as threats from external sources steps ought to be taken to protect control and automation systems from internal threats which can cripple a company for days or months. This session highlighted the nature of these threats, how systems and infrastructure can be protected, and methods to minimize attacks on businesses.

 

Automation Challenges for a Greenfield Biotech Facility:
These were outlined in this session in the pharmaceutical thread. Recent advances in biotechnology are helping prepare for society’s most pressing challenges. As a result, the biotech industry has seen extensive growth and considerable investment over the last number of years. Automation of Biotech plants has become increasingly important and is seen as a key differentiator for modern biotech facilities. Repeatable, data rich and reliable operations are an expectation in bringing products to market faster, monitor and predict performance and ensure right first time delivery. This session provided the most topical trends in automation of biotech facilities and demonstrated how current best practices make the difference and deliver greater value to businesses.

Process Optimization and Rationalization:
Meanwhile in the Food & Beverage thread incremental automation improvement keeps competitiveness strong. Corporate control system standardization leads to constant demand for increases in production and quality.

Industry 4.0 (Digital Factory: Automate to Survive):

Networking

Networking between sessions

The fourth industrial revolution is happening! This session asked how Global Industry and Ireland are positioned. What did this mean to Manufacturer’s and Industry as a whole? The use of data-driven technologies, the Internet of things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems all integrate intelligently in a modern manufacturing facility. Enterprise Ireland and the IDA headlined this topic along with the ICMR (Irish Centre for Manufacturing Research) and vendors Rockwell and Siemens.

OEE and Automation Lifecycle: Plant lifecycle and Operational Equipment Effectiveness

Networking2

More networking

Worldwide today many of the over 60 Billion Euro spend in installed control systems are reaching the end of their useful life. However, some of these controls, operational since the 80’s and 90’s, invested significantly in developing their intellectual property and much of what was good then is still good now. Of course some aspects still need to evolve with the times. This requires funding, time and talent. For quite some time now there has been a skilled automation shortage at many companies leading organizations to outsourcing, partnerships and collaboration with SME’s to help manage the institutional knowledge of their installed control systems. With corporate leadership sensitive to return to shareholders, plant renovation approval hurdle rates are usually high when it comes to refreshing these control systems. In many manufacturing facilities, engineers and production managers have been asked to cut costs and yet still advance productivity. To solve this dilemma, many world class facilities continue to focus on driving improvements through the use of automation and information technology. Some are finding that using existing assets in conjunction with focused enhancement efforts can take advantage of both worlds. Here we were shown great examples of where innovation and such experiences are helping to create real value for automatio modernization.

 

day1b2

Alarm management:
And of course no matter how sophisticated systems are Alarms are always require and neccessary. DCSs, SCADA systems, PLCs, or Safety Systems use alarms. Ineffective alarm management systems are contributing factors to many major process accidents and so this was an importan session to end the symposium.

The social aspect of this event was not forgotton and following a wine reception there was a evening of networking with music at the end of the first day.

Training Courses:
On the Wednesday, although the symposium itself was finished there were two formal all day training courses. These covered, Introduction to Industrial Automation Security and the ANSI/ISA-62443 Standards (IC32C – Leader Eric Cosman, OIT Concepts ), and Introduction to the Management of Alarm Systems (IC39C – Leader Nick Sands, DuP0nt). These, and other, ISA courses are regularly held in North America and the Ireland Section occasionally arranges for them in Ireland.

All in all the Ireland Section and its members may feel very proud in looking back on a very well organised and informative event which in an email from one of the attendees, “Thank you all, It was the best symposium I attended in the last 10 years!”

Well done!

day1c

#FPID16 #PAuto #PHarma #Food

The 2017 FPID Conference is scheduled for Boston (MA USA) for 16-17 May 2017.


Creating an Innovative Manufacturing & Supply Chain Eco-System. @natmancom

21/12/2015

Word-Cloud-LogisticsMatter-2010-920x300

In line with its newfound status as an All-Ireland ‘must-attend’ annual event, the National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition has switched to a larger and more conveniently placed venue, moving from the Aviva Stadium to the Citywest Hotel to the west of Dublin city.  The one-day event is expected to attract over 2,000 delegates from across Ireland with 100 exhibitors offering over 2,000 products and services.

meetingDesigned with the objective of connecting key stakeholders across the full spectrum of Irish manufacturing, including the food, pharmaceutical, medical, chemical, life sciences and electronics manufacturing sectors, the third National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition will be held on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016.

The Conference is held in conjunction with an Exhibition of the latest processing and supply chain technology available to Irish industry. Suppliers from all key industrial sectors will be exhibiting at the 2016 event.

National Forum
Now in its third year, The National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition provides a forum for manufacturers and operators involved throughout the supply chain from across Ireland – North and South – to gather to discuss pressing issues facing Irish industry.

The theme of the 2016 event is ‘Creating an Innovative Manufacturing & Supply Chain Eco-System’ and an impressive line-up of speakers from manufacturing, academia and government agencies will explore the key problems, challenges and opportunities facing Irish industry.

Colin Murphy, Managing Director of Premier Publishing & Events, organisers of this event says, “A list of 75 speakers is currently being finalised along with the various free workshops and 20 supporting associations. The speakers at the Conference have been carefully selected from senior management within Irish industry and academia, who have a successful track record of delivering quantifiable results in sustainable manufacturing and throughout the supply chain, and who can offer delegates a clear pathway to enhancing competitiveness and innovation.”

Speakers at The National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition 2016 include: Colm J Murphy, Senior Human Resources Manager at Hollister ULC; Arthur Stone, CEO of OEEsystems; Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Dr Richard Keegan, a specialist in the areas of Lean/World Class Business and Benchmarking with Enterprise Ireland; and Liam Cassidy, Managing Director of LCL Consult Ltd. Representatives from Pfizer, Lake Region Medical and Mondelez International will also be speaking at the event.

The Citywest Hotel complex with its easy access and free car parking is strategically placed to host All-Ireland events of this nature.

New For 2016 – Jobs Expo
A new feature at the 2016 event is the Jobs Expo area, dedicated to highlighting the many employment opportunities currently available throughout the Irish manufacturing and supply chain sectors. This purpose-designed jobs, employment and recruitment section of the National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition will act as an interface between suitably qualified job seekers and representatives from both national and international companies with vacancies. With many businesses experiencing skills shortages, the new addition is timely.

Networking Opportunity
The National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition 2016 will provide an ideal forum for meeting Government agencies and supporting associations, and gaining free advice from experts. It will also provide networking zones to connect buyers and suppliers.

The layout of the Conference & Exhibition is intended to maximise the opportunity for delegates to network and make new contacts.


A new (3-D) perspective in presence detection.

06/04/2015
Irish/German co-operation in new technologies creating a paradigm shift in the planning of safety for current and future manufacturing systems.

Presence detection is a critical element in the basis of safety for many pharmaceutical and bio pharmaceutical processes. Detecting presence of workers prior to start-up and during operation of machinery and processes is an effective means of injury prevention. Likewise product can be protected from human contamination using collaborative robots allied with relevant 3-D presence detection. The pharmaceutical sector has always had to deploy sophisticated processes and technology in its manufacturing environment while maintaining the highest safety standards.

G-Funktionsprinzip-SafetyEYE-EN-568This is an approach which responds positively to the need for worker safety while minimising production disruption. Process components such as centrifuges and barrel mixers pose a significant risk to workers because of high speed rotational action or agitation. Likewise transportation of storage units such as intermediate bulk containers and the use of automated wrapping and palletising machinery create the need for effective safeguarding. 3D sensing systems provide many advantages through the introduction of barrier-free safeguarding.

SafetyEYE, a 3-D virtual detection system, provides a comprehensive protection zone around such machinery. Developed jointly by the Pilz Software Research and Development team in Cork (IRL) and the Product Development division in Ostfildern (D), the company considers SafetyEYE as an example of new technologies creating a paradigm shift in the planning of safety for current and future manufacturing systems.

Named ‘Safety Company of the Year’ for 2014 by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Desmond-South Munster Branch, the award recognised Pilz’s commitment to continuous innovation, singling out the development of SafetyEYE as central to this commitment.

Bob Seward, chair of the IOSH Desmond-South Munster Branch, said: “The development of this innovative SafetyEYE technology will make a significant difference in terms of protecting people at work while they operate around machinery danger zones. Our members were very impressed with SafetyEYE and what it can achieve in terms of accident prevention and safeguarding workers.”

The world’s first 3D zone monitoring system SafetyEYE comprises a three-camera sensing device, an analysis unit and programmable control capability.

The sensing unit creates the image data of the zone to be protected and the stereoscopic cameras allow for precise distance and depth perception. Adjusting the height of the camera device allows for varying zone dimensions and areas of coverage. The image data is processed by the analysis unit to detect any intrusion of the defined 3-D protection zone and is relayed to the programmable safety and control system (PSS) for activation of the appropriate safety response.

The avoidance of an obstacle-course of physical guards has obvious advantages for increased freedom of interaction and ergonomics between machinery and humans without compromising safety for both. Because of the highly configurable software a wide range of detection zones can be designed either using pre-defined geometric forms or bespoke shapes. These zones can then be assigned various safety-related actuations with reference to the risk from an audio-visual warning to shut-down.

SafetyEYE can be used to prevent start-up of machinery when persons are in a danger zone or provide warnings and if necessary activate a shutdown if an operator enters a danger zone while such plant is running. The system can be configured to signal a warning as the worker enters the perimeter of the defined safety zone and as he continues further into the zone initiate further safety actions. The machine can remain in this suspended state while the worker completes his task. Once the worker has cleared the area the machine’s activities can resume in accordance with the worker’s egress from the safety zone. This incremental reactive capability allows for minimum downtime and so optimal productivity is maintained. For workers who only encroach on the outer points of the safety zone the triggered warning will uphold the safety integrity of the work space without limiting operation. Likewise, the system can be configured to allow for pre-defined spaces within the protection zone to be breached without shut down. This is especially useful for supervisory personnel who need to access control components which lie within the safety zone. Again they may complete their task safely without the need to disrupt the manufacturing process.

To achieve the same level of safety in such a scenario as this, a whole range of other safety measures may have to be deployed, such as guard-doors, with the physical and visual restrictions these solutions will impose. Safety for workers venturing beyond these guards would then require optical sensors which operate two-dimensionally along a plane and may require a multiplicity of sensors to provide comprehensive monitoring. This mix of solutions can present significant cost implications and their static single-plane positioning will raise costly design challenges. As SafetyEYE is positioned above the manufacturing area it does not present any physical or visual obstruction and it is also far less likely to be interfered with than other ground-level safety measures which are always more vulnerable to intentional or accidental interference. The 3-D zonal capability means that one sensor unit can provide far more safety coverage than the planar sensors. Such imaging-based devices also have a recording functionality so that safety zone breaches can be recorded or production activity monitored to feed into productivity metrics.

These attributes were acknowledged by Bob Seward of the IOSH when presenting Pilz with the award. “With the introduction of this certified technology, safety can no longer be seen as a barrier to work, slowing work down or stopping work. It can be truly integrated in the work system.”

Pilz Ireland managing director John McAuliffe said: “Pilz were honoured to receive this award. The area of safety in which we work is constantly changing and Pilz need to be innovative in order to provide our customers with solutions that achieve safety in lean manufacturing environments.” Providing services from risk assessment, safety design and safety training to customers all over the world the company views continuous development of processes and products, such as SafetyEYE, as vital in meeting the constantly evolving demands of the modern manufacturing environment.

The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI) estimates that 34% of primary pharmaceutical operations in North America by 2018 will be carried out by robots, compared with 21% in 2013. This increasing automation, along with the rapid growth of collaborative robots across all sectors, is heralding a new era of human-robot interaction in manufacturing.

SafetyEYE is especially effective in ensuring the safe deployment of collaborative robots which are ideal for handling materials and ingredients in a decontaminated environment but which require some level of interaction with operators who need to approach to carry out supervisory, control or intervention tasks.

Such are the potential production efficiencies brought about by collaborative robotics in the bulk pharmaceutical manufacturing sector that Health and Safety managers, engineers and suppliers will need to align their safety strategy in line with this new industrial environment.

As with all new technologies care and due process must be exercised in the integration with other plant and machinery. Structured risk assessment considering the specific hazards leading to intelligent safety concepts are the key to successful adoption of such new technologies. Pilz is pioneering safe automation with the continuous development of its services and products, such as SafetyEYE, ensuring that its customers can anticipate the safety challenges presented by industry developments such as collaborative robots.


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.