Is everything alright at home? How are my shares doing? And how many fitness points have I collected today? One look at a smartphone is enough to bring you up to date on many everyday issues. While digital interconnection in their private lives has long since become self-evident for millions of people, it is still pie in the sky to large parts of the process industry. Those who want to know more about a certain field device in their plant often have to go and check for themselves on location.
As far as Steffen Ochsenreither is concerned, digital convenience will also enter the process industry. The Business Development Manager is working on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). His aim is to make the data from all the sensors of an industrial plant easily accessible from anywhere. Many users are therefore also calling it the fourth industrial revolution: after mechanization, electrification and automation, (digital) interconnection is now on its way.
Keeping an eye on all field devices
Steffen Ochsenreither doesn’t have a revolutionary coup d’état in mind, however, but rather an evolutionary step-by-step approach. “As part of our IIoT strategy, we are developing very specific applications that integrate seamlessly into the existing plant technology and immediately provide the user with added value.” The first application to be realized is called Endress+Hauser Analytics, which enables the digital inventory of the installed base. Following a first successful field test with a steel manufacturer, it is now available to Endress+Hauser customers from every field of application.
With Endress+Hauser Analytics, all field devices in a plant can be easily categorized and analyzed, even those from third-party manufacturers. An interface module installed in the network (in this case, an Edge Device) independently recognizes the various device types and creates a digital twin in a cloud-based hub. Alternatively, the devices’ nameplates can be read by the Endress+Hauser Scanner app and the information can be automatically uploaded to the hub, where they are compared and added to the Endress+Hauser device database.
Endress+Hauser Analytics reduces the length of time needed for taking inventory down to a fraction of the time required for manual recording. Through the app’s clear interface, which can be accessed by mobile devices as well as the office PC, customers can view device data and documents such as calibration certificates or repair reports. Furthermore, they also receive information on the criticality of measuring points, on standardization opportunities and successor products, should a device require replacing. As is common with private sector apps, the basic package is free; while usage fees only apply to anything beyond that.
An ecosystem for the digital world
The key elements of our IIoT ecosystem have therefore already been named: the cloud-based hub, interface modules for connectivity and the Endress+Hauser device database. These elements help realize the full potential of the intelligent measurement devices and create the foundation for algorithms that connect the existing device and process data, therefore generating added value for the user in the shape of digital applications.
The measurement technology itself does not require any adjustments. The existing device communication via HART, WirelessHART, Profibus and GSM is used; further interfaces will be added in future. The cloud data is encrypted and securely stored in certified research centers.
Further applications based on the Endress+Hauser IIoT ecosystem are also set to be ready for the market soon. An application for asset health monitoring will monitor the status of the installed base, and is set to eventually enable predictive maintenance. Endress+Hauser Smart Metrology is going in the same direction: This application, which is still in its conceptual phase, will enable the optimization of the calibration intervals of pH sensors. Another application for water quality will allow for the simple and cost-effective remote monitoring of water levels.
“We will offer the water quality application as a complete system with a GSM gateway and a smartphone app in our web shop, with the option for a Memosens sensor and a Liquiline transmitter,” Steffen Ochsenreither announces. This will not only test the acceptance of digital services, but also of online sales, which are still less common in the process industry: “The IIoT ecosystem provides us with the opportunity to enter into a new relationship with our customers that goes beyond the sale of products. We want to accompany them through their activities and demonstrate new ways with which to configure their processes more efficiently.”
Click on the graphic below to find out more about our IIoT portfolio.