Modern plants depend on cloud computing, says HPS president
Tuesday, 31 October, 2017
There is no choice for industrial organisations but to take advantage of cloud computing, according to Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS). Cloud computing and storage solutions are integral to improvements in efficiency savings and operating success in industrial plants as the manufacturing world gears up for Industry 4.0.
“We’ve reached a point where adopting the cloud is not a choice: it’s a given as we move toward Industry 4.0, the world’s preferred name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies,” said Kapur in an interview at the Honeywell Users’ Group conference in The Hague, the Netherlands.
HPS’s commercial answer is what it describes as the ’connected plant’, the company’s program that helps manufacturers operate their plants “more safely, efficiently and reliably” by leveraging the power of the IIoT.
“Underpinning our solutions is the cloud, which, for all its machinations in the popular press, is an infrastructural avenue that creates value as an application in the new industrial processing world; a world that is pushing everyone towards centralisation,” Kapur said.
“Modern industry is moving towards a lean front-end model and a much more heavily centralised backend capability. This has boosted productivity, as all the knowledge capture, maintenance and high-level analysis can be centralised.”
However, Kapur added that the innovative operating model and process efficiencies the cloud is enabling are not being discussed that often. “What is being discussed is not the end but rather the means.”
For instance, the cloud-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) for industrial processing solutions offered by Honeywell and its rivals is worlds ahead of the analog control systems that were once the mainstay of plants as recently as the 1990s.
“The operating expenditure, productivity and ease of upgrading, patching and migrating benefits are so large that manufacturers cannot afford to ignore it. Control systems have shifted from a hardware-centric platform to a more software-oriented one since the turn of the millennium.”
The HPS president also said that such was the pace of change and opportunities offered by rapid digitisation that the company is launching new products every quarter.
“The new technology inflection has seen us adopting them into our current offerings. The world of connectivity, of digital transformation and of virtual reality gives us better ways to solve problems and improve industrial processes for our end customers, to make a clear impact on their bottom line; from control systems to maintenance training stimulators, from mission-critical apparatus to health and safety.
“The cloud is encompassing much of it, and we are having to innovate quite aggressively with an outcome-based approach, instead of a plain vanilla solutions-based approach,” Kapur said.
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