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Old October 29th, 2017, 11:47 AM   #1
Combo
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Industry 4.0 and the programmer of today...

Hi all,

We all see Industry 4.0 as hot topic by many brands. It's like the sweet saus for these companies. This week I was at a Beckhoff dealer in Belgium talking about innovation and industry 4.0. Many can't explain what the core definition means... Me neither. But the thing IS, this guy said things that raised questions for me. He was talking about industry 4.0 that it's basically means connecting data where each machine can be connected to anything in the company. It's like subscription on topics to exchange data. He gave many other illustrations but one shocked me as I am a Plc and scada programmer myself. He said he programs in Simulink and that this is the future. Programming if then else syntax will be the past. Graphic programmation the future.. I didn't ask him what about stepprograms and drivers between devices. I am not an stl programmer anymore since TIA portal works brilliantly with Scl and graph in combination... But TIA is already something old fashion if I may believe this guy.

So the question is simple... Should I prepare for a job change ? :-)
And can someone clear things up about the near future?
You know... A lot of process integrators still are in simatic because of their standards... Are they way behind then? In the Machinery and automobile things are changed into Tia portal.

Kind regards and thank you for comments in advance

Gerry
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Old October 29th, 2017, 12:16 PM   #2
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In general, it is safe to assume that Industry will be 10-15 years behind the "leading edge" technology being developed. The simple fact of the matter is that we are dealing with machines and processes that be utilizing daily resources in the millions. Why do you think so many modern PLC's still have a serial port? It is easy to troubleshoot, simple and reliable. If all else fails, you can connect with a serial port. This is starting to change as of the last few years though. We want tried, tested and true mature technology running our machines and going into the products we use to run the machines. Often times, those new to the field may not get that.

Take the electric motor, for example. It was about 50 years before they became a staple of industrial technology. This is because the systems that were existing had to be retired, and the people that new those systems had to be retired. It took a younger generation to bring about the implementation of that modern technology.

Now, lets get on to the use of graphic programming. This is already widely used. And has been for years. Have you never used ladder? I'm currently in a course for Labview, which is SFC programming. Also a commonly used environment for SCADA systems. I think that the various methods of implementing this tech will still be around for the rest of my lifetime, and I'm around 30.

The new push by industry is to make everything smart. IoT they call it. Internet of things. The idea is that everything is interconnected and working together, and this will be done by open standards and protocols rather than drivers. Drivers tend to be used to interface hardware with an operating system, but if you have two pieces of hardware that speak a common language, there is really no need for a driver. The real issue with this is the lack of network security knowledge in the field. I have seen quite a few industrial networks laid on top of business networks and the company had no desire to fix the issue. The problem is that these machines control moving parts, and there is also a blanket ip-camera system on that network meaning that an attacker could easily cause a machine to malfunction and hurt someone. This kind of stuff scares the **** out of me.

Yea, we have a push for IoT. Yea, it will take a couple decades for it to be in full swing, and yes we are going to have a lot of issues because the people with the technical knowledge to securely design and configure these devices don't generally want to be on the plant floor, and the guys with the smarts to do it that are willing to get dirty don't generally have an in-depth knowledge of network security and it isn't given as training. There are some gaps to be filled for sure.
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Old October 29th, 2017, 05:46 PM   #3
Peter Nachtwey
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It is all marketing hype

Industry 4.0 is marketing hype started by the Germans. The Chines have bought into it too. I am in Shanghai now.

Quote:
The new push by industry is to make everything smart. IoT they call it.
Who is pushing for it?

Should things be connected? Well, yes and no.
The best security is to keep your systems isolated and plug them in to the internet only when necessary.

About programming everything in a graphical language.
What are these graphical languages programmed in?
I like SFC but there is still ST and IL written in the steps.

There are so many industry fads that come and go. Always be mindful, it isn't the tool it is who wields it. I am still going strong with my obsolete Mathcad 13.

Quote:
And can someone clear things up about the near future?
No, things will always change. The best you can do is to learn the physics and math that won't change. I call this "forever" knowledge.

BTW, we had a engineer from Germany come by encouraging us to do more with ProifiNet. There is ProifiNet, ProfiNet RT, ProfiNet IRT, and ProfiSafe. What these guys don't realize is that it takes a HUGE development effort to meet the requirement of these protocols and they wonder why more companies have not jumped on their bandwagon. In our motion controller we have added many Ethernet applications stacks. Each new Ethernet application stack seems to be larger and more complicated than the previous. For instance Ethernet/IP code was larger than all the simpler protocols before Ethernet/IP combined. The ProfiNet stack is larger than all the protocols that came before AND Ethernet/IP combined. When will it end? Soon a motion controller will be 10% motion control and 90% Ethernet stacks.

You guys might of heard about OPC ua with TSN. The Time Sensitive Network part isn't even standardized yet and what good is it if if can't keep up with gathering data from our motion controllers every 250 microsecond.

I think there are a lot of marketing and engineers that want to confuse things and great FUD by making up yet and protocol and yet another specification. If they need to make new standards and specifications then the first ones must have been flawed so why should we trust these people now?

Be skeptical. Go with what makes business sense to you.
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Old October 29th, 2017, 07:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nachtwey View Post
Who is pushing for it?
In my experience, the push is by product manufacturers. In my experience smart sensors and such are being pushed and developed as the next generation of industrial hardware. In my experience, if I have to pull power to it, most of the time it isn't much more trouble to pull IO wire as well, if any.

As far as motion control goes, I have not dealt much with it.
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Old October 29th, 2017, 08:35 PM   #5
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I got your Industry 4.0 right here.

Can your Contrologix talk to a tape player?
My GE Fanuc Series One can, and can talk to a printer! lol

Seriously though, I see Industry 4.0 as movement to make more data “easier” to get to.

We have boo-koo protocols to send data device-to-device. Throw them all in a tote sack, shake it up, and jerk one out. At the end of the day, you sent data.
There has yet until now it seems, a field layer protocol to get more data from sensors/actuators. Although, I’m not sure how far they can go on that alone. If my prox is on or off, then what else do I need to know? Voltage low? Sensor dirty? Left-Rear Tire Air Pressure Low? Windshield Washer Fluid Low?
Those last two made it into our lives without protest, so perhaps Industry 4.0 will to. But, I agree, not for a decade at best.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 02:21 AM   #6
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The push for industry 4.0, or industrial IoT, comes from old and large industry enterprises that feel they don't have the s.e.x-appeal of google and apple.

They fail to realize that this will not add value to the process controlled, it will only extract value to a larger business system so they can asseble it in a nice report.

I belive there are few that realizes the potential risk of hacker attacks, especially to critical systems like power generation and grid.

Edit: So *** (s.e.x) is a forbidden word eh?

Last edited by ojz0r; October 30th, 2017 at 02:23 AM. Reason: Censorship
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Old October 30th, 2017, 03:33 AM   #7
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IoT - = IDIOT! Geez - happy to work with what I have that works. Bloody auto allocation and symbol programming is the biggest PITA ever! I still program with I/O numbers - far quicker and easier. I should add that depends on the manufacture - %I.1.3.15 - come on!
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Old October 30th, 2017, 03:37 AM   #8
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I really need to retire. I cant take it anymore!
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Old October 30th, 2017, 03:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ojz0r View Post
The push for industry 4.0, or industrial IoT, comes from old and large industry enterprises that feel they don't have the s.e.x-appeal of google and apple.
Bingo...
What I find really interesting are the products that require the plant to be connected to the internet to work and the end product of using that is to get a report at the end which is possible to create since long time ago with reporting tools and more or less customization.

What automation giants see is that data is important and they want to be the ones holding it for the companies.

Just two weeks ago while discussing the options for iFix licensing in our servers, the option given was to keep them connected to the internet.
I had to tell them that I would move to any other SCADA package if I have to put the servers on the internet before they brought the option of having it in a local server.

GE as well have products like this where they make it incredibly expensive for people to purchase the system and install on site, but offer a cheap license to put the data in their servers and get "smart" reports at the end.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 07:13 AM   #10
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4.0

Hello,

Thanks for clearing some things up guys.
When I compare industries and the shift from S5 to S7 and TIA as an innovation example, then I must agree with what you guys write here. For giant company's the shift isn't made in years but in decades. Industry 4.0 is about more data accesable on all machines... Aren't we doing this allready by the well known triangle with the layers of ERP and MES connected to SCADA and PLC's ? Will it be more open in future, probably. OPC UA is allready possible in the new Siemens 1500 CPU's for example. This OPC UA is a little example about connecting anything via an open standard. But I guess Industry 4.0 is much more than that :-). Anyway, while al these brands are yelling on Linkedin with fancy Industry 4.0 posts, I also believe the German dream or IOT in case of the American dream is a dream of decades further. The shift is allready there, in the past PLC programmers did not program IT things, today most PLC programmers know IT applications or data applications allready. So will I need to look for an other job (my main question), I don't think it will change that fast, so maybe I can keep up :-)

Kind regards,
Gerry
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Old October 30th, 2017, 08:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nachtwey View Post
Industry 4.0 is marketing hype started by The best security is to keep your systems isolated and plug them in to the internet only when necessary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nachtwey View Post
Go with what makes business sense to you.
Risk/reward when it comes to security. Plenty of ways to mitigate security risks and create value from the data availbe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkie View Post
...if I have to pull power to it, most of the time it isn't much more trouble to pull IO wire as well, if any.
You can pull power and IO wire to a VFD, but you can't get all the data from the drive unless it's on a network.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ojz0r View Post
They fail to realize that this will not add value to the process controlled, it will only extract value to a larger business system so they can asseble it in a nice report.
It can add value to the process controlled, it can add value to the local plant, it can add value to the business as a whole. Data accessibility is the barrier and it's more then just creating 'reports'.

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Originally Posted by ojz0r View Post
I belive there are few that realizes the potential risk of hacker attacks, especially to critical systems like power generation and grid.
Security is front an center, certainly power generation is fully aware. Ransomware will be the hacker tool of choice and with the recent WannaCry outbreak, ignorance will not acceptable. Software updates are a requirement going forward, keeping things isolated and never performing software updates is security ignorance and in the future will get you fired should an incident occur.

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Originally Posted by cardosocea View Post
... end product of using that is to get a report at the end which is possible to create since long time ago with reporting tools and more or less customization.
But yet, more often than not those reporting were not available to the people that actually need them, or the actual data was not available to the people that can analyze it. Or the reports failed to provide value add.

I was on a batch project a few years back. I wonder how much money they have wasted due to a flaw in their system. They were (probably still are) wasting 10s of thousands of gallons an a raw material every year because quality can't detect a problem with their batch, yet for someone like me it's obvious and the end customer wasn't interested in my feedback.

The data is there, but inaccessible. Reports are there, but specific to a batch report and CIP report. If the data was accessible to someone looking at plant performance a quick comparison of raw material purchase history against the consumption against their quality records would produce some shocking results. Right now finding that, well it's a whole lot of paper work, batch record reviews and data reconciliation...

----------------------------------------------
It's here to stay.

Not too long ago I was in a meeting at a plant for global manufacturer, had plenty of big names in the meeting and the primary issue from the Operations Management team was that all with the technology in plant (pretty advanced automation process and networking systems, plus MES, EPR, CMMS, Quality..etc) all of the systems were "Islands" of data. And that they could not leverage the power of computing to connect this data together to help them determine how the plant is operating as a whole. They were performing "analytics" (and I use that loosely) by .CSV exports and creating pivot tables in excel, or using statistical analysis tools like Minitab, manually.....

Data is valueable and it's all about breaking down the islands of data, and forming relationships. A sensor is an island of data if all of the functions aren't wired back to the PLC. The PLC is an island of data if it's not making data accessible beyond a local HMI. A production line is an island of data if it's not accessible to the rest of the people in the same area. The area is an island of data if it is not accessible to plant engineers and managers. Plants are island of data if it's not available to corporate.

So much data is there, so much can be learned from it but it needs to be secure and accessible.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 09:54 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Paully's5.0 View Post
But yet, more often than not those reporting were not available to the people that actually need them, or the actual data was not available to the people that can analyze it. Or the reports failed to provide value add.

The data is there, but inaccessible. Reports are there, but specific to a batch report and CIP report. If the data was accessible to someone looking at plant performance a quick comparison of raw material purchase history against the consumption against their quality records would produce some shocking results. Right now finding that, well it's a whole lot of paper work, batch record reviews and data reconciliation...
I'm not disagreeing that data is valuable and there should be no barrier to use it within a company. I'm in the midst of doing exactly that by opening the data available from the plant to every interested person's desktop at the plant. But... there is no way in hell I would send this data to some company's servers so I could get a report that may or may not paint the real picture of what is happening.
This is where the IIoT or Industry 4.0 is headed and it's what bothers me as data shouldn't have to go out of the company for it to be visible within it.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 10:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by sparkie View Post
Yea, it will take a couple decades for it to be in full swing, and yes we are going to have a lot of issues because the people with the technical knowledge to securely design and configure these devices don't generally want to be on the plant floor, and the guys with the smarts to do it that are willing to get dirty don't generally have an in-depth knowledge of network security and it isn't given as training. There are some gaps to be filled for sure.
It's funny you should say that. I have a buddy that works for a Security audit company (penetration testing and defense), and he was saying that his firm saw huge growth potential in getting contracts from industrial facilities. However, the few contracts the firm had gotten so far went... ok, but none of the IT types in the group wanted to be the one who went to the facilities, and none of them really knew the lingo of the ICS that was a big part of what they were supposed to be testing.

I'm thinking in the next couple years, there will be a lot of opportunities for IT savvy controls guys.

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Originally Posted by Combo View Post
Many can't explain what the core definition means... Me neither.
Mostly it's a bunch of buzzwords. Some of the stuff we've been doing for years, some of it actually represents new tech, and some of it is optimism about products that might be available in 5 years. Every company is talking about the section of Industry 4.0 that benefits them. Some companies want to sell more expensive sensors, NOW WITH ETHERNET(tm). Some companies want to help you sort through your data, NOW ON THE CLOUD (tm). I don't see too much truly revolutionary, it's mostly new ways of doing the same old stuff.

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Originally Posted by Combo View Post
He was talking about industry 4.0 that it's basically means connecting data where each machine can be connected to anything in the company.
Big picture, sure, that's what people say. Big picture, we aren't that far from that using the technology of last decade (or at least the beginning of this one). The PLC already has the info from all its devices, and can send it where ever it is needed. 90% of the time, you don't want your machine network connected to the larger plant as a whole. So many things can go wrong, the simplest being repeated IP addresses.

The fact of the matter is that Ethernet ports aren't cheap. As Peter N said, Ethernet stacks aren't cheap either (licensing, engineering time, device capabilities). It just isn't realistic to see Ethernet ports on a cheap sensor.

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He said he programs in Simulink and that this is the future. Programming if then else syntax will be the past. Graphic programmation the future.
Simulink is a useful tool for prototyping. It also can be useful for modeling and controlling really complex loops (when a PID just can't cut it). I think there are now a few PLC vendors that can link Simulink to the PLC in some way or another. I don't see anyone suggesting the main machine control would be switched over, even in those materials it's just the control loops.

As others have said, graphical programming is already here. We've been using LAD to dumb things down (read: "make programming accessable to electricians) pretty much from the beginning of PLCs. To me, the trend is in the other direction. More and more of the advanced text based programming features from PC based langauges are entering PLCs. The latest IEC 61131 update had a bunch of Object Oriented Programming stuff.

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Originally Posted by Combo View Post
So the question is simple... Should I prepare for a job change ? :-)
I don't think anything above (or that you mentioned) should be a red flag to you. It's mostly new tools in your toolbox. However, there ARE some trends in the whole Industry 4.0 thing that you may need to be aware of, in terms of jobs in the industry.

One of the big pushes that I see is to automate away a lot of the programming, or at least the grunt work. Now, many of us have been doing this for years. I've seen AB programmers with excel sheets that build up tags or code to be imported back in. Siemens has for years had an API for Simatic Manager that allows external programs to make changes to a project, and something similar is being included in Portal.

However, more and more tools are becoming available to make this easy, and there is more and more integration between packages. I've seen demos where electrical CAD software can export into PLC software, automatically creating the HW setup/properties and IO tags. I've seen demos where robot simulations get downloaded directly into robots, bypassing most of the robot programming. I've seen software to automatically generate HMI objects based on PLC code (and I think this is common in the DCS world).

None of that is worrying for an experienced programmer, because you still need to guy who can troubleshoot, you still need the guy to write the templates or set up the simulation. However, a lot of the entry level/intern/apprentice stuff (hey, Jimmy, go get the prints, and assign all 3000 IO tags, I don't want to see you for a while) may be going away. This means it may be harder for new guys to break into the industry.


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Originally Posted by Combo View Post
A lot of process integrators still are in simatic because of their standards... Are they way behind then?
There are several interesting new technologies/standards released each year. Maybe one or two of them sticks, and we won't know which ones for at least another 5 years, possibly more. The upside is that we are getting far more vendor neutral standards these days, as many new standards are coming from the IT side and have no existing stake in ICS. Downside is still that if a vendor chooses not to buy into a standard, or to do their own thing, then it is the users who suffer.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 10:15 AM   #14
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so I could get a report that may or may not paint the real picture of what is happening.
To me, this is one of the big question marks on a lot of the Big Data stuff. The data products that I've seen are more platforms that allow you to do whatever you want with your data. We can also do a lot of this in SCADA/MES/SQL. As an industry, we already have the ability to track data, and the IT world gives tons of options once the data is in SQL.

To me, the real opportunity is for companies who have industry specific experience to say "We know presses. Pay us to monitor your press, and send you reports on how it's doing, let you know when a problem is coming before it comes. We'll install our equipment to monitor what we think we need to monitor."

This is valuable for end users that don't have a clue what they're doing. If the end user is already knowledgeable about their process (and lets face it, if they aren't, how are they in business) then Big Data is just one more way to do the same stuff.
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Old October 30th, 2017, 10:35 AM   #15
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Left-Rear Tire Air Pressure Low? Windshield Washer Fluid Low? Those last two made it into our lives without protest
No, I protest. I do not want to pay for a tire pressure system on a new vehicle but I have to because the feds mandated it. But I protest nonetheless. And my protest is financial.

I just bought snow tires and I did not buy them from Toyota, who had a tire sale.

The reason - Toyota's tire pressure system requires paid service to enable pressure sensors to be 'read' by the system. And the service department gets all Nanny-like when I tell them I won't pay for their proprietary tire pressure sensors on my spare set of wheels (and by implication I won't pay their service fee to enable the sensors). They get all huffy and demand that I must have tire pressure sensors, that it's the law. No, the manufacturers must provide TPS, not an owner. The tire shop down the road had no problem selling me the tires and mounting them without tire pressure sensors.

I can live with that little orange tire symbol that now goes on and stays on.

Off topic, yes, but in response to a claim that is not true, that TPS is accepted by all. Not by me. I resent being forced to participate in an expensive and useless automotive accessory.
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