# Where do we go from here?

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#### David Corking

> HMI solutions that are not keeping pace with the growth in automation systems, advanced software technologies, and exclude the use of "enterprise > integration" solutions not controlled by the HMI provider. > Phew - that is a refreshing challenge to the high-blown PR the trade press is schmoozing us with. > Have you used or seen an HMI offering truly innovative features? Am I completely wrong? Is HMI just a word processor now, and all you want is to type your document? Where do we go from here? What basic HMI capabilities and innovations do you want to see? I can think of many changes to the software and its support model that I would like to see, but I am hard pushed to name those I could persuade the plant owners to pay for. I do see licences and support options getting cheaper and simpler (or if not getting cheaper at least bundling more integration options in with the licenses.) This "innovation" is a bottom-line benefit for the owners. David Corking [email protected] ISA Member in a personal capacity

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#### jmGiraud

In my opinion, Jeff you are right. The underlying capability of most control systems, 10 years ago, was "retarded" (I could say a lot on that). See, today, people are getting lazy and the crunching inside is object oriented. The counterpart of it is that more objects to be moved, more holes are needed like Microsoft (Swiss cheese). In other words, all these nice goodies are only to please management. But not to furbish designers. In 1980, there was the Micon multiloop. I believe no one could have exhausted its loop capability. We could do endless fuzzy strategies. Well, big ones (no name) succeded in killing it. In 1975, I visited a completely automated cement plant (and you know there is a lot in it). It had colored CRT. It was what we called minicomputer based, all done consistant inside. In 1990, that same company evaporated like Micon above. Whose fault f....n management: easy to please). ISA in my 30 years, it was so little to me (sorry). I bet Jeff, most software cats at say (no name) need going back to "numerical recipes". Let me know the best one in your mind. <[email protected]>

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#### David Corking

> And I defy any of the naysayers to come up with a > reason it can't be this way. If it sounds better than the alternative, come on > over, we've got a lot to do. Your argument against the corporate fashions is very persuasive. There must be enough money in our industry to give PuffinPLC the same support Michael Tiemann got for the famous enterprise he started in 1989. Can you get your hands on it? (If I remember the story right the product already existed, and they got the development money to continue by earnings from consulting and customizing for hardware firms.) David

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#### Jim Pinto

I am responding to the insightful email from Jeff Dean expressing concern regarding the lack of advances in PC-based HMI/SCADA. Perhaps I can help to shed some light on this topic - from marketing and business standpoints : The growth of HMI/SCADA software came in the late '80s and early '90s, with the encroachment of PCs on the Plant floor, and the ability to do most SCADA and DCS functions cheaply and effectively in PC software. A horde of PC software startups mushroomed into significance. But, the initial growth could not be sustained, and the two leaders soon became part of larger automation companies - Intellution was acquired by Emerson Electric. Wonderware went public and was then bought by Siebe (now Invensys). Their software was integrated into the Corporate DCS architectures. It is interesting - and significant - that both Wonderware and Intellution (acquired because they were expected to zoom beyond $100m in annual sales) are (a decade later) still way, way below that target (my estimate is not much beyond$50m). And all the others are still relatively small (\$ 20m). Allen-Bradley (now Rockwell) rushed off to acquire software catalysts and develop their own Software Division - and they too are fizzling. The business & marketing points are these : 1/ There is very little growth in conventional HMI/SCADA software, and hence the big companies are looking for other growth arenas - now presumed to be in Enterprise software. 2/ Good software is the realm of small, creative teams. Big companies are notoriously poor at developing innovation and creativity. This is why, as Jeff Dean points out : "significant HMI software enhancement stopped some years ago. The number of innovative features added in the last five years can be counted on one hand. " 3/ Prices are falling sharply - smaller companies and even third-world countries (India, China, Far East) have good software skills, available at a much lower cost. HMI/SCADA software is being developed (and copied) elsewhere. That said, where does the growth lie? Jeff Dean points out : "Meanwhile, industrial automation installations are growing larger, involving higher I/O counts, and a larger number of controllers and networks. Technology as a whole is advancing at an ever accelerating rate, and in particular, state-of-the-art software tools and technologies are experiencing an almost complete shift from where they were just a few years ago." My own belief is that new and innovative software will come from small, creative teams - probably from start-ups and garage shops. Innovation starts in the gut - not in a Supervisor's PERT chart. Future millionaires come not from paltry annual pay raises, but from stock ownership in the next Intellution and Wonderware. The age of centralized DCS and PLC systems is past - future HMI/SCADA will not simply emulate DCS/PLC functions. Bring on peer-to-peer I/O systems and internet-based complex-adaptive systems! Jeff invites discussion! C'mon, Automation List, let's discuss! Cheers: jim ----------/ Jim Pinto email : [email protected] web: www.JimPinto.com San Diego, CA., USA ----------/

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#### Walt Boyes

Jim and Jeff raise interesting points. It is important, though, to recognize that we are talking about a cluster of software functions, and some of them are more visible than others. HMI has changed the least in the last two years, primarily because it is the easiest to work with...OPC and ActiveX objects are easy to build and easy to manipulate, and there is a finite universe of them necessary to build process control HMI. You need a tank, you need a pipe, you need a flow meter, etc. SCADA has become part of the PLC realm and changes are slow as the behemoths do the dance of expansion and contraction. Even in the O&G, power and water distribution areas, there is little more in the SCADA realm. But under the surface, there is a lot going on...behind the HMI, and below the SCADA interface. Just as XML is fueling the drive to consolidate supply chains, the back-end of control software is getting most of the attention, and will continue to get it for the foreseeable future. The fact is, that unless the peer-to-peer systems and the internet-based systems can talk to the rest of the enterprise, they will be fairly useless for industrial automation. That's where the real revolution in automation software is going on. Walt Boyes --------------------------------------------- Walt Boyes -- MarketingPractice Consultants [email protected] 21118 SE 278th Place - Maple Valley, WA 98038 253-709-5046 cell 425-432-8262 home office fax:801-749-7142 ICQ: 59435534 "Strategic marketing, sales and electronic business consulting for the small and medium-sized enterprise: http://www.waltboyes.com" ---------------------------------------------

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#### Curt Wuollet

<clip> > The fact is, that unless the peer-to-peer systems and the internet-based > systems can talk to the rest of the enterprise, they will be fairly useless > for industrial automation. I'm curious Walt, why is that? Regards cww

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#### Dave Ferguson

Curt: I have finally had it. Your endless span of Microsoft and others.........welcome to free enterprise (that ought to get you a spamming)......the bottom line is...... Users want common functionality amongst programs as well as can be. In this case F5 is refresh, CTRL C is copy etc. whether in excel or RSLogix 5. This is what I want....so quit speaking for the masses. Are there a million things that Microsoft does wrong....sure but my Grandfather had a saying and it is still true today and I will add one of my own.... He used to say...."I have never been given a job yet by a poor man, only by a rich one" and he meant he never complained about someone getting rich because it drives the economy. This is contrary to your anarchistic view of the world. My saying is "Everybody thinks the boss is an a**hole, yet given the oportunity, most want to have his job" this is the same mentality you come across with, whether intentional or not. My company uses Lotus Notes and if I hit F5 one more time to refresh (F9 in Lotus). I think I am going to scream.....Microsoft may not be the best of breed in the world in any or all areas but at least they are a defacto standard that I can usually count on and to be honest, that is all I care about. The world isn't out to get you Curt..........honest. Dave Ferguson UPM-Kymmene Blandin Paper Company DAVCO Automation

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#### Walt Boyes

Curt Wuollet asks: <mucho snipparoo> >I'm curious Walt, why is that? Because the front-end of control software (the HMI end) works well enough to be a near-commodity. There are a finite number of control scenarios and the tools exist to make building HMI and SCADA and distributed control systems out of building blocks easily and cost effectively. But the revolution taking place in manufacturing, and the real cost reductions are taking place in supply chain consolidation and in the integration of the entire enterprise, from CRM through MES to plant floor automation, to MIS and financial functions. Remember that the reason companies spend money on control systems is different than the reason most of us play with them. They do it to realize cost savings, efficiencies, and make money. We do it, at bottom, because it is fun, and it is a cool toy. Yes, we like to make money, personally, but unless you are a plant manager or a c-level enterprise officer, you have a different view of the usefulness and necessity of new control software than they do. Walt Boyes

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#### Curt Wuollet

Hi Walt So the future of Factory Automation is in the realm of IS? I've done both and I think the IS folks will take exception to that. Perhaps in your consultancy you can propose this total view. It's here where the collision occurs. Many businesses are doing their "line of business" software in Java these days, especially if they are involved in e-whatever. Many do this with divergent platforms. Right now, this grand scheme "from the factory floor to the boardroom" implies a single source solution when the world is not going this way. Furthermore, this would require a much more unified and harmonious relationship between IS and the automation folks than I have observed. Businesses also do their Enterprise Systems for cost savings and other criteria not necessarily in tune with what folks do with machinery. Attractive as it may or may not be, the "factory floor to boardroom" folks I've talked to have only one way to do it. This is wonderful if your information operation is compatible. It is a horrific kludge if it is not. This is because the situation on the IS end is diverse and the situation on the automation end is not. Lest you think I'm nitpicking, I have actually had people propose that we migrate the enterprise end to accomplish this. Right now there are perhaps a half a dozen enterprise class platforms available for the manufacturing suite. There is exactly one for the automation end. Five of the six will not integrate cleanly because that is a design goal of the sixth. I hope you can appreciate that I see this utopian world of seamless integration as being a lot less viable and therefore important than you do. If the automation vendors wish to be taken seriously, they will need to account for the fact that not everyone sees things their way. I just don't see the Automation technology choices driving the IS technology choices. And that's a very good thing. Regards cww

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#### Joe Jansen/ENGR/HQ/KEMET/US

Dave, A quick re-read of Curt's post seems (to me, anyway) to be directed more at Rockwell/Omron/Modicon/Siemens...ad naseum. These are the companies that refuse to communicate, lock you into proprietary solutions, etc. You are correct in stating that for many, common functionality *IS* king. That is the problem with the PLC vendors today. I want to have a comm port ( or even several ports) that I can plug a cable into a SLC 5/03 on one end, and a Siemens S7 on the other end, flip a few bits for protocol, baud rate, or whatever, and have them start talking. While I hold no love for MS, they have done something right at some point anyway to get into the position that they are in. Common function on the OS level is good. You are right in that. How about extending it into our world a little bit? (one of) The (ambitious) goal of the L-PLC project is to provide interoperability and communication to as many other systems as they can without getting into trouble. I think that this is a great idea. In short, you are right. Common function is good. I just want to see it in more places than the desktop. --Joe Jansen

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#### Walt Boyes

Curt, you've said some interesting things. But I didn't say that I was advocating a grand scheme. I said that _right now_ IN THE TRENCHES, there are people working like dogs to build the bridges you say are impossible. Why? Because we have reached the level of diminishing returns from automation. There. I said it. The emperor has no clothes. We reached the level of diminishing returns from automation in the First World about five years ago, and if you look at the activity, both in the field and in the boardroom, since then, you can see it plainly. The round of M&A activity started because the First World market for just control systems has shrunk tremendously. Notice how many of the major controls companies have become actively involved in "back office" and MES projects. All of them. Notice how many of the major controls companies have become actively involved in CRM and SCM. All of them. Notice how the big analysts, Gartner and ARC, have repositioned themselves. Notice that jobs in the automation sector are declining, while jobs _doing the same thing_ in the technology sector are expanding at 50% per year. You may want to suggest that IT can't handle control. Lots of us fondly believe that. But the fact is, IT is _in_ control. Because the information that the control system can put out is important, yes, but it is not anywhere nearly as important as the information that can be bundled with it, and the information that integrated requirements and supply systems can send to it. Synergy is savings. Corporate management understands that. You can turn this into a diatribe against Microsoft, if you want. But that whole argument is entirely beside the point. Much "back office" work isn't on MS platforms at all. Much of this is on "x"nix and Linux platforms. Much of it is on MS platforms. What I am saying is that if you want to advance in the new world of manufacturing, you must be not only cognizant, but also up to date with, where automation fits into the enterprise. Walt Boyes --------------------------------------------- Walt Boyes -- MarketingPractice Consultants [email protected] 21118 SE 278th Place - Maple Valley, WA 98038 253-709-5046 cell 425-432-8262 home office fax:801-749-7142 ICQ: 59435534 "Strategic marketing, sales and electronic business consulting for the small and medium-sized enterprise: http://www.waltboyes.com" ---------------------------------------------

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#### Heavner, Lou [FRS/AUS]

Walt, Nice post. I can't speak for machine control or the discrete industries, but in the process industry there is still often too much variability getting into products. There is certainly room for reducing variability in the process. Regulatory controls are still occasionally misapplied or poorly applied or simply deteriorate in performance over time. The boardroom can't be bothered with these details, but if somebody doesn't pay attention then the boardroom will make poor decisions and lose some of the benefits of all their information integration. So at the field end of the wires, there are opportunities for developing better products and methods to identify and discriminate between good data and bad data as well as process performance. This is an area where smart instrumentation can play and fieldbusses can help, but it also cares little whether there is an MS or "x"nix box somewhere on the other end. I guess I'm suggesting that maybe the choice of bit-crunching platforms are less important than how they are applied. And in the end, the platforms that deliver will be the ones chosen. Regards, Lou Heavner Emerson Performance Solutions - but speaking for myself

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