Honeywell Partners With IGEL to Develop New Operating System for Process Automation

November 12, 2021 by Seth Price

Honeywell has teamed up with IGEL Technology to release a thin client operating system with advanced virtualization for optimizing automation processes.

The Partnership

Honeywell is one of the most well-known industrial and technology powerhouses, developing hardware and software tools found in virtually every market. One of these systems is the Experion PKS Highly Integrated Virtual Environment (HIVE)

The Experion PKS system is a smarter controller management system that delivers faster project delivery and easier implementation. HIVE allows for a more modular controller design with reduced wiring and system engineering required compared to other controllers on the market. The HIVE system works with the Universal Thin Client Operating System, also developed by Honeywell.


A graphic showing Honeywell’s HIVE products. Image used courtesy of Honeywell


IGEL is a specialist in secure, cloud-based, and cloud-management operating systems for industrial customers. They developed the IGEL OS, a secure administrative system for managing fleets of computers in an industrial environment, leveraging digital workspaces from multiple platforms such as Amazon Workspaces, Citrix, and others. The IGEL OS has been deployed in healthcare, finance, academia, and manufacturing facilities. 


IGEL concept map. Image used courtesy of IGEL


The shift to cloud-based data collection, storage, and control systems means that even industrial giants like Honeywell could use the expert advice and technology from a partner like IGEL. Their greatest contribution to the project is increased administrative tools to the Universal Thin Client Operating System. This expanded capability comes with the additional security measures that industry demands. 


Software Improvements

This new partnership will aim to improve software offering with the Experion PKS HIVE platform and make the system accessible for more customers. The added security expertise brought by IGEL is one of those items that plant managers must often be convinced they need.

“By teaming together, Honeywell and IGEL are better able to deliver world-class solutions that meet our customers requirements, as the IGEL Ready program was designed to foster collaboration and joint-solution development,” said Divya Saggar, Director of IGEL Ready. 

The biggest hurdles to adopting this system may be the cost of implementation and the speed at which the system is brought back online. The cost of implementation can be viewed as an investment, given the rise in ransomware attacks over the past few years. No longer can a plant manager simply state, “it worked before, why fix it?”

In terms of integration, because the system plays nicely with many existing platforms, there will be little impact to the day-to-day user to install this system. Customers already using Experion PKS will see little change at all, as this thin client will be a direct upgrade. 

In terms of industrial control, controllers that are replaced can be done so more quickly, with the ability to assign (I/O) modules virtually. This saves time and effort during the upgrade.

The expanded secure remote capabilities mean less engineers and technicians that have to tend to machines in a physical facility. Instead, they can troubleshoot from wherever they have an internet connection.

The Honeywell and IGEL partnership hopes to create smarter, safer control systems.