TechHub: Putting the Industrial Internet Hype to Work, Smart Service Energy & More

Putting the Industrial Internet Hype to Work

The Industrial Internet of Things dominates manufacturing hype. Beyond this, certain manufacturers are putting powerful technologies to work – General Electric employees, for example, with their brilliant factories.

GE’s remanufacturing plant in Grove City, Pa., is a shining example of one of those brilliant factories, according to Industry Week.

Once a food packaging plant decades ago, the factory has transformed into a high-tech home for the remanufacture of diesel engines for locomotives.

“We’re taking digital technologies that people are really comfortable with outside of work and bringing them into work — whether that’s iPads, or phones, or just visual data,” said Jamie Miller, the former GE senior vice president and CEO of GE Transportation who was just promoted to CFO. “It was something that people could readily see because they use it outside of work.”

By doing so, it created a condition-based manufacturing system that allowed the workers to tailor what they do to rebuild engines in a faster, more productive manner, according to Miller.

Its brilliant factories  —  Grove City is one of less than a dozen around the world  —  revolve around lean manufacturing principles, additive manufacturing, advanced manufacturing technologies and digital manufacturing. Its industrial cloud platform, Predix, allows customers to replicate that on a smaller level, extending industrial automation to the cloud.

John Deere Investing in AI for Autonomous Farming

John Deere is buying a California artificial intelligence startup that makes machine learning tools for agriculture as part of their quest to automate farming, according to the Verge.

The cutting-edge machine vision tools help farmers scan fields, assess crops and get rid of weeds — all at the same time.

Source: Blue River Technology

A set of cameras fixed onto crop sprayers use deep learning to identify plants, hitting weeds with pesticide and crops with fertilizer, all of which can be customized by the farmer.

This can save up to 90% of the volume of chemicals being sprayed, while also reducing labor costs.

John Deere has been working on autonomous tractors before Tesla and Google even existed, according to the Verge, but its current most advanced vehicles only assist navigation.

The new technology creates a more efficient crop spraying system, allowing farmers to do more with less.

Smart Service Strategy: GE Oil  & Gas Case Study

In 2014, GE Oil & Gas management wanted to improve the revenue capacity of its field service operation, which they were confident could be accomplished by streamlining operations and increasing the billable utilization of their 575+ field service engineers (FSEs).

They knew visibility could be created with a smart service platform, switching over from most engagements being handled using paper forms or whichever process was customary within a particular geographical region.

“No one likes to change,” said GE Oil & Gas Information Management Subsea Services Project Manager Lydie Victoire. “But to increase profitability, we needed our people to adopt this new way of doing field service.”

smart service strategy

The solution was going digital, but in a completely customized way that allowed a set of field service functions for the initial project rollout to look a lot like the old paper-based process.

Going digital allowed them to:

“To optimize field efficiency, GE Oil & Gas needed more real-time visibility into its field service operation,” says GE Oil & Gas Executive Service Director Leigh Martin.

“We needed better data on the work activities of our field service engineers. And for that, we needed a field service platform.”

Download the case study to learn more about how GrayMatter innovates with partners on smart service strategies.

Get the Case Study

TechHub: New GE CEO Pushes for Digital Future, US Manufacturing Growing Fast & Cyber Security

Our Future is Digital

New General Electric CEO John Flannery put an end to the constant question, “where is the company headed?”

“I have a lot of decisions to make in my new role as CEO, but one decision is easy: GE is all in on digital,” said Flannery in a blog post on LinkedIn.

The digital age is bringing innovation and productivity for industries everywhere, allowing real, tangible outcomes for business.

Through scalability, installed base and industrial expertise, GE plans to be a major player in helping lead this transformation.

With a focus on their core verticals leveraging energy, oil and gas, aviation, healthcare, rail and mining, to help create a strong Predix ecosystem.

GE’s previous CEO Jeff Immelt at the 2016 Minds + Machines conference.

“The company I joined 30 years ago made machines that made the world work better,” said Flannery. “We are still that company, but the world has changed, and the industrial world is increasingly powered by digital applications.

We are part of this transformation, and we have a focused strategy that I believe is best for our customers and for GE.”

Join John Flannery and GrayMatter October 25 in San Francisco at Minds + Machines, an event that connects industrial thought leaders and showcases technology that helps solve the world’s biggest industrial IoT challenges.

Learn More About Minds + Machines

US Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace in 13 Years

American manufacturing expanded last month at the fastest pace in 13 years, according to Industry Week.

The strength of advances in the Institute for Supply Management’s gauges partly reflects impacts from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which forced shutdowns of refineries, chemical plants, retail establishments and car dealerships which were flooded in the storms and had merchandise destroyed.

However, the nation’s producers had already been on firmer footing because of improving global demand and an increase in US capital spending, according to Industry Week.

Manufacturing

Students visiting a PPG paint and coatings plant for Manufacturing Day 2017 in Delaware.

Orders are projected to remain strong in coming months as Manufacturing Day approaches.

Manufacturing Day is a national celebration of modern manufacturing, meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Manufacturing Day occurs on the first Friday in October — this year’s falls on Oct. 6, 2017.

Statistical analysis of key event reporting suggests Manufacturing Day 2016 affected 595,341 participants, including 257,607 students.

Manufacturing Day is about celebrating manufacturing by providing an opportunity to focus collective attention on manufacturing, aiming to:

  • Empower manufacturers
  • Change public perceptions of manufacturing
  • Introduce people to manufacturing careers
  • Draw attention to the roles manufacturers play in their communities
  • Underscore the economic and social significance of manufacturing

Since 2012, MFG Day events has grown over 1,000%, with manufacturers in all 50 United States and Puerto Rico consistently participating.

Source: MFGDay.com

According to survey results by Deloitte from students that attended events in 2016:


89% of students were more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities.

84% of students were more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding.

64% of students were more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing.

71% of students were more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing after attending an event.

Every Third Computer Attacked in 2017 From Manufacturing Sector

In the first half of the year the manufacturing industry was the most susceptible to cyberthreats, with the industrial control systems computers of manufacturing companies accounting for almost one third of all attacks, according to Security Magazine.

The majority of the cyber threats were in manufacturing companies that produced various materials, equipments and goods. Other highly affected areas include engineering, education and food & beverage. Energy companies accounted for almost 5% of all attacks.

Special Agent Keith Mularski, Unit Chief of the FBI Cyber Initiative & Resource Fusion Unit, spoke at GrayMatter’s annual conference on industrial cyber security.

The main source of threats was the internet. Attempts to download malware or access malicious phishing web sources were blocked on over 20% of the ICS computers.

The reason this is such a high number is because of:

  • Interfaces between corporate and industrial networks
  • Availability of limited internet access from industrial networks
  • Connection of computers on industrial networks to the internet from operators’ mobile phones

Ransomware attacks on industrial companies tripled by June this year, with various large crime campaigns.

The WannaCry epidemic was one of the most notable, affecting 13.4% of all computers in the industrial infrastructure. ExPetr was a notorious encryption that followed, with 50% of the computers attacked in the manufacturing and oil & gas industries.

“In the first half of the year we’ve seen how weakly protected industrial systems are – pretty much all of the affected industrial computers were infected accidentally and as the result of attacks targeted initially at home users and corporate networks,” said Evgeny Goncharov, head of critical infrastructure defense department at Kaspersky Lab.

cyber

US pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. was affected by the ExPetya attacks earlier this year.

“In this sense, the WannaCry and ExPetr destructive ransomware attacks proved indicative, leading to the disruption of enterprise production cycles around the world, as well as logistical failures, and forced downtime in the work of medical institutions. The results of such attacks can provoke intruders into further actions. Since we are already late with preventive measures, companies should think about proactive protective measures now to avoid ‘firefighting’ in future.”

Billions of sensors are being rolled out rapidly as the Industrial Internet expands. The devices for operational technology are very different than those found on information technology networks and they need specialized technology to protect them. 

Download the GrayMatter Cyber Security Guide for Operational Technology to get a comprehensive understanding of security in the OT world including top vulnerabilities. The guide walks you through the first steps in knowing what’s on your network and has specific advice about the assessment process from our top cyber security consultants.

Download the Cyber Guide

TechHub: P&G Finishes Renewable Energy Plant, Pittsburgh Top Contender for Amazon HQ2 & more

Pittsburgh is emerging as a top contender for Amazon’s new headquarters, HQ2, that has cities across the US competing.

Areas of consideration include a 15-acre riverfront industrial property on the North Side near Rivers Casino, the 28-acre former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District, the 195-acre World Trade Center site at Pittsburgh International Airport and various places such as Lawrenceville and Cranberry, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“It’s not us dictating sites. It’s us partnering with [Amazon] to help them achieve the maximum opportunity. We have a lot of good sites that could fit that bill,” said county Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

HQ2 could bring as many as 50,000 jobs over 10 to 15 years and $5 billion in investment to the city.

The requirements for the city Amazon is looking for is in a metro area with a population of more than 1 million people, with a stable and business-friendly environment with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.

Pittsburgh is at an advantage due to the booming tech industry in recent years.

Retaining more tech talent than ever due to big tech firms moving offices here such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Uber, neighborhoods are transforming into younger and more diverse communities.

East Liberty is turning into a tech hub, according to the New York Times, with Google Pittsburgh’s 500 employees stationed there alongside Duolingo and start-up AlphaLab.

One of the main attractions? Oakland’s Carnegie Mellon University, which features a prominent school of computer science. Students are researching the field of artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, programming and more — and they’re staying due to the huge employment opportunities.

Maya Design, a Pittsburgh based company, was recently hired to help craft a proposal to lure Amazon.

“I feel very optimistic about where things are headed right now,” said Fitzgerald.

P&G Finishes Renewable Energy Plant

After committing to reduce energy consumption and obtain 30% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020, Procter & Gamble announced its completion of their 50-megawatt biomass-fueled combined heat and power plant at one of its largest U.S. facilities, located in Georgia, according to Industry Week.

Steam from the plant will be used to power a generator at the Marine Corps Logistics Base nearby, helping them increase its energy security and utilize renewable sources.

source: P&G

In addition to P&G’s wind energy project in Texas, this plant doubles the company’s use of renewable energy, getting them two-thirds of the way to their goal.

“By powering our Bounty and Charmin plant with renewable energy, consumers can feel good about putting these products in their carts,” said Stefano Zenezini, P&G Vice President Product Supply and Sustainability. “We are using our innovative capabilities and those of our external partners to drive meaningful change that is good for the environment and good for business.”

Biomass is made up of wood, crops and more that would otherwise be burned or end up in landfills.

The plant’s fuel supply will come from local biomass that would otherwise be burned or sent to a landfill, including tree tops, limbs, branches and scrap wood, crop residuals such as pecan and peanut shells, and sawdust.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette People on the Move: People Doing Big Things in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “People on the Move” segment featured GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie as a newly appointed board member of the Carnegie Science Center in the nonprofit section.

The Carnegie Science Center provides valuable scientific experiences and engages in outreach programs to reach the local community, blending the line between learning and fun to inspire children to explore careers in STEM.

This comes right before the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Tech 50 awards, recognizing the most successful and innovative companies in the Pittsburgh area.

Companies range from health IT, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer products, consulting services and more.

GrayMatter is a finalist for Solution Provider of the Year, Innovative Technology, with CEO Jim Gillespie a finalist for CEO of the Year.

The award ceremony will be Thursday, October 12 at the Wyndham Grand Hotel.

TechHub: Digitizing data forensics, Coke using AI and Big Data & Digital Twins

Digitizing Data Forensics

A control system that’s responsible for servicing over 150,000 people has multiple applications, each with its own data source, and requires a tedious, time-consuming process of manually sifting through paper logbooks and binder after binder of printed reports when gaps exist in data sets.

This wastes time, money and causes a major headache for plant employees.

The City of Barrie was determined to fix this, saving 60 to 70-percent of the time previously used as a result of digital transformation.

The implementation of a new data management tool allowed:

  • Data commenting
  • Workflow for report approvals
  • Tag merge
  • Lab data integration and electronic logbooks

Download the white paper to learn more about how the City of Barrie saved time, money and frustrations from their digital transformation:

Download White Paper

Join GrayMatter at WEFTEC 2017 in Chicago from Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, booth #6549

WEFTEC is recognized as the world’s largest annual water quality technical conference and exhibition, providing extensive educational opportunities and unparalleled access to the field’s most cutting-edge technologies and services.

The Amazing Ways Coca Cola Uses Artificial Intelligence and Big Data To Drive Success

Coca Cola was one of the first globally-recognized brands outside of the IT world to speak about big data, according to Forbes.

“AI is the foundation for everything we do. We create intelligent experiences. AI is the kernel that powers that experience,” said Greg Chambers, global director of digital innovation.

Coke announced earlier this year they were launching Cherry Sprite as a new flavor based on data collected from their self-service soft drink fountains, which allows customers to mix their own drinks.

Coca Cola’s Freestyle drink machine that collects data from customers’ popular drink choices.

This allows Coke to pick the most popular combinations and launch them as a ready-made, canned drink.

What’s next for Coke? They’re looking to develop a virtual assistant AI bot, like Alexa and Siri, to reside in vending machines for greater personalization.

According to Forbes, users will be able to order their favorite blend from any vending machine, with the AI adapting the machines’ behavior depending on its location. This could result in exciting, lively vending machines in malls and entertainment complexes and more functional ones in a hospital.

Digital Twins: Distilling Science from Fiction

Digital twins sounds like a concept evoked from science fiction; people recreating themselves as avatars in computer games like The Sims and living out an alternative reality in the digital realm.

That might be the world of fiction, but digital twins aren’t that far off what the creators of The Matrix envisaged, according to The Manufacturer.

Digital twins are digital renderings of physical equipment, displayed on a headset, computer, tablet or other device, showing real-time data about a range of measures such as condition and historic performance, to its current position and any external factors acting on it.

One whiskey company is using digital twinning on a scaled down level to monitor their production line.

Digital twinning has primarily been used to monitor high-value assets such as wind turbines, aircraft engines and other highly-technical and expensive engineering systems, to track all the data they produce and deliver it to technicians in remote locations.

A specific new trend for digital twinning has recently begun to emerge from manufacturing, according to The Manufacturer, of scaling down to lower levels. This allows it to be used in assets that aren’t necessarily high value in themselves, but create high value products. Read More.

 

Contact GrayMatter

Get in touch with us!