NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2018
Field instruments supporting digital transformation
At this year’s NAMUR Annual General Meeting held on 08 and 09 November, the focus was on field instruments; the event in Bad Neuenahr was attended by 650 participants. ‘Field instruments supporting digital transformation’ was the meeting’s motto which users of automation technology in the process industry, invited experts and managers of manufacturers and associations discussed at length.
This year’s committed sponsor was Endress+Hauser (E+H), the renowned Swiss company offering a wide portfolio in the field of process automation metrology.
At the beginning of the event, NAMUR news was presented for the last time by Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik). At the NAMUR Members’ Meeting on the previous day, the new NAMUR Board of Management had been elected, and he had passed the baton to Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer) who had assumed the chairmanship of the Association for the next four years. First, Dr. Otten gave a review of the past year and the success achieved in strategic activities such as internationalisation as well as changes in internal organisation and the representation of interests in the 5G frequency allocation process. The newly appointed NAMUR honorary members, Dr. Thomas Tauchnitz (formerly Sanofi) and Dr. Herbert Maier (Clariant), were asked to join him again on the stage, before Dr. Otten looked back on the numerous highlights of his term of office as Chairman of the NAMUR Board of Management. Finally, he awarded NAMUR’s Golden Honorary Badges 2018 to Thomas Scherwietes (Evonik) and Professor Alexander Fay (HSU Hamburg), honouring their longstanding commitment to the Association.
Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer) then introduced the sponsor; he had also been involved in preparing the presentations together with the sponsor. E+H had last sponsored NAMUR’s AGM in 2007, and his presentation compared the current situation with that of 11 years ago. Almost twice the number of sales, valid patents and employees was evidence of the company’s positive development.
In their three-part sponsor’s presentation, Matthias Altendorf (CEO), Nikolaus Krüger (Director Sales) and Dr. Andreas Mayr (Director Marketing/Technology) provided the background of the company’s customer orientation, digital orientation and field devices with higher performance and improved connectivity. In addition to the commitment made in the presentation, the family-owned company’s customer orientation was clearly highlighted by the fact that again and again reference was made to current NAMUR recommendations and worksheets. They explained that 90 per cent of the field devices were already digital; E+H could immediately provide all up-to-date instrument-relevant data in order to help customers improve their processes in the digital life cycle from planning to asset management by using the tools and cloud solutions available. The presentation also touched upon intelligent field devices and the wide range of offerings in process analytical technology (PAT). At the end of the day, simple sensor technology for monitoring and optimising tasks needed a suitable connection to a world that permitted picking up data in a safe and demand-oriented fashion. One data memory available was the E+H cloud. The approach taken by NAMUR Open Architecture and the development of the APL two-wire technology were an important step on the way of data into the cloud.
Frank Grümbel (Lanxess) and Dr. Ulrich Schünemann (BASF) described the requirements to be met by the change in process analytical technology today and in the future. Due to digitisation, even current support-intensive PAT installations could provide information where it was needed. Specialists did not necessarily need to be on site. In order successfully to introduce a higher degree of digitisation, complexity needed to be encapsulated so that users could easily and immediately feel the benefit. The Use Case PAT needed to be incorporated in the NOA initiative to ensure that also process analytical technology could benefit from NAMUR Open Architecture.
Jan de Caigny (BASF) explained how far the design of NAMUR Open Architecture had advanced. The two working groups set up together with ZVEI had been tasked with developing a NOA security approach by 2019 as well as defining the NOA implementation in OPC-UA and the verification of an inquiry to the central control unit. He said that requirements for the information model, NOA diode and security as well as the sources for measurement data needed to be identified on the basis of use cases.
In the last presentation given on Thursday morning, Dr. Michael Maiwald (BAM) addressed smart sensors in cyber-physical production and the demand for interactivity, connectivity and the ability to communicate, virtual description, trackability and compliance as well as maintenance and service functions. In future, more security, more intelligence and hence more computing power would be needed in the field.
Attendees were spoilt for choice. It was certainly difficult to make a decision, given that the afternoon programme offered 28 interesting workshops. NOA with a live connection to the IGR test lab, MTP with demonstrators, Open Process Automation, PAT World Café, 5G, mobile devices in hazardous areas, FDI, basic process control systems with safety function, NA 35, the sponsor’s workshops etc. etc.. Of course, a visit to the sponsor’s exhibition was also a must.
On Friday morning Rainer Oehlert (Dow) presented the NAMUR Awards. This year, the awards for outstanding diploma/master’s and doctoral theses went to Dr. Maik Riedel (A contribution to providing knowledge-based support in selecting technical resources) and Dr. Markus Vogelbacher (A new method for the camera-based analysis of multi-fuel burners in industrial combustion processes).
In their tandem presentation, Dr. Alba Mena (BASF) and Dr. Thorsten Pötter (Bayer) presented examples of digital Industry 4.0 technology already existing in companies of the process industry. As representatives of the fictitious companies STAGNATE und iNNOVATE they discussed inspection, plant downtime and plant modification. Finally, they showed where e.g. mobile devices, auto-identification, drones, Big Data analytics, virtual reality and photogrammetry were being used today. They pointed out that what was important for the roll-out of such technology was the consistent consideration of the total cost of ownership.
In their joint presentation, Dr. Frank Stenger (ProcessNet), Axel Haller (ZVEI) and Dr. Ulrich Christmann (NAMUR) reported on the status of plug & produce in modular production and predicted that the first products would be available in 2019, following a dynamic concept and development phase. The number of companies involved clearly highlighted the importance of this topic for the future of the industry.
In their contribution, Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik) and Michael Wiedau (Evonik) then showed that structured data were needed for engineering. The ALC data model, based on DEXPI and existing standards, would in future enable necessary data to be exchanged between the systems for planning/installation and maintenance/optimisation.
Special suspense was created during the presentation leading up to the NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2019, when Martin Schwibach (BASF) asked the president of the Federal Office for Information Security, Arne Schönbohm (BSI), and the new Chairman of the NAMUR Board of Management, Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer), to join him on the stage. BSI joined NAMUR as a new member and NAMUR was made a multiplier for the alliance for cyber security. The next parts of the presentation addressed the importance of cyber security for digitisation technologies and shed some light on connectivity. It was pointed out that the objective was safely to control the complexity of connectivity. If data were the petroleum of the 21st century, then connectivity was the service station.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer) in his capacity as chairman gave a brief summary of the event and said that NAMUR was shaping the digital transformation process. He also thanked Endress+Hauser as the event’s sponsor for their extraordinary commitment.
We can already look forward to the next interesting NAMUR Annual General Meeting under the motto ‘Enhanced connectivity for smart production’. The community of users of automation technology in the process industry will meet again in Bad Neuenahr on 07 and 08 November 2019. The event will be sponsored by PhoenixContact.
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