NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2019
Enhanced Connetivity for Smart Production

from 2019-11-29

At the 82nd NAMUR Annual General Meeting held on 07 and 08 November 2019 which also marked NAMUR’s 70th anniversary, the focus was on connectivity. 650 participants from user groups in the process industry as well as invited guests representing manufacturers and partner organisations had the opportunity to learn about the technological approach taken by this year’s sponsor, Phoenix Contact, to Enhanced Connectivity for Smart Production.

For the first time, Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer) opened the event in his capacity as Chairman of the NAMUR Board of Management. awHe had taken over the chairmanship of the association of automation technologists in the process industry in the previous year, succeeding Dr. Wilhelm Otten (Evonik). In his opening speech he announced the honorary membership in NAMUR of Dr. Matthias Fankhänel who had retired from BASF in the past year and hence resigned from the Board. His successor on the Board is Dr. Bernd Beßling (BASF). Other forthcoming changes were also announced, i.e. that Rainer Oehlert (Dow) would retire at the end of the year and that a new General Manager would take over on 1 April 2020. Felix Hanisch also addressed developments and successes of the past year, such as 5G frequencies for local campus networks, cooperation agreements with the American Chemistry Council and BioPhorum, the two NAMUR conferences in China as well as NAMUR for Dummies, an approach to giving non-automation experts an understanding of the topics discussed by NAMUR. At the end of his speech, he presented two NAMUR Honorary Badges: Erwin Kruschitz (anapur) and Dr. Wilfried Hartmann (BASF) were pleased that their services to NAMUR were recognised in this way.

As the last official act on behalf of NAMUR, Matthias Fankhänel introduced Phoenix Contact, a first-time sponsor. A ‘hidden champion’ from ‘terminal valley’ who is more future-focused than one would think: this was the description quoted from a press article in the past. The private company, which was founded in 1923, operates worldwide and boasts a surprising vertical integration, has shown continuous organic growth over the last 20 years.

In the sponsor’s presentation, Frank Stührenberg, CEO Phoenix Contact, first gave an overview of the company’s development from its foundation up to the 2019 NAMUR AGM and described what has become of the technologies developed at the time (e.g. from the RWE ceramic terminal to the Clipline Complete system). ‘Connectivity is our DNA’ was what one could read, written in large letters, and what one could sense in the presentation.

With his remarks Roland Bent, CTO Phoenix Contact, contributed the middle part of the sponsor’s presentation and first described where Phoenix Contact with its technology stood today in the automation system. Bent then invited the NAMUR participants to take a look at other sectors of industry. He cited the example of building automation to demonstrate which consistent solutions were possible already today. Phoenix Contact’s response to NOA, the NAMUR Open Architecture, was its open approach of an Enhanced Connectivity ECOSystem with process interface, normalisation & contextualisation and information processing levels, which – in addition to the existing automation pyramid - organises the functions in NOA.

In the last part of the presentation, Ulrich Leidecker, President Industry Management and Automation, Phoenix Contact, explained how the technical implementation of the open approach via the Phoenix Contact PLCnext ECOSystem worked. It was then demonstrated with real applications of this technology at BASF, Bilfinger and Evonik how Phoenix Contact successfully addressed current problems and that it was also one of the leaders in future concepts such as the architecture of the Open Process AutomationTM Forum, OPAF.

In the first NAMUR presentation, Ronny Becker (Bilfinger) reported on practical experience gained with connectivity solutions in the dedicated test plant at the Hoechst site. He pointed out that at the end of the day the user needed simple and sustainable solutions with adequate data connection bandwidth, flexible approaches and robust, open and reliable connectivity standards. An important basis in this context was provided by the NOA information model, NE 107 and suitable contextualisation.

In the second NAMUR presentation, Ilona Sonnevend (Bayer) and Kai Dadhe (Evonik) looked at increasing connectivity from the perspective of production and the entire company. Their message: Put man and the economy first and use technology as a means to achieve an end. Using the slogan ‘money before hope’, Ilona Sonnevend drew attention to the fact that however beautiful a solution might be, it should always be possible to identify and communicate value added. Connectivity, however, was also required between the groups concerned within a company across functional borders. In the data traffic between systems, model-based platforms offered advantages over point-to-point connections of individual data processing systems. Easily understandable and communicable value-generating connectivity solutions with open non-monolithic systems and a holistic IIoT concept would carry the day.

In the last plenary presentation of the first day, Dr. Jan de Caigny (BASF) discussed aspects of cloud technology, current cloud services and the development of their use over the last few years. He illustrated his topic by using the picture of ‘pizza as a service’. The example of a PIMS server demonstrated that after a few IT development steps data finally ended up on an external cloud server without the data owner being aware of it. The speaker also showed that seemingly safe solutions could be riskier in house than in the cloud of an external provider. For security and the right ‘as-a-service’ strategy one needed expertise and trust in the right partner. He pointed out that clouds were not always the same, nor were they identical with the Internet. With this simple insight de Caigny made it quite clear that IT and OT (Operational Technology) needed to cooperate in designing the right architecture and selecting suitable providers. In doing so, he already anticipated the presentation by Messrs. Hanisch and Kroneis that was to be held on Friday and addressed the topic of IT/OT convergence. From the technological perspective, cloud technology might also be suitable for OT in the end.

On the one hand, the wide range of themes discussed in the afternoon workshops on the first day with 31 contributions reflected the activities of the NAMUR Working Groups; on the other hand, it provided the opportunity to get some deeper understanding of the technical solutions offered by the sponsoring company. In addition, representatives of cooperation partners presented topics that their associations were working on as well as the current status of developments. Topics such as Module Type Package - MTP, NAMUR Open Architecture - NOA and their link with the OPAF approach, 5G, magneto-optic sensor systems, FDI, APL, control valves, pumps, explosion protection, security, safety and administrative shell were discussed. Participants interested in Phoenix Contact products could explore the sponsor’s exhibition or register for one of the guided tours offered which met with great response.

Traditionally, the second day started with the presentation of the NAMUR Awards. Dr. Thorsten Dreier (Covestro) congratulated the winners and presented the awards to Dr. Ing. Daniel Haßkerl, doctoral thesis on Economic Performance Optimization by Direct Optimizing Control Applied to Reactive Distillation Processes, Technical University Dortmund, Sophia Cordes, Master’s thesis on the Analyse der Einsatzmöglichkeiten von Produktions-Modul-Beschreibungen für die produktionsnahe Logistik (Analysis of possible applications of production module descriptions for production-related logistics), Helmut-Schmidt-Universität / Universität der Bundeswehr Hamburg, and Artan Markaj, Master’s thesis on the Verfügbarkeitsanalyse verfahrenstechnischer Anlagen durch stochastische Zustandsmodellierung unterschiedlicher Instandhaltungsszenarien unter Verwendung von Risiko‐ und Fehlerauswirkungsanalysen (Availability analysis of process plants through stochastic state modelling of different maintenance scenarios using risk and failure mode impact analyses), also Helmut-Schmidt-Universität / Universität der Bundeswehr Hamburg.

In his subsequent presentation, Dirk Hablawetz (BASF) presented experience gained with safety instrumented systems and announced early evaluation results of the database which contains failures of about 85,000 safety instrumented systems with approximately 300,000 field devices. The presentation was rounded off with a look into the future and at the emerging new challenges.

In their presentation, Jens Kroneis (BASF) and Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer) addressed the development of the convergence of OT and IT in the context of digitisation. The two speakers described very different approaches to organisational changes taken in their respective companies. They appealed to the community to bury old turf wars and regard the digitisation of production and supply chain in the process industry as a shared task. Accordingly, IT functions close to production needed to be won over for NAMUR and invited to cooperate. They felt that this topic should be further developed within NAMUR in general and in a dedicated working group, in particular, which would look into IT infrastructure and platforms for OT applications.

Before Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer) gave his presentation about the future of NAMUR, the 650 conference participants serenaded the birthday child. The speaker pointed out that NAMUR was now 70 years old and had managed to develop continually. This was why today it was still an accepted player in the process industry. The results of the member survey confirmed many points, but also highlighted areas where action was needed. Among other things, there were the communication of the Association’s strategy, the age structure and young talent. Depicting successes in a simple and understandable fashion was another approach that NAMUR should continue to pursue. To expedite drafting and updating NAMUR Recommendations, NAMUR would provide a central limited budget for editorial support and translation.

In his presentation leading up to next year’s NAMUR AGM, Dr. Andreas Schüller (Yncoris) discussed digitisation and the necessary data transfer beyond the limits of the tools used in the life cycle of a plant. How can we promote joint interest in the digitisation of current organisational structures by players in the fields of CAPEX and OPEX? Is a cross-disciplinary information model a crucial stepping-stone on the way to success? These are the questions addressed to the 2020 sponsor.

At the end of the event, Dr. Felix Hanisch (Bayer) gave a summary of the highly successful NAMUR Annual General Meeting, thanked the excellent sponsoring company, Phoenix Contact, and all committed participants and provided an overview of forthcoming events and the aims set for 2020.

We can look forward to meeting Schneider Electric, the sponsor of the NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2020, who will address next year’s motto: Boosting Your Asset Lifecycle for Power and Process. The always well-attended meeting of the automation technology community will again take place in Bad Neuenahr on 05 and 06 November 2020.

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For further information please contact

c/o Bayer AG
NAMUR Office
Building K9
D-51368 Leverkusen
Phone  +49 - 214 - 30 - 71034
Fax  +49 - 214 - 30 - 9671034

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