Showing posts with label automation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label automation. Show all posts

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Zymergi Mission

Zymergi sees a world where there is greater wealth than today: a world where individuals have more time to spend on what they want (rather than what they must to do).

appliances Look around the house. Chances are, there's a clothes washer/dryer. The washer is a reactor/centrifuge combination; the dryer is a tumbler... chemical processing units. Now, you don't have to waste time at the river with a washboard washing your clothes.

Oh, there's a fridge and freezer? That's refrigeration process with replete with compressor, expansion valve and working fluid and now you can store foods longer and not have to salt your foods or waste time on extra trips to the grocery store.

Gotta a car, too? That's the chemical processing unit where you convert hydrocarbon to CO2 + water, heat to work to get from point A to B. Now you can get to that job 40 miles away in 40 minutes instead of 8 hours.

appliances The time you get back is possible because of these chemical processes. And these chemical processes are executed by these machines (i.e. "units"). And when you look beyond the symbols of wealth (which happen to be fancier units like yachts and airplanes and sports cars), you realize that the wealthy have limitless time for leisure, while the poor do not. No truer words were spoken when they invented the phrase, "Time is money."

Zymergi thinks the path to creating more wealth for us, our customers, and their customers is to help people who run chemical processes better "see" what their units are doing and get more out of them. The easier it is to "get data," the more time our customers get to "understand the process." And the more process understanding, the greater ability to change the course of the process for greater profitability.

The world where machines do more work means a world where humans have more leisure. Automation is the answer.

Even the world of Star Trek, where does this time... explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before
come from?

They (the crew) are enabled by the Starship Enterprise. The starship is simply a plant that manufactures light-years. What runs the enterprise? A "computer" that is simply the starship's SCADA. Again: automation systems.

In virtually every scenario of the future we want to live in, automation... units... chemical processes are there enabling humans to have more time... more leisure.   This future of greater time and wealth is the Zymergi Vision.

The Zymergi Mission: the relentless pursuit of excellence in systems integration and automation software is the straight-line that you can draw from our reality today to our vision of tomorrow.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Automation Engineer's Take on Wall-E

I was talking with a buddy from my Cornell ChemE days (who now works in social media) about the odd trajectory of his career. Having had a successful career in biopharma and hospital administration, he's now a social entrepreneur. And it puzzled me that he is fulfilled "not using his degree" in social media.

From his side, he was puzzled that I liked running an automation business helping people get and interpret machine data so their factories operate more efficiently.

As an MBA, he explained, "Business is about people and relationships. I want operate in a world where people matter, and that's what 'social' is."

I have no disagreements with that statement. I did add:
Business is about making money...creating wealth. A world where everyone is wealthy is one where no one has to work; in that world, we have machines at our beck and call. Automation is the means to that world.

Screenshot from Disney Pixar's WALL-E where we find humans have fled Earth in a galactic cruise ship where no one has to work because their life is 100% automated.

Pixar's writers pose the question: What does the world look like when no one has to work?

Don't let Pixar's distinctly American interpretation (out-of-shape, chair-loungers watching TV while robots get us our beverage) distract from the world where everyone gets to enjoy leisure and no one has to work.

Some will jump in and say, "See, employment and working is good for man, else we'll end up all fat and lazy." It's true that some will choose this path, but the vast majority of others would do something else with all that time.

No truer words were spoken when man first uttered the phrase, "Time is Money."

Having vast wealth is synonymous with having vast amounts of time to do what you want; this time to do whatever we choose is called, "leisure." And the purpose of an economy is to lift as many of us from the bonds of employment as efficiently as possible.

As an aside, it's rather hilarious that our politicians run around trying to decrease unemployment. The world where everyone has the luxury of 100% leisure is a world where unemployment is 100%.

And all this leisure can only be possible because we created the machines to automate the tasks that would otherwise be manual.

But back to my buddy: he's also right. Ultimately, business is handled with strong personal relationships. And even after we've automated ourselves into a world where no one has to work, we'd probably spend all that leisure time socializing anyway.

More general commentary:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Well, this is flattering...

Here is a competitor's activities on my website:


They're searching virtually every OSI PI error code and concept there is on supporting and administrating OSIsoft PI servers.

This is actually more common than you'd think.  There are a lot of automation contractors that are experts at PLC and DCS control systems.  And when there are big automation projects, these guys land the big jobs with the process historian as the afterthought.

But if you're a company that understands that your manufacturing data is the crown jewels of your continuous process improvement initiatives (be it SPC, Six Sigma, Lean, Class A...), you can see from my website analytics that even good automation engineers need a lot of help when it comes to OSIsoft PI support.

My awesome customers understand this and can trust that when they deploy an OSIsoft PI system that it was installed and configured by a battle-tested manufacturing sciences engineer with a proven record supporting commercial GMP campaigns.

Friday, July 6, 2012

OPC Interface, OPC Server

Interoperability in automation is done with OPC. OP-wut?
OPC = Ole for Process Control
A open, proprietary protocol for how automation systems can talk to each other.
In the old days, automation systems were monolithic. Once you standardized on a vendor, you basically had to stick with that vendor.

Since then, the big names in the factory automation decided to form a consortium manage the OPC standard for interoperating with each other...

And since then, OPC has basically taken over the market.

How it works is this:

You have PLCs and DCSs for process control over decades of operations. And you need data from each of these to monitor your process. These PLC and DCS vendors will write OPC Servers. In some cases, 3rd party vendors will write OPC Servers for these devices.

What's an OPC Server?
OPC Server
Software that outputs (serves) data in OPC.
By having an OPC Server, these devices are no longer speaking their native tongue... they speak "OPC-ese." The reason we want them to speak OPC is because OPC clients - such as an OPC interface - can receive this data and translate it.
OPC Interface
Software that can "listen" to OPC and translate it into the native language of another piece of automation software.
For example:

You're trying to connect your OSI PI system to an Emerson DeltaV system. Since an Emerson DeltaV system has an embedded (crippled) OSI PI system inside, you need just a PItoPI interface to connect the two automation systems and send the data from DeltaV to OSI PI.

But suppose your factory has other pieces of equipment that don't write natively to OSI PI... or more likely, you're not interested in buying the an interface for each flavor of automation that you own.

This is where OPC really shines. What you do is, you try to get OPC Servers from the automation vendors. Then you purchase exactly one OPC interface from OSIsoft. And for each OPC server, you configure and instance of the OPC interface.

And now, you eliminate a lot of future headache because you've standardized on OPC and eliminated having to support an interface per automation vendor. You can train on the widely supported OPC standard. You have access to native OPC Servers or in cases where they don't exist, you can purchase third-party OPC Servers that do the heavy lifting.