The 9th issue of DirectIndustry’s e-magazine, an SPS IPC Drives Special, focuses on innovations in automation. Our journalists roamed the aisles of the German fair in Nuremberg in search of coming developments in the industry — from magnetic levitation to mass customization. Our reports also show how big data is ruling the connected factories of tomorrow.
Watch our exclusive report. Will magnetic levitation bring about a revolution in the factory of tomorrow?
At SPS, automation manufacturer Festo presented its supraconductivity technology for production lines. Their SupraCarrier could be commercially launched in 5 years for handling and conveying applications. Yet,...
Watch our exclusive report. Is the era of mass customisation upon us?
Long seen as a promising concept, the process that combines mass production and personalization, is now effective in the factory. At SPS in Nüremberg, Siemens showcased a production line that turns out customized products at the same time.
As customized mass production also affects the way machines are built, B&R presented a software that allows users to add functionalities according to their requirements.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 are reshaping the factory floor in what industry leaders hail as smart manufacturing. This new framework fills the gaps in factories and supply chains that were previously considered “integrated,” using a greater number of always-on sensors. Embedded in...
The Internet of Things is already there and brings new challenges. Long time ignored or minimized, security is now a concern throughout the industry. Driven by electronic and computing industries, the IoT Security Foundation was created last September in the UK and gathers various members including cybersecurity technology specialists and international companies such as IBM or British Telecom.
Its mission: help companies better secure their connected equipment from the smallest sensor to the bigger level. Among the major leads: isolation of the components’ softwares, implementation of cryptographic, unicity of the devices.
DirectIndustry e-magazine interviewed Haydn Povey from the Executive Steering Board. He explains how the sector should face the “storm that is coming.”
Executive Steering Board
DirectIndustry e-magazine: Why an IoT Security Foundation? Does this mean that securing the IoT has become crucial?
Haydn Povey: The Foundation is here to help implement good practices. Security is now the n°1 concern in the industry. Cyberwar is unfortunately a reality today. Nations are infecting each other’s’ critical infrastructures and industrial systems. Attacks can happen everywhere. Companies assume that their systems might be compromised. We have to protect every connected device, from the smallest sensors to the biggest level.
DirectIndustry e-magazine: Do you mean that with IoT the threat has changed?
Haydn Povey: Hacking is no longer about loss of information. Hacking a PC is annoying but we can handle it. Hacking the IoT is worse. We don’t deal with just data anymore, we deal with critical systems with impact on the real world. Nuclear power stations, energy grids, heating systems are some of the infrastructures that can been attacked with terrible consequences such as people dying or billions of dollars of damages. In the automotive industry, some carmakers did not secure the entry control unit that upgrades the cars. Hackers were able to change the settings of the acceleration!
DirectIndustry e-magazine: How can the industry avoid this?
Haydn Povey: First, there needs to be better separation of components between the software that runs the device and the software that does the communications. So if the communications is compromised, the device still works.
We also need to build better IoT infrastructures to ensure that attacked devices are unique. So if someone breaks into a light bulb or a heating system, it’s just that one and not all. This is not necessarily new technology but that can make systems more robust.
DirectIndustry e-magazine: What about cryptography?
Haydn Povey: You reduce the failure on your system when you introduce a set of keys. But cryptography is only as good as its implementation. Making sure that all the systems work together properly requires asymmetric encryption. ECC (Elliptic curve cryptography) and RSA are two strong asymmetric algorithms. But people do not implement them well enough.
AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is a good encryption technology. It’s a simple but strong algorithm. Even if the hacker has all the information on a system and the physical device in its hands, the only thing he won’t get is the key. And without the key, he can’t do anything.
DirectIndustry e-magazine: What other shield do you recommend?
Haydn Povey: Imagination Technologies have recently introduced their Omni-Shield technology which allows for better isolation of devices. ARM and their mbed OS software offers better security for microcontrollers. Of course, you need to have people building the right chips, systems and software. It’s improving a lot and we might see more announcements around that over the next months.
Controlling a plant or a piece of equipment with your phone has never been so easy.Software developer spscontrol designed a human-machine interface (HMI) for smartphones and tablets that enables employees to safely operate industrial plants and equipment from a remote location.
Specifically designed for convenient and ergonomic industrial control, the spscontrol app can be purchased from the company’s HMI web store and is ready-to-use on multiple mobile devices just like any ordinary app.
The interface is primarily for employees in industrial facilities which operate equipments such as conveyors, pumps, pollution control devices and air conditioning systems. For example, the app can rapidly display energy measurements and information from data loggers and network monitors. Manufacturers can also include the app in their equipment.
A standard Modbus/TCP interface enables communication between the app and the plant and equipments. A VPN ensures the connection is safe while an encrypted file system embedded in the app offers a high level of security.
Digitization of traditional industries means increasing reliance on alternative input modalities such as voice and gesture control. At SPS, SemVox presented its ODP S3 intelligent speech dialog software that can be used for production, manufacturing and service tasks, among others.
ODP (Ontology-based Dialog Platform) offers semantic intelligence that combines speech recognition and context interpretation, as well as considering factors such as user’s personal preferences. This interactive system not only follows the user’s commands but also supports the operator proactively, making for example suggestions on manufacturing or maintenance processes, thereby offering a high level of automation.
The platform enables hands-free operation of machinery and the performance of several tasks at the same time, enhancing production efficiency.
ODP S3 also comes with a microphone system and a filter function that minimize background noise and boost signal quality even in very loud industrial environments.
Camille Rustici is a Video Journalist and the Editor-in-Chief for DirectIndustry e-magazine. She has years of experience in business issues for various media including France 24, Associated Press, Radio France…