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Siemens and Google Cloud to cooperate on AI-based solutions in manufacturing

Google Cloud and Siemens, an innovation and technology leader in industrial automation and software, today announced a new cooperation to optimise factory processes and improve productivity on the shop floor. Siemens intends to integrate Google Cloud’s leading data cloud and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) technologies with its factory automation solutions to help manufacturers innovate for the future.

Data drives today’s industrial processes, but many manufacturers continue to use legacy software and multiple systems to analyse plant information, which is resource-intensive and requires frequent manual updates to ensure accuracy. In addition, while AI projects have been deployed by many companies in “islands” across the plant floor, manufacturers have struggled to implement AI at scale across their global operations.

For more than 170 years, Siemens has built its business on pioneering technologies that have led the manufacturing industry forward. By combining Google Cloud’s data cloud and AI/ML capabilities with Siemens’ Digital Industries Factory Automation portfolio, manufacturers will be able to harmonise their factory data, run cloud-based AI/ML models on top of that data, and deploy algorithms at the network edge. This enables applications such as visual inspection of products or predicting the wear-and-tear of machines on the assembly line.

Deploying AI to the shop floor and integrating it into automation and the network is a complex task, requiring highly specialised expertise and innovative products such as Siemens Industrial Edge. The goal of the cooperation between Google Cloud and Siemens is to make the deployment of AI in connection with the Industrial Edge – and its management at scale – easier, empowering employees as they work on the plant floor, automating mundane tasks, and improving overall quality.

“The potential for artificial intelligence to radically transform the plant floor is far from being exhausted. Many manufacturers are still stuck in AI ‘pilot projects’ today – we want to change that,” said Axel Lorenz, VP of Control at Factory Automation of Siemens Digital Industries. “Combining AI/ML technology from Google Cloud with Siemens’ solutions for Industrial Edge and industrial operation will be a game changer for the manufacturing industry.”

“Siemens is a leader in advancing industrial automation and software, and Google Cloud is a leader in data analytics and AI/ML. This cooperation will combine the best of both worlds and bring AI/ML to the manufacturing industry at scale. By simplifying the deployment of AI in industrial use cases, we’re helping employees augment their critical work on the shop floor,” said Dominik Wee, Managing Director Manufacturing and Industrial at Google Cloud.

Yokogawa selects C3 AI Suite to enhance enterprise AI applications

Yokogawa has selected the C3 AI Suite as a platform to enhance enterprise AI applications and complement its digital transformation solutions and services for industrial customers.

Yokogawa signed a multi-year agreement enabling the company and its wholly owned subsidiary, KBC, to deploy the C3 AI Suite with its advanced AI capabilities to their software portfolio. Yokogawa and KBC implement leading technology and best practices, turning strategy to results through technical and commercial excellence, underpinned by engineering simulation and analytics, and systematised through operational technology and digital services.

Yokogawa expects C3 AI to play a critical role in its AI-enabled offerings that deliver optimised productivity for clients, greater levels of industrial autonomy, and creation of new business opportunities across vertical industries, including power generation, renewables, mining and metals, chemicals, and oil and gas.

“The C3 AI Suite brings new opportunities to seamlessly integrate state-of-the-art AI into our software portfolio at enterprise scale,” said Yu Dai, a Yokogawa director and senior vice president of the company’s Digital Solutions Headquarters. “Our initial work with C3 AI will drive digital transformation through more accurate simulations for our customers, leading to improvements in their operational efficiency and margins.”

“With the C3 AI Suite powering Yokogawa’s market-leading offerings across industries, customers can look forward to faster, more accurate, and scalable tools for streamlining operations and adding to the bottom line,” said Tom Siebel, chairman and CEO of C3 AI. “Combining Yokogawa’s unique strengths in measurement, control, and simulation with C3 AI’s leading enterprise AI software will result in improved operations across industry verticals.”

The agreement also enables C3 AI to establish a direct presence in Japan through its work with Yokogawa.

Sensirion and s-peers: using environmental sensors to develop a concept for automated air quality assurance

s-peers has developed an innovative concept with the help of Sensirion to store, analyse and forecast air-quality data.

Air quality and regular ventilation have become highly relevant in pandemic times. Minute droplets (known as aerosols) are emitted not only when coughing or sneezing, but also during normal breathing and when talking. Viruses can be found in these aerosols. Frequent and effective ventilation is therefore more important than ever. The more fresh air, the less exhaled air with possible viruses in a closed room. Optimal air quality also increases concentration and prevents fatigue, headaches or a drop in performance. With the help of s-peers’ concept and the use of Sensirion’s industry-leading environmental sensors, automated monitoring and control of air quality becomes possible. If values rise above a critical threshold, the system sends a signal and prompts the windows to be opened, for example. This ensures that ventilation is not forgotten or is not carried out too late. In addition, air quality is documented, thus ensuring a healthier working environment.

Thanks to the sensor data, it is possible to provide forecasts for when the room is occupied and with how many people then, or at what time it is necessary to ventilate or leave the room. This is particularly relevant for schools, events, libraries or open-plan offices.

What works inside, also works outside

The WHO calls air pollution, especially high concentrations of particulate matter, one of the biggest health risks, on a par with smoking. It is therefore of enormous relevance for companies or cities to measure outdoor air data as well. Reliable and cost-efficient sensors provide immediate feedback when air quality deteriorates. For companies with their own production facilities, early detection of process errors that can lead to environmental pollution is of great interest. It can also increase the safety of production workers. Sensor solutions such as Sensirion’s Nubo Air are already being used in city centres. The Nubo Air enables real-time monitoring of air pollution. Measuring, storing and analysing this data provides policymakers with sound data to make optimal decisions or even optimise air quality for their citizens using intelligent control of traffic lights.

Reserve your seat for the roundtable “Breath in – Data out: Get the Most Data out of Your Sensors” on April 20, 15:00 – 16:00, at SAP NOW – the largest SAP user conference in Switzerland. Matthias Feldle from s-peers AG and Pascal Gerner from Sensirion will jointly present their innovative concept that stores CO2 data, analyses it and uses it for forecasting. They will also discuss how such valuable sets of sensor data can be used to optimise existing business processes and develop new business models.

Register for the roundtable here: https://webapp.spotme.com/welcome/sapnow

Electrocomponents awarded gold medal sustainability rating by EcoVadis

Electrocomponents has been awarded a gold medal by EcoVadis, the independent provider of global sustainability ratings used by many large organisations to help support sustainable purchasing decisions.

The gold medal ranks Electrocomponents in the top 5% of the 75,000 companies assessed by EcoVadis with each company rated on the material sustainability risks and issues for their size, locations and industry. The evidence-based assessment covers policies, actions and results across the key sustainability and ESG dimensions of environment, labour and human rights, business ethics and sustainable procurement.

“This is a brilliant result, and we are proud to have been awarded an EcoVadis gold medal. Their rating is extremely important to us as it shows the strength of our ESG approach. We know our customers and suppliers monitor our sustainability rating on the EcoVadis platform and this result demonstrates that we are a trusted partner, helping to increase the sustainability of our business and the global value chain,” said Andrea Barrett, VP Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Electrocomponents.

Electrocomponents remains focused and committed to its ESG approach, which accelerates the positive impact it has in society and on the environment. ESG is aligned to its Destination 2025 strategy and the company has implemented multiple initiatives across the business to ensure best practice. Electrocomponents focuses on four ESG pillars – environment, customers and suppliers, people and health & safety, and community – with targets in place and under development in each area.

Electrocomponents has also recently been upgraded to an A rating by MSCI, which measures a company’s resilience to long-term, industry material ESG risks.

ADLINK Technology joins Senseye to enable rapid ROI from predictive maintenance

Senseye, the Machine Health Management company, welcomes ADLINK Technology to the Senseye Ready Partner Ecosystem, enabling customers to utilise ADLINK’s range of machine condition monitoring (MCM) devices to achieve plug and play integration with Senseye’s predictive maintenance software suite (Senseye PdM).

ADLINK Technology Inc., a global leader in edge computing, joins the Senseye Ready ecosystem to offer predictive maintenance solutions supported by the Senseye ROI Lock guarantee. Manufacturing, maintenance and operations managers can now implement predictive maintenance with complete confidence that they will get a minimum 100% return on their software investment.

Senseye Ready hardware and devices offer simple integration with Senseye’s predictive maintenance platform. Customers benefit from a wide choice of compatible equipment to suit their individual requirements and budget.

ADLINK’s range of rugged machine condition monitoring (MCM) devices are pre-configured with its Edge IoT software, allowing the aggregation of asset performance data from multiple sensors at the edge on the factory floor. This data is streamed to Senseye’s cloud-based platform for automated analysis, identifying abnormal behaviour or early signs of known failure modes. By alerting maintenance managers to take action, Senseye helps to avoid costly unplanned equipment shutdowns.

Graham Dunlop, Partner Director – Senseye, comments: “We developed Senseye Ready to provide additional benefit to our customers by simplifying procurement and assuring them access to the very best hardware solutions to increase maintenance efficiencies and avoid unplanned machine downtime. We saw a perfect fit with ADLINK and the focus both companies have on improving manufacturing operations and driving adoption of Industry 4.0 best practice.”

Daniel Collins, Director of IoT Solutions & Technology – ADLINK, comments: “Joining the Senseye Ready Partner ecosystem is part of ADLINK’s commitment to making factories smarter. Our offerings support data acquisition and analysis from many different types of manufacturing assets, enabling predictive maintenance capabilities across fleets and factories to yield higher productivity and reduce losses due to machine downtime.”

NASA’s Perseverance rover commences cutting-edge scientific measurements on Mars with Finnish equipment

NASA’s Perseverance rover has now spent its first months on the surface of Mars. The testing and deployment phase is proceeding well, and after the first technology demonstration with the Ingenuity helicopter, the rover is commencing the continuous scientific measurements. With the arrival of the humidity and pressure measurement instruments onboard Perseverance, the first meteorological network on another planet is being created.

The Perseverance rover landed successfully on Mars in February 2021 and will now explore an ancient river delta in the Jezero Crater for at least the next Martian year, which is approximately two Earth years. After the landing, the rover stretched its robotic arms and has already delivered a good number of high-quality photos, videos, and audio samples back to Earth.

The rover’s Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) instrumentation suite, developed by a Spanish-led research consortium, has also been deployed. MEDA is a weather station that has been developed specifically for the conditions on Mars. Instruments by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and Vaisala are included in the MEDA suite to measure pressure and humidity conditions on Mars.

The measurements and local wind data provided by the MEDA suite is also used by the Ingenuity Helicopter.

The measurement instruments need to be able to deliver reliable high-quality measurements even after the long space journey.

“Accurate and reliable science-based measurements are at the core of Mars research. That’s why it is great to receive verification that our sensors are working in the extreme conditions on Mars, even after the demanding space journey. Vaisala’s measurement technology is at its best in challenging measurement conditions,” says Liisa Åström, Vice President of Products and Systems at Vaisala.

“The equipment on Mars needs to work in all conditions and is tested accordingly. Manufacturing, testing, and finalising the measurement instruments has been a major project lasting many years, so it feels great to see the instruments finally at work on Mars,” summarises Maria Hieta, Research Engineer at FMI.

Hieta continues: “For instance, the humidity measurement instruments on Perseverance have gone through a tough selection process. FMI built 13 different instrument models around the humidity sensor, and these models were tested several times in harsh conditions such as very low temperatures. Additionally, the tests exposed them to vibration and shocks. The most reliable model was chosen as part of the MEDA equipment.”

First measurements reflect expectations

The MEDA equipment has now delivered the first round-the-clock measurement series on pressure and relative humidity to Earth. The measured values correspond to what was expected.

“The pressure levels and variation according to the time of day in the Jezero Crater reflect our models well. Relative humidity is practically zero (0% RH) during the day and rises during the night as the local temperature falls to nearly -80 °C. For comparison, 20 percent relative humidity is considered very low on Earth, and relative humidity near zero is hardly ever measured. The pressure data has also let us observe dust devils passing Perseverance, showing them as fast and sharp declines in the pressure signal,” explains Maria Genzer, Group Leader of Planetary Research and Space Technology at FMI.


Martian weather conditions and atmosphere interest Finnish researchers

The Perseverance rover has been designed to explore Mars’ conditions and geology as well as to search for signs of ancient life. Even though signs of life are fascinating, Finnish researchers are especially interested in the Martian atmosphere.

“Earth and Mars share a lot of similarities, which is why we find the study of Mars’ atmosphere so fascinating: it helps us to understand the behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere. Additionally, dust storms on Mars can be harsh, so it is crucial to be able to predict the storms if we are to send manned space missions to Mars in the future. For this reason, Mars needs a weather station network,” states Maria Genzer.

Meteorological observation network based on Finnish expertise

Perseverance and the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, provide measurements approximately 3,700 kilometers apart from each other. Both rovers carry similar Finnish pressure and humidity measurement instruments, which deliver data that is sent to Earth for analysis.

The data from the rovers, combined with observations from NASA’s InSight Lander on Mars, form the first three-point meteorological observation network on another planet. The network will enable even more accurate modelling of Mars’ atmosphere and its phenomena.

“In the future, we hope to get more measurement points on Mars. This is the ultimate goal for example in our MetNet program, in which we are developing small probes that will impact and penetrate Mars’ surface. These probes would then form a comprehensive meteorological observation network on the planet,” Maria Hieta explains.

The Mars 2020 mission is a part of NASA’s Mars exploration program. One of the main tasks of the Perseverance rover is to gather and store a series of rock and soil samples that can be brought back to Earth for analysis in the future. Finnish technology is scheduled to be launched to Mars again in 2022 aboard the ExoMars mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Current calibration system eliminates EMF

A current calibration system designed by Guildline Instruments has eliminated thermal EMF effects.

The 6622A DCC bridge uses a process of automatic current reversal. The unique architecture of the bridge and its control algorithm further removes gain and offset errors in the Nano-voltmeter balance detector and the precision toroid. The end results are shown by long term accuracy and linearity without the need for routine, frequent verification tests or calibrations.

Incorporating a unique ‘self-calibration’ functionality for the embedded null detector which is performed as part of each measurement, it also, via the standard interchange technique, automatically performs a ‘self-calibration’ of the measurement ratios to < 0.02 x 10-6.

With an operating range up to 10,000A and it’s modular design, the 6622A can be found in many calibration laboratories, Nuclear test labs and is heavily used in Electric Vehicle PowerTrain developments.

For more details on the Guildline Instruments 6622A current calibration system, please view full details at EvolutionMeasurement.com or call +44 (0)1264 316470

‘Glocalisation’ defines robust Spelsberg UK 2021 supply chain

2020 has presented multiple challenges to businesses, especially in terms of overcoming supply chain interruptions. Spelsberg UK, a leading manufacturer of electrical enclosures, is offering its customers the opportunity to overcome these challenges in 2021. Combining the reliability of a responsive, localised supply service with global support – the business is offering a solution to supply interruptions via glocalisation.

Glocalisation refers to the combination of a local and global service, both combining to provide a more reliable supply chain. The main aim is to overcome possible interruptions in the supply chain, which have become more common during the pandemic. Of course, many customers depend on a reliable supply chain, so forward-looking suppliers such as Spelsberg are enacting this combined approach to provide it.

Localised supply chains are defined by short, robust supply routes. With products travelling less distance, the chance of interruption or delays is greatly reduced. Supplier responsiveness is also improved. However, in cases where a very specialised product or a high quantity is required, global support can provide additional assurance and capabilities. When both are operating in mutual support, ‘glocalisation’ is the result. The term was first used in a 1980s issue of Harvard Business Review . For customers, it means increased assurance that orders will arrive exactly when needed, even in the face of external factors.

Spelsberg operates a strong localised supply chain in the UK, backed by the largest domestic stock holding of non-metallic electrical enclosures, totalling nearly £500,000. Thousands of enclosures in a wide variety of sizes, materials and specifications are ready for high speed delivery to meet the needs of electrical design engineers, OEMs, installers and other customers. To illustrate this, Spelsberg UK offers next day delivery for 99% of orders.

This is matched with a comprehensive customisation service that includes dedicated production lines and CNC machinery. Facilities exclusive to the customisation service mean that specialised products have surprisingly short lead times. Therefore, the requirement for specialised enclosures can be met domestically too.

Ultimately, this combination of a large stock holding and a dynamic customisation service ensures a highly robust localised UK supply chain that is incredibly resistant to interruptions due to external factors.

However, Spelsberg’s capability extends well beyond the UK. The business is a global manufacturer and supplier of high-quality enclosures to the construction, marine, defence, rail, tunnel, power, renewables, food and beverage sectors. Founded in Germany in 1904, the business has manufactured enclosures for over 115 years. During this time, it has been at the centre of technological development of enclosures, holding over 80 patents around the world. This global proficiency provides added assurance to Spelsberg UK customers, ensuring that even the most local supply chain has the strong support of a highly successful multi-national organisation.

Chris Lloyd, Managing Director at Spelsberg UK, concludes: “Glocalisation provides our customers with the assurance that they will receive a quality enclosure, exactly to specification and delivered at the perfect moment. This will define our approach in 2021, as we leverage our local capabilities backed by our global reach, to ensure that our supply service can continue to overcome future challenges, eliminating uncertainty from our customer supply chains.”

Continuous profitable growth as S&T Group continues its IoT mission

S&T Group continues to rapidly expand its market position as a technology leader with industry-leading technologies and a growth strategy focused on smart Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. The company is pursuing ambitious financial goals including a target revenue of minimum EUR 1.40 billion for 2021 and EUR 2 billion in revenues with an EBITDA of EUR 220 million by 2023.

The numbers for 2020 prove that S&T is heading in the right growth direction as it has achieved a revenue growth of 12% totalling more than EUR 1.25 billion, including 50% organic growth in 2020. The company also secured an EBITDA increase of 16% to EUR 130 million for the previous financial year as it continues its transformation to an IoT specialist with its technology forming the foundations of its place in the ever-growing Industrial IoT (IIoT) sector.

Since its merger in 2017 with its subsidiary and supplier of industrial computing technologies Kontron, S&T Group has branched into the market of innovative IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions. Its portfolio of proprietary technologies has been further strengthened by S&T Group’s own research and development projects and systematic acquisitions including AIS Automation GmbH, now Kontron AIS GmbH, to expand the software offering in the field of industrial automation, as well as Iskratel Group to increase its 5G expertise.

“As the IIoT market continues to grow exponentially as more and more machines are connected to the internet, each global player has a unique outlook on how they can optimally bring forward digitalisation,” said S&T Group CEO Hannes Niederhauser. “S&T’s range of products are tailor-made hardware and software-based solutions that are developed for niche markets that we operate in such as industrial automation, medical technology, smart energy and public transport markets and adapted to meet specific customer requirements.”

The company’s focus has been on growth in the IoT segment, driven by the Group’s experience in embedded systems/ and IoT software solutions. S&T will continue to expand the share of software in its vertical end markets and develop a range of “IoT as a Service” (IoTaaS) packages to mark its transformation to a pure IoT player. With more than 30 years of engineering expertise and its determination to leverage technology, S&T is ideally suited for customers looking to remain competitive and fully optimise on the benefits that digitalisation has to offer.

Niederhauser continues: “2020 was a testing year for the global economy due to the pandemic. Despite the difficult circumstances S&T Group continued to make notable strides and has the industry leading expertise and technologies to help businesses achieve their industrial transformation and digitalisation goals. Our growth targets remain ambitious as we aim to reach EUR 2 billion in revenues by 2023 and we have continued to supply our target markets with smart technologies, seeing an especially strong increase in demand for industrial and medical solutions. We also recognise the importance of expanding and adapting our portfolio in alignment with the fast-paced IIoT sector to ensure we can offer the most reliable solutions possible.”

A single-source provider of services ranging from product development and manufacturing through to implementation and operations, S&T’s range of solutions encompass a large number of vertical markets including industrial automation, medical technologies, aviation, public transport, energy supply, retail, telecommunications and its IoT software framework SUSiEtec.

Production sites across Europe require high-levels of automation and state-of-the-art technologies in order to work as optimally as possible, and S&T is ideally placed to securely connect specialised innovative machines such as robots and vehicles to the internet and subsequently increase their overall efficiency. With new applications and standards helping to fuel the growth in digitalisation and simplify communications between man and machine, S&T can help customers in the Industrial IoT sector thrive.

Sustainability and diversity continue to be focus areas for S&T, with its headquarters having 100% renewable energy consumption and its old vehicle fleet being replaced with electric cars. Diversity within the Group and its corporate bodies is also making progress with Claudia Badstöber announced as the first woman to chair its Supervisory Board.

NI joins the Next G Alliance to help build North America’s leadership in 6G

NI today announced that it has joined ATIS’ Next G Alliance as a founding member. The Next G Alliance initiative seeks to advance North American mobile technology leadership in 6G by building on the long-term evolution of 5G over the next decade. NI will work closely with the Next G Alliance and its members to identify research priorities central to the development, standardisation, manufacturing and market readiness for 6G.

The Next G Alliance is named after its primary goal: to establish North American preeminence in the 5G evolutionary path and 6G development. It is an outgrowth of ATIS’ Call to Action Promoting U.S. Leadership on the Path to 6G. Collectively, this ecosystem will be central to defining the Next G vision.

As a member of the Next G Alliance, NI will help identify research priorities and connect wireless researchers with leading integrated hardware and software technologies to accelerate engineering discovery – a process that will help create a path forward for the future of wireless. By providing deep domain knowledge and expertise in advanced wireless research, NI will collaborate with researchers as they quickly define and realise the possibilities of the 6G ecosystem to ultimately engineer the extraordinary.

“At NI, test and measurement plays a critical role in accelerating the discovery process for advanced wireless research,” said Charles Schroeder, technology fellow at NI. “Although 6G may seem far away to some, academic and industry researchers have already begun the experiments and research that will ultimately lead to the creation of a 6G wireless standard. We’re excited to work closely with partners like the Next G Alliance to create a more holistic pathway to product realisation and accelerate the market towards Next G readiness.”

“As other regions of the world launch ambitious 6G R&D initiatives, North American industry must step forward now to create the road map for strong global mobile technology leadership into the next decade,” said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller. “The work of NI and the other Next G Alliance members is critical to advancing North American global leadership over the 5G evolutionary path and 6G development. It is establishing what is needed to promote a vibrant marketplace for North American innovation in 6G introduction, adoption and commercialisation.”