Yokogawa to undertake proof of concept test of 5G, Cloud, and AI for remote control of plant systems with NTT DOCOMO

Yokogawa has signed an agreement with NTT DOCOMO (DOCOMO) to jointly undertake a proof of concept test (PoC) for the remote control of a plant system by utilising 5th generation mobile communications (5G), the cloud, AI, and other technologies.

The PoC will involve the use of cloud-based Yokogawa AI for plant control and a 5G communication module mounted on a three tank level control system to remotely control the water level. This test aims to demonstrate the ease with which companies in the chemical, oil, and other process industries will be able to modify their existing systems to make use of cutting-edge 5G autonomous control devices with the latest cloud-based AI. With the goal of achieving autonomous control in plants in the future, Yokogawa will work together with DOCOMO to verify and optimise this technology.

Driven in part by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the need for the improvements in production safety and efficiency that can be achieved through autonomous plant control. In a survey of process industries that Yokogawa conducted last year, 64% of respondents said they anticipated that plants will have fully autonomous operations by 2030, and that autonomous control mechanisms using AI and other technologies and not requiring human intervention will become increasingly common. However, given the latency in communication that occurs between the cloud and device controllers when conventional wireless communication is used, there have been major technological challenges when it came to autonomous remote control of plant systems.

This PoC will examine whether the technical challenge of achieving low latency can be solved by using DOCOMO’s high-speed, large-capacity, low-latency 5G communications network, the DOCOMO Open Innovation Cloud, which offers multi-access edge computing (MEC) to achieve low-latency and meet other such requirements of the 5G era, as well as other cloud technologies. Yokogawa has already completed a trial of an autonomous control system based on its proprietary AI technology that successfully controlled the water level in a three tank level control system, a task that is generally acknowledged to be very difficult, and the technology that was used is considered within the industry to be among the most advanced of its type. In the PoC, by the end of March 2022, Yokogawa will work with DOCOMO to construct a demonstration environment for the cloud-based remote control of the water level in a three tank level control system using the AI, and undertake, among other things, comparison and evaluation of communication performance between LTE and 5G.

Based on its in-depth knowledge of plant control and operational technology, IT, and industry, Yokogawa is helping customers in a broad range of industries visualise issues that impact every area of their business activities, optimise their operations, and thereby create new value and sustain growth. Through this PoC, Yokogawa will work with DOCOMO to create new value and contribute to the development of not only process industries but all other industries as well.

Kenji Hasegawa, a Yokogawa vice president and head of Yokogawa Products Headquarters, commented, “Yokogawa has long played a leading role in the development of distributed control systems that control and monitor the operation of plant production facilities, and we have supported the growth of a wide range of industries. With a view towards a future in which industries adopt autonomous operations, we are now promoting IA2IA (Industrial Automation to Industrial Autonomy). Through the linking of 5G with the cloud, Yokogawa’s AI, and device controllers, we believe that we can make a great contribution in achieving plants whose systems can be remotely controlled and are fully capable of operating autonomously. Along with NTT DOCOMO, we will work to create further value for our customers.”

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Analog Devices launch Ocean and Climate Innovation Accelerator

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) have launched the Ocean and Climate Innovation Accelerator (OCIA) consortium. ADI has committed $3 million over three years towards the consortium which will focus on advancing knowledge of the ocean’s critical role in combating climate change as well as developing new solutions at the intersection of oceans and climate.

“Carbon emissions feature as a centrepiece in global efforts to mitigate climate change.  Oceans are among our most important defence mechanisms against a warming planet – yet their ability to continue to play this critically important role is being threatened by the effects of climate change,” said Vincent Roche, CEO of Analog Devices. “Through the Ocean and Climate Innovation Accelerator, we are committed to engaging ADI’s engineers and technologies to advance knowledge of the oceans, in order to gain a better understanding of how oceans are impacted by climate change and to develop solutions to restore ocean health. By doing so, we hope to drive meaningful impact on the global fight against climate change.”

The OCIA consortium is designed to be a highly scalable collaboration leveraging the unique resources and capabilities of its partner organisations. Among its goals, the consortium will focus on the development of the “networked ocean” – placing sensors across oceanographic environments that will continuously monitor critical metrics related to ocean conditions with the aim of informing business and policy decision makers, enabling evidence-based stewardship of ocean health and driving more accurate climate and weather predictions with real-time data.

“On behalf of WHOI’s entire community of ocean scientists and engineers, we are incredibly excited about this collaboration,” said Dr. Peter de Menocal, president, and director of WHOI. “The formation of the OCIA consortium comes at a time when support for science and ocean research is at a critical juncture. We are building a research innovation ecosystem that will drive new understanding to tackle global challenges facing society. It provides a new, scalable model showing how corporations can engage deeply on the climate crisis.”

The consortium will be jointly led by WHOI, a world leader in the oceanographic research, technology, and education dedicated to understanding the ocean for the benefit of humanity, and ADI, a world leader in the design, manufacturing, and marketing of a broad portfolio of high-performance semiconductor solutions used in virtually all types of electronic equipment. Designed to act as an engine for continuous innovation and powered by some of the world’s leading minds and businesses, the OCIA consortium is open to participation by a wide range of leading organisations across business, academia and non-profits that recognise the inextricable links between ocean and climate and wish to have a positive impact on the global climate crisis.

The OCIA consortium will also establish a robust, multi-stage innovation ecosystem, building on WHOI’s existing strengths in education and research to drive solutions-thinking and allow scientists and engineers to focus on high-impact problems. This will include the launch of a new Climate Challenge Grant Program which will award seed-funding for smaller, competitively selected projects.

Initially, the OCIA will provide two types of awards:

  • Incubation Awards: comprised of seed-funding awarded to dynamic individuals and teams. Incubation Awards will support design, exploration, and early execution of new, cutting-edge scientific initiatives that foster new avenues of research and engineering and encourage and incentivise collaborative engagement.
  • Acceleration Awards: awarded to successful recipients of prior support for novel ideas and technologies, as well as other more mature projects, for the purpose of expanding these programmes, increasing public engagement, and positioning and preparing projects to achieve lasting impact and receive durable outside support.

As the consortium grows over time, OCIA programmes may expand to invest in people through the establishment of fellowships and other awards, along with a portfolio of other activities such as support for collaboration hubs to drive innovations in data processing, machine learning, and transdisciplinary science and engineering.

“Now more than ever, it is essential for people to understand that the ocean and climate are not two separate systems, but rather part of a single system that spans our entire ocean planet and affects the lives of people everywhere, even if they live far from the coast,” said de Menocal. “Recognising this, it is critical for organisations like ADI and WHOI to find common cause and work in shared-mission partnerships to help mitigate the rapidly advancing threats brought on by a warming planet.”

Full steam ahead for training at Tetra Pak

In the food and drinks industry, steam is used extensively for heating and sterilisation processes. It is important that all those involved in the specification and operation of steam systems have a good understanding of control features and maintenance. Tetra Pak Processing UK Ltd., has taken advantage of Bürkert Fluid Control Systems’ steam training sessions, which are held regularly at the company’s headquarters in Cirencester, UK.

The correct design and installation of a steam system ensures safe, efficient and reliable operation. Understanding the principles that affect the performance of a steam system is very important in the food and beverage industry and also one of the reasons why Tetra Pak Processing UK has chosen to send its staff on a training course.

Alex Duckworth, Service Account Manager at Tetra Pak Processing UK, explained: “The global relationship between Bürkert and Tetra Pak meant that we already knew before attending the training that it would be a beneficial experience. We wanted to increase our knowledge and understanding of the Bürkert technology used in the control of steam processes and this course did exactly that.”

Alex concluded: “The trainers were highly professional throughout the course and engaged with all the participants. The increase in knowledge from attending will definitely benefit not only my colleagues and I, but also our end customers.”

Kirsty Anderson, Marketing Manager at Bürkert UK, added: “We are passionate about sharing knowledge and our training programmes are designed to deliver the greatest benefit and education to those who attend. Our training is based firmly on the knowledge and experience we exercise on a daily basis. The course structure is well established and it is delivered in a comfortable and professional manner.”

J2 Innovations releases Project Haystack 4 open-source library

J2 Innovations, a Siemens Company and a founding member of Project Haystack, today announced the release of Haystack Core, an open-source software library for the latest Haystack 4 open standard which can be used by developers to create new smart building and IoT applications.  Written in TypeScript, the open-source initiative will enable more sophisticated applications to be built with ease and at speed.  Haystack Core paves the way for a host of new solutions that can manage energy usage, reduce carbon emissions and leverage the latest technologies. By using the Haystack Core APIs  J2 Innovations’ OEM and ecosystem partners will be able to  create their own Haystack based devices more easily, and faster.

Now in its tenth year since inception, Project Haystack is an open-source initiative that streamlines the way data from the Internet of Things is handled to solve interoperability issues between devices and equipment.  With an emphasis on standardising semantic data models, and using web services, its mission is to unlock the value from the vast quantity of data being generated by the smart devices that permeate our homes, buildings, factories and cities.  Applications have been developed for automation, control, energy, HVAC, lighting and other environmental systems.

Today Project Haystack encompasses the entire value chain of building systems and related intelligent devices.  Founding member companies include Siemens, ConserveIT, J2 Innovations, SkyFoundry, Legrand, and Lynxspring.  Associate members include many other building-related suppliers and service providers of all types.  Novel and innovative ways to apply Haystack are constantly evolving.  J2 Innovations has recently contributed Haystack JSON, a new JSON encoding format that aims to improve upon the existing encoding format by making Haystack data more accessible for developers.

“It’s significant that we’re able to announce this just before Haystack Connect 2021.  The initiative has the potential to take Haystack to a different level of sophistication in the smart buildings and IoT applications world and beyond,” said Gareth Johnson, Senior Cloud Architect, and creator of the library, at J2 Innovations.  “This is the first library written in TypeScript that fully supports Haystack 4.”

“Haystack has always been about being an open, productive, and powerful development environment and we think this will inspire the community to innovate and build leading-edge software applications that will tap into the vast potential of the eco-system.  And the more interesting apps being created will mean the more powerful and pervasive Haystack will become in our lives.”

John Petze, Executive Director of said: “This substantial addition to the library of Haystack tools and software applications demonstrates the continued efforts of the community to advance and streamline the use of smart device data. J2 Innovations has been part of the Haystack journey since the founding of the effort in 2011. We are excited to see this major contribution!”

The Haystack Core libraries provide a suite of powerful APIs that make it easy for working with Haystack data. This includes an implementation of the Haystack data model, filter compilation, unit database, Zinc, Trio and JSON support, client network support with automatic watch management and specialised Haystack React hooks.

The open-source code can be downloaded from GitHub, the largest and most advanced development platform in the world:

Jason Briggs, CTO, J2 Innovations, and Gareth Johnson, Senior Cloud Architect, J2 Innovations will unveil and deliver a presentation on Haystack Core at Haystack Connect 2021 on May 4 2021 at 14:00 EST. Gareth will also deliver a session on the new Haystack JSON encoding (a.k.a Hayson) just after on 4 May at 14:30 EST.  The presentation will cover utilisation with JSON and OpenAPI schema to create robust Haystack-enabled REST APIs and more.

Haystack Connect 2021 is organised and produced by the Project Haystack Organisation—an open-source community of people and companies who share the vision that a connected, collaborative community can move the industry forward in ways that no single supplier can.  The event builds on the inspiration and mission of the community to address the challenges of making smart device data work seamlessly across applications of all types through the adoption of a standard approach to semantic modelling of equipment systems and their data.

Electrocomponents partners with The Washing Machine Project to improve the lives of 100,000 people worldwide

Electrocomponents has chosen The Washing Machine Project Foundation as its first global charity partner, pledging to support the project for three years. Support will extend to encouraging the Group’s employees, customers and suppliers to contribute through fundraising and volunteering activities.

The Washing Machine Project was set up in 2018 by British engineer Nav Sawhney following a sabbatical in South India, where he witnessed women and children enduring many backbreaking hours washing clothes by hand. He discovered that 70% of the world’s population do not have access to an electric washing machine and for many washing clothes in rivers, lakes and buckets is the only solution. Handwashing clothes is recognised as being a major barrier to education for low-income and displaced people around the world. This repetitive, demanding task, which can take upwards of 20 hours per week, often also leads to chronic back and joint pain.

This experience led Nav to develop a prototype for an affordable off-grid manual crank washing machine, the Divya. It is the only machine of its kind to be developed for humanitarian purposes and requires no electricity to operate. It uses a flywheel mechanism with drum-in-drum technology and combines washing and spin-dry functionality. Designed to be made from reusable off-the-shelf components and easily maintainable, it can be operated and fixed anywhere, by anyone. Using the Divya reduces the time spent handwashing clothes by 75% and requires 50% less water. It can handle loads up to 5 kg, despite weighing just 12 kg.

Nav and his team at The Washing Machine Project are working to further improve the design and to broaden its humanitarian, sustainable and educational impact. With multiple modes of activation, such as push, pull and foot, the Divya Two will be easier to use by people with disabilities. It has also been modified to be used while seated, to reduce muscle and joint strain and promote better posture.

Following trials last year, 50 Divyas are now in use in the Jeddah 5 refugee camp in Mosul, Federal Iraq. By 2023, the plan is to have at least 7,500 machines available to disadvantaged families and communities in 10 countries, providing relief to around 100,000 people.

To continue its work the project requires essential funding. The three-year partnership with Electrocomponents will enable the charity to alleviate the burden of washing clothes for thousands of hard-hit families and communities. With an innovative engineering solution at its heart, the mission of The Washing Machine Project resonated with Electrocomponents’ own, as both organisations share the ambition of creating a more sustainable world.

“Electrocomponents’ support will provide critical funding and components to develop our future machine and build the capacity of our organisation so that we can reach many more people in need,” commented Nav Sawhney, Founder, The Washing Machine Project.

“At Electrocomponents we are committed to inspiring a more sustainable world through education and innovative solutions that improve lives,” said Lindsley Ruth, Electrocomponents CEO. “That’s why we’ve chosen the Washing Machine Project Foundation as our first global charity partner and will mobilise our people, customers and suppliers in support of this fantastic cause.”

Support The Washing Machine Project by making a donation at

Senseye forms new steering group

Senseye, the Machine Health Management company, has launched a product steering committee with expert input from a wide range of blue-chip clients. This select group of senior operational managers has come together to improve the art of maintenance, share best practice, and contribute to the longer term roadmap and vision of Senseye.

The first meeting in March this year included among others representatives from Alcoa, one of the world’s largest producer of aluminium, Smurfit Kappa, Europe’s leading corrugated packaging company and Schneider Electric. It was led by Robert Russell, CTO and co-founder of Senseye, who was recently named as one of the 100 People in Maintenance that you should follow by CMMS experts UpKeep.

“The Senseye User Group is a great opportunity to discuss the future roadmap, challenges and innovations around deploying a Predictive Maintenance solution,” said Steve Parr, Engineering Director at Smurfit Kappa. “We are hoping the skills, knowledge and experience of so many key stakeholders from a diverse base of manufacturing companies can bring new insights and perspectives.

“It’s providing a good opportunity to question current practices, seek new ideas and overcome barriers to success that otherwise may challenge the effective deployment of maintenance improvement solutions. We are really looking forward to being part of the user group and working with all the other members in shaping the future of Senseye support.”

The meetings will be held three times a year and will focus on a different topic each time. Under the heading From Factory to Senseye, the topic of this discussion was how to get the right data from the shop floor to the cloud. It featured Victor Voulgaropoulos from research and advisory firm Verdantix as a guest presenter.

Low-cost sensor technology, the use of smart sensors, edge and local processing, communications between factory and/or site to the Cloud, as well as the eternal question of cost and ROI were just some of the main conversation topics.

“Our group confirmed that the cost of acquiring data from the shop floor is a key barrier to the expansion of industry 4.0 at the moment”, said Robert Russell. “The maturing of low-cost wireless sensor technology will help accelerate the adoption of PdM and ease the way for further digitalisation.”

Simon Kampa, CEO of Senseye said: “Most companies say they listen to their customers. At Senseye we wanted to take this a step further and get experts to come together as a network and community to openly exchange ideas and discuss maintenance problems. Our aim is to break out of the knowledge silos and share information on best practice across different industries and with organisations at different levels of maturity.

“The ongoing discussions in the community will directly inform our product roadmap. They will help to prioritise and fine tune product development in the long term. The views and problems of the group are a very good indicator for the needs of the wider industry.”

Topics for future discussion in the steering group will include spares optimisation, lifecycle management, servitization, root cause analysis, process simulations, and new business models like pay-per-use.

Renesas and SiFive to develop next-generation high-end RISC-V solutions for automotive applications

Renesas and SiFive have announced a strategic partnership to jointly develop next-generation, high-end RISC-V solutions for automotive applications. The partnership will also include SiFive licensing the use of their RISC-V core IP portfolio to Renesas.

“RISC-V is an important element in providing additional capabilities and options for new and existing customers,” said Takeshi Kataoka, Senior Vice President, General Manager of Automotive Solution Business Unit at Renesas. “We are very excited to work with SiFive as their lead partner to develop next-generation semiconductor solutions through the collaboration of our accumulated expertise in the automotive field, and SiFive’s high-end RISC-V technologies.”

“We are excited to collaborate with Renesas to develop next-generation automotive solutions powered by the SiFive Intelligence platform,” said Patrick Little, Chairman and CEO, SiFive. “Our roadmap of advanced, high-performance RISC-V processor cores and AI accelerators will deliver significant core performance increases with the capabilities needed to meet Automotive application requirements, along with enhanced AI capabilities to power scalable, workload-accelerated solutions.”

Renesas provides automotive solutions including ADAS, Autonomous Driving (AD), Electric Vehicles (EV), and Connected Gateway (CoGW) to customers all over the world by utilising its diverse portfolio of industry-leading microcontrollers (MCUs) and system-on-chips (SoCs), as well as analog and power products.  With a safe, comfortable, and environmentally-conscious society of future mobility in mind, Renesas is exploring the use of next-generation, high-performance RISC-V cores optimised for automotive applications to expand high-end SoC and MCU development capabilities to continue providing innovative and trusted automotive solutions to customers worldwide.

The SiFive Intelligence platform, based on SiFive RISC-V Vector processors with AI ISA extensions, features a differentiated software toolchain to enable the development of scalable solutions for AI and ML applications. SiFive RISC-V processors are pre-integrated with advanced trace, debug, and security solutions compatible with industry tools to simplify heterogeneous integration and migration. The SiFive RISC-V portfolio is silicon-proven and available in leading and advanced manufacturing foundries, offering flexibility for customers and partners.

Farnell shares exclusive discounts and bundle deals for customers this spring

Farnell is offering exclusive discounts to customers across Europe on a range of products from well-known brands including Tektronix, Omega, Omron, Rohde & Schwarz, Keysight, AMETEK and many more. Customers purchasing product bundles can also receive up to 50% off until 30 April 2021. The products included in the exclusive promotion will include components from Farnell’s passive, electromechanical, connector, development board, test, tool and production supply ranges, including:

  • VIRALERT 3 Human Body Temperature Screening System from AMETEK Land: This system uses thermal and visual cameras to provide temperature measurement and facial recognition whilst socially distanced. VIRALERT 3 scans a subject in approximately two seconds to enable seamless monitoring at a facility entrance, minimising delays and queues. This screening system from AMETEK Land is now available to Farnell customers with up to 25% off.
  • Advanced Power Applications Saver Bundle from Tektronix: This bundle of market leading test equipment from Tektronix is available exclusively to Farnell customers and includes an MDO34 Oscilloscope, Probes, 2231A-30-3 Power Supply, DMM6500 Digital Multimeter and KickStart Software. The Advanced Power Applications bundle represents a 20% saving compared to purchasing the products individually.
  • PM5000 Series Power Meters from Schneider Electric: A popular product from the PowerLogic range offering power quality analysis up to the 15th harmonic and flush-mounting. Farnell customers can purchase power meters in the PM5000 range with an exclusive 10% discount.
  • Solder Wire from Multicomp Pro: Specially formulated to complement no clean wave and reflow soldering processes, Multicomp Pro’s lead-free 1.2mm diameter soldering wire is available exclusively from Farnell with a limited time 30% discount.

For more information and the full range of discounts available, visit Farnell’s spring offers page here.

Analog Devices and MDA collaborate to provide electronic beam forming technology for the Telesat Lightspeed Constellation

Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) has announced a collaboration with MDA to deliver the beam forming integrated circuit (BFIC) to be used in MDA’s sophisticated phased array antenna for the Telesat Lightspeed low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. Telesat Lightspeed, initially comprised of 298 next-generation satellites, is planned to launch in the second half of 2023 and will redefine global broadband connectivity for commercial, government and defence markets.

LEO satellites, rather than operating from a fixed position, move across the sky and must dynamically steer communication beams to maintain uninterrupted and high-speed connectivity to ground terminals. The new BFIC solution is highly reliable while performing under extreme temperatures and cosmic radiation for the full 10- to 12-year lifespan of each satellite.

“Electronically steered array technology is a necessity for the builders and operators of the next generation of LEO constellations. This technology provides MDA and Telesat with the ability to simultaneously steer multiple beams and allows beams to be rapidly repositioned at speeds that are not possible with mechanical systems.” said Bryan Goldstein, Vice President of Aerospace and Defence at Analog Devices. “We are excited to collaborate with MDA to support the Telesat Lightspeed constellation.”

“The collaboration with ADI has enabled MDA to develop the critical solutions required to perform electronic beam steering on the Telesat Lightspeed antennas,” said Amer Khouri, Vice President of Satellite Systems, MDA. “We look forward to continuing this journey together and producing the large quantity of antennas required for this groundbreaking program.”

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.