The trend towards cloud-based industrial software-as-a-service (SaaS) continues with Honeywell’s enhancements to its Honeywell Forge software, including the release of Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse.
David Trice, chief product officer of Honeywell Connected Enterprise, says Honeywell began focusing on true SaaS, not legacy containerized solutions, in 2018. He explains Honeywell’s move to SaaS as a response to every manufacturing, processing and warehouse facility that comes built “like a snowflake” to meet specific needs and demands. The unique requirements of these facilities create complexity for executing operations at the executive level and with the operating technology (OT) systems used to run the facility, which are largely still deployed as on-premise deployments. Honeywell Forge virtualizes OT systems in the cloud to reduce cost of ownership and increase the speed of operations [through a focus] on people and industry use cases. Today there is a huge need to solve specific operational problems, and this is what we are focusing on first. “
According to Honeywell, the recently launched Forge Connected Warehouse software “provides organizations with two modules that provide real-time visibility into warehouse site operations and advanced analytics to reduce unplanned downtime, address recurring challenges and automate legacy processes. . The Site Operations module presents a dashboard that indicates how sites perform against the plan and helps managers identify repetitive bottlenecks and proactively address issues that can impact performance. The interface, optimized for tablets, enables business benchmarking, monitors areas such as picking and shipping, and provides recommendations for meeting daily goals. Users can use the Honeywell Forge Connect edge solution to connect devices and integrate with standard warehouse systems. “
“We are attacking the on-premise systems approach,” says Trice, “by building everything on an extensible model. Forge Connect dialogues with resources to make changes to setpoints and prepare data [from those assets] for delivery to the Honeywell Forge cloud. It emphasizes the importance of normalizing asset data at the edge prior to delivery to the cloud as a key aspect of Honeywell’s Forge Connect technology.
Asset data is collected by Forge Connect via OPC UA, MQTT, API (Application Programming Interfaces) and Modbus connections with plant devices, as well as IT interfaces for ERP systems.
Honeywell’s Asset Performance Management (APM) technology was also highlighted in a preview of the Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse at Honeywell Connected Enterprise headquarters in Atlanta. The APM for Warehouse module enables maintenance teams to collaborate on equipment issues affecting performance with repair recommendations. Operations and maintenance managers can use rule-based analysis and asset modeling to identify and analyze trends.
APM’s Operations Manager dashboards can be configured to highlight metrics such as order quote KPIs (key performance indicators), the percentage of tasks completed and the locations of issues in picking and shipping, and what needs to be done to address them problems to achieve specific goals.
The Maintenance Manager dashboard in the APM for Warehouse module shown in the preview focused on OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and divided this metric into its constituent parts: availability, performance, and quality. The dashboard also highlighted a summary status of the asset and how these factors can be sorted into a risk matrix based on the severity of the error and the criticality of the asset. This dashboard can also be configured to aggregate frequent errors and highlight key KPIs.
Trice says Honeywell Force Connected Warehouse software can save 20-30% of an operations manager’s time by simply not requiring them to collect data for upload to spreadsheets, a practice still common in warehouse operations today. “Plus, everyone sees the same information,” she adds.
Other technological improvements highlighted by Honeywell include:
- UniSim design now provides a common simulation platform for upstream oil and gas, downstream processing and sustainability. Contains new features for Green H modeling2CO2 capture, transport and storage.
- Honeywell Forge Inspection Rounds offers new capabilities for industrial customers that enable image and video capture while performing tasks and the creation of reusable checklists to promote standardization across an organization. Other additions include GPS-enabled worker proximity monitoring, advanced features to get insights from historical data trends, and better asset identification via NFC tagging.
- The new Cyber Care services complement Honeywell’s Process Control Network Strengthening (NCP) service. Following the completion of initial PCN security services to help industrial companies reduce their OT attack vectors, Cyber Care offers an option to purchase biennial Cyber Care onsite visits from consultants Honeywell to maintain the previously implemented network security benefits and identify additional PCN security settings to enhance security.