When a company has been in business for a century, it is likely built upon a culture that is willing to adapt to meet changing business needs. That’s exactly how 100-year-old Yokogawa Electric Corp., has operated over the decades—and continues to. The latest strategic shift positions the industrial automation and control system vendor as a cloud-based service provider supporting the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Last month, Yokogawa announced it acquired Industrial Evolution, which offers real-time Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) technology that can conduct analytics, simulation and workflow in a private cloud. This month, on the heels of that announcement, Yokogawa Venture Group unveiled a new business unit called Industrial Knowledge, which will leverage the Industrial Evolution technology to provide remote monitoring and support services, including start-up assistance, warranty obligation fulfillment, and plant performance guidance for process industries.
The data sharing services that Industrial Knowledge have are based on a secure cloud that takes raw data from a system or a device and stores it in OSIsoft’s PI, an industrial-strength enterprise infrastructure that manages real-time data and events from the control system network.
“The idea is to collect raw data and send it out as actionable data to users, who can be inside of a company, [or it can be] used for collaborative purposes with a user who is external to the plant [and] providing data,” said Simon Wright, CEO of Industrial Knowledge, during a press conference at the ARC Industry Forum in Orlando this month. “Also a user can be a machine or another system.”
For example, an existing customer, KBR, a large engineering contractor and licensor of ammonia technology, needed to provide ongoing support and services to globally distributed licensees who were starting up plants with little experience operating ammonia plants. For KBR to help, they needed to reach into the historian of the distributed control system (DCS) to pull real time data out in order to interact with a simulation application so that KBR engineers could provide analysis and recommendations for improving the plant. The Industrial Knowledge technology is scalable, with no additional IT support burdening KBR, which was a primary reason it was chosen, in addition to the technology being cost effective, secure and reliable, Wright said. And “our DaaS solution is already IIoT ready,” he added.
The Industrial Evolution acquisition is the first—but likely not the last— move Yokogawa will make to build out its cloud and IIoT service offerings. “We will continue to invest in R&D,” said Satoru Kurosu, Yokogawa's director and executive vice president of the Solutions Service Business.
And, while the new business unit is focused on the oil and gas, chemicals and solar industries, Yokogawa executives have said they will expand technology offerings into life sciences, healthcare and food and beverage industries.