Endress+Hauser certifies its industrial cloud as industrial digitalisation steams ahead

5th February 2021 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

Industrial instrumentation and automation multinational Endress+Hauser reported its latest industrial technology developments during a virtual briefing on February 4, and detailed new developments of its Netilion industrial cloud platform that enables customers to derive greater value from their networks of instruments and sensors.

The company underwent a cybersecurity audit conducted by European cloud innovation organisation EuroCloud to certify its compliance with International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 27001 information security standards to ensure that its Netilion cloud platform meets the highest standards of data protection.

"Connectivity enables devices and software to be kept up to date and manufacturers and service providers can deliver in-field capabilities faster. The digital transformation of industrial plants and sites is providing significant value to industrial sectors and is enabling greater optimisation and control over costs and processes," said Endress+Hauser digital solutions MD Dr Rolf Birkhofer.

Digitalisation and automation of industrial functions, instruments and condition monitoring, as well as greater availability of real-time data, are core to providing value, but none of the connected systems can negatively impact on safety, security or control, which is why Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems must adhere to the highest standards of cybersecurity and data security.

"The implications of the growing digitalisation of industry for us were significant, and we had to ensure we secured the advantages that it presented. Since the mid-2000s, we have stored all data from instruments, which is an asset for us. We have used this to provide value to customers for many years, and we are training our latest condition monitoring algorithms using this wealth of data and data from our Netilion platform, which has been online since 2018."

The Netilion platform can integrate any instruments and sensors, including from other manufacturers. Endress+Hauser uses a second separate one-way channel to pass instrument and sensor data through a firewall to the cloud. This eliminates any possible interference or impact on control, while this data is then deployed across various applications (apps) to support operations.

This adaptor to integrate sensors was designed according to the German User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries guidelines for safety instrument systems and architecture standards, said Endress+Hauser Germany business development manager Steffen Ochsenreither.

The idea is to make data on these devices available, but not to make the master or control system vulnerable. The adaptor can integrate any existing devices and the data can be used immediately to gain more information from their installed base.

Further, the wealth of real-time data is analysed and enables new functions and capabilities. An IIoT platform also supports greater automation by allowing the integration of any sensors to monitor equipment health or inputs, such as fluid-level sensors to ensure timely replenishment. Netilion processes and provides the data to users in a secure and easy-to-use manner, allowing them to do more with the data on hand, he said.

Meanwhile, Birkhofer noted that Endress+Hauser's experience of developing software over the past 12 months, specifically the changes made to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic, would become part of new standard processes, and the company aims to create an agile and attractive environment for software engineers.

"As a manufacturer, we have to ensure we can meet the state of the art, including adhering to the most rigorous standards to meet the changing needs of industry."