SAMSON offers products and solutions to control the flow of all kinds of process media. When developing new products and services, the focus lies on new technologies as well as current and future trends. The DIGITAL LAB is part of ROLF SANDVOSS INNOVATION CENTER. As a center of competence for the digital transformation in process automation, we are here to get you ready for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 requirements. Our key activities are driven by input from the outside, demands placed on us by our customers, future developments and ideas generated by our staff.
Current field of activities
- Positioner communication with common process control systems and cloud-computing platforms
- Development of industry-specific asset management systems
- Integration of machine learning into our products
- Creation of digital twins for our control valves
- Participation in expert organizations and research projects
- Assessment of new technologies
- Cooperations with our customers' innovation teams
In our DIGITAL LAB Academy, we offer hands-on training courses, for example advanced positioner training. The focus in this course is on adjusting positioner parameters and configurations, positioner diagnostics and status monitoring as well as on servicing, replacing and starting up smart SAMSON field units. In addition, we offer basic training courses dealing with HART®, WirelessHART®, PROFIBUS PA, FOUNDATION™ fieldbus, PROFINET™ and EtherNet/IP™. Thanks to state-of-the-art Internet communication, these training courses can also be completed anywhere across the world.
To track special customer plant conditions, we build and operate near-plant laboratory facilities in our DIGITAL LAB. These facilities include not only SAMSON equipment but also relevant units by other manufacturers. This enables us to optimize our field units and find application-specific solutions based on customized system tests.
We pass on our expertise and experience in training courses tailored to your specific needs.
We subject all SAMSON devices to strict interoperability tests before they are placed on the market. This is how we ensure that our equipment is compatible with your system.
SAMSON equipment must interoperate smoothly with other third-party systems and devices. This is the only way to ensure that communication and data exchange between devices and systems function without any problems. Thanks to close cooperation with our R&D and valve testing departments, the DIGITAL LAB offers the right conditions for the seamless integration of our smart control valves into control, engineering and asset management systems. Device certification can be prepared as well. Comprehensive integration tests covering all common systems reveal weaknesses and help us prevent problems in real-life operation.
This also entails our ambition of keeping start-up and operation of our complex equipment as simple as possible. Near-real-life test installations help us optimize start-up, initialization and diagnostic functions as well as device replacement, alarm management and valve monitoring.
Web-based asset management systems are rooted in the ideas of the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. It is expected that data are available anywhere at any time.
In existing process plants, the automation structure is normally a closed system. All systems follow the principle of the automation pyramid. This means that information and data are passed on from field level to management level and vice versa in a hierarchical structure. As a result, the data generated on the field level are more or less incomplete when they reach the management level. Newer approaches try to break through this hierarchy. Whether they can be implemented is tested on digital SAMSON positioners installed in near-real-life installations in the SAMSON DIGITAL LAB. In addition, we are working on ways of implementation suitable for IIoT and Industry 4.0 environments. FDI, OPC UA and NAMUR Open Architecture are also promising technologies for transmitting the data collected in positioners to higher-level systems. In addition, APL (Advanced Physical Layer) is expected to enable Ethernet-based communication from field level to management level.
Example of current test installation
NOA distinguishes between the core automation and open interfaces for monitoring and optimization tasks. Core automation data are exported to the monitoring and optimization systems over interfaces, such as OPC UA. Additional sensors can be included as required without having to integrate them into the process control system. This reduces the time required for integration and lowers the requirements to be fulfilled by additional sensors.
In the SAMSON test setup, data from installed field units are read using WirelessHART® and forwarded over a SAM process gateway to the cloud-based SAM VALVE MANAGEMENT asset management platform. This is where the data are clearly visualized and analyzed.
The use of Ethernet communication down to field level is a vision that originates in new technological developments in IIoT and Industry 4.0 applications. APL makes it possible to transmit process data at high speeds – also in hazard-ous areas – based on standardized technologies regard-less of the communication protocol used. Existing two-wire networks are used for power supply and communication.
The APL project is supported by several large suppliers in the process industry including SAMSON. It is conducted in cooperation with leading organizations that develop stan-dards for industrial communication, such as FieldComm Group™, ODVA as well as PROFIBUS and PROFINET International (PI).
In the Digital Lab test setup, the positioners are connected using the prototype of an APL circuitry and an APL field switch. As IP-based protocols (such as PROFINET™, EtherNet/IP™ and HART-IP™) are used, it is possible to load operating instructions, certificates and integration files from the device web server. Communication is established over a 10BASE-T1L two-wire line following the new 10 Mbit/s Ethernet standard.
All devices used in industrial processes will soon be expected to have a web interface for operation. This brings cross-media interface design and intuitive human-machine interaction into focus.
In the DIGITAL LAB, SAMSON is driving design processes to create user interfaces that are geared towards user needs and expectations. Meeting customer requirements plays a key role in the design of products for our new digital SAM GUARD and SAM DIGITAL lines. With the large amounts of data saved in the systems, it is essential that the information required at a certain point in time is not only available but that users can also find and comprehend it. Users and customers help us optimize existing interfaces, improve good interactive features and discard bad ones.
To develop system solutions for IIoT and Industry 4.0 environments, SAMSON is currently working together with top innovators and technological leaders on a number of research projects. Here are some examples.
SAMSON is a partner in the TAKTILUS (tactile Internet for safe and time-critical applications in industrial and process automation) project. The 5G mobile technology offers simple, high-performance communication solutions suitable for easy retrofitting with low energy consumption and short network delay. With 5G, process industry companies can oper-ate their own local networks.
SAMSON cooperates closely with NAMUR and the Process Automation – Device Information Model (PA-DIM) initiative by FieldComm Group™ and the OPC Foundation®. The goal is to develop open, standardized data models for the use of NAMUR Open Architecture. The PA-DIM data model can be an essential part of a field device's description, which means that the device's digital twin can be based on it. PA-DIM is one of the modules used by Open Industry 4.0 Alliance.
SAMSON takes part in the Modular Automation in the Process Industry initiative by the NAMUR and ZVEI associations alongside other users and manufacturers. The focus lies on creating solutions based on MTPs (Modular Type Packages) to achieve shorter times-to-market, customized products and smaller batches, particularly for fine chemical, biotech and pharmaceutical applications.
SAMSON is a member of the Open Process Automation™ Forum, contributing to the process control architecture of the future. This architecture foregoes the classic automation pyramid and forms the basis for the use of state-of-the-art technologies.
SAMSON cooperates with InfraServ Wiesbaden to advance IIoT and Industry 4.0 solutions for medium-sized companies. The key goal of the cooperation is to jointly advance an IIoT platform that digitally supports the optimization of processes and plant control in medium-sized industrial companies inside and outside the industrial park operated by InfraServ in the Rhine-Main metropolitan area.