Automation driving growth in China
China is the world's largest producer of manufactured goods of all types. As a result, many companies, both Chinese and foreign, have invested heavily in the latest technology. Gone are the days of simple man-assisted assembly lines. China's automation industry is growing at tremendous speed. There is high demand for increasingly sophisticated systems in the manufacturing plants for ship and automobile production, construction and information systems, toys, chemicals, dairy products, household and clothing.
This event is of particular importance to us since we are in the first year of China’s twelfth five-year plan. One of the decisions the State Council has taken in the present five-year plan is to speed up the development and rollout of several new strategic industries in China. Standardized measurement and control technology are vitally important when it comes to putting into place and using advanced intelligent equipment.
President of ITEI
There is no lack of scope for intelligent mechanization, computerization and robotics, making the work of IEC TC 65: Industrial-process measurement control and automation, all the more relevant. It is this group that is responsible for producing the international industrial automation standards that control the continuous and batch processes of electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical and other systems of measurement and control, including the various related functional safety and security aspects of sensors, data flow and networks.
IEC TC 65 – a who's who of world automation
On 9-20 May 2011 TC 65 and its SCs (Subcommittees) held their annual meetings in Seoul, South Korea, attended by some 47 delegates from 14 NCs (National Committees). The list of members that make up the WGs (Working Groups) of this important IEC committee reads like a who's who of modern industry. All the key players from world automation send their experts to participate in the standardization process. They include ABB, BASF, Emerson, Honeywell, Hitachi, Kramer, Mitsubishi, Omron, Peppert-Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Process Data, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Toshiba, Yokogawa.
Chinese honoured by attendance of key experts
The opening speech pronounced by the President of ITEI, Jinsong Ouyang at the 10th ITEI forum, the Chinese event dedicated to industrial automation, gave a particular welcome to the IEC TC 65 members present. Jinsong explained how the forum itself had come about through the collaboration between ITEI and the IEC TC 65, who started their work together more a decade ago. "We are gathered here today for the opening of the 10th annual forum and it is our great honour that Roland Heidel, Chairman IEC TC 65, Christian Verney, Chairman SC 65E, together with the Secretary of TC 65 and SC 65C, Bernard Dumortier, and Secretary of SC 65B, David Vasko, together with many other international experts, are with us today.
Addressing the assembly of over three hundred experts from key manufacturers, system integrators, research institutes, as well as end-users, Jinsong gave an explanation of where industrial automation fits into the strategic plans of the People's Republic of China. "This event is of particular importance to us since we are in the first year of China’s twelfth five-year plan. One of the decisions the State Council has taken in the present five-year plan is to speed up the development and rollout of several new strategic industries in China. Standardized measurement and control technology are vitally important when it comes to putting into place and using advanced intelligent equipment", said the President of ITEI. "The forum represents an ideal opportunity for many more Chinese experts to obtain information about the new elements of IEC International Standards and how to implement them."
IEC TC 65 – a meeting place for automation industry stakeholders
Jinsong reminded attendees of the importance of the IEC TC in China. "TC 65 has become the meeting place for automation industry stakeholders because the main actors are present: process control, discrete manufacturing and batch control."
The forum, which with the help of an interpreter was held entirely in Chinese, was divided into four main topics:
- Device and Integration in Enterprise Systems
- Industrial Control Networks
- Measurement and Control Devices
- Energy Efficiency in Industrial Automation
Chinese contribute broadly to IEC TC 65 work
The forum was organized by ITEI and SAC/TC 124, the Chinese national technical mirror committee of IEC TC 65. Dumortier, who received the Lord Kelvin Award in 2010, gave the keynote speech when he emphasized how SAC (the Standardization Administration of China that holds the Secretariat of the Chinese IEC NC) participates in nearly all the working groups of IEC TC 65 with 52 Chinese experts sharing the 100 NC seats. It is SAC that organized the plenary meeting of 2002 in Beijing and the 2007 advisory group meeting in Xian.
TC 65 Chairman Heidel, who gave a presentation of the IEC committee, outlined the new structure in place for industrial product safety standards. He pointed out the work at present going on in control equipment, industrial standalone communication equipment and industrial RFID, vision and bar-code equipment and the 14 publications that are expected to be completed within the next two years.
Two publications worthy of mention are the recent wireless in automation publication, IEC 62591, Industrial communication networks - Wireless communication network and communication profiles - WirelessHART™, released at the end of April 2011. (see separate e-tech article), and another major publication close to finalization, IEC 62601, Industrial communication networks - Fieldbus specifications - WIA-PA communication network and communication profile.
Presently, work is also being carried out in liaison with SC 17B: Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear, of which Joseph Briant – also present at the forum in China – is the Secretary.
Referring to the IEC White Paper, Coping with the energy challenge, the IEC's role from 2010 to 2030, another major theme of his presentation centred on energy efficiency in a digital factory, particularly in view of the taxonomy, operation and engineering aspects where each automation asset contains at least one application function and one or more automation functions. The two other IEC TC 65 officers present, Verney and Vasko, gave technical presentations.
New work in preparation for automotive industry
Talking to e-tech, the Committee Secretary, Dumortier, underlined the importance of the new project work commenced by IEC SC 65E/WG (Working Group) 9, WG 9, AutomationML - Engineering Data Exchange Format. This group of experts is setting down new specifics for an engineering data exchange format for different engineering tools. One such example is that of data exchange between CAE (computer-aided engineering)-tools and PLC (power line communication)-programming tools.
CAE covers the broad scope of computer software that is used in engineering for CAD (computer-aided design), CAA (computer-aided analysis), CIM (computer-integrated manufacturing), CAM (computer-aided manufacturing), MRP (material requirements planning) and CAP (computer-aided planning). CAE systems are used to simulate, validate and optimize a variety of products and manufacturing tools with an aim to help support design teams in decision making.
Return of automobile experts to committee
This new project under the guidance of its Chairman, Verney, and Björn Grimm of Daimler, the Convenor, is particularly important to TC 65 since CAE tools are widely used in the automotive industry to simulate and verify designs before production, thus helping reduce product development costs and time while improving safety, comfort and durability of the vehicles produced. It marks the return of automobile experts to the committee and the start of new work in this highly promising sector.