Jane Ren, CEOIn a typical industrial environment such as a processing plant, a drilling rig, or a refinery, administrators usually have a very narrow time window for making accurate decisions. However, a typical IT solution deployed into these environments usually collects data, stores in databases, prepares the data, and then retrospectively applies models to analyze the data. The traditional IT approach, therefore, doesn’t meet the industrial IoT needs. On the other hand, technologies such as programmable logical controllers (PLCs) and the SCADA system lack the ability to integrate multifaceted data with existing systems or process complex modules for analytics. These devices don’t adapt to real-time variations in the industrial environments or business operations such as changing market prices. Because of these constraints, IoT solutions seldom deliver intended business outcomes. “This impedance mismatch between the physical and the virtual is what we are trying eliminate through our Atomiton Stack,” says Jane Ren, CEO of Atomiton. Atomiton Stack—also termed Digital Services Grid—provides the digital industrial services to bring intelligence to traditionally fixed controls. “Our digital service grid has been field-proven in many deployment scenarios involving smart cities, oil and gas, precision agriculture. On this grid, we not only digitalize industrial machines but the industrial processes as well,” says Jane.
In today’s heterogeneous industrial environments, most companies continue to operate with the same machines and equipment. This calls for software that has two inter-dependent functions. The software has to adapt to the different protocols in the industrial and enterprise space—ranging from low level sensors like I²C to digital sensors and PLC connections to high level IP-based connections like MQTT and HTTP. The other function is to mitigate the complexity in configuration while switching between protocols and vendors without affecting the structuring and processing of the data.
Jane substantiates that they have worked directly with PLCs, SCADA, ERPs, and integrated new sensors.Going beyond communications, there are three key aspects that the company brings to the table: digitization, optimization, and orchestration. Through digitization, the aim is to understand the relationship between the disparate data for intelligent analysis.
We not only digitalize industrial machines but the industrial processes as well
The company carries digitization in inline mode, as the processes are being carried out, rather than retrospectively. In addition, the digital service grid also conducts process optimization inline. In a dynamic world where parameters are constantly changing, the software has to continuously optimize the process by predicting the future scenarios and should have the ability to work iteratively. Through orchestration, AtomitonStack turns logical business decisions into physically executable messages for PLCs, actuators or other systems. By decoupling actions from unique APIs, process orchestration becomes scalable in real-time.
Besides, the company also provides IoT Simulator, used extensively in smart cities scenarios, for systems testing before large-scale deployment. In the processing industry environments where implementations are hard to predict, simulation plays key role in streamlining the operations.
In one instance, Atomiton has helped an international oil and gas company to overcome the energy consumption challenges. Atomiton worked with client’s existing PLCs, deploying the digital service grid at their site in Georgia, and getting the first stage of operations up and running in 8-10 weeks time. They expect a 20-25 percent reduction on peak energy usage and a 10 percent reduction on total energy use, all while providing complete visibility into the interactions between those devices and the company’s industrial assets.
In the future, the company looks to maximize the performance of their solution by deploying on edge-computing based infrastructure. Leveraging distributed intelligence, Atomiton looks forward to improve the outcomes in the industrial production arena through cutting edge IoT software.