Krohne GmbH & Co. KG (Duisburg, Germany; www.krohne.com) and Samson AG (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; www.samson.de) introduced the joint venture (JV) Focus-On (Dordrecht, the Netherlands; www.focus-on-process.com) at a press conference on September 19 in Frankfurt. Focus-On is a newly founded company dedicated to the development, production and marketing of autonomous actuators for the process industry 4.0. Coinciding with the announcement of the partnership, the company also unveiled an innovation that unites valve and measuring technology with unique diagnostics and control functions in one device. This combination of process instrumentation and control marks the world’s first intelligent process node specifically developed for the process industries, say the partners.
Krohne and Samson have equal shares in Focus-On, which is registered in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. The basis for Focus-On is the cooperation between the two companies, which have been working together in various marketing projects and events worldwide for over 25 years. The expansion into a strategic partnership in process instrumentation and the establishment of a JV was initiated by Samson CEO Andreas Widl, and Krohne CEO Stephan Neuburger. “In the age of digitization, leading innovations can only be achieved in cooperations,” says Widl with conviction, “and here, two partners cooperate with full trust and at eye level”. “We brought our ideas together and from this Focus-On emerged, which bundles our innovative approaches to decentralized control and predictive maintenance resulting in the intelligent process node as the first product,” adds Neuburger.
The technological motivation for the development of the module is explained by Dr. Thomas Steckenreiter, CTO Samson: “With Focus-On, we are taking a decisive step towards the autonomous factory that can produce autonomous while also autonomously optimizing.” His CTO counterpart at Krohne, Dr. Attila Bilgic adds, “Developing the adaptive control function was only a first step, more important is the integration of diagnostic functions and artificial intelligence. Our autonomous actuator knows its current status, can predict future conditions, and it is capable of learning and can adapt to applications.”
The intelligent process node (photo) combines three functions: sensor, actuator and control. The module measures the flow in a pipeline and regulates its valve function independently to achieve the specified set points. “We are sure that this product significantly reduces plant complexity. Other key benefits include better and more efficient control of resources and the ability to optimize a process through extensive diagnostics. Plant availability can be significantly increased “summarizes Neuburger. Due to the integrated measuring sensors for flow, temperature and pressure, the device can for example recognize and predict cavitation. Increased stress and the wear of the valve and the piping can be avoided or significantly reduced. Thus, plants can be operated uninterrupted and without standstill for longer periods.
Sales of the intelligent process node are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020.