Tag Archives: IBM

ABB and IBM collaborate on industrial cybersecurity solution

ABB and IBM have announced a collaboration focused on connecting cybersecurity and operational technology (OT) for industrial operations.

As a first result of this collaboration, ABB has developed a new OT Security Event Monitoring Service that combines ABB’s process control system domain expertise with IBM’s security event monitoring portfolio to, ABB says, help improve security for industrial operators.

Industrial control system environments are increasingly targeted in cyberattacks, with IBM’s latest X-Force Threat Intelligence Index finding that attacks on industrial and manufacturing facilities have increased by over 2,000% since 2018.

To better connect OT data with the broader IT security ecosystem, ABB has developed a new offering that allows security events from ABB to be sent to IBM’s security information and event management platform, QRadar.

The ABB solution was designed according to a reference architecture jointly developed by ABB and IBM. It provides the domain knowledge needed to swiftly react to security incidents related to process control, and is especially suited for complex industrial processes in industries such as oil, gas, chemicals and mining, ABB says.

The new event collection and forwarding software, which enables this integration, is currently being used by early adopter customers and will be made broadly available by ABB in the coming months.

This collaboration marks the first time that operational technology (OT) data and process industry domain expertise is being brought directly into a Security Information and Event Monitoring system, allowing threats to be managed as part of an organisation’s broader cybersecurity operations and strategy, ABB says.

Robert Putman, Global Manager of Cyber Security Service for Industrial Automation at ABB, said: “ABB’s collaboration with IBM makes it possible to analyse process control events in the context of security and impact to the operational environment, delivering strong improvement in our OT cyber threat visibility across the board.”

ABB explained: “Disruption of production due to a cyberattack or technical glitches can be costly in terms of lost production and damage to physical assets. Most mature operational monitoring is focused on the performance of the asset, whether it be a gas turbine for electricity, a drive system used to crush ore, or simple monitoring of pollution output from a chemical facility.”

The new ABB offering allows ABB’s process control system data collection and forwarding technology to harvest event log details from ABB process control systems, and share that information with IBM Security QRadar, which uses automation and artificial intelligence to help identify security anomalies and potential threats.

Dr Andreas Kühmichel, CTO, Chemicals, Petroleum & Industrial Products, IBM, said: “We see the integration of these solutions as bringing market-leading capabilities together for a singular view of OT security. With more comprehensive OT and IT security visibility, clients can help reduce the risk of production being suddenly interrupted due to a security event, resulting in costly downtime and broader risk to the company.”

The ABB and IBM technologies involved in this solution are designed on open platforms allowing them to operate on the edge and deploy across hybrid cloud environments spanning on-premise, private or public clouds, ABB says. The joint solution is designed so that security processes operate via automation and do not disturb industrial workflows. The security analysis in QRadar operates through a use case library, which automatically flags incidents and triggers corresponding alarms.

The two companies plan continued collaboration in the realm of OT security to develop new capabilities and offerings that address customer challenges in this space.

MCE sets new underground mining rules with Event Automation platform

Mobilaris Mining & Civil Engineering (MCE) is putting the power back in mining engineers’ hands with its new Event Automation platform, according to Hans Wahlquist, VP Business Development & Strategic Product Management for Mobilaris MCE.

Having previously provided advanced software that optimises underground operations through its Mobilaris Mining Intelligence product family, the company is now going one step further with its new automation platform.

Wahlquist describes Mobilaris Event Automation as a tool to enable mine engineers to make full use of the information that comes from: location data of machines, equipment, materials and personnel; the status of work tasks in the shift plan; sensory data from various monitoring systems; machine data from a mixed fleet; and much more.

IM put some questions to Wahlquist to find out more.

IM: In a recently published piece, you mentioned your new solution will “unlock the next level of control room capabilities in its innovative Mobilaris Event Automation platform”. Can you expand on this? What capabilities are being addressed with this update? Why are you addressing these now?

HW: For a long time, Mobilaris has made underground mines transparent with cutting-edge situational awareness, including 3D visualisation and technology-agnostic tracking using a large spectrum of positioning technologies from various vendors. With the new Event Automation platform, we take this further, allowing mining engineers to create advance automation features themselves.

Earlier on with the product development, we made mining personnel aware of vehicles, people, etc. Now, we allow them to create automatic actions based on rules involving the location of assets, the status of assets and sensors, etc.

This has, until now, pretty much only been possible with the help of quite costly integrations with external automation frameworks and using experts. Now, this can be done by the miners themselves in a cost-efficient way.

IM: Where will Mobilaris Event Automation provide the most value in underground mining? Will the value come in energy savings or mine site productivity?

HW: The possibilities are virtually endless. Energy saving functions like Ventilation on Demand (VoD) is, of course, a given example on functions that can be implemented using the Event Automation framework. Additionally, there are numerous productivity possibilities that are unveiled with the advent of Event Automation. One example is the opportunities to easily create valuable key performance indicators and tailored dashboards.

IM: How does the solution differ from, in ventilation applications, numerous VoD solutions already on the market? Is it the ability to tailor these actions that is the unique selling point?

HW: Traditional VoD solutions involve costly experts and costly integrations. As an underground mine is an ever-growing operation, these solutions need constant maintenance. With Event Automation, this can be made by mining engineers themselves which makes an Event Automation-based solution less costly, more tailored for the mine’s unique requirements, etc.

IM: Among the numerous systems Event Automation can integrate with, what is the most revolutionary for the mining sector?

HW: As Event Automation is based on the Node-Red framework from IBM with more than 2,500 existing integrations, the probability of the devices/sensors the mine already has already being integrated into Event Automation is high. Examples could be various gas sensors, smart rock bolts, etc.

Just imagine when you, as a mine engineer, can create an automation rule that involves the location of people or machines with the status of various sensors, which triggers actions such as sending a warning message or triggering an alarm.

IM: What mine site has Event Automation already been deployed at?

HW: Event Automation has so far been deployed in large mines in Canada.

ERG trials IBM Blockchain Platform to support Clean Cobalt Framework

Eurasian Resources Group says it will pilot a blockchain-based solution built on the IBM Blockchain Platform at its Metalkol RTR operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help enhance the provenance and traceability of cobalt in the metal’s supply chain.

Metalkol RTR is ERG’s hydrometallurgical plant in the DRC and has a target capacity of 24,000 t/y of cobalt.

ERG said: “While cobalt and other metals such as copper, nickel and lithium drive the global battery sector, their extraction may come at high cost for the surrounding ecosystem, including the use of child labour and pollution which is compounded by the current dearth of viable reuse and recycling systems. The blockchain-based solution helps to ensure that the material is traceable.”

The blockchain supports ERG’s Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR, a reprocessing plant for historic copper and cobalt tailings from previous mining operations, which is nearing operation, according to ERG.

Niels de Jongh, Executive Partner IBM Global Business Services, said: “ERG’s initiative to implement a blockchain solution to bring together stakeholders across the cobalt supply chain can help transform entire business processes in the mining industry and help bring new levels of trust. Leveraging IBM’s digital capabilities enables parties to develop the solution through an interactive approach with clear business focus.”

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance, said: “This blockchain-based solution will aim to enable manufacturers to confirm that the cobalt was sourced at Metalkol RTR by aggregating the necessary data and information on the raw material.”

Leveraging IBM’s blockchain platform and expertise, the platform will aim to determine the provenance of cobalt throughout the supply chain, from extraction to production, a process that is currently complex and costly. Using blockchain will allow individuals to track the origins of cobalt across the supply chain, including once it’s been to a smelter and blended, and reduce costs through efficient information sharing, tracking and transparency according to the highest standards.

Sobotka added: “As a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance, ERG aims to create new standards in the industry. We are therefore pleased to be piloting this innovative blockchain-based solution on the IBM platform. This way we can guarantee with certainty that the material that customers buy is not tainted by artisanally-produced material.”

Last week, MineHub Technologies and IBM announced a collaboration to use blockchain technology to help improve operational efficiencies, logistics and financing and reduce costs in the high-value mineral concentrates supply chain — from mine to end buyer. Goldcorp, ING Bank, Kutcho Copper, Ocean Partners and Wheaton Precious Metals are working with MineHub to build the new mining supply chain solution on top of the IBM Blockchain Platform.