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Krohne, Samson launch joint venture to develop autonomous actuators

Krohne and Samson have introduced a new joint venture company, known as FOCUS-ON, dedicated to the development, production and marketing of autonomous actuators for the process industry 4.0.

Together with the new partnership, the companies also unveiled a new innovation that unites valve and measuring technology with unique diagnostics and control functions in one device. It is reportedly the first intelligent process node in the world specifically developed for the process industries.

Krohne and Samson have equal shares in FOCUS-ON, which is registered in Dordrecht in the Netherlands. The strategic partnership and resulting joint venture company was initiated by Samson CEO Andreas Widl and Krohne CEO Stephan Neuburger.

"In the age of digitisation, leading innovations can only be achieved in cooperations and here, two partners cooperate with full trust and at eye level," said Widl.

"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," added Neuburger.

Thomas Steckenreiter, CTO at Samson, explained the technological motivation for the development of the module: With FOCUS-ON, we are taking a decisive step towards the autonomous factory that can produce autonomous while also autonomously optimising.”

“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," added Attila Bilgic, CTO at Krohne.

The intelligent process node combines three main functions: sensor, actuator and control. The module measures the flow in a pipeline and regulates its valve function independently, in order to achieve specified set points.

"We are sure that this product significantly reduces plant complexity,” continued Neuburger. “Other key benefits include better and more efficient control of resources and the ability to optimise a process through extensive diagnostics. Plant availability can be significantly increased.”

First sales of the nodes are expected for the first quarter of 2020.