Why do we need the MIMOSA standard?

In today’s manufacturing software marketplace, there are numerous vendors involved in predictive maintenance (condition monitoring & predictive asset health assessment). This is a true example of a fragmented market, where no clear leader exists with dominant market share. The same situation exists to a lesser degree on the maintenance side; while there are a handful of large vendors, none have dominant market share of the EAM market, estimated at $2.1B.

The end result is that predictive maintenance vendors have rolled some custom interfaces to one or more EAM systems, and a few formal alliances exist. When a customer looks to purchase a predictive maintenance (PdM) product, they have to check to see if the vendor supports their EAM system. Furthermore, they now face the risk that if they upgrade their EAM system the interface could break, and their upgrade options are now limited by the PdM vendor. This is the classic risk of proprietary, point to point integration solutions. his is the pain that open standards help solve.

The MIMOSA protocol standardizes the interface between plant floor systems (including PdM) and EAM systems. The MIMOSA standard is complementary to OPC, which handles the real-time communication aspect of interfacing with plant devices. There is an umbrella organization called OpenO&M, which is collaboration between MIMOSA, the OPC Foundation, and the ISA SP95 committee.

OPC Comparison

A good way to understand what is happening with MIMOSA today is to look at the analogous evolution of the OPC standard in recent history. A decade ago, operations personnel had a problem – they had heterogeneous plant floor equipment, including Distributed Control Systems (DCS), PLCs, motors, valves, and so on down the chain. With so many different device vendors, manufacturers had to worry about which vendors were supported for their HMI consoles, what low-level protocols could be used to bridge the gap. Along came the OPC standard (building on prior successes of the bus standards), which enforced a standardized communications protocol into plant floor devices.

Part of the reason the OPC standard achieved mainstream adoption is 3rd party vendors stepped in and created bridge products to make devices compliant. With these bridges, customers didn’t have to wait around for Allen Bradley PLCs to become compliant; they could by the OPC adapter for that device. The same thing is now happening with EAM systems. While some EAM vendors have dragged their feet, 3rd party vendors have stepped in and built MIMOSA-compliant bridges.

MIMOSA Messaging Protocol

One important step in the evolution of MIMOSA was in its progression from a storage-focused protocol to a messaging-focused protocol. The original version of MIMOSA was based on a data model called CRIS, or Common Relational Information Schema. This was a data model, which included database scripts for SQL Server and Oracle implementations. XSD schemas were created that mapped to the CRIS schemas, but many vendors focused on the storage aspect of the protocol.

Comparing the protocol to OPC, it became clear that there was a need for a messaging protocol to standardize the interface between plant floor systems and EAM systems. OPC standardized the interface to plant floor devices for real-time data retrieval. What was needed for EAM systems was a messaging protocol that could do the same, for use cases like automatic work order creation, uploading meters and measurement points, retrieving asset information, and auditing status of generated work and work history. Since each EAM vendor had their own database implementation, the interest was primarily in the messaging layer, rather than an additional storage layer. The Tech-Xml XSDs and Tech-Xml-Services web services specifications shifted the focus to the messaging layer for integration.

The good news about today’s solutions is that they can leverage Tech-Xml-based web service communication for tying into EAM systems, but also leverage the CRIS database for standardized reporting capabilities. As more vendors build reliability analysis and reporting tools on top of CRIS, they don’t all have to worry about plumbing to connect to each proprietary EAM database for reporting.

How many Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems are compliant today?

Almost all of the major EAM systems on the market today, including SAP, Maximo, Datastream, and Indus, have MIMOSA-based adapters available (in several cases the adapters are from partner companies). These adapters make the EAM systems MIMOSA compliant, so that predictive maintenance and asset health vendors can focus on their value-add, reducing unplanned downtime and eliminating wasted maintenance, rather than having to focus on plumbing to all the EAM systems. This also benefits the customer, who is shielded from upgrade and migration risk for EAM integration. The customer also benefits from lower cost integration.

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