System Integration & Control Systems Design


Scada user conference promises to be the best yet

February 2002 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Futuristix-Wonderware's 10th X-CHANGE User Conference, to be held at Sun City from 10-13 March 2002, promises to be the most successful yet. The conference, which, as last year, is co-sponsored by Microsoft SA, has become one of the most significant events on the calendars of manufacturing industry professionals and system integrators involved with scada, supply chain management, maintenance and all aspects of industrial automation.

The conference will play host to 10 international speakers and will allow delegates a choice of over 50 workshops and 30 exhibitor stands to review. Presentation will come from world-leading end-user and SI installations as well as technical and strategic review of current automation technologies providing solutions to today's sophisticated manufacturing and production environments. 'While the number of offerings multiply to address more and more complexity and the need for added functionality,' says Futuristix MD Mike le Plastrier, 'their integration and deployment is becoming easier as solution suppliers comply to universal standards such as the S95 standard for integrating production systems to the wide variety of ERP systems.'

Of particular importance will be the launch of Wonderware's FactorySuite Enterprise. This expanded offering from Wonderware is built on Archestra, a powerful new framework and application model. ArchestrA, named as a combination of the words architecture and orchestra, is a new operating framework consisting of a common set of infrastructure services rather than an off-the-shelf product. ArchestrA consists of the primary functional services that are needed to build any product for an industrial automation application. It is intended to isolate users from the complexities of the underlying technologies so that they only need assembly or configuration skills rather than sophisticated programming skills for the development of automation applications. "Users can now focus on satisfying their industry's domain requirements, with which they are already familiar," says le Plastrier. "By using our plant-centric, Component Architecture Model for their system design, they can also now re-use engineering components from project to project, often re-using as much as 70% of the engineering developed for previous projects in their new projects."

Another important milestone will be the release of Version 8.0 of Wonderware's world-leading realtime database, IndustrialSQL Server. InSQL 8.0 is the most significant architectural and functional release to date and its introduction will address such topics as store and forward, built-in time synchronisation, UDT and internationalisation, performance monitoring tags, integrated security, manual data entry and much more.

In addition to the enhancements to the traditional Wonderware range of offerings such as FactorySuite and its many components, Futuristix is expanding its offering of solutions to South African system integrators and end-users with two highly significant products which will be presented at the workshops; MASS AutoSave from MDT Software and ProDef.

MASS AutoSave is a realtime interactive Change Management, Programmable Device Support (PDS) software system that provides full documentation, audit trails, security, uploads, downloads, comparisons, and archiving. It uses a Windows environment and is fully-integrated with programme-panel software. MASS AutoSave unites the plant's automation software under one common user interface that creates a centralised, documented, well-defined, more productive and secure automation programme environment.

MASS AutoSave supports virtually all brands and types of PLCs, robots, HMIs, and any other intelligent device including Rockwell/Allen-Bradley, Modicon, Siemens, Square D and GE Fanuc. In addition, MASS AutoSave also supports virtually every brand of programming software.

ProDef is an application that provides a common development environment for the design, programming and documentation of control systems. ProDef allows process engineers and programmers to rapidly develop industrial applications that integrate their existing or new control system resources. ProDef is used to write functional specifications and control code as well as to configure HMIs such as Wonderware's InTouch and PLCs. ProDef is also used to integrate with batch controllers (eg Wonderware's InBatch) and to document projects with HTML using XML and XSL style sheets.

"ProDef is a significant leap forward in the rapid and error-free generation of control system applications," says le Plastrier. "It not only provides for the capturing of the intellectual property of process experts but also reduces coding and coding errors to the minimum while automatically generating project documentation which becomes an integral part of the control application. ProDef also allows for the generation and verification of code independent of any specific controller. Only once the project is completed is the code compiled for any selected PLC."

Microsoft will show how the industrial user can benefit from new technologies such as MS WINDOWS XP and .NET SERVERS as well as MS SHAREPOINT, which, with the increasing web-enablement of manufacturing solutions, allow users to design information portals that best suit their needs. Various scenarios of portal server deployment within a manufacturing plant will be covered including an ASP model, a global hosting model, as well as a portal server within a plant infrastructure. Other topics of note include MS SQL Server 2000, ISNMP (Industrial SNMP) as well as MICROSOFT.NET and BIZTALK and how the latter apply to the manufacturing industry in the role of application integrators.

"Much emphasis will be placed on maintenance," continues le Plastrier. "Today, tools such as Avantis and Down Time Analyst are giving production managers the edge they need to make significant cost reductions through the early detection and historical tracking of the cause of plant stoppages and machine breakdowns. Tracing the cause and managing the effect is fundamental to all preventative management strategies. In short, X-CHANGE 2002 will provide delegates with a range of solutions that show how to build an effective and efficient delivery chain in the first place and how to maintain that chain's profitability in spite of market changes."

Michelle Giammartini

Just Conferences

(011) 723 9900

Mike le Plastrier, Futuristix

011 723 9900




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