Over 300 SA manufacturing and industrial automation professionals and overseas speakers attended Futuristix-Wonderware’s 10th User Conference at Sun City from 10 to 13 March 2002. The conference played host to 10 international speakers and allowed delegates a choice of over 50 workshops and 30 exhibitor stands to review.
The product highlight from Wonderware is the upcoming launch of Wonderware's FactorySuite Enterprise. This expanded offering from Wonderware is built on ArchestrA, a powerful new framework and application model. ArchestrA 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 Mike le Plastrier, MD Futuristix-Wonderware. '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."
A most important milestone was 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 addresses such topics as store and forward, built-in time synchronisation, UDT (universal date and time) and internationalisation, performance monitoring tags, integrated security, manual data entry and much more.
Other presentations addressed quality management issues using Wonderware's QI Analyst while maintenance and productivity issues were also addressed with the use of Avantis and Downtime Analyst respectively.
As in 2001, Microsoft SA co-hosted the conference and showed how new offerings from Microsoft addressed supply chain issues within the manufacturing industry. Microsoft also showed how industrial users can benefit from technologies such as MS Windows XP and .NET SERVERS as well as MS SHAREPOINT, which, with the increasing web functionality of manufacturing solutions, allows users to design information portals that best suit their needs. Various scenarios of portal server deployment within a manufacturing plant were also covered including an ASP model, a global hosting model, as well as a portal server within a plant infrastructure. Other topics of note included MS SQL Server 2000 as well as Microsoft .NET and BizTalk and how the latter apply to integrating sets of applications in the manufacturing industry.
Moore Controls showed how Enterprise Link helps connect plant floor databases to ERP solutions to support decisions at all levels of the manufacturing enterprise.
Two new products in the Futuristix stable were also introduced, Prodef from Neumaflo and MASS AutoSave from MDT Software. Scott Clark of Neumaflo showed how the use Prodef is a more disciplined and productive way of engineering projects. "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."
Gerald Janmaat of MDT Software showed how the MASS AutoSave solution helps manage PLC and scada software changes and releases. 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.
The top performing system integrator prize was awarded to CS System Integration. The second prize went to Streamworks and the third was shared between SAM and Keops Isis.
The following received the Wonderware Open award in its various categories:
* Most innovative use of FactorySuite: Welkom Industrial Controls for their rules-based control system implementation at the ROM Mill (special award).
* Best overall FactorySuite implementation: Hatch for their installation at Ibhayi Brewery.
* Best InTrack application: CS System Integration for their implementation of the distributed tracking system at Delta Motor Corporation.
* Best HMI application: Buhler for their implementation of the InTouch-based control system at Meadow Feeds in Paarl.
* Best realtime database application: CS System Integration for their implementation of InSQL at Debswana Mine.
"This year's entries were more sophisticated than ever," says le Plastrier. "System integrators and end-users alike now have more tools than ever before and this allows them to address many more applications and issues as well as integrating larger portions of the manufacturing enterprise."
Mike le Plastrier, Futuristix
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