Transparent factory dislayed at Electrex

April 2000 News

Schneider Electric South Africa made a decidedly bold statement in support of the Transparent Factory philosophy on its stand at Electrex Instrumentation and Control 2000, the business-to-business exhibition for the process control and instrumentation industries held from 15-17 March at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg. It had absolutely no product being shown on the stand!

Talk about transparent! Actually, the "products" were located in Schneider South Africa's state-of-the-art travelling demo truck (named Apollo) out in the parking lot of the show. The entire stand was web enabled and everything was accessed via a wireless LAN from Lucent Technologies. Demos of Transparent Factory products such as FactoryCast and the web embedded servers for the Modicon TSX Premium and Modicon TSX Quantum PLCs were made using web browsers and PCs in various stations on the stand.

FactoryCast provides quick and easy access to PLC data through a complete library of built-in, online Data Editors and Templates. In addition, it allows the user to customise their HTML pages for specific needs or applications. Web functions in FactoryCast also include access to the controller's web page through standard browsers, plus the ability to log into preconfigured device diagnostics, I/O configurations, on-line data templates or library tools. Additional flexibility includes the ability to customise security, add HTML user screens with data access, and add HTML screens that can hyperlink to other references for system users.

Another example of Schneider Electric’s progressive stance regarding web automation, was the use of the company's on-line website and complete electronic catalogue. Using a high-speed colour printer in the stand, customers could select and immediately print high quality, colour copies of brochures for the products they were interested in. Schneider Electric believes that this differentiates it from the competition, and demonstrates that it is as much in the business of providing information as it is in the business of providing solutions and products to the automation industry.


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