Saturday, August 05, 2006

Advanced process control software raises profits

A comprehensive suite of advanced process control software delivers profit and quality improvement benefits to a wide range of processes including metallurgical and food processing.

SimSci-Esscor, a business unit of Invensys Systems, has announced the launch of version 15 of its Connoisseur software, a comprehensive suite of advanced process control (APC) software. The next generation of the Connoisseur suite model predictive control delivers profit and quality improvement benefits to a wide range of processes in the oil refining, petrochemicals, power, pulp and paper, food processing, mineral and metallurgical processing and chemical industries. Delivering real-time adaptive control and enhanced on-line data handling features, the Connoisseur solution enables plants to optimise manufacturing operations to generate performance improvements that positively affect the bottom line.

'As globally competitive companies face rising manufacturing and energy costs and decreased capital budgets, plants require new solutions that can help them manage their limited resources in a more efficient manner,' said Alastair Fraser, vice president of SimSci-Esscor's simulation business line.

'The advanced technology in the Connoisseur suite provides customers with a comprehensive set of integrated engineering tools that give them new insights into the plant's process control strategies.

Given a clearer understanding of how to optimise manufacturing processes, customers are capable of significantly enhancing quality, increasing throughput and reducing overall energy usage.' In recent studies by SimSci-Esscor's customers, the Connoisseur APC solution has been shown to increase a plant's throughput up to 5 percent, improve process yields as much as 10 percent, and reduce specific energy consumption by 3 to 10 percent.

The new version of the solution includes improved process modelling through enhanced on-line data collection and analysis tools.

These statistical techniques enable engineers to identify cause and effect relationships and analyse data for these interactions.

Using these tools along with operational experience, operators can accurately represent process behaviors to better understand potential problems and identify solutions to control them.

Enhancements to the solution also provide improved real-time adaptive control, giving process control engineers the on-line capability to adjust the systems to the prevailing dynamic process conditions.

By simultaneously controlling a number of process parameters within the plant and orchestrating them to maintain the product within precise specifications, the software solution can maximise process potential.

Version 15 of the Connoisseur suite also features a new non-linear optimising controller that allows engineers to mix linear and non-linear controlled variables within a single framework, a new OPC client and improved functions to calculate steady-state gain from a model set.

Increased model editing capabilities and improvements to Connoisseur's user-friendly interface have also been implemented.

Connoisseur performs flawlessly with DCS- and PLC-based control systems and plant information system databases from all major suppliers.

About SimSci-Esscor - SimSci-Esscor, an operating unit of Invensys, is a leader in the development and deployment of industrial process simulation software and systems for a variety of industries, including oil and gas production, petroleum refining, petrochemical and chemical manufacturing, electrical power generation, mining, pulp and paper, and engineering and construction.

SimSci-Esscor solutions enable clients to minimise capital requirements, optimise facility performance, and maximise returns on investments in producing assets.

SimSci-Esscor supports more than 750 client companies in more than 70 countries.

About Invensys - Invensys is an automation, controls and process solutions group working to create value for customers and investors.

Our products, services, expertise and ongoing support enable intelligent systems to monitor and control processes in many different environments.

The businesses within Invensys help customers in a variety of industries - including hydrocarbons, chemicals, oil and gas, power and utilities, rail, telecommunications, paper, food and beverage, dairy, pharmaceuticals and personal care - to perform with greater efficiency, safety and cost-effectiveness.

Process Systems (IPS) provides products, services and solutions for the automation and optimisation of plant operation in the process industries.

APV specialises in process equipment engineered into systems and asset services for food, beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical and chemical clients.

Eurotherm is a leading supplier of control and measurement instrumentation solutions and services to industrial and process customers.

Rail Systems is a multinational leader in the design, manufacture, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance of safety-related rail signalling and control systems.

Climate Controls is a major provider of the components, systems and services used across the world to make commercial and residential environments safer, more comfortable and more efficient.

Appliance Controls has the broadest system and component offering for the appliance industry worldwide.

The Invensys Group is headquartered in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Adaptors avoid need to rewire automation modules

Phoenix Contact has extended its range of PLC structured cabling products to facilitate the replacement of Simatic S5 systems with Simatic S7 in the automation market.

No need to rewire! Phoenix Contact has extended its range of PLC structured cabling products to facilitate the replacement of Simatic S5 systems with Simatic S7 in the automation market. The Varioface S5/S7 adapters can be used to connect the existing Simatic S5 field wiring directly to the Simatic S7. This saves both time and money, as rewiring of individual modules is not required.

Also during downtime such as weekends, with the adaptors fitted, systems can be tested using the Simatic S7 but can still be operated during production times using the Simatic S5.

After the change has been completed, the Simatic S7 controls the system via the Varioface-S5/S7 adapters and the old Simatic S5 field wiring.

Phoenix Contact is one of the world leaders in developing and manufacturing connectivity solutions and automation components.

Its principal product ranges include: printed circuit board connectors; modular terminal blocks; fieldbus components; surge voltage protection systems; industrial plug and socket connectors and interface units.

Friday, August 04, 2006

System manages prototype and batch components work

Having to produce complex prototype components alongside repeat batch work, a subcontractor found a high capability manufacturing system that successfully managed both activities.
With customers predominately in the aerospace and medical equipment sectors, the Iona Unitool Group faces the combined problems of producing complex prototype components alongside repeat batch work for two of the most demanding markets in the UK. No surprise then that it needs a high capability manufacturing system to meet the conflicting requirements of both types of activity. The company's selection of Huckerby Royall's Jobshop has proved ideal to meet these challenges - and to manage both sides of its operations successfully.

Based in Cheltenham, the 45-strong Iona Unitool group is a company of two distinct halves.

Both specialise in manufacturing complex, high value, high precision components in materials ranging from aluminium alloys to high carbon or nickel steels and titanium.

Both operate to aerospace quality standards; and both utilise common manufacturing equipment and resources.

But that's where the similarity ends.

Iona is the group's batch manufacturing operation, dedicated to supplying production parts and sub-assemblies to dynamic monthly schedules.

In contrast, Unitool specialises in producing one-offs and prototypes, such as wind tunnel scale models for aerospace customers including Airbus, Messier Dowty and Smiths Industries, as well as MOD work for the likes of Qinetiq and Devonport Marine.

'It is a recipe for chaos,' says the organisation's Managing Director, Mike Sullivan; 'And to some degree that is what we had before installing our Jobshop systems from Huckerby Royall.' 'We first started to investigate the use of MRP systems about 20 years ago as a means of automating the production of shop floor documentation - primarily for repeat batch work.

We subsequently installed a proprietary second generation system in the nineties.

This certainly proved more reliable than our initial system, but still involved manual data collection.' 'As we approached the millennium, we realised we were vulnerable to Y2K issues,' Sullivan continues.

'This gave us the impetus to re-evaluate the market again and led us to install Huckerby Royall's Jobshop in preference to several other competitive systems.

'We wanted something with a proven track record.

However, it had to be backed by the flexibility to fit our operations, rather than requiring us to adapt to its way of working.' Sullivan recognises that good information is a pre-requisite for making good decisions.

'And we need plenty of it in our business,' he notes.

He believes Jobshop's ability to drill down to provide detailed information on part numbers and raw material is an invaluable feature of the system.

'Not only in-house, but as a sales tool as well,' he continues.

'For example, it enables us to instantly answer queries from customers regarding the availability of a particular grade of material, or to investigate potential alternatives while they are on the phone.

This builds confidence in our abilities, and undoubtedly is a factor in enabling us to win more business.' Production Control is King According to Sullivan, production control is king at Iona Unitool.

'It provides a pivotal role; sitting between our sales team - who want the work - and the manufacturing departments producing it,' he explains.

Works orders are also at the heart of the company's operations.

They can be several pages long and contain detailed information on the complete manufacturing process, including tools and set up data.

With a typical batch sizes of around 30 components, set up and change-over issues are clearly important to the company's capabilities.

In addition, works orders contain scheduling instructions and act as a quality record for each job.

Sullivan is particularly impressed by JobShop's 'quick load' feature, as it represents a key point in the progress of any order.

It not only creates a sales order, which is forwarded as a confirmation to the customer, but also generates the works order.

In addition, the complete specification for the part is produced - its multi-level structure, including its routing and control of subcontract operations, its raw materials, tooling kits and finally, the required shop floor documentation - all in one operation.

In parallel, the stores area at Iona Unitool is another core element of the company.

It is not only responsible for allocating the required raw material, but also assembling the necessary tool kits, gauges, fixtures and consumables, as well as ensuring the job is delivered to the first work station on the shop floor.

It's not surprising to find aerospace industry procedures are the norm throughout the company; with operators using self-certification stamps to sign off each stage of the work as it progresses to completion.

In parallel, barcode-based shop floor data collection feeds updated information to the Jobshop system to ensure close control of costs, along with the identification of potential bottlenecks.

'We also use information from Jobshop to produce tailored reports, such as a graphical representation of machining capacity by individual work centre,' adds Sullivan.

'This is a particularly useful tool for our sales team, as it enables them to see at a glance the loading of particular machines up to three months in advance.

'It is important for sales staff to avoid pouring work into what may already be full buckets.

The report enables them to see where the buckets are full.

What's more, it arms them with accurate information when they discuss future projects with customers and therefore builds confidence in our ability to deliver what and when we say we will.' Consistent Themes With a missed operation in any of its aerospace jobs potentially capable of causing a catastrophic failure, control and traceability are consistent themes running through Iona Unitool's activities.

They are reflected in the ongoing monitoring of route cards and works orders by inspection staff to ensure that operations are completed - and stamped off correctly - by operators.

Interestingly, the inspectors in turn, report to production control staff, who are ultimately responsible for undertaking a 'completeness check' on every works order as part of the company's ISO 9000:2000 certification.

Reviewing the benefits of implementing Jobshop, Sullivan says the comprehensive functionality and detailed information provided by the system are backed by extreme flexibility.

'It gives us accurate and up-to-the-moment information on which to run the business.

I am impressed that it has the capability to knit together both sides of our operations - and their different requirements,' he comments.

He also welcomes the unlimited availability of Huckerby Royall's Helpdesk facilities; noting that when operators of any powerful system become more proficient, they occasionally need 'advanced driving' tuition in order to get the best out of it.

'Jobshop is at the heart of everything we do, from initial estimating and costing through to despatch, invoicing and contract review.

Optimisation software knocks hours off production

Optimisation software has helped to reduce production time at a leading paper manufacturing plant from 17 hours to less than two hours through streamlining planning and production processes.

ILOG, a leading supplier of enterprise-class software components and services, today announced that Hansol Paper, one of the leading paper manufacturing companies in South Korea, has selected ILOG optimisation software to streamline its complex paper planning and production processes, including managing inventory requirements, resulting in a more efficient overall process that has reduced production time from 17 hours to less than two hours. In addition to reducing production time, ILOG optimisation software has improved strategic decision-making, shortened sales cycles and reduced waste and other costs associated with Hansol's production process. Hansol is one of Asia's leading newsprint paper manufacturers, producing 1.3 million tons of paper annually.

In addition to being well established domestically, the company sells worldwide to organisations like the Los Angeles Times Corporation.

In order to utilise the least amount of paper and achieve maximum profit, Hansol created the 'Hansol Integrated production scheduling System' based on a combination of three ILOG products - ILOG CPLEX, ILOG Solver and ILOG Scheduler.

Hansol uses the combined solution to more effectively manage the planning and production of its highly complex manufacturing process, which involves multiple constraints that control factors such as determining the correct amount of pulp to purchase, minimizing the utilisation of paper cutting machines, and reducing paper-type changes, preventing over-production or under-production during the cutting process, and decreasing the loss of paper during trimming.

'Hansol is committed to being a world-leading, environmentally-friendly paper manufacturing company.

We believe superior technology from vendors such as ILOG will help us achieve the goal,' said S.K.

Kim, senior manager of Hansol Paper Co Ltd.

'By using ILOG optimisation software, we are able to reduce paper waste yet still deliver the highest quality products to our customers.' ILOG optimisation products are used in each phase of Hansol's multi-stage production scheduling process, which includes a three month sales planning cycle, a one month production scheduling cycle, a cutting process that divides large jumbo-rolls of paper into several smaller optimally sized rolls, and finally a scheduling stage in which the smaller rolls are divided by sheet cutters in a process that considers load balance and other complex constraints.

About ILOG - for more than 10 years, ILOG's innovative enterprise-class software components and services have helped companies maximise their business agility and improve operating efficiency.

Over 1000 global corporations and more than 300 leading software vendors rely on ILOG's business rules, optimisation and visualisation technologies to achieve dramatic returns on investment, create market-defining products and services, and sharpen their competitive edge.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Irish subsidiary to launch automation products

Phoenix Contact's subsidiary in Southern Ireland, will be launching three new ranges at the Enquip 2004 exhibition as well as showing a range of industrial automation products.
Phoenix Contact, with their newly opened subsidiary in Southern Ireland, will be launching three new ranges at the Enquip 2004 exhibition; Clipline Complete, rail mounting terminals using four connection technologies with common accessories and bridging system; Flashtrab Compact a combined lightning and surge protection device, and a compact UPS system for DIN rail mounting. Also present will be the range of industrial automation products for use on Ethernet and other major networking systems including Profibus and Interbus, together with the company's latest visual displays combining PLC and PC functions from the S MAX range. Phoenix Contact is one of the world leaders in developing and manufacturing connectivity solutions and automation components.

Its principal product ranges include: printed circuit board connectors; modular terminal blocks; fieldbus components; surge voltage protection systems; industrial plug and socket connectors and interface units.

RF tags embedded in traditional paper labels

A new RFID enabled label printer has been launched by Auto-ID solutions company DataScan Systems.
The new Nova RFID-enabled label printer will allow production of combined human readable text, graphics, bar code and RFID tags in one self adhesive label, providing for cost effective RFID deployments. According to DataScan Systems' managing director Paul Mason; 'this is ideal for low cost, one way tags through supply chains. It also makes it possible to cost effectively introduce RFID tags into supply chains alongside existing bar code systems.' Designed for use in outer case or pallet label applications in a variety of industries, the new Nova RFID machine is based on the successful Imaje Nova range of thermal image label printers.

Continuous labels are fed through the Nova 6 RFID and Nova 8 RFID at a speed of 250mm per second.

Labels come with an RFID tag embedded between the paper and the adhesive.

This passive RFID tag has data written as the label passes through the printer, resulting in a traditionally printed label with industry standard RFID tag hidden under the surface.

The RFID tags used in the labels are industry standard high frequency tags to ISO 15693 operating at 13.56MHz.

Labels can be used in supply chain applications with RFID tags from companies such as Philips, Texas and Infineon.

The single colour labels can be up to 230mm wide, printed at 200dpi and can include standard characters with Windows fonts, bar codes and graphics.

The Nova RFID range comes with two serial ports and one USB port for connection to other equipment and computer networks.

'We expect this new generation of combined RFID tag and label printers to be very much in demand as companies can now implement RFID technology without having to replace every piece of bar code equipment in their entire supply chain,' comments Paul Mason of DataScan Systems.

'This is the sort of cost effective solution which could really see RFID take off.'

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

GPS Receivers and Bluetooth Adapters

Quatech has introduced two new product lines to its line of mobile connectivity produucts: Bluetooth Adapters and Global Position System (GPS) Receivers.
Quatech has introduced two new product lines to its industry-leading line of mobile connectivity products: Bluetooth Adapters and Global Position System (GPS) Receivers. The battery life for the Quatech GPS Receiver with Bluetooth interface is one of the longest in the industry (up to 20 hours). 'We are proud to introduce these new products into our product mix,' says Steve Runkel, Quatech's President and CEO.

'With the addition of Bluetooth Adapters and GPS Receivers, Quatech further enhances what is already the industry's most complete mobile connectivity line.' Bluetooth provides short-range wireless connectivity, even through walls and other obstacles, that makes communication between computers and peripheral devices easier than ever.

Quatech offers three Bluetooth adapter models.

The CompactFlash adapter provides Class II Bluetooth connectivity capable of communication within a radius of 32 feet (10 meters).

It uses a Type I CompactFlash interface, and can also be used in a standard PCMCIA slot using an optional adapter.

USB adapters are available in Class I and Class II versions.

The Class II adapter has an integrated antenna and can communicate within a radius of 32 feet.

The Class I adapter has an attached external antenna which enables communication within a radius of 328 Feet (100 Meters).

All are supported under Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, XP and Pocket PC operating systems.

Quatech's line of GPS Receivers, available with Bluetooth, USB or CompactFlash interfaces, is designed to GPS-enable Laptop, Notebook, Tablet and Handheld PCs.

The high-power GPS receiver combines proven technologies that allow computers to receive highly accurate positioning data for reliable tracking capabilities.

Quatech GPS receivers are supported under Pocket PC-based PDA platforms, and under Windows 98/2000/XP operating systems.

GPSInfo testing software is included with all Quatech GPS receivers.

Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005 software is available as an option.

Quatech's other data connectivity products for mobile computing include PCMCIA-serial cards, PCMCIA-parallel cards, CompactFlash-serial cards and USB-serial adapters.

Quatech also provides data connectivity products for desktops, networks, embedded and standalone systems.

Powerful Ethernet device server line

Quatech is adding two Ethernet Device Server models to an industry-leading product line that already claims the highest data transfer rates and lowest latency available.
The new flagship products in the Quatech line, the SSE-400D and DSE-400D, are ideal for industrial use. Equipped with one (SSE) or two (DSE) serial ports that can be software configured for RS-232, 422 or 485 operation on all available ports, they surpass current marketplace offerings in versatility. The new 400D models also introduce Quatech's IP multicasting mode, which simplifies administration and reduces bandwidth when compared to competing models' implementation.

IP multicasting is a popular choice for simultaneously sending sensor data to multiple monitoring PCs.

'Our customers have been extremely satisfied with the ease of use and performance superiority of our Ethernet Device Servers,' says Steve Runkel, Quatech's President and CEO.

'Building on that success, we've identified and implemented - and will continue to identify and implement - important features that offer our customers tangible benefits.' The power and flexibility of the 400D series is derived from the industry's best processor, a PowerPC from Freescale (formerly Motorola).

This processor is part of a world-class architecture that offers the lowest latency available anywhere.

As a result, it is now possible to easily network-enable even the most timing-sensitive applications and equipment.

Industrial sensors, CNC machines, PLCs and environmental controllers can operate flawlessly over a network as the 400D series provides the absolute minimum data transfer time possible.

Designed for industrial use, clean DC power to the units is supplied through the high-quality power supply provided, even when the AC on the factory floor is less than perfect.

Quatech also provides strong steel enclosures that are durable yet leave a small footprint.

The new 400D series will be available on November 1, 2004.

List price for the SSE-400D is $295; the DSE-400D is $395.

All will be available directly from Quatech or from an authorized Quatech distributor or reseller.

Quatech provides the most powerful and reliable Ethernet Device Servers, which are integral components in the expanding machine-to-machine marketplace.

Quatech also provides data connectivity products for desktop, mobile, embedded and standalone systems.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Executives honoured with awards

In recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of operations research, Dr Robert E.Bixby and Janet H. Lowe have been awarded the first ever INFORMS Impact Prize.
In recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of operations research, Dr Robert E. Bixby and Janet H. Lowe, two ILOG senior executives, have been awarded The Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences' (INFORMS) first ever INFORMS Impact Prize.

This honour recognises Dr Bixby and Mrs.

Lowe's combined efforts in creating and bringing to market a successful business based on ILOG CPLEX optimisation software, which is today the de-facto industry standard for solving critical resource management problems for businesses worldwide.

The two accepted the award today at the INFORMS Annual Meeting at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Denver, Colorado.

Sponsored by Princeton Consultants and presented by INFORMS, the Impact Prize was created to honour those whose work furthers the application of operations research and management science towards the overall success of an entire organisation.

To be given every two years, the prize focuses on significant methodologies or techniques and the people playing a leadership role in bringing these into widespread use.

'Since this year is the first year of the prize, we had no shortage of strong nominations, but the five-member prize committee unanimously approved the decision to recognise Bob and Janet's contribution of making advanced optimisation algorithms broadly accessible through ILOG CPLEX,' said Warren Powell, chairman of the Impact Prize Committee.

ILOG CPLEX improves decision-making speed and quality for thousands of businesses across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, transportation, telecommunications, defense and finance.

Today, most major airlines including United, American, Delta, Continental, Northwest, and Southwest, among others, depend on the software to schedule their crews and solve their fleet assignment problems.

The U.S.

Department of Defense uses ILOG CPLEX in mission critical operations for planning and logistics with all branches of the U.S.

armed forces.

There are thousands of commercial and academic users that credit the software for greatly lowering the cost of their specific operations.

In 1987, after several years of development on the core linear-programming software, Dr Bixby recognised its market potential and approached Mrs.

Lowe to investigate and develop a business plan.

The two co-founded CPLEX Optimization in 1988.

The company quickly became the leading supplier of math programming optimisation engines through strategic partnering with independent software vendors and direct telesales.

ILOG acquired CPLEX Optimization in 1997 and the product has grown to become a significant part of the product line.

Today, Dr Bixby serves as ILOG's chief science officer and Mrs.

Lowe, vice president of strategic projects.

'The success of CPLEX was guided by two essential factors - Bob's passion for creating the best solver in the industry in terms of speed, reliability and robustness and Janet's expertise in developing and executing a business plan that established CPLEX as the industry leader,' said Pierre Haren, chief executive officer, ILOG.

'This award exemplifies their efforts in taking CPLEX from the drawing boards to the board rooms of successful businesses.'

HMI software helps build applications faster

Flexible software for human machine interfaces, supervisory control and data acquisition enables users to build applications faster, deploy applications quicker and shorten reaction times.
Tecnomatix Technologies, the driving force in Manufacturing Process Management (MPM), has announced FactoryLink 7.5 - a flexible software solution for industrial human machine interfaces (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). FactoryLink 7.5 offers users a new rich set of functionality and enhancements to enable users to build applications faster, deploy applications faster and react faster to operational knowledge: * Comprehensive new functionality allows users to rapidly build applications compliant with the requirements of the US FDA 21 Part 11 regulations and other GAMP (Good Automated Manufacturing Practices) initiatives. * Out-of-the-box reporting enables users to instantly understand trends and tendencies in the operational knowledge they collect from managed processes.

* Automatic e-mailing of alarms and events allows users to quickly acknowledge and respond to upset conditions.

* New waveform and sequencing task helps quickly commission projects by emulating real-world I/O and devices.

* One-click client enables rapid deployment of client nodes on a LAN or VPN using a lightweight install requiring no user intervention.

* Rapid setup of redundant applications is made easier by several ease-of-use and license server enhancements.

* 10x performance improvement in the automatic generation of systems using FactoryLink's groundbreaking application object technology.

'FactoryLink 7.5 is an important new release for Tecnomatix and their customer base.

It continues to demonstrate to the market Tecnomatix's commitment to HMI/SCADA, and introduces important new functionality for such key regulated markets as pharmaceuticals and food and beverage,' said ARC Research Director Craig Resnick, who authors ARC's HMI Software Worldwide Outlook Study.

'FactoryLink is an important element in the comprehensive, collaborative eMPower solution suite from Tecnomatix, linking the most advanced MPM technology to the shop floor,' said Jaron Lotan, president and CEO, Tecnomatix Technologies.

'FactoryLink 7.5 brings users the very real benefits of faster development and deployment.

It empowers customers to react faster and use real-time manufacturing intelligence to improve operations.' * About Tecnomatix Technologies - Tecnomatix Technologies .

is the driving force in Manufacturing Process Management (MPM).

Today's leading global manufacturers are adopting MPM solutions to expand revenue potential and reduce costs by accelerating product introductions, shortening time to volume, and optimizing production execution.

eMPower enables our customers to succeed with its collaborative, open platform and applications for defining, simulating, managing, and executing manufacturing processes across the extended enterprise.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Software streamlines Blackfin development

LabVIEW graphical development environment with ADI's VisualDSP++ embedded development environment is now available to streamline the development of Blackfin-based systems.
LabVIEW graphical development environment with ADI's VisualDSP++ embedded development environment is now available to streamline the development of Blackfin-based systems. The new toolkit, which is included free with ADI's VisualDSP++ software and hardware evaluation kits, integrates with NI LabVIEW to provide design engineers with a single development, prototyping and test environment for applications running on the Blackfin microprocessor. ³By collaborating with National Instruments on this product, we can provide our customers with solutions that help them integrate measurements throughout the design process,² said Gerald McGuire, Analog Devices General Manager, Media Platforms and Services, DSP and Systems Products Division.

³With the new Analog Devices Blackfin Test Integration Toolkit for LabVIEW, design engineers can graphically view data to verify algorithm performance earlier in the design process and compare data with real-world signals using NI measurement hardware.² Because testing early in the design process of Blackfin-based systems was traditionally time consuming and not automated, design engineers often delayed validation until after they built system prototypes.

Using the Blackfin Test Integration Toolkit for LabVIEW, design engineers now have an integrated tool chain for easily building automated test systems and utilities for their Blackfin-based systems.

With easier test integration, they can iteratively verify their designs throughout the design cycle and identify flaws early in the process.

Early testing reduces overall development time and improves the quality of products that use Blackfin Processors, such as wireless LAN systems, MP3 players and household appliances.

The Blackfin Test Integration Toolkit for LabVIEW gives engineers an intuitive and familiar graphical tool to easily build test and verification systems.

Engineers can use the toolkit to rapidly develop Blackfin test systems by automating routine VisualDSP++ processes, such as building, downloading and running code, with a simple set of LabVIEW virtual instruments.

With the toolkit, engineers also can use LabVIEW to communicate data directly to and from the Blackfin Processor's memory through VisualDSP++ Background Telemetry Channels, a high-speed communication protocol specific to ADI.

Design engineers can use the Blackfin Test Integration Toolkit for LabVIEW and ADI VisualDSP++ software with a wide variety of NI measurement I/O hardware and modular instruments to validate algorithms by comparing real-world stimulus/response measurements with theoretical data.

Achieve peak plant performance more readily

Production execution and management software offers easier way to achieve peak plant performance with improved ease of use and configuration and enhanced reporting.
GE Fanuc has announced Proficy Plant Applications Version 4.1, a major new version of the company's Efficiency, Quality, Production and Batch Analysis software. This adds powerful new capabilities to reduce overall implementation time with improved ease of use and configuration, enhanced reporting, improved connectivity and extensibility, and more expansive scheduling execution and production tracking. The new GE Fanuc Proficy Plant Applications Version 4.1 digitises the collective information generated throughout a production facility into a 'virtual plant' that can be accessed where, when and how users need it.

This enables managers across process, discrete and hybrid industries to gain clear insight into their operations to more efficiently manage and reach peak performance.

The new version also has advanced analysis and drill-down procedures, making it even easier to determine production variation.

The enhanced security, auditing, 21CFR Part 11 and e-Signature features of this new version allow users to have more secure, auditable operations by identifying any changes and accesses to the system.

A major component of the Proficy software family, Plant Applications supports GE Fanuc's open and layered software framework, communicating with GE Fanuc systems as well as other applications to quickly leverage a manufacturer's installed base of equipment and enable faster ROI.

The capabilities of Proficy Plant Applications range from integrated quality management and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) to production tracking and recipe management.

Proficy Plant Applications offers a unified, easy-to-configure 'plant model' and notification service that enables users to define how their products are manufactured based on their actual plant layout, product specifications and product routing instructions.

Plant Applications automatically generates configurable, intelligent Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and alarms so that managers can monitor performance across criteria in real-time, and receive notification when exceptions occur.

Managers can then make real-time changes to their operations to improve performance.

About GE Fanuc Automation: - GE Fanuc Automation, a joint venture between GE and FANUC of Japan, delivers automation hardware and software designed to help users reduce costs, increase efficiency and enhance profitability.

With solutions and services catering to virtually every industrial segment, GE Fanuc Automation provides a diverse array of capabilities and products, including controllers, embedded systems, advanced software, motion control, CNCs, operator interfaces, industrial computers, and lasers.