Saturday, August 19, 2006

Real-Time Transaction Process Mapping for Tivoli

ILOG is to provide ILOG JViews to enhance the usability of the IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance solution, part of the IBM Tivoli systems management offering
ILOG, a leading provider of enterprise-class software components and services, today announced that it will provide ILOG JViews to enhance the usability of the IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance solution, part of the IBM Tivoli systems management offering. The award-winning ILOG JViews will enable Tivoli customers to graphically visualise the flow of a transaction or group of transactions via sophisticated, realistic graphics - providing faster, more proactive problem determination for customers using IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance. The monitoring product now provides the cutting edge capability to discover and display dynamically a J2EE transaction in a graphical fashion.

The advanced visualisation provided by JViews will give users the ability to recognise and isolate application performance problems through dynamic graphical models that map real-time transactions to the resources and components on which the applications run.

'We regard the addition of ILOG JViews as breakthrough technology that can help us increase and improve the ease-of-use of our products,' said Don O'Toole, director, market management for IBM Tivoli.

'Integrating ILOG JViews into IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance enhances the ease-of-use of the interface, making problem detection more straightforward and ensuring we continue to provide best-of-breed solutions to our customers.' IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance delivers highly reliable transaction management for Web and enterprise infrastructure, helping users avoid critical performance problems and enabling smooth operations for customers and other end-users.

Using ILOG JViews, Tivoli customers such as online retailers can monitor the flow and performance of either individual or groups of purchase transactions, from start to finish, determining the transaction response time and the source of delay.

If a problem is found, ILOG JViews' intuitive graphical modeling allows users to visually locate the component that is causing the delay in order to help them correct it immediately.

Alliance produces powerful assembly management

A strategic partnership between an electronics manufacturer and SPC software house has resulted in a system that offers substantial improvements process management and improved productivity.
A strategic partnership between Crane Electronics and Lighthouse Systems has resulted in a leading-edge assembly process management solution. Crane's expertise in torque measurement and data collection, combined with Lighthouse Systems' sophisticated SPC software, creates a formidable alliance, and the resulting system offers new opportunities for process management. Crane and Lighthouse joined forces to meet the demands of a leading automotive manufacturer, seeking to make substantial improvements to their process management in search of ever greater quality and improved productivity.

The system is equally adaptable to other manufacturers with similar goals.

System inputs are provided by data collected on Crane's TorqueStar Opta.

Utilising the operator friendly audit scheduling software (Advanced Storage module), data is readily collected from compatible transducer devices.

These include the CheckStar rotary torque and angle transducers and Crane's range of durable wrenches, all of which are independent of the point of load.

This results in greater repeatability and less chance of operator induced errors.

'Plug and Play' technology assists further in ease of use, ensuring the correct tool is used for pre-defined jobs, recognising the connected tool in quick measurement modes, and recording the tool serial number alongside time and date stamped readings in the on-board memory.

A simple routine on the Opta enables 'cause and action' flags to be recorded against readings for grouping and analysis of common assembly problems.

All relevant data is viewable simultaneously on the well laid out display which incorporates large characters for the main torque value.

TorqueStar Opta can communicate with the PC environment via Crane's OptaComms utility, enabling bi-way communication for programming of the Opta and uploading Opta programs and recorded data.

However, the Lighthouse powered system builds on this, enabling centralised control and data management, powerful SPC analysis and real time SPC based process control.

The Lighthouse software takes data from the Crane units, performs SPC analysis, and provides a real-time web based information interface for supervisors and management.

Individuals with appropriate access rights can view graphic models of the assembly process on intranet and internet networks - they are not constrained by geographical location.

Operation status is ascertained at a glance through the use of status colour codes.

Out of condition alarms are a key feature of the system, enabling automatic email and SMS alarms to supervisors with automatic escalation routings as appropriate.

For complex assembly operations, the software helps by providing tools to ensure that supervisors fulfil test quotas and complete recording requirements and can also provide reports on supervisor and team effectiveness.

The software provides complete traceability of changes to programming as well as data input.

Historical values are recorded and can be used to generate trend information or incidence of assembly problems.

As a web enabled system, the software has simple deployment across a company's intranet, eliminating time consuming set-up on individual PCs.

The system also interfaces with a company's existing database, such as an Oracle database, for centralised data control and management.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Extending automation reach and functionality

An enhancement to a distributed control system gives manufacturing personnel access to customised information according to their job function.
An enhancement to ABB's distributed control system (DCS) has been launched which, for the first time, gives personnel from all areas of manufacturing or process plants access to customised information according to their job function. While this information is extracted from the same source, it is delivered direct to their desk in a format suited to that user. Rather than make just process control improvements, the new automation system is able to tap into valuable information from a whole raft of peripheral devices and assets that may have previously been ignored.

As such, ABB has expanded the role of the traditional DCS by extracting information relating to drives, field devices (HART, Foundation Fieldbus, ProfiBus), batch management, motors, low voltage control gear through to the introduction of reporting structures that meet the requirements of the FDA (21 CFR Part II).

The result is access to all information in the right form, at the right time and to the right people which will ultimately lead to faster product turnaround, greater customisation and lower overall costs.

Called System 800xA (extended Automation), the automation system is part of ABB's Industrial IT suite that was launched four years ago, and is expected to significantly reduce decision making time, thereby improving product quality and productivity.

With System 800xA, Industrial IT system software is available as a system offering, rather than a collection of products or suites.

This dramatically simplifies delivery as all system software is available from one DVD set, therefore simplifying installation, on-line expansion of the system and maintenance, training and documentation.

At the heart of the System 800xA is Industrial IT's patented Aspect Object technology.

Aspect Objects relate all plant data - the Aspects - to specific plant assets - the Objects.

This removes the headache of locating information spread between different people, locations, computers and applications.

Aspect Object navigation presents the entire production facility in a consistent, easy to view manner.

Thus, System 800xA gathers information from all over the plant and transforms it into relevant data for maintenance technicians, process engineers, production managers or plant operators.

This is then accessed through an operator screen, known as the ABB Process Portal.

When each user logs in, the screen will define the type and class of information required specifically for that person, thereby providing timely and informed decision making.

All users can access the information relevant to them through one screen with security as appropriate.

No other automation system offers such customisation.

As plants become more complex, the amount of data generated by peripheral devices means that plant personnel are exposed to information overload.

In other systems, every user must evaluate and understand the same sea of data and then sift out, often manually, the relevant information before making a decision.

This is time-consuming and inefficient.

With System 800xA, each user sees one set of consistent data, for single-point entry, single-point change, and re-use across the plant.

It provides a single window to include smart field devices, asset optimization functions, information management, batch management, safety systems and MES (manufacturing execution systems) applications.

Electronic data is presented as information to management, operations, maintenance and engineering in a way that is most meaningful to them.

This eliminates wasted time spent searching through data or views that are not relevant to the individual job function, while ensuring the information is consistent and up-to-date.

System 800xA's single user interface dramatically increases individual productivity by saving time and effort for each user.

The Process Portal operator interface shows any upset that occurs in production through its audible and visual alarm.

It is the only system that can group alarms to specific areas or object types.

Remote personnel are notified of critical events via mobile telephones, e-mail accounts and pagers by 800xA's SMS and e-mail messaging services.

Using GSM mobile phone technology, 800xA allows remote acknowledgement of notification and conformation of receipt.

Other new features include regulatory compliance support including audit trail, authentication and e-signatures.

The latter feature is in response to the growing complexity of the regulatory environment which demands software designed to integrate compliance to procedures such as electronic signatures.

System 800xA is designed to ensure that ABB's existing DCS installed base can migrate trouble-free to this new automation system without sacrificing any of the performance of their existing installations.

It provides the flexibility to implement the functions these customers require today and the agility to add others as needs evolve.

Consistent with ABB's IndustrialIT philosophy, the new release of 800xA is fully backwards-compatible with legacy installed base systems, such as Advant, MOD 300, Master, Symphony Harmony, Melody and SATT.

The integrated suite of applications for Industrial IT extend beyond core process control functions and include production management, safety systems, smart instrumentation, smart drives and motor control, information management and plant asset optimisation and documentation.

The system includes new tools for engineering design, fieldbus management, bulk data management, audit trail, and integration with Intergraph's INtools CAD design software.

Among the core functions providing these tools are: Operations - Process Portal, the industry's most intuitive system interface, provides a consistent method for accessing enterprise-wide data and for launching multiple applications from any connected workstation in the plant or office.

Engineering - integrated engineering environment efficiently supports the complete lifecycle of the automation project, from planning, through configuration and library management, to commissioning and operation to minimize system ownership costs.

Extended automation objects created within the engineering environment provide a foundation for the efficient development, deployment, reuse, and continuous improvement of production applications, with predictability unattainable from other automation solutions, according to ABB.

Engineering efficiency is increased, as solutions and applications only need to be developed once for uniform use and reuse throughout the automation environment.

This makes it easy to access and reuse the best strategies to solve problems and improve the process.

Information management - powerful information management software collects, stores, retrieves and presents historical, process and business data to enhance the usefulness of data from all operations.

Batch management - production management and optimization tools provide the agility, speed, and control needed to respond to increasing production demands by modelling, executing, and tracking information associated with material and control flow across the plant.

Automatic generation of electronic batch records is also provided.

Asset optimization - asset optimization software exploits the wealth of plant resident information to assess and report equipment conditions in real-time to reduce costly corrective and preventive maintenance and optimize maintenance and calibration work flows.

Control and I/O: Comprehensive suite of standards-based hardware and software meets the needs of total plant control.

Controllers are complimented with a full line of industrial I/O interfaces to meet all plant environments.

Fieldbus (Field Device integration): System 800xA integration of all fieldbus standards lowers lifecycle costs through significant cost savings in the design, implementation, and operation of field equipment.

Unlike competitor systems, all of the above are integrated into one system, using one software platform, thereby giving a consistent look and feel.

ArchestrA technology simplifies device integration

A new DA server is designed to replace Siemens Simatic Net middleware to connect to PLCs in the Siemens S7 family and offer enhanced communication diagnostics and performance.
A new DA Server called SI Direct has been introduced by Wonderware, a business unit of Invensys, and is designed to replace Siemens Simatic Net middleware to connect to PLCs in the Siemens S7 family. In addition to the DAServer, archestra Device Integration (DI) Objects have been created to represent the device and network hierarchy when connecting Siemens S7 PLCs to the Industrial Application Server. Wonderware's DA Servers are built using the ArchestrA DAS toolkit and offer enhanced communication diagnostics and performance.

DA Servers are Wonderware's next-generation I/O servers and a significant part of Wonderware's FactorySuite A2 ('A-squared') product line.

The 'A2' signifies the presence of ArchestrA technology.

'Leveraging the power of ArchestrA technology and the DI Object functionality, it is now possible to model a Siemens PLC as part of a FactorySuite A2 application,' said Tom Muth, Wonderware's FactorySuite A2 product marketing manager.

'This new DA Server builds upon Wonderware's ability to provide tighter integration with controllers, reducing the amount of configuration necessary for device communications.' Wonderware's SI Direct DA Server provides access to data within the Siemens S7 200/300/400 family of PLCs through an off-the-shelf standard Ethernet network interface card.

The DI Objects represent the network as well as the PLCs, providing the user with a hierarchical view of their connectivity.

When used in conjunction with Wonderware's Industrial Application Server, the DI Objects allow users or systems integrators to configure, deploy and monitor servers from one centralised location known as the Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Because the IDE centralises all systems and applications, users simply have to install the software on the Industrial Application Server once, rather than installing the software on multiple separate computers.

It also allows for online configuration and diagnostic capabilities.

When operated as a stand-alone server, the SI Direct DA Server enables the user to start, stop, configure and monitor communications between the client and device using a single utility.

Each server built with the toolkit provides the ability to access a rich set of diagnostics during runtime.

In addition, the framework offers sorting capabilities optimises communications and supports the OPC 2.05 standard.

With a single development effort, every DA Server provides connectivity between client applications based on Wonderware's SuiteLink protocol and OPC and DDE protocols running on the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft XP operating systems, as well as data devices supported by the specific translated protocol.

Wonderware's SI Direct DA Servers work with all FactorySuite A2 products, such as the Industrial Application Server, InTouch visualisation software, InTrack resource tracking software and InBatch production management software.

About Pantek - Pantek is a leading supplier of industrial automation solutions to major manufacturers throughout the UK and Ireland.

Using world class industry expertise, quality training and support facilities allied with a proven range of software and hardware products, Pantek specialises in building, supplying and supporting manufacturing management solutions that can increase productivity, and supply corporate management with the information they need to make sound business decisions.

About Invensys' Wonderware and ArchestrA Business Units - Wonderware and ArchestrA are business units of Invensys Systems Wonderware is the world's leading supplier of industrial automation and information software.

Wonderware software powers intelligent plant decisions in real time.

ArchestrA technology provides a unified set of software services that enables every system in your plant, working in concert.

Wonderware provides industrial enterprises with the capability to rapidly deploy applications and realise the largest and fastest return on their investment by providing an integrated suite of automation software products that minimises life cycle creation, deployment and maintenance costs.

Wonderware has regional sales and development offices worldwide to provide support to its network of more than 160 distributor offices.

Wonderware has approximately 300,000 software licenses in 100,000 plants worldwide -- about 30% of the world's 335,000 plants with 20 or more employees.

About Invensys - a global leader in production technology and solutions, the Invensys group helps customers improve productivity, performance and profitability using innovative services and technologies and a deep understanding of their industries and applications.

Invensys business units work closely with customers to increase performance of production assets, maximise return on investment in production and data management technologies and remove cost and cash from the supply chain.

Leading Invensys brands focused on production management include APV, Avantis, Eurotherm, Foxboro, IMServ, SimSci-Esscor, Triconex and Wonderware.

These businesses address process and batch industries -- including oil and gas, chemicals, power and utilities, food and beverage, and personal health care -- and the discrete and hybrid manufacturing sectors.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tyre manufacturer uses HMI to improve production

Pirelli Tyres is employing 39 PC based, HMI systems - a key component in a Kanban system - to improve production and stock efficiency at its Carlisle tyre plant.
Pirelli Tyres is employing 39 Pro-face PC based, HMI systems to improve production and stock efficiency at its Carlisle tyre plant. The Pro-face systems are a key component in a Kanban system designed by Pirelli. They integrate seamlessly into Pirelli's factory-wide planning system, via wireless LAN Ethernet links, and interface with an RFID tagging system, providing operators with comprehensive real time data to improve product quality.

Pirelli's tyre plant in Carlisle is a major manufacturing centre, employing over 1,000 people and producing around 13,000 high performance tyres a day, mostly for prestige makes such as Jaguar, BMW, Audi and Porsche, as well as sports utility vehicles.

At the hub of the Carlisle plant's production facilities are 27 second stage tyre assembly machines.

These control the flow to the final curing process.

Until recently, the tyre building machines were equipped with stand alone, data capture hardware, which was non-expandable and did not provide the flexibility required by Pirelli to achieve improvements in both the quality and efficiency of its production.

A decision was taken to replace these systems, the task of replacement being assigned to Tony Vorley, Business Manager For Industrial IT at the plant.

Tony Vorley: 'Our requirements in terms of a new data capture system were basically four-fold.

Firstly, we needed a system that was far more interactive, providing operators with more comprehensive data display and data input facilities.

Secondly, we required a system that had control facilities and could easily integrate with our wireless Ethernet LAN and with our production planning system.

Thirdly, the system had to be expandable to enable us to integrate other areas of our production (i.e the curing process).

Finally, the hardware had to be robust enough to cope with the rigours of the operating environment.' 'The system that came closest to meeting all of these demands - and our budget - was a PC based HMI solution supplied by Pro-face.

We had used their equipment before and knew that it could stand up to our operating environment.

Initially we purchased 37 - PS2000B industrial PC's and 39 - ST1210T touch screen monitors.

These units are the first in a two-stage project that will involve an additional 60 Pro-face systems over the next two years to cover the first stage assembly and curing process.

'The first Pro-face systems, installed on tyre building machines, are making our production more efficient by providing operators with the real time information they require to make the right production decisions.

We are using the Pro-face systems in conjunction with RFID tags.

The tyre building process involves eight key components and our longer- term strategy is to employ RFID tagging on them all.

At present, though, RFID is centred on the steel spool that holds the tyre tread.

Each spool has a uniquely identified tag that, when loaded onto the tyre building machine, ensures the correct size association.

When this component is presented to the machine, the system checks that it is the same size as the previous one.

If this is not the case, the Pro-face system asks for conformation from the operator that he has changed the size.

If the operator does not respond to this prompt then the Pro-face PC stops the machine.

In the future this procedure will be expanded, with the Pro-face HMI able to ask if all eight components are correct for each size of tyre.

We are also developing a real time view of the specification for the operator which eliminates the need to maintain paper copies on the shop floor, removing any room for error and helping us to ensure comprehensive right-first-time quality.' 'The role of the Pro-face HMIs in achieving improved quality is a crucial one.

However, at present, their main contribution is to a kanban system that we have introduced to streamline production and improve stock efficiency.

When a spool is loaded onto a tyre-building machine, the Pro-face system logs this event and signals the extruder to produce another spool, allowing a balanced stock to be maintained.

Also, as each tyre is produced, the stock of green tyres is incremented.

Green tyre stock is then decremented by the curing process.

The stock profile, representing what the operator should be building, is displayed graphically on the Pro-face touch screen.

In the event that any of the levels change to red, the operator is aware immediately that he is outside his production parameters and can take rectifying action.

This display can refer to a number of sizes all of which can be produced on the same machine.' 'We expect the role of the Pro-face systems to expand as our production planning evolves and becomes more flexible.

This can be easily achieved as the Pro-face PC has dual Ethernet ports, which interface nicely with our Ethernet wireless LAN system.

We have adopted wireless links, as the majority of our tyre-making machines are movable in line with the market demand.

The alternative of fixed party line cabling would be a nightmare, both in terms of removal and replacement.' 'Summing up, I would say that the project to install the Pro-face HMI systems has been essentially trouble-free and that equipment performance has been excellent since installation.

Pirelli is a world leading brand and the installation of these systems can only help us to maintain our reputation for producing premier high performance tyres that meet the ever increasing demands of high performance vehicles.'

Stepping motor control has pulse width modulation

Automation terminal block offers the chance of a pulse width modulation of the output signals. It also has two independently working channels.
With the automation terminal block IB IL PWM/2 in the Inline system of Phoenix Contact you now have the chance of a pulse width modulation (PWM) of the output signals. It has two independently working channels. Both output signals are available in 5V and in 24V.

Depending on the operation type the high-phase of the period, the duration of the period or the frequency are adjustable.

In this process the operation types PWM, frequency output, single shot as well as pulse/direction signal output are supported.

The pulse width modulation for example is used with the control of heating elements.

The period duration can be adjusted between 100 microsec and 10 sec.

The starting phase is parameterized with 8 Bit solution.

The frequency output is similar to the operation type PWM, with the only difference that a frequency between 0 and 50kHz is specified.

With single shot an impulse is put out that can be adjusted between 10 microsec and 25,5 sec.

This impulse signal is for example used to control a valve in a filling process.

The volume to be filled then is proportionate to the impulse duration.

In the operation type pulse/direction signal output the terminal controls the step motors.

In this process the impulse frequency can be changed continuously between 0 and 25 kHz.

The generated impulses are counted by the terminal in a position counter depending on the direction signal upward or downward.

Furthermore a target position can be entered, which causes the impulse output to stop automatically when it has been reached.

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.

Plant wide control system raises bakery output

A CitectSCADA integrator has commissioned a plant wide control system that has enabled a bakery to expand its current 17,500 tonnes/year production of bread improvers by 10,000 tonnes.
Advanced Technical Software (ATS), a CitectSCADA integrator, has recently commissioned a plant wide control system for BakeMark Limited at its Manchester based factory. The new system, based on Mitsubishi PLCs and CitectSCADA, is key to enabling BakeMark to expand its production of bread improvers, currently running at of around 17,500 tonnes per annum, by an additional 10000 tonnes, of predominately cake mixes. The ATS automation and monitoring system covers all materials handling, storage, weighing, batching and blending and tracing of over 2000 different ingredients in use, as well as tracking over a million individual items throughout the factory.

It replaces an original Mitsubishi PLC system installed around 10 years ago.

The new system retains the existing plant I/O, however, the main processor has been upgraded to the latest Mitsubishi Q series specification and PLC to PLC communications have been upgraded to Ethernet.

In addition, as the whole factory is totally dependent on the control system a high quality server is installed with inbuilt redundancy via dual power supplies, memory, and disc storage via six hard drives organised as two raid arrays.

In charge of the project for Advanced Technical Software was Managing Director, Geoffrey Graves.

He pointed-up the very specific requirements of the SCADA system used at BakeMark.

'Although most SCADA packages include some form of product batching and control, the very exact requirements of this plant precluded their use.

Our assessment in this respect was totally objective as we are an approved systems integrator for a number of leading SCADA systems.

The package that we finally decided upon, CitectSCADA, has proven to be the correct one, successfully handling all the manifold requirements of what is a very large and complex project.' 'Citect offered us the tightly integrated easy networking we required with powerful facilities for generating complex and scaleable graphics.

We also benefited from the power of the package's inbuilt Ci-code, 'C'-like programming language, and the ease of data access and interaction we were able to achieve using Citect API function calls.

What was most important though was Citect's distributed architecture, which proved perfect for our strategy of dividing the plant control operation into two distinct areas.' 'As part of our strategy we developed two bespoke application packages, 'Plant Manager' and 'Line Manager', which uses CitectSCADA as its platform.

Plant Manager handles all material imports, the ingredients preparation area and mixer additions.

It also provides administration facilities, to handle recipe set-up, materials tracking and reporting.' 'Each production line is also supported by it's own PC running 'Line Manager '.

These 'Line Manager' PC's allow production scheduling on a line basis and also display all plant status information, mimics, production and plant alarms together with sophisticated maintenance and set-up facilities.

Each production line is dedicated to a particular mixer; however, any 'Line Manager' PC can control all production lines dependant on a user's authorisation.' 'The inherent flexibility of the Line Manager system provides the production manager at BakeMark with the ability to pre-determine the work to be carried out over a forthcoming period or shift.

The system offers the capability of storing up to thirty runs for each mixer, with each run given a projected start time, so that notice can be given of which pallet and/or rigid containers need to be prepared to meet production requirements.' 'All data files for 'Plant Manager' and 'Line Manager' are stored on the Citect server in a database format, providing extensive file security and backup facilities for all areas of production and plant information from a single secure location.

The Citect server also acts as the PLC communications hub for all 'Line Manager' systems on the network and allows easy addition of extra client PC's using the inbuilt computer connection wizard.' Reporting and traceability - 'In addition to high levels of plant control and production flexibility, the system we have designed and commissioned provides BakeMark with high levels of transparency.

The CitectSCADA package allows authorised users to request a number of reports, all of which are generated using industry standard Crystal Reports.

These allow full traceability of all materials and their location.

For materials already used in production the reports allow backwards tracing from an individual product batch code.' 'Finally, the system includes very detailed plant alarm and diagnostics allowing even an inexperienced operator to quickly pinpoint any plant malfunction or fault condition.

Normal advanced alarm facilities are included but these are supplemented by an on-screen status monitoring and diagnostics panel for each plant item showing it's current status and maintenance information.'