Single-node architecture benefits batch process users

ArchestrA provides the infrastructure of primary functional services that are common to virtually all industrial automation applications.

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MACHINE AND skid builders who sell into the process industries sometimes view with envy the powerful, distributed control systems built across a network of PCs that many of their customers employ for process control and data manipulation. It would be helpful, they lament, if there was a downwardly scalable version that made sense for the less-expansive, though still complex, automation demands of their own equipment. The advantages of working in the same automation framework as customers would bring advantages in design compatibility, faster configuration and startup, and easier diagnostic and troubleshooting.

Wonderware says help is on the way. It claims it now has a scalable product for machine and skid builders, whose process industry customers use its ArchestrA platform services.

    

ArchestrA provides the infrastructure of primary functional services that are common to virtually all industrial automation applications.

 

ArchestrA is an Invensys technology developed by Wonderware to aid software application development. Wonderware packages ArchestrA technology inside its Industrial Application Server (IAS) development and run-time environment, InTouch View, and Industrial SQL Server historian. IAS 2.1, released in December 2005, supported only large-scale, distributed, network-based operation.
At the time of release, the company still was completing the testing and packaging of a new single-node functionality, and says it’s now available in IAS 2.1

“In the past, ArchestrA’s platform services were intended to be used only across a TCP/IP network with a distributed network of PCs,” says Nancy Venable, Wonderware’s VAR/OEM program manager. “From there, the PCs had the ability to run and interact with any ArchestrA-based application.” 

This latest release of IAS allows ArchestrA’s platform services to be installed along with InTouch visualization and Industrial SQL Server historian on a single PC. This makes ArchestrA technology viable for small-system applications that use one PC instead of a network, and that use Microsoft single-node operating environments such as Windows XP Pro and Microsoft SQL Server Personal Edition, as opposed to larger Microsoft server editions. Wonderware originally was developed as a single PC, standalone HMI, and many single-node applications are in service today.

All the resulting applications now can be scaled up or down from a standalone node to a multi-node configuration that involves hundreds of computers and up to 1 million I/O, claims Venable.

“The single-node solution allows VARs and OEMs such as machine and skid builders, as well as system integrators and smaller process and batch process end-users to take advantage of ArchestrA’s benefits without having to install and support a network of PCs and servers,” Venable continues. The expected benefits, claims the company, include lower cost of implementation with application template libraries, and solutions that can seamlessly integrate into end users’ existing systems.

Similar to its multi-node version, the single-node implementation of ArchestrA is built on open industry standards including Microsoft’s .NET and SQL Server, and also supports OPC, XML, SQL, OLEDB, ISA-88 and ISA-95.

“The basic architecture of ArchestrA provides software cost relief for OEMs, since they can combine best-of-breed application modules just by plugging them into the framework,” says Venable. “In the past, OEMs often had to purchase software bundles that provided more functionality than they really needed. This will no longer be an issue because software package suppliers will find it easier to unbundle their offerings.”

Steve Garbrecht, Wonderware’s infrastructure and platforms product marketing manager, adds, “The Industrial Application Server’s new user-defined object enables developers to continue to use Wonderware’s default application object templates, and create their own company standards with the necessary balance of sophistication and ease of use.”

Venable says ArchestrA provides the infrastructure of primary functional services that are common to virtually all industrial automation applications. It separates these from the applications themselves to provide the flexibility OEMs need for easier handling of visualization, scripting, security, licensing, events/alarms, historian/time series data, data reporting, maintenance, administration, diagnostics and customization issues. “OEMs instead can concentrate on their domain expertise to build a more functional system for the customer,” concludes Venable.


  Product Exclusive Contact Information
For more information about this Product Exclusive, call Wonderware at 949/459-9696, or browse to www.wonderware.com.
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