Control News from Europe

Here are excerpts from the November 2007 issue of Andrew Bond’s Industrial Automation Insider, a monthly newsletter covering the important industrial automation news and issues as seen from the U.K.

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Come on ARC, time to look to your laurels!

Invensys’ Sees First Fruits of Its Cimnet Acquisition

The first fruits of Invensys’ acquisition of MES software developer Cimnet have emerged in the form of a new release of Wonderware’s Equipment Performance Module (EPM) or, for those who can cast their minds back to pre System Platform days, what used to be called DT Analyst.

This latest version, EPM 2.0, is built on Cimnet’s Factelligence technology and is said to combine “ArchestrA industrial service-oriented architecture technology with the latest InTouch 10.0 Human Machine Interface (HMI) and System Platform 3.0 software.” If that sounds something of a tautology that’s probably because we were being told at last month’s launch that both InTouch 10.0 and System Platform 3.0 were themselves based on ArchestrA.

Be that as it may, the results are claimed to be significantly enhanced capabilities, including the ability to correlate equipment performance metrics, such as downtime or OEE, with broader MES functions including formula management, process history, product traceability and genealogy and statistical process control. Other claimed benefits include “vivid graphical visualization of equipment performance” and expanded capabilities for localization and internationalization. Integration with System Platform 3.0 is also claimed to allow the combination of a flexible plant application model with the Factelligence production model.

One result of the launch of System Platform 3.0 and InTouch 10.0 had seemed to be a clarification of the relationship between them. That new clarity doesn’t seem to have filtered through to the marketing team, however. Witness the following from marketing program manager Claus Abildgren: “Within a few short months, Wonderware has been able to integrate Factelligence technology from the recent Cimnet acquisition, proven ArchestrA technology and the newest generation of InTouch 10.0 HMI visualization software to create a superior performance management solution for our customers.”

If that doesn’t confuse you over what is or is not the difference between InTouch and System
Platform and of their relationship to ArchestrA then the next part of the release, which says “Wonderware is offering complete software solution bundles that include EPM 2.0, System Platform 3.0 and InTouch 10.0 HMI,” probably will—surely that “and” should be an “or.” Still, confused or otherwise, current Wonderware Factelligence, DT Analyst and EPM 1.0 customers will be relieved to hear that they will continue to be supported on their current software releases and will be able to expand their solutions with future versions of both Factelligence and EPM.

Also newly announced by Wonderware are four new DA Servers, designed and tested to support the Omron FINS Serial, FINS Ethernet, HostLink Serial and E5 Series protocols for communicating with a variety of Omron PLCs and temperature controllers.

Invensys on the Move

Word reaches us that Invensys Process Systems is moving its headquarters from the eponymous Foxboro, Massachusetts, to Texas. In doing so IPS is following in the footsteps of fellow process automation vendors Yokogawa and most recently ABB. However, whereas they have both transferred their HQs to the heart of the U.S. oil and gas, petrochem and contracting industries, Houston, IPS is moving to Dallas. That seemingly perverse decision becomes less so when one recalls that IPS president Paulett Eberhart spent more than 25 years with Dallas-based EDS before joining IPS and, according to JimPinto’s Invensys weblog, allegedly still owns property close by. Mike Caliel, whose resignation as IPS president was attributed in part to the strain placed on his family by his regular weekly commute from Houston to Foxboro, must be wondering why he didn’t think of that.

Further news on the Pinto grapevine is of Lance Vandenbrook, managing director of APV Americas, who is said also to be on his way to Dallas to become vice president of sales for IPS. Vandenbrook is credited in some quarters with having turned things around for APV in the U.S. but, to judge by the Pinto blog, is not exactly universally admired!

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