FactoryTalk Editions Reach Out and Coordinate Data Treasure

Rockwell Automation Describes Two New FactoryTalk Applications: Historian ME (Machine Edition) and VantagePoint EMI (Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence).

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All the data in the world isn't worth spit until you can find it, secure it and coordinate it to make useful decisions.

However, most control and automation users typically have many data values they can't reach fast enough, humongous piles of unorganized information and numerous applications and facilities that can't easily share and compare data between them.

To help lead users out of this wilderness, Rockwell Automation has launched new editions of its FactoryTalk Historian and FactoryTalk VantagePoint software that greatly enhance their existing capabilities and allow users to quickly find and gather the gems in their data, and then coordinate information sources between applications, sites and systems to enable far better decision making.

Rockwell Automation released its FactoryTalk Historian Machine Edition (ME) machine-level data historian and FactoryTalk VantagePoint Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence (EMI) business intelligence software for manufacturing at Automation Fair 2009 this week in Anaheim, Calif.

"FactoryTalk Historian ME is ported to run in a module on a Logix controller's backplane," said Keith McPherson, Rockwell Software market development director. "And getting the historian as close as you can get to where the data is generated allows far higher-speed data access, including scan rates down to 10 to 25 milliseconds. This is especially useful for pharmaceutical and food and beverage users and other regulated applications and customers that must thoroughly document all of their operations."

To help users reduce the risk of machine downtime and reach continuous process improvement goals, FactoryTalk Historian ME runs on an embedded, solid-state module hardened for on-machine data collection, which features a limited software footprint, no moving parts and reduces risk of data loss due to network or other system interruptions. Despite the machine-focused orientation that its name might imply, FactoryTalk Historian ME can access data, not just from individual machines, but also from whole applications and entire facility sites. Also, McPherson added that FactoryTalk Historian ME also can work in conjunction with Rockwell Automation's Plant PAx process data automation system. 

"Users typically connect their data servers up to their plant historians, but this is 10 times slower than what we can do with FactoryTalk Historian ME," explained Jan Pingel, FactoryTalk Historian product manager.     

In addition, FactoryTalk Historian ME helps manufacturers transform manufacturing intelligence into process improvements by leveraging reliable, real-time production data to improve product quality, speed time to market, and support regulatory compliance.

Rockwell Automation designed the application as part of a distributed, tiered architecture that allows users in different locations and at different operating levels to view and analyze role-appropriate historical data. For example, operators can view data from the specific machine they're using, while plant-level supervisors can view individual machines or complete lines to build real-time comparisons against standards and assess critical batch or process performance. Meanwhile, senior management can use the same technology to develop executive dashboards that compare key performance indicators (KPIs) of production activity across multiple locations.

In short, everyone can draw whatever type of information they need—and now they all draw it from the same well.

"In today's global economy, visibility to manufacturing data is critical at all levels of operations," said Pingel. "FactoryTalk Historian ME software improves manufacturing intelligence by providing a new level of visibility into production operations. By integrating data from a machine-level historian with data from a plant-level historian, operations can now locate and correct sources of inefficiencies more quickly to improve manufacturing consistency, energy use and first-pass quality."

Its stand-alone design also makes FactoryTalk Historian ME's module ideal for remote data capture in challenging environments, such as drilling rigs, wells and other previously inaccessible locations. The software helps reduce implementation time because it's directly installed in the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix backplane, then auto-detects the controllers and configures all relevant tags to be historized. The application also leverages backplane communication to increase the speed of data collection and provide more granular data than is possible on a traditional, network-connected plant historian.

Finally, FactoryTalk Historian ME allows machine builders to pre-qualify data collection on their machines to speed up on-site installation, configuration and validation efforts. Data-capture capabilities produce granular, historical data that helps provide effective sequence-of-events analysis, improving both product quality and customer satisfaction. For machine builders in highly regulated industries, the application provides continuous uptime and reliability to help meet government regulations.

Coordinating Multiple Data Sources

On the business intelligence side, Rockwell Automation launched its FactoryTalk VantagePoint EMI software for manufacturing. FactoryTalk VantagePoint EMI empowers users at every level of an enterprise with information from web-based dashboards, and reports on key performance indicators (KPIs) from multiple manufacturing and business data sources. Manufacturers can better monitor and manage productivity in real time and make more insightful decisions about business priorities, such as product quality, equipment utilization and global supply-chain management to help reduce costs.

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