HMI-SCADA vendor Iconics has released GENESIS64, which company spokesmen say is the first industrial automation software platform certified for Microsoft Vista and Windows Server 2008. Genesis64 also takes advantage of other new Microsoft technology, including Windows Presentation Foundation, hardware-accelerated graphics for 3D imaging,Windows Communications Foundation, Sidebars/Gadgets/Sideshow, User Account Control, Windows Vista Search & Organize and Vista-enhanced Virtual Earth, as well as .NET-managed code.
According to Russ Agrusa, Iconics president and CEO, “GENESIS64 is the first product for manufacturing and automation to take advantage of the growing popularity of 64-bit computing technology. Coupled with the innovative capabilities found in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the GENESIS64 suite’s next-generation features provide customers with a 360-degree view of their entire organization.”
Evolving the software platform from 32-bit to 64-bit technology took seven years and involved 80 man-years of work, according to Agrusa. “The move from 32- to 64-bit computing is just one more example of how quickly technology is marching on,” commented Agrusa, who proudly admitted that he still has the original PC he bought in Michael Dell’s dorm room.
The announcement came at the company's 2008 Global Customer Conference, held at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center on the Boston waterfront. More than three hundred Iconics customers attended. Some of the more recognizable companies represented at the conference included Ahlstrom, Alcoa, Bausch and Lomb, Camp Dresser & McKee, Eli Lilly, General Dynamics, Heineken, Hess Corporation, IBM, Kongsberg Marine, American Water, Oxy, Inc., Parsons, Pfizer and Unisys.
Other new product introductions made included a new 64-bit, Hyper Historian. Like GENESIS64, the Hyper Historian is the first plant historian certified for Microsoft Visa and Microsoft Server 2008. It uses a “swinging door” algorithm for high-speed data collection, with data logging rates up to 50,000 data events per second. “This is a breakthrough product for large-scale applications requiring robust data collection,” said Agrusa. “Iconics took a look at past SQL-based data historians and has developed the first, 64-bit, real-time, plant-wide data historian in the market.”
Microsoft Corp. also had an extremely strong presence at the conference. This is appropriate since Iconics was one of the first HMI/SCADA software companies to implement Microsoft technology and remains a leading implementer of Microsoft technology in the industrial automation space. In 2007, Microsoft recognized ICONICS as a “Trailblazer Partner.” Microsoft marketing and technical executives were on hand to familiarize attendees on the latest Microsoft technology, reiterate Microsoft’s capabilities within the industrial automation industry and articulate the importance of the relationship between the two companies.
“We’re pleased to see Iconics focus on integrating the powerful features of Windows Vista into their solution,” commented Robert Doi, Vista Group product marketing manager with Microsoft. “Iconics and GENESIS64 are helping to drive Windows Vista’s adoption and are enhancing the user experience for industrial automation users.”
Iconics also announced Version 9.1 of its popular GENESIS32 product suite. Agrusa made it clear that the company would continue to support, improve and develop GENESIS32, which represents its bread and butter and remains key to the company’s future growth. An interesting new Productivity Analytics product was also announced as part of Iconics’ “BizViz” manufacturing intelligence suite. Built on top of existing Iconics and Microsoft technology, Productivity Analytics provides intuitive charts and visualization for real-time decision support.
Several different conference presentations effectively demonstrated the power of the new 64-bit technology relative to the current GENESIS32 applications.
Michael Masse, president of Quebec-based Simsmart Technologies, first demonstrated a dynamic simulation and optimization solution his company developed for ventilation systems in the mining industry. This real-world solution, which integrates Simsmart’s own engineering suite with GENESIS32, dynamically calculates optimal air flows throughout a mine, depending on which diesel engines are running at any moment. The solution then sends the optimal controller setpoints (via OPC) to PLCs. According to Masse, this solution has been proven to enable aggressive energy management in a mine, which can translate into energy savings of 30% to 50%, with improved air flows.
To drive home the difference between the 32-bit GENESIS32 technology and the new 64-bit GENESIS64 technology, Masse then demonstrated the same optimization solution running in GENESIS64. During this demonstration, developed in conjunction with Iconics engineers, Masse navigated throughout all levels and areas of the mine in three dimensions, clicking on any equipment to instantly access 3D dashboards. Masse said he was amazed by the capability of the new software.
Paul Miller, contributing editor