Unlocking the Power of .NET for Industrial Automation
Industrial application developers have had two main options for interacting with production processes via programmable logic controllers (PLCs): they can buy a preprogrammed monolithic, shrink-wrapped human machine interface (HMI), complete and ready to go or they can customize their own solutions.
Shrink-wrapped HMI software packages are appealing because many complex tasks are hidden from you. Purchase the development software from an authorized distributor, load it into your development PC and then configure, debug and test. Then, just deploy the necessary runtime applications, data servers and configuration files on to your target PC or PCs. What could be easier?
But cookie-cutter HMI software solutions might not necessarily be the best or most practical approach for your specific industrial applications.
For one thing, while the shrink-wrapped HMI software packages enable connections to other vendors' devices, software, and systems via OPC or other standards, such connectivity is seldom adequate for high security or real-time control. And no matter how advanced the integration technology the package uses, you will end up lagging behind the technology curve. For example, if you had bought a package using the distributed common object model (DCOM) and wanted to benefit from advances in security and robustness that Microsoft had made since you bought the package, you would have to buy a new package. Moreover, the monolithic nature of the shrink-wrapped offerings often makes it difficult to embed third-party capabilities directly into your solution, thus limiting your options further.
Then there's training. Because the development environment and behavior of each HMI vendor's software varies, you'll need to acquire specialized skills to accomplish similar tasks. Training courses, material costs and schedules also vary by HMI publisher and many times are offered only through exclusive distributor channels. You could consider hiring outside help, but because of the specialized training and experience, the talent pool can be relatively shallow and therefore proportionately expensive.
And for many, cost of multiple deployments is an even bigger issue. Before you can actually deploy your solution to PCs, portable devices, or Web servers, you must typically have to pay for additional runtime software licenses. If you have more than a couple of users, this could amount to a considerable expense, often making this approach cost-prohibitive, especially if you are paying for more functionality than you actually never need.
Finally, there are the intangibles. As well-designed and flexible as these shrinkwrapped solutions might be, they almost always force compromises that would not be necessary if the solution were custom built for your specific applications. Whether that is a matter of function or just pride, it can be significant determining your satisfaction with the resulting interface.
Selecting the Right HMI Vendor
An HMI partner not only provides the product, but also provides assistance or guidance in HMI application development, training and tools to help you take advantage of technology that reduces overall factory costs. The HMI vendor you select will greatly impact your overall total cost of ownership for not only the HMI, but your processes and machines as well. This white paper will help you determine the needs and wants of your own internal operations that will be used to align company operations requirements with a best fit HMI vendor that provides the right mix of product and service offering.
Signal Isolators, Converters and Interfaces: The Ins and Outs
The white paper features extensive information on signal isolation and conversion, the instrument selection process, and effective applications. It includes pop-up Isolator Selection Hints, links to data sheets and to helpful areas on Moore Industries web site. The white paper has a tutorial on the basics of signal isolation and signal conversion. The guide moves through more complex topics such as area isolation and splitting a signal, and includes sections on HART isolators and multi-channel isolators. This document provides information on environmental factors to consider when selecting an isolator.
Moore Industries-International, Inc.
The "WinCC Security Concept" documentation contains recommended and mandatory procedures for planning and building secure, networked WinCC automation solutions with connected Web clients, SIMATIC IT applications and office networks based on customer specifications. This documentation serves as both a reference and a guide for network administrators working in the following areas:
Configuration of WinCC
Commissioning and servicing of WinCC
Management of company networks
It is intended to facilitate cooperation.
Video Process Monitoring
The white paper describes the hardware and software elements of a video process monitoring system, how it uses the plants industrial network to transmit video to the control system and how the video images appear on HMI screens.
Steve Rubin, President & CEO, Longwatch Inc.
Integrated Electrical and Automation Systems
As process plants get larger and more complex, automation systems must handle an ever-increasing number of signals. At the same time, the number of electric consumers increases, making an electrical control system essential. The electrical control system is an automation system in itself, providing an interface between the process control and the electric consumers and actuators. ABB takes responsibility for all these systems and their integration. By letting ABB handle the integration and all the interfaces, customers benefit from faster project execution, reduced re-engineering, higher quality and higher operational efficiency.
Video Process Monitoring
Today, there are two primary ways to monitor a process: in person, by walking around the plant, or from a control room via an HMI screen. But there is a third way: Watching the process via camera monitors that put images directly on the HMI screen or onto a cell phone or PDA. That way, you don't have to wonder what's happening at the process unit. You can see it.
Steve Rubin, President & CEO, Longwatch, Inc.
Applied Alarm Management Using Six Sigma
The Control article "Six Sigma Alarm Management" highlights an end user's experience applying Six Sigma practices to his alarm management effort. This white paper by TiPS, explores why Six Sigma is such a good companion for an alarm management program and outlines various ways Six Sigma can be incorporated into the alarm management workflow.
High bright displays: Get the picture
This white paper will cover display technologies, indicate which is best for industrial applications, discuss market and technology trends, and finally make recommendations about what to look for in a display.
The real cause of alarm problems
When considering the dizzying array of factors that influence alarm design and performance, it becomes clear that the alarm system is a hotly contested item. This technical paper notes the many factors that impact the performance of an alarm system and where alarm management fits in.
The evolution of PC bus technologies
PCs running Microsoft Windows and other operating systems have worked their way into a wide variety of industrial applications, experiencing growth that outstrips competing solutions. As a result, the guts of a PC and the evolution of those components have become ever more important in automation. This White Paper provides an overview of Windows XP for embedded applications (boot options, communications and networking, memory management, protection, target system, and development tools).
Rate your plant's alarm system performance
Poorly performing alarm systems swamp operators with floods of nuisance alarms, reducing their effectiveness and your plant's overall performance. Find out how your alarm system compares to the industry standard, EEMUA's document 191. Learn how to optimize your alarm system, resulting in improved process reliability, productivity and safety.
Why buy industrial computers?
Industrial personal computer (IPC) technology is used in ever increasing volume in the manufacturing environment. This White Paper provides a report for OEMs and manufacturers who use computers in their manufacturing equipment and processes.
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The purpose of this article is to improve the understanding of tray cables by defining them, describing the five different types of tray cables and providing accepted uses and standards, including environmental considerations, for each of those types.