We polled four leading software vendors to find out what they’re seeing in the future of the industrial software market.
Eric Schwantler, ClearScada product manager, Control Microsystems commented that “although process control software is a mature technology, it continues to evolve. Government compliance and reporting requirements, such as reporting spills within two hours, are driving the need for data logging to ensure ‘no holes in data’ even if network communication is down or intermittent.”
Tien-Li Chia, PhD, president of ControlSoft, feels “the reduction in or retirement of experienced plant technical personnel is creating a need for industrial software tools with functionality that captures a knowledge base of the best or optimal performance indicators of the plant. Besides providing a knowledge foundation for replacement of technical staff, the software tools must also provide higher-level KPI reporting capability for all plant management levels.”
Ric Snyder, senior product manager, Pavilion Technologies, Rockwell Automation, says, “More than ever, manufacturers need to maximize efficiency, improve and maintain quality standards, and reduce energy costs and raw material consumption — all while adhering to increasingly strict environmental compliance regulations. They will address these issues with a combination of advanced regulatory control technology, model-predictive control and optimization.”
Craig Thorsland, GE Fanuc product marketing manager suggests that “customers are looking for tighter integration between graphical faceplates and the controllers.”
Version 10.5 GENESIS64 64-bit, Web-enabled, OPC-integrated HMI/SCADA software suite simplifies connectivity from the plant floor to corporate business systems. Certified to Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, .NET and SharePoint technology, it integrates real-time manufacturing and business information into a common, Web-enabled visualization dashboard. It incorporates Silverlight cloud service technology, delivering the next generation of .NETbased media experiences and interactive applications for the Web.
Integrated Architecture production control and information system now includes Stratix family, advanced process control and safety functionality and three Logix programmable automation controllers (PACs) for midrange end users. Advanced process control features include runtime partial import/export functionality, APC function blocks and controller online change logging.
Siemens Energy & Automation
SIMATIC PCS 7 single platform software integrates new and existing automation systems (process, batch, discrete and safety) and devices (instrumentation, analytics, motors, drives and safety instrumented function) within a single platform. The system has common tools for engineering, visualization and plant-wide asset and maintenance management.
Dream Report software offers a reporting option for the viewing and reporting of historic data and is an integrated reporting solution for industrial automation. Compatible with a variety of server options, it extracts data from almost any data source and automatically provides a report via automatic or manual reports or a Web portal.
Unity Pro advanced application software allows the full development of applications, including online updates and simulation with debug functions on Modicon Quantum Premium and M340 programmable controllers. The software allows simple upgrades from smaller Unity packages to larger offers or more user licenses.
Think & Do version 8.0 incorporates the same instruction set of its predecessor Think & Do Studio that provides such functionality as the integrated SQL command set. It incorporates a new grid-based flowchart editor and an integrated HMI package. The HMI provides real-time and historical trending and alarming, along with ActiveX, MS.NET and VB script support.
Pac Project version 8.0 includes control programming, HMI development, OPC connectivity and enterprise database integration components. It comes with Secure Strategy Distribution encryption and user authentication, HMI security and increased support for advanced digital I/O point features such as pulsing, totalization and time proportional outputs.
Proficy HMI/SCADA—iFIX 5.0 HMI/SCADA software comes with Look ‘N’ Feel for Workspace and Database Manager, based on the Microsoft Fluent User Interface (UI) technology. The UI follows the ribbon bar concept which allows users to access tools during application development and configure Quick Access Toolbars to access frequently used tools. The UI organizes all the configuration tools in the form of Galleries that provide a view of all available options on the go and reduces the user’s “time to access.”
ClearSCADA 2009 Edition Host software supports 64-bit operating systems, enabling customers to use the latest server hardware for their critical infrastructure and giving them larger database sizes. External programs can connect to the ClearSCADA server with .NET API, and perform actions such as configuration and system monitoring and control. The software also integrates Kepware’s KEPServerEX OPC server which boosts connectivity with a range of third-party devices.
Gp-Pro EX Version 2.2 HMI development software includes multimedia capability, remote PC access, high-speed device linking and built-in control logic editor. The software is designed to speed application development for both OEMs and end users that need to standardize on one HMI package that supports both Microsoft Windows-based systems and dedicated operator interfaces. Other features include local and remote security and traceability.