Lots of interesting new products and news in the automation space from Autodesk, Emerson Process Management, GE Intelligent Platforms, Nivis, PAS and Wind River.

Autodesk Inc.,  has unveiled a family of software suites for visual, factory and plant design. The suites for visual, plant and factory design are the first releases of the new family of design suites aimed to address industry workflows. The design suites will provide strong interoperability between the products, and a range of capabilities for design and visualization. The first three suites are:

  • Autodesk Design Suite for architects and designers working with AutoCAD software who desire enhanced concept design, sketching and best-in-class 3D visualization capabilities. The primary products in this suite include AutoCAD, 3ds Max Design and Alias Design.
  • Autodesk Factory Design Suite for machine and equipment builders, system integrators and manufacturers who design, visualize and simulate layouts of machine lines and entire manufacturing facilities. Autodesk Factory Design Suite helps manufacturers make better layout decisions by creating a digital prototype of the factory before equipment is installed and commissioned. The primary products in this suite include AutoCAD Architecture, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Vault and Autodesk Navisworks.
  • Autodesk Plant Design Suite for plant designers and engineers who need integrated plant design and whole-project review capabilities for plant design projects. The primary products in this suite are AutoCAD, AutoCAD P&ID, AutoCAD Plant 3D and Autodesk Navisworks.

Emerson Process Management has unveiled a Web-based interactive tool that allows users to experience wireless technologies in a plant virtually. The 3-D model of a refinery/petrochemical plant features customer-inspired applications.

GE Intelligent Platforms, the Charlottesville, Va.-based automation supplier, announced additions to its software Proficy Accelerator series. Accelerator was launched to provide users a way to get manufacturing software projects up and running quickly. On June 29, it announced a new offering, Centerlining. Companies today need a way to automatically track all the data they accumulate from operations, figure out what is “normal‚” and when things are off track so they can “manage by exception.” Centerlining, also called run-to-target, helps reduce variability and increase efficiency. The goal of the Proficy Accelerator for Centerlining is to reduce costs due to material losses and other waste from process and product variability, as well as increase throughput and yield.

Other modules in the series include Production Efficiency, Change Management, Manufacturing Energy Management and Packaging Performance.

Nivis, the Atlanta-based wireless technology supplier, announced the release of Nivis WirelessHart Gateway. This dual protocol product includes not only the WirelessHart protocol promulgated by the Hart Communication Foundation, but also that of the ISA 100.11a standard promulgated by the International Society of Automation. The gateway is available for order now with delivery slated for this summer.

ProSoft Technology, the Bakersfield, Calif. industrial communications supplier, announced support of the Industrial Hotspot series of radios in conjunction with Sweet William Automation’s new ScadaMobile application for the iPhone/iPod platform. The application is designed to provide engineers with access to live process control variables, and the ability to modify this data remotely from their iPhones.

Functionally, the application creates a secure wireless interface between an iPhone device and an existing 802.11 wireless network on the plant-floor, effectively allowing an iPhone device to read Modbus TCP/IP and EtherNet/IP process control variables from Programmable Automation Controllers / Programmable Logic Controllers (PAC/PLCs) distributed throughout their plants. These live values are displayed in stylized lists and include user-established variance allowances and alarms. Engineers are able to monitor these variables in real time and make adjustments on the fly from an iPhone device.

According to ProSoft Training Manager, Chris Hines, this solution has limited human-machine interface capability, but it allows personnel in any type of facility to remotely monitor live values. “You just pop the phone open, launch an app and see live values.”

PAS, Houston-based supplier of software products and consulting services to processing industries, has released Integrity Recon, which is said to improve the reliability of automation systems built upon Microsoft Windows-based platforms. The application  monitors and reports vital information and vulnerabilities about automation infrastructure. This not only helps the automation organization to better manage their system infrastructure, but it also allows IT to securely monitor different aspects of the control systems, such as license management.

Integrity Recon simplifies compliance with Common Operating  Environments(COEs), which are uniform configurations of hardware and software that enable security, reliability, and facilitate troubleshooting. Integrity Recon monitors the installed software, hardware, and operating system configurations for the servers, work stations, and desktop computers on the PCN and provides notification of any discrepancies from the defined COE. This capability of Integrity Recon also facilitates software and hardware upgrades by identifying existing components and versions, while simultaneously verifying the prerequisites for new ones.

WindRiver, the Alameda, Calif. supplier of embedded and mobile software, has a couple of announcements. It has updated its Tilcon Graphics Suite which is used for development and deployment of rich graphical user interfaces for embedded devices. It now supports Open Graphics Library (OpenGL) 3D  that
enables highly customizable and rapid development of high-end GUIs to create improved enduser
experiences across a variety of hardware platforms and operating systems, particularly in
the aerospace and defense, industrial, and medical market segments. It is  is fully integrated with the latest versions of VxWorks and Wind River Linux as well as Windows CE, Windows XP, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu.
  WindRiver also announced support for Microsoft Windows XP as a guest operating system for its Hypervisor for Intel-based platforms. Device and systems manufacturers can now run Windows XP simultaneously with other operating systems such as VxWorks or WindRiver Linus on a single piece of silicon.

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