Rockwell Automation product managers took me through a number of new software initiatives at Automation Fair November 19. Here is a description of the enhancements to its Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software.
“Modern manufacturing requires modern MES. Manufacturers today have operations spanning time zones and continents; employees that need to collaborate as they travel between plants or work remotely; and complex and varied enterprise-, plant- and cloud-based information systems that must interface continuously.” To address all these needs, Rockwell Automation updated its FactoryTalk ProductionCentre manufacturing execution system (MES) software to improve application performance and scalability, speed deployment, and support mobile and cloud infrastructures.
“Manufacturers continue to investigate how to better leverage new technologies, like the cloud, to cut costs,” said Kevin Chao, senior director for Rockwell Software product marketing and engineering, Rockwell Automation. “With our latest iteration of the FactoryTalk ProductionCentre system, we’ve aligned to Java EE 7 and HTML5 standards. The application is now even easier to use and lets customers explore mobile and cloud-based solutions at reduced risk and infrastructure costs. Additional upgrades to the notification service and work flow structure improve process enforcement and reduce re-work.”
Technology Update: The latest iteration of the MES software has been refreshed to the latest Java Enterprise Edition 7 (EE7) standards. FactoryTalk ProductionCentre R10 software improves application performance and flexibility on the Web, and speeds time to value by reducing development and deployment effort, all while maintaining adherence to open standards.
Mobile and Cloud Support: New HTML5 zero-footprint, true, thin-client user interfaces (UIs) eliminate the need for virtual terminals, like Citrix, or terminal servers. Users can run the application in a Web browser, easily integrate it into an HMI terminal, and implement it across multiple networks without the need for local installation. This reduces IT capital costs and maintenance burdens. Additionally, the thin client UIs can be easily extended to mobile devices. Mobile applications leverage the existing FactoryTalk Security mechanisms built into FactoryTalk software freeing IT from supporting multiple configuration platforms.
I/O server: The new I/O server supports clustering and load balancing. Several FactoryTalk ProductionCentre I/O servers can be assigned a single IP address, so more servers can be added as the data load grows without impacting the application. Should an I/O server fail, a built-in failover capability will automatically switch data collection to another server in the cluster, helping to ensure high availability. The I/O server also provides store and forward services for controlled, real-time data exchange with remote or cloud-based databases.
Notification and Work Flow Flexibility: The FactoryTalk ProductionCentre R10 notification service now drives alerts based on work flow. Notifications are triggered by system-based events, such as an order start or out-of-spec quality event, letting operations know it is time to perform critical tasks, before, during or after production. Notifications can be tied to a specific work area, machine, equipment type or plant, and are sent to key stakeholders on a workstation or HMI via email or text, among other options.