Wonderware made several industrial software announcements at its event in Orlando the beginning of October. I decided not to go, since I was already committed to so many trips in September and October and November. Good thing—I missed the rendezvous with Matthew the Hurricane.
Touted as the major introduction of the show, Wonderware by Schneider Electric introduced an application dubbed Prometheus. Four years in development, Prometheus is described as a metadata manager by Scott Clark, Director of Control Configuration, the leader of the effort.
I’ve taken several days to interview a number of people and think about this before writing. At first I thought of it as an Integrated Development Environment or perhaps as a successor to InFusion—the Enterprise Control System. It is sort of those, but it is a high level open programming environment that automates complex configuration tasks and enables the configuration of control components, regardless of type or brand. It can supervise and visualize a plant-wide control system as well as program parts of it and deploy to any of a number of control targets from PLCs to Raspberry Pi.
It also integrates well with Wonderware HMI/SCADA.
Clark continues, “One tool to configure and manage your entire control system, without limitation. Prometheus is comprehensive and intelligent. It structures and simplifies the entire development process, delivering benefits to everyone on the control team.”
Control code is developed in Prometheus and saved to an XML file. The file is targeted to an IEC 61131 ladder diagram which can be targeted to a specific platform through a template. Schneider Electric has developed some templates, but the door is open for systems integrators to develop their own. The target file can be Structured Text, C, C#, or other languages.
For the operations team, Prometheus delivers total transparency with an online view of executing logic, and total control with simulation to override faults to keep the process running; no more jumping wires in the cabinet or forcing values in the controller. And with real time process monitoring during change deployment, it is now possible to implement process improvement, and safely deploy to the controller, without disruption.
As an example, say in Prometheus I create a set of code that may do the logic for a valve with a couple limit switches. Then I put some interlock code, setpoint code, etc. Finally I create a model that says my target is a Schneider Modicon PLC, a Siemens PLC, a Rockwell PLC, or a Raspberry Pi
From there you go online with Prometheus to see the code executing at runtime. Also sometime either before or after the code deploy to the PLC it also deploys code to System Platform so you have your HMI objects ready to go.
Wonderware Online InStudio, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering “revolutionizes the way software engineers, Systems Integrators and end users can provision, develop, test and maintain their HMI and SCADA applications.” This collection of industrial data aggregation, storage and visualization functionalities is now called Wonderware Online InSight, built on Microsoft Azure.
Wonderware Online InStudio is a secure, cloud subscription service that lets Systems Integrators overlay a next-generation infrastructure that is highly available and scalable. This offering supports improved collaboration during the development process across geographies and roles. InStudio provides a multifaceted environment used for development, testing, version management, and training.
Friends have told me that the bigger story of the conference was an updated System Platform now called InTouch Omni. “The engineering and runtime experience for visualization are now very different and really, really good. No more InTouch required for visualization runtime (even though they call it InTouch).
Beta users and third party application developers are now being actively sought. Not being shy about the new product, Schneider marketers say they need people “to help usher in a new generation of operations management. So dramatic is this next generation product that a new industry descriptive term is warranted – Operations Management Interface, or OMI.”
Improvements include an improved UI visual experience, expanded web-based access and an enhanced ability to access and aggregate Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) data.