GE Fanuc launches intelligent production software, services

Charlottesville, VA—To increase productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage by enabling real-time enterprises, GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. has introduced its new Proficy Intelligent Production Solutions software.


Charlottesville, VA— To increase productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage by enabling real-time enterprises, GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. has introduced its new Proficy Intelligent Production Solutions software. The company says Proficy provides a full range of integrated, easy-to-use software applications and services, and is available now. GE Fanuc is a unit of GE Infrastructure.

In conjunction with GE’s manufacturing-domain expertise and Six Sigma methodologies, Proficy controls and optimizes processes by gathering, analyzing, and transforming data into useful information. This allows users to operate in real time, and helps them ensure that production runs smoothly, efficiently, and with greater return on investment.

“The demand for speed, agility and responsiveness in production operations has never been greater,” said Kevin Roach, GE Fanuc’s global solutions VP, during the firm’s virtual press conference on June 16. “As a result, real-time performance management, which offers the most significant opportunity for revolutionizing manufacturing, must be the cornerstone for every profitable company. GE understands this critical need, and can deliver the seamless, knowledge-based infrastructure that brings together business and manufacturing for improved performance across an entire enterprise.

“Proficy consolidates the alphabet soup of disparate systems into an integrated architecture. It’s a fully integrated software suite for manufacturers, not just an integrated framework.”

Featuring a wide range of unified modules to meet individual requirements, Proficy allows information to be shared freely between business and plant-floor applications, helping organizations to better plan, execute, and deliver to meet customers’ needs and improve their competitiveness. The software’s modules are focused on specific production requirements, and can be implemented individually or as part of an overall solution. Proficy’s open architecture allows companies to start with a single point solution and expand as needed—from one machine to a production line to a plant to an enterprise, or from one machine operator to thousands of global users. By embracing and extending a company’s existing equipment and technologies, Proficy also helps users leverage an installed base of automation assets for faster implementation and return on investment.

“Manufacturers recognize that each and every process provides a vital link to real-time data for the enterprise as a whole, which is especially critical with the move toward real-time performance management (RPM), which uses dynamic performance targets to drive an enterprise to its optimum potential and competitive advantage,” added Craig Resnick, ARC Advisory Group’s research director, during the press conference. “Categorized as manufacturing performance services (MPS) software, Proficy provides a common basis for using manufacturing information from plant-floor to enterprise systems and business partners, delivering manufacturing visualization and information to people, processes, and applications. This results in new performance capabilities for users at the plant-level and throughout the distributed manufacturing enterprise and supply network.”

Examples of Proficy’s integrated infrastructure include:

  • Unified data model, which integrates all production applications by function, and configures data context according to the user’s specific production environment;

  • Shared security, which defines and manages one set of users and user rights across all modules; and

  • Change management, which manages critical plant software assets with version control, security and audit trail capabilities.

“GE’s industrial productivity software has evolved over more than 25 years from its roots in large project implementations by our corporate consulting organization to robust, easy-to-use, highly configurable manufacturing productivity software,” Roach explained. “The resulting lay-ered, step-wise approach in Proficy to human machine interface (HMI), machine and plant supervisory control, production management, quality, asset management, and plant analytics makes these powerful capabilities available to all OEMs and manufacturers.

“Using Six Sigma’s rigor to meet our customers’ needs, we’ve built on our capabilities; acquired additional, proven solutions; and developed a new integrated platform with one of the most powerful toolsets available today. We’re using these technologies in our own world-class manufacturing facilities and, as we’ve done in the past, combined them with our application knowledge-base to bring the real-time enterprise and resulting competitive advantages to customers.”

Proficy’s other capabilities include:

Real-time information portal
A web-based production intelligence solution enables companies to collect, aggregate, and disseminate data from multiple, disparate, back-end sources, and securely deliver a personalized view with a browser or Internet-enabled device. This consistent and timely view of all information allows employees, customers and suppliers to act on real-time information, resulting in better and faster decision-making. The solution delivers data to key decision-making platforms, such as ERP, supply chain and CRM, extending investment in these systems. Its modules include Proficy Real-Time Information Portal.

Plant performance and execution
Based on 10 years of experience providing production execution systems to major manufacturers, GE Fanuc offers automated production scheduling, tracking, broadcast, and routing control. These newly expanded systems enable flexibility in executing manufacturing schedules from ERP systems; monitoring production flow through the manufacturing facility; making automated routing decisions; and synchronizing subsystem delivery including external suppliers.

Also, these solutions integrate real-time performance management capabilities with order execution and inventory management, enabling production managers to make real-time decisions. Companies achieve closed-loop data integration, key performance indicator (KPI) monitoring and analysis, and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) management. These modules include Proficy Batch Execution, Proficy Batch Analysis, Proficy Efficiency, Proficy Production, and Proficy Tracker.

Integrated quality
Quality of parts, products, and processes is critical to predictable production yields that make key business decisions possible, and result in sellable goods. Systemic use of Six Sigma quality analysis; implementation of real-time quality monitoring (SPC); and long-term quality process correlations (SQC) are the differentiators in an effective manufacturing environment. The key to quality involves monitoring appropriate parameters, traceability, quick corrective implementation, sustainability of high levels of quality production, and compliance with industry regulations. These modules include Proficy Quality, Proficy Non-Conformance, and Proficy Shop Floor SPC.

Plant data repository
Supplementing run-time production and process tracking with automatic record keeping is essential in many advanced manufacturing environments. Also, ever-increasing regulations by government or industrial bodies make the irrefutable link between as-processed data and product genealogy mandatory. Electronic tracking, electronic batch recording and capturing electronic signatures from machines and personnel are becoming critical to the overall effectiveness of many production environments. Its modules include Proficy Historian.

Asset management
Significant investments in capital equipment mandate a systematic approach to maintaining that equipment for maximum performance, as well as to extend its useful life. Solutions are required that closely link maintenance tactics to the needs of the equipment and that utilize factory floor information to close the loop between equipment performance and machine status. Proactive monitoring equipment, on site and remotely, permits early recognition of problems and identification of corrective actions to dramatically increase user productivity and reduce downtime.

Also, software asset management and device relationship management help protect manufacturers’ investments by automatically monitoring, controlling, and protecting the wide range of data assets being generated throughout the manufacturing operation. As a result, manufacturers can achieve data security and greatly enhanced disaster recovery, enabling them to maintain operations, increase security, improve productivity and meet crucial regulatory requirements. These modules include Proficy Enterprise Asset Management, Proficy Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics, and Proficy Change Management.

By communicating with facility hardware and extracting real-time data from industrial processes, HMI and SCADA solutions help manufacturers visualize plant-floor operations; interact with the processes; manage alarms; perform supervisory automation; and deliver reliable production data to analytic and production applications. As a result, manufacturers can increase production, maximize quality and efficiency, and improve regulatory compliance via user accountability. These modules include Proficy HMI/SCADA—iFIX and Proficy HMI/SCADA--Cimplicity.

Control and operator interface
A universal development environment for machine-level control, including logic, motion and machine-level visualization, helps companies save time and speed products to market. Web-enabled functionality such as a built-in web server, delivers real-time data across the enterprise, while drag-and-drop editing and industry-standard technologies enable fast, powerful, object-oriented programming. These modules include Proficy View—Machine Edition, Proficy Logic Developer—Machine Edition, and Proficy Motion Developer—Machine Edition.

A successful automation solution involves a structured cycle, designed to align a company’s manufacturing practices with business objectives. Comprehensive assessment and analysis lead to a tailored solution design, integration, project management, implementation, improvement control and support, and financial return. These modules include Proficy GlobalCare Support, Proficy Professional Services, and Proficy Training.

Fianlly, as part of its strong commitment to the Proficy architecture, GE Fanuc adds that it will continuously bring new and innovative modules to users. Future modules will include:

  • Workflow, for allowing users to encapsulate complex business rules for a variety of tasks such as business system data exchanges and supplier non-conformance;

  • Enterprise reporting, for providing powerful business reporting from the Proficy Plant Datamart; and

  • A plant-wide alarming and advanced notification system for integrating alarms throughout the enterprise into one environment; and using modern wireless technologies for notification.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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