Invensys, Microsoft, discuss RT solutions, applications

Unifying the approach to people, processes, and technologies was among recommendations given to more than 100 senior-level manufacturing professionals this month in Chicago at Invensys' and Microsoft's Plant Intelligence Conference.


Unifying the approach to people, processes, and technologies was among recommendations given to more than 100 senior-level manufacturing professionals this month in Chicago at Invensys ' and Microsoft 's Plant Intelligence Conference. The executives met with representatives from the two companies to learn more about using real-time (RT) plant information solutions to improve productivity. The event is one of several being offered around the world by Invensys and Microsoft over the next two months. The half-day session focused on how Invensys' software tools based on Microsoft technology can help plants increase performance, reduce production costs, and improve returns on investments. Among the highlights were a review of the recent Invensys and Microsoft alliance that includes adoption of the .Net platform for key architecture, products and solutions, and detailed looks at a number of plant applications.

Presentations by Tim Sowell, vice president of ArchestrA product strategies, Invensys, and David Smith, business development manager of the Manufacturing Vertical Solutions Unit, Microsoft, anchored the session. Sowell outlined what is required today to sustain competitiveness in real time, stressing the need to improve performance and productivity and comply with regulations. He noted that plant managers must take a "unified approach to people, processes and technology." Smith stressed the growing importance of software in the manufacturing environment, pointing out that the .Net platform seamlessly connects all elements: machine-to-machine, machine-to-operator, and operator-to-operator.

Case history presentations—which targeted three plant intelligence concepts: traceability, availability, and productivity—included an in-depth story (summarized below) of a European fish-packing company's use of Wonderware technology to boost production and product quality.

Real-time system boosts production, profits, and quality for fish packer

Rügen Fisch offers some 150 varieties of canned fish and is the second-largest fish supplier in Germany. Production in its new modern facility began in January 2001. A key element to meeting customer demand and maintaining highest product-quality levels in the operation has been the installation ofa real-time plant information system using software from Invensys Wonderware . The system includes InTouch software for process visualization, InTrack resource tracking software and the IndustrialSQL Server real-time plant historian.

A system integrator (Marine und Automatisierungstecknik Rostock Gmbh or MAR) developed a real-time information system for the plant and implemented it on the production lines one line at a time. The entire system now runs as a single entity on 24 workstations. All workers use the same system. InTouch HMI provides an on-screen overview of production activities, but most worker interaction is at the direction of the InTrack software. The IndustrialSQL server historian gathers data and makes it available for trending and reporting. In addition, the InTrack resource tracking software interfaces with the company's enterprise resource planning system to provide real-time data to business and inventory systems. It also lets fish suppliers interact with the supply-chain system.

Among the InTrack activities is recording and tracking every ingredient used in the 81 kinds of sauces used in the fish packing. It also monitors the critical packing process to quickly detect potential problems. Complete product genealogy is maintained. InTrack software also monitors the plant's inventory and stores data on maintenance activities. The system has helped the company make significant advances in production efficiency. Since the new facility opened, Rügen Fisch's sales have doubled, an added benefits to the increased production efficiency and product quality.

Click here to view a 3-page Wonderware .pdf of the story .

—Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering,

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