Opto 22 introduces new controller, processors, software

Temecula, CA—Opto 22 recently launched three major solutions. The company introduced its new Snap-LCE controller; Snap OEM family of I/O processors; and ioProject suite of automation and data acquisition software.

01/26/2004


Temecula, CA— Opto 22 recently launched three major solutions. The company introduced its new Snap-LCE controller; Snap OEM family of I/O processors; and ioProject suite of automation and data acquisition software. Opto 22 manufactures and develops hardware and software for industrial automation, remote monitoring, enterprise data acquisition, and machine-to-machine applications.

Snap-LCE
As part of Opto 22’s Snap Ethernet systems family, Snap-LCE is a stand-alone, small-footprint, industrial controller designed for use with Snap Ethernet-based I/O units and is used primarily in industrial control applications. Installed in a rugged, compact design, Snap-LCE includes a built-in 10/100-Mbps fast Ethernet port for attaching the controller to Ethernet networks, to computers on the network running industrial automation software, and to Ethernet–based I/O systems, such as Snap Simple, Snap Ethernet, and Snap Ultimate I/O units. No additional network interface cards are required. Communication with the controller can also be established through a modem connection using point-to-point (PTP) protocol over one of the two included serial ports, which are deal for remote locations where an Ethernet network is not available or practical.

In a rugged, compact design, the Snap-LCE includes a built-in 10/100-Mbps Fast Ethernet port for attaching the controller to Ethernet networks, to computers on the network running industrial automation software, and to Ethernet–based I/O systems, such as Snap Simple, Snap Ethernet, and Snap Ultimate I/O units. No added network interface cards are required. Communication with the controller can also be established through a modem connection using Point-to-Point (PPP) protocol over one of the two included serial ports, which are ideal for remote locations where an Ethernet network is not available or practical.

Snap-LCE can run up to 15 ioControl flowcharts simultaneously, which is twice as many as its cousin, Snap Ultimate I/O, while the total flowcharts allowed in a control strategy is limited only by the 8 MB of memory set aside for control strategy storage. When attached to an Ethernet net-work, the controller can transfer its data with Opto 22’s ioDisplay (see below). In addition, using ioProject’s OLE for Process Control (OPC) 2.0-compliant server, OptoOPCServer, data from the Snap-LCE can be exchanged with any OPC client, including third-party HMIs, enterprise applications and databases.

Opto 22 adds that Snap-LCE’s ability to process analog, digital, and serial signals, combined with its low cost, make it ideal for both process control and discrete manufacturing applications whose I/O counts range from one to 512 points. In these environments, Snap-LCE serves as the logic engine of a Snap Ethernet-based control system running ioControl programs for a network of Snap Ethernet-based I/O units.

Snap OEM I/O
Snap OEM I/O processors include the Snap-ARL-ASDS brain, which Opto 22 reports is a highly programmable, Linux-based I/O processor for developers seeking to use custom software applications to interface with Opto 22’s Snap I/O modules. Snap-ARL-ASDS processor, or brain, is an ARM-based, compact processor that mounts on standard Opto 22 Snap B-series mounting racks, and interfaces with a mix of analog, digital, and serial Snap I/O modules.

Unlike other Snap Ethernet-based brains, Snap OEM I/O is not programmed with Opto 22's ioControl control software. Instead, advanced programmers can use Linux-based tools to develop custom applications for the brain to execute, and communicate with Opto 22 I/O modules. As a result, Snap OEM I/O provides an alternative to the PCs and PLCs often used for I/O control in machines and equipment for the semiconductor and other industries.

Snap-ARL-ASDS, which includes an RS-232 serial port and a 10-Mbps Ethernet connection, supports multiple file transfer protocols, including FTP and Samba, and comes with an installed Linux kernel and all necessary drivers. Source code and Linux development utilities are available from www.linuxio.org , which is an Opto 22 Web site dedicated to the Snap OEM I/O development community. Using these tools, advanced control programmers can build applications with popular programming languages such as C and Java or with Bash script. These applications, when running on the Snap-ARL-ASDS brain, then read and write to Opto 22’s Snap I/O modules using easily implemented file-based operations.

With its lower power consumption, smaller size, and lower cost, Snap-ARL-ASDS is ideal for users requiring embedded intelligence running on a Linux operating system. Programmers are free to create customized applications that precisely execute any control function they desire. Also, programmers can choose to download only their compiled executable files to the Snap OEM I/O brain, which protects their source code and intellectual property, and reduces the chance that their control program will be reverse-engineered.

ioProject
ioProject includes ioControl 5.1 and ioDisplay 5.1, which are new automation and data acquisition software versions with PID control, enhanced security, faster I/O scanning, and improved alarming. The company says ioControl 5.1 is the latest version of its popular control programming software, while ioDisplay 5.1 is an updated graphics-based human machine interface (HMI) software package. The two new offerings form the core of Opto 22's new ioProject software suite for use with Opto 22's Snap Ethernet systems.

ioControl 5.1 is a flowchart-based control programming application that lets users design control and data acquisition applications quickly and easily, then download, run, and debug them in real time directly on Opto 22's Snap Ethernet systems. Control engineers can program using an extensive, self-documenting, plain-English command set or use a powerful, built-in scripting language offering commands for math, conditional branching, string handling, and other complex functions.

The major enhancement to this new version of ioControl is the addition of PID control. ioControl 5.1 supports four major algorithms for PID control, velocity, parallel, ISA, and interacting, and allows up to 16 algorithms to run simultaneously. Also, when tuning the PID loop, control programmers can capture their existing parameters, and write them directly to the configurator.

Other enhancements to this new version of ioControl include improvements when working in debugger mode, such as more detailed information in the error queue and added commands to aid in troubleshooting. Also, users can now access an archived strategy, upload it to a PC, and open it for debugging, without having to first download the strategy to the SNAP controller. In addition, when configuring I/O points in the ioControl strategy tree, users have the ability to define upper and lower limits on outputs, which avoids potential problems if output values fall out of anticipated range.

Meanwhile, ioDisplay 5.1 is an HMI application for developing operator interfaces for Microsoft Windows-based clients communicating with the SNAP Ethernet controllers. Users can create their own graphical user interface using original or pre-existing commands, symbols, and bitmaps.

ioDisplay 5.1 uses a new high-speed, multithread I/O scanning engine, which makes it run significantly faster than previous versions of the software. Also, a new on-screen object has been added that can accommodate up to four numeric tables from an ioControl strategy. This provides significant timesavings in interface development, while

ioDisplay 5.1 also provides a new level of configurability, particularly when establishing alarms. For example, the AlarmPoint Persistence feature lets users specify how long a condition must be present before an alarm is triggered. Similarly, the Automatic Re-alarming after Acknowledge feature reinitiates the alarm if the trigger conditions remain for a set period of time, even if the initial alarm has already been acknowledged.

ioDisplay 5.1 also has security features that enable assignment of individual or group-level access to operator-driven dynamic attributes. Encryption of the resulting runtime operator action log file is also now possible, helping users comply with recent regulatory requirements found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 21 CFR, Part 11 specification. ioDisplay 5.1 also boasts additions to the customized library of pre-designed industrial graphics and offers support for the JPEG file format.

ioControl and ioManager are free for download from the Opto 22 web site and are included free with purchase of Snap Ethernet controllers or systems, respectively. ioDisplay is available for download for $99.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor
jmontague@reeebusiness.com





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