RSS finds pertinent manufacturing data

On many Web sites you may see a button labeled "RSS" or "XML feed." These small buttons represent a way of selecting and collecting Web accessible information. RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication and is an XML-based method for any Web site or FTP site to become an information publisher. It's not just for reading; applications include manufacturing production.

01/01/2006


On many Web sites you may see a button labeled "RSS" or "XML feed." These small buttons represent a way of selecting and collecting Web accessible information. RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication and is an XML-based method for any Web site or FTP site to become an information publisher. It's not just for reading; applications include manufacturing production.

RSS solves the problem of having too much information in too many places. The typical Web user will browse from site to site, looking for new or changed information. RSS automatically retrieves new and changed information from multiple sites.

It's important to realize that RSS is not a Web publishing system, it is the format for an XML file. The publisher puts information on an accessible Web or FTP site and updates one XML RSS file, called an RSS stream.

The top-level element in an RSS stream file is a channel , which defines an area of interest. Think of it as a TV or radio channel. Typical RSS stream channels are international news, politics, and local weather. Within a channel there are items . Think of these as news stories. Each item usually contains at least a title, description, publication date, and link. The link is a URL that points to the complete Web page, document, and audio or video file.

An RSS publisher places Web pages, documents, or other files in an accessible area and then updates the RSS stream with a new item pointing to the file. Most RSS sites also delete old items from the RSS stream file.

Clients subscribe to RSS streams using a dedicated RSS reader or a Web browser. RSS readers contain a list of RSS streams that they periodically retrieve—every hour, every day, or every 10 minutes.

Due to the lack of an agreed-upon RSS standard, RSS readers have different names on different systems. The RSS reader in the FireFox browser is called Live Bookmarks and in the Opera browser it is called Feeds . Most RSS readers provide a keyword search to pick up items that contain specific keywords. The RSS reader displays a list of any items that meet the match criteria with a flag to indicate if the reader has already looked at the item. There are at least four incompatible RSS standards: RSS 0.91, RSS 0.92, RSS 2.0, and IETF Atom 1.0. Fortunately, most readers will accept all standards, but the lack of a common standard has slowed RSS adoption.

Manufacturing systems can use RSS, despite the lack of an accepted standard. Today many engineers and manufacturing managers will browse HMI systems, flipping from screen to screen and looking at reports to find significant events. RSS provides a way to simplify searching for relevant information using standard browsers.

Most manufacturing report packages can generate XML files and formatted reports. Automatically generated reports can be saved in an accessible location, such as an FTP directory. The same report package can generate a summary XML document containing an "item" description of the report. The description may contain pertinent summary or exception data.

A simple application would then read the generated items and update the RSS stream file. Channels can be identified with production areas, such as separate RSS stream files for packaging, main production, dispensing, filling, and assembly. Channels may also be defined for specific report categories, such as variance, utilization, and throughput reports. If a report fits into multiple channels, then the different RSS streams can point to the same report.

RSS allows each manager to subscribe to streams important to them and setup key word filters to select only the data they need. RSS provides a way to change our patterns for finding important and pertinent information contained in manufacturing system reports.


Author Information

Dennis Brandl, dbrandl@brlconsulting.com , is the president of BR&L Consulting, a consulting firm focusing on manufacturing IT solutions, based in Cary, N.C.




No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me