Standards, software tools deliver manufacturing productivity

09/24/2002


Oak Brook, IL- Greater use of standards and better software tools are two ways manufacturers are increasing productivity from the plant floor up through the organization. Today's manufacturing challenges are many-global competition; price, cost, and time-to-market pressures; customer needs; customization pressure; outsourcing; quality and efficiency; and need to improve and connect business processes.

Pressures on Manufacturing Productivity
Pressures on manufacturing productivity include:

  • Cost of time, materials, and processes

  • Customer demands for better service over product lifecycle

  • Customization

  • Demands for faster time-to-market

  • Desire to connect/streamline business processes

  • Global competition

  • Outsourcing

  • Price of goods sold

  • Quality

  • Standards, tariffs, other economic barriers.

Source: Control Engineering

OPC Foundation (Scottsdale, AZ) improves manufacturing by delivering non-proprietary technical specifications. Getting control and automation manufacturers to agree on the best course hasn't always been easy, but results ensure interoperability advantages among automation/control applications, field systems/devices, and business/office applications. OPC efforts cover data access, XML, alarms and events interface standards, and Ethernet.

Each time software vendors can write to a general specification, an OPC "translator," there's more time and resources for adding value to the core software, instead of writing custom drivers. OPC estimates that as much as 30% of engineering development time for a supervisory-control software developer is spent writing drivers.

Concerning the OPC Data eXchange (DX) standard, scheduled to be released Oct. 21, Mr. Burke says that, "OPC has always been based on a vision of moving data from the plant-floor to the enterprise to the Web. So, we're not seeking to replace ProfiNet or FOUNDATION fieldbus. We just want to provide a mechanism for interoperability among different Ethernet-based networks."

As for specific software tools, many aim to improve manufacturing productivity. Raw data easily overloads users without providing the information needed to make decisions to improve the plant or enterprise. Rather than simply collecting and viewing historical information, there's a need to gather real-time data from many sources within plants, combine and analyze it, and turn it into useful information, personalized for individual users.

A relatively new class of software shows key performance indicators for manufacturing, design, sales, logistics, or whatever needs monitoring. The Microsoft (Redmond, WA) Digital Dashboard Resource Kit helps aggregate information from throughout the organization and supply chain in one location. GE Fanuc (Charlottesville, VA) calls its Manufacturing Intelligence portal a "Digital Cockpit." Based on the Honeywell (Phoenix, AZ) PlantScape Distributed Server Architecture (DSA), eServer bridges the process control and enterprise domains. These tools, like a human-machine interface on steroids, can be rapidly customized to fit users' needs and changing business goals.

Control Engineering (Oak Brook, IL; www.controleng.com) will conduct two webcasts in October 2002 on how automation tools boost productivity. These webcasts will be accessible in an archive after October.

The two, free online events will be moderated by Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering's editor-in-chief. The 2 p.m. (EST) Oct. 17 Make Pavilion keynote session features Tom Burke, OPC Foundation president and advisory software developer at Rockwell Automation, covering "Standard roadmap to manufacturing productivity." The 11 a.m. (EST) Oct. 16 Make Pavilion Roundtable, "Everything you need to know on one screen," features Jamie Bohan, business manager for Honeywell Industry Solutions' Uniformance product line; Chris Colyer, Microsoft's group industry marketing manager for manufacturing; Kevin Roach, global solutions business vp for GE Fanuc, part of GE Industrial Systems.

For more information or to register for the webcasts visit www.supplychainlinkexpo.com .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief
MHoske@cfemedia.com





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.
Save energy with automation; Process control system upgrades; Dispelling controll myths; Time-sensitive networking; Control system integration; Road to IANA
Additive manufacturing advancements; Machine vision enhances robotics; Fieldbus evolution; Process safety; Advice from System Integrators of the Year; Road to IANA
Salary and career survey: Benchmarks and advice; Designing controls; Remote data collection, historians; Control valve advances; Hannover Messe; Control Engineering International
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!

The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
click me