Steeplechase, Cutler-Hammer strengthen alliance
Steeplechase Software and Cutler-Hammer recently formed a stronger alliance, in which Cutler-Hammer will use Steeplechase's Visual Logic Controller (VLC) for its PC-based control solutions. For three years, Cutler-Hammer sold a brand-labeled version of VLC under the name "NetSolver.
Steeplechase Software and Cutler-Hammer recently formed a stronger alliance, in which Cutler-Hammer will use Steeplechase's Visual Logic Controller (VLC) for its PC-based control solutions. For three years, Cutler-Hammer sold a brand-labeled version of VLC under the name "NetSolver." Under the new agreement, Cutler-Hammer will now identify the software as coming from Steeplechase.
The agreement is a way to eliminate duplicate costs associated with presenting two separate brand names to the North American market. These costs include maintaining unique documentation and separate support organizations. By unifying Cutler-Hammer's Netsolver brand name with the Steeplechase brand name, Cutler-Hammer's customers will be able to use support services directly from Steeplechase. Cutler-Hammer distributors and customers currently using NetSolver are expected to have a smooth upgrade to Steeplechase's VLC design tools and a direct path to future versions of the Steeplechase products.
Online, flowchart patent granted
In other news, after a three-year effort, Steeplechase recently received its newest patent, #5,970,243, from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for its On-Line Programming Changes for Industrial Logic Controllers. The patent covers on-line programming with flowcharts.
On-line programming is a feature in control systems that allows the industrial process state information to be transferred between old and new programs so that the controlled industrial process is not interrupted. Originally implemented by PLCs for relay ladder logic (RLL), Steeplechase offered "true" online changes with graphical flow chart programming in 1999. True on-line changes allow in-line program changes without restarting the flow chart from the beginning.
"Through this invention, control program developers are provided with a software tool that decreases the time it takes to modify a control program and allows seamless integration of programming modifications," says Richard Mahn, Steeplchase's founder and chief engineer. "Programmers can modify a flow chart control program while the program continues to control the equipment, within the bounds of safe operation, by accounting for existing industrial process state information." Mr. Mahn is listed on the patent as one of the inventors along with other Steeplechase team members Mike Klein, William Su, and Per-Ola Forsgren.