GE Fanuc launches new Proficy Change Management software

Charlottesville, VA—GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. has launched its new Proficy Change Management Version 5.0 software, which it reports is a new version of its plant-wide, advanced automation management, and control software.

By Control Engineering Staff February 1, 2005

Charlottesville, VA — GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. has launched its new Proficy Change Management Version 5.0 software, which it reports is a new version of its plant-wide, advanced automation management, and control software. The firm says Proficy Change Management allows users to increase productivity, quality, security, and flexibility, while also helping companies meet crucial regulatory requirements.

As a key part of GE Fanuc’s asset management family of intelligent production solutions, Proficy Change Management focuses on managing a company’s data assets by monitoring, controlling, and protecting the wide range of data being generated throughout an operation. The software’s capabilities, including security, version control, audit trails, central storage and automated backup and recovery, ensure that users’ automation systems continue running safely and effectively.

‘Consistency and control are critical elements of a manufacturer’s success, and the ability to maximize productivity, while minimizing operational costs, will often determine whether a business can survive in today’s highly competitive and tightly regulated environment,’ says Gimmi Filice, GE Fanuc Automation’s manager of change management solutions. Proficy Change Management provides the tools for managing automation systems and protecting software and engineering investments. This proven solution can help companies stay on top of key performance indicators and turn manufacturing processes into a competitive advantage.’

To increase plant uptime, Proficy Change Management provides immediate, reliable disaster recovery, and ensures that backups with the latest data are always available when needed. Proficy Change Management reportedly also delivers fast ROI because it can return a company’s investment by preventing or reducing downtime. Typically, the cost of one hour of downtime in most facilities exceeds the investment in the software solution. The system monitors data assets, such as PLC programs, HMI applications, device configurations, and any other files that are critical to keeping control systems operational. The software also prevents or significantly reduces user errors. Engineering processes improve through a common methodology for accessing devices files and other plant information. The software maintains consistency between multiple facilities and helps enforce Good Manufacturing Practices (GmP) throughout an organization.

For reduced costs of engineering and maintenance, Proficy Change Management offers ongoing control over a large number of device and software programs in a multi-user environment through its client-server system. Users can lower costs through functions, such as automatic scheduling and automatic backups, and reduce equipment failure and related maintenance costs. An open solution, the software is compatible with a large array of comple-mentary hardware and software offerings from GE Fanuc, as well as from other automation suppliers, such as Rockwell, Siemens, and Schneider, which further eases engineering demands and allows users to leverage an installed base of equipment.

In addition, Proficy Change Management improves safety, security and regulatory compliance. The system prevents errors by automating critical manufacturing functions at the configuration level; prevents and detects unauthorized changes and access requests; and supports electronic signaturing required to meet the FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 regulation.

With its expanded functionality, Proficy Change Management 5.0 now allows Proficy HMI/SCADA—iFix users to take control of changes to their HMI applications. Proficy Change Management lets users centralize storage of files that make up an iFix application, so they always have a backup in case of disaster. A comparison utility allows users to identify changes between different versions of the iFix application, or automatically detect unauthorized changes to the picture files. Because it’s an open system, Proficy Change Management also permits control and management of Siemens’ S7 PLC programs, as well as ABB’s SC4 robot, and Siemens’ 840D support.

Also, a new Product Wizard allows users to quickly and easily create product profiles to define what files to manage, files to include or exclude, what directories to grab and what program to run. The system automatically provides binary or text comparison functions, so users can determine the differences between versions.

Furthermore, the software’s SQL Server can now be configured as the Audit Trail database, in addition to the existing Access and Oracle databases. Proficy Change Management’s client now can be automatically locked based on a period of inactivity. Users can configure the amount of time before the station locks. Once the system is locked, it can only be unlocked by the logged-in user or an administrator, which makes it ideal for regulated applications.

Finally, a new Master Version function allows users to designate which version is the master for retrieval and comparison functions. This is permission-based, so only approved users can designate the master.

Control Engineering Daily News DeskJim Montague, news