ILS Technology: Equipment data finds its way into enterprise systems via automation appliance

A major North American automotive manufacturer was struggling with data extraction from its factory-floor equipment and moving it up into an enterprise system. It wanted to avoid the lengthy prospect of first having to deploy expensive SCADA or manufacturing execution system (MES) technology to act as a connectivity conduit.
By Frank O Smith August 1, 2008

www.mbtmag.com/article/CA6585735.html A major North American automotive manufacturer was struggling with data extraction from its factory-floor equipment and moving it up into an enterprise system. It wanted to avoid the lengthy prospect of first having to deploy expensive SCADA or manufacturing execution system (MES) technology to act as a connectivity conduit.

“At the time, the Mitsubishi Q Series PLCs didn’t have a neat way of connecting with enterprise systems,” says Alex Campagnoni, president of Sentient Control and Engineering , an Ontario-based systems integrator. “We partnered with Mitsubishi and the manufacturer to eliminate that whole middle chuck of technology. We tied the ends together with ILS Technology ‘s deviceWISE to suck the data out of the PLC and tunnel it directly into the enterprise database.”

deviceWISE is part of an innovative class of new products known as automation appliances that address a specific application need. It acts as a framework for secure, bidirectional connectivity between plant-floor devices and enterprise systems. And because deviceWISE is considered a “vendor-agnostic” solution, it comprises the means for easily feeding real-time production data into higher-level IT infrastructures—without complex programming.

“When deploying a SCADA or MES system, you’re talking about a lot of development time and resources,” says Campagnoni. “The more steps in the process of connectivity and the more data, the more time it takes to check them all to ensure there are no errors. deviceWISE eliminates that whole layer of complexity and problems.

“There’s tremendous value in terms of total cost of ownership and time-to-benefit,” Campagnoni continues. “deviceWISE simplifies the process by focusing directly on exactly what the customer is trying to accomplish.”

ILS Technology’s deviceWISE automation appliance drives data out of PLCs and tunnels it directly into the enterprise database.

deviceWISE works with programmable automation controllers (PAC); PLCs; bar-code technology; and camera, sign, and message board devices. It connects with enterprise and peer systems via IBM WebSphere, Oracle, BEA, JBoss, SAP, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, and other popular databases, messaging systems, and application server platforms.

Mitsubishi now offers deviceWISE embedded as an integral component of its e-F@ctory Portfolio in its Q Series of PLCs to enable database and service-oriented architecture (SOA) connectivity, as well as configuration management.

“Our automotive client deployed it initially in pilot on a bumper line, where it eliminated the need for an operator to manage scanning of unit bar codes for traceability purposes,” says Campagnoni. The pilot, which provided 100-percent accurate traceability, was so impressive, the company has since expanded deployment elsewhere in the plant.

“deviceWISE hits squarely in the automation appliance market, providing connectivity from the backplane of the PLC directly up to the enterprise,” says Craig Resnick, a director with Dedham, Mass.-based ARC Advisory Group . “Rather than deploying a complex set of software suites, it provides a fast, efficient method of connectivity that is easy to support. If someone is looking to quickly and simply move data from the factory floor without deploying plant-wide systems, deviceWISE achieves this without huge capital expenditure. It clearly makes a strong case for lowering total cost of ownership of critical technology.”

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