Invensys Showcase 2002: Production Engine aids interoperability

By Control Engineering Staff September 9, 2002

Orlando, FL- To improve interoperability in manufacturing facilities and across supply chains, Invensys Manufacturing Solutions (Foxboro, MA) introduced Sept. 9 its Invensys Production Engine at the opening of its Invensys Showcase 2002 user conference and exposition, Sept. 8-12, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. Formally released on Sept. 4, Production Engine allows users to manage manufacturing operations, materials and orders via graphically configured workflows. Invensys Manufacturing Solutions is a unit of Invensys plc (London, U.K.)

Invensys reports that it’s using Production Engine to deliver accelerator applications, which are turnkey interoperability solutions that solve problems in many manufacturing areas. One of its objectives with Production Engine is to improve interoperability, between and across manufacturing facilities, by helping people, processes and systems share timely information in the proper context.

The company adds that interoperability provided by Production Engine forms the base of an agile, accelerated supply chain. This interoperability consists of a common user environment; event management and reporting; configurable, standard response to detected events; and the ability to leverage data from all manufacturing data sources and providers.

Likewise, workflows can capture information from various sources, such as user input, process data and other data sources, which can be used as triggers or inputs to workflow activities. Production Engine uses adapters to expose the capability of Invensys, third-party and custom-built applications in the form of workflow activities.

Production Engine’s components also include:

  • Workflow Engine. The core of Production Engine, Workflow Engine responds to defined triggers by initiating and managing the execution of workflows, and controls interaction with the user by assigning activities and dispatching information to Production Engine’s users. The engine also captures workflow variables from user input, machines, devices and adapted applications, and integrates that information into each workflow. Workflow activities are transactions in manufacturing applications such as MES, maintenance, downtime, quality, time and attendance, where an adapter has been created to expose those transactions.

  • Clients. Production Engine supports user interaction from several types of clients. The client layer can run as an ActiveX control inside another application, within a browser, or remotely on a Microsoft Windows CE device. These clients can receive information, be assigned activities, and initiate and provide input to workflows.

  • Graphical Workflow Editor. This editing tool allows users to view and configure workflows using graphical representations of the activities to be performed and the flow of the defined work processes. Activities are the primary building blocks of workflows.

  • Domain Adapters. These adapters expose functionality from adapted applications to the Workflow Engine in the form of activities. Once an adapter has been installed for a given application, its associated activities can be incorporated into workflows using the Graphical Workflow Editor. Adapters exist for several Invensys products and can be created for virtually any application using APIs, web services and databases.

  • Domain Adapter Toolkit. The toolkit enables developers to create adapters for manufacturing applications. Specific functions can be exposed as workflow activities. Developers can package the functions and expose them to the workflow environment.

  • External Messaging Service. This service supports the exchange of events and transactions with other information entities. It can be used to link multiple manufacturing facilities, lines and cells, as well as enterprise-level information systems. This service uses S95-based XML to exchange information.

‘Collectively, Production Engine components leverage the strength of each individual manufacturing application to deliver a strong collaborative solution,’ says Dave Westrom, Invensys Manufacturing Solutions’ senior vp and gm. ‘Enterprise interoperability is essential for customers to realize the greatest benefit from their investments in manufacturing and supply-chain infrastructure.’

Production Engine’s introduction is the culmination of three years of development on interoperability technology. Production Engine-based solutions are being implemented at several Wonderware and Baan customer sites. Since Production Engine leverages Invensys’ new ArchestrA plant automation and information architecture as a plant-floor modeling and information source, customers can integrate every system in their plant and ensure that they work in concert.

Invensys Showcase 2002 is expected to draw

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor