Online Exclusive: Opto 22 introduces PAC Project 9 control programming software suite

Opto 22 PAC Project 9 includes applications for control programming and database integration, an HMI development package, support for controller redundancy, improved trending and alerts, and other high-end features.

March 1, 2010

Opto 22, developer and manufacturer of Snap PAC System family of programmable automation controllers, I/O, and accessories, has released PAC Project 9, a full set of software applications and utilities that provide control programming, HMI development, OPC connectivity, database integration, communication with Allen-Bradley Logix systems (from Rockwell Automation), and support for controller redundancy–this Opto 22 software, expected to be announced March 12, is previewedexclusively at

Opto 22 PAC Project 9.0 industrial automation software suite supports controller redundancy, has numerous user interface enhancements, and improves reporting, trending, and alerts.

Opto 22 says, "Perhaps the most anticipated and powerful new feature found in PAC Project 9 is its support for redundant controllers communicating over standard Ethernet. Opto 22’s Snap PAC standalone controllers, when used with the Snap PAC Redundancy Option Kit (Snap-PAC-ROK), can be configured for synchronous operation, with one controller executing the control program and a second essentially running in parallel, so that if the master controller fails or is knocked offline, the other controller will take command and continue to perform without interruption or restart."

Opto 22 PAC Project 9 supports redundant controllers communicating over standard Ethernet.

PAC Control-PAC Project’s flowchart-based control programming application-includes many new features, Opto 22 says, such as improved download and debug mode checks. Auto-docking windows, enhanced tool sets within scripting blocks, and greater panning and zooming control allow programmers to create and navigate through their flowcharts more easily. Additionally, the PAC Control Basic command set has been greatly expanded and now includes nearly all the functionality of PAC Control Professional.

Other features found in PAC Control include easier creation of persistent variables during program development, and changes in CPU host task scheduling that improve throughput for multiple user threads.

PAC Project 9 from Opto 22 includes PAC Display. The HMI development and runtime application offers unlimited tags, a library of more than 3,000 symbols and graphics, improved table controls, and more flexibility when resizing and repositioning graphics and other screen elements.

PAC Project 9.0 enhances PAC Display, the HMI development and runtime application that offers unlimited tags and a library of more than 3,000 symbols and graphics. Improved table controls, added flexibility when resizing and repositioning graphics and other screen elements, and support for Microsoft Windows themes provide new levels of customization and aesthetics. Up to 5,000 windows can now be developed for a single project, and the searching and navigational tools within the PAC Display HMI environment have been upgraded.

HMI design, alarming, and configuration have been improved as well. Alarm configurations and settings can be saved for easy replication, and authenticated messages can be sent to mail servers, thereby enabling PAC Display to send SMTP-based (such as email) alerts whenever alarms are triggered. Alarm configurations can be imported or saved and exported as comma-separated files, thereby allowing alarm settings and other tabular data to be more easily exported to databases and other PAC Display clients. PAC Display also now supports web windows, so developers can embed web pages in their HMI screens and subsequently collate, and reconcile data from any web page or even view live web cam images within their HMI environment.

Opto 22 PAC Project 9 improvement summary

Advancesin programming capabilities include:

-Full set ofcommands (previously only available in the "Professional" version of thesw) added to the "Basic" version;
-Faster communication between thecontrol program, the HMI and all the other members of the suite;
-Fullcustomization for panning and zooming your flowchart; and
-PIDcontrol made easier.

Improvements to the interfac emake it more visually appealing and faster to program, Opto 22 says,with HMI:

– Support for Windows themes;
– Up to5,000 windows per project;
– New support for embedded web pagesincluding ones with video; and
– Many improvements for searching andnavigating.

PID loop control tuning from within the HMI has been greatly simplified through the addition of a PID button that opens PAC Control’s PID tuning environment within PAC Display. Also, in response to customer requests for greater assistance in debugging, multiple instances of the runtime can now be initiated.

PAC Project 9 Basic is free for download or with purchase of any Snap PAC controller. It includes control programming, configuration, an HMI development application and an EtherNet/IP communication tool. PAC Project 9.0 Professional is available at a list price of $999 and adds an OPC server, an application for exchanging data with enterprise databases, and functionality for upgrading from Opto 22 legacy hardware. PAC Project Professional is required for controller redundancy.

The individual PAC Project Professional software components-PAC Control Professional, PAC Display Professional, OptoOPCServer, and OptoDataLink-are also available separately. All PAC Project components, Basic and Professional, come with free training and free product support.

About PAC Project

The complete list of PAC Project components follows.

• PAC Control-an intuitive flowchart and scripting control programming software application for developing control strategies that run on Snap PAC controllers. Ideal for sequential control, batch and process control, motion control, complex math, conditional branching, string handling, subroutines, PID loop control, and more.

• PAC Display-a human-machine interface (HMI) development application used to create graphical interfaces that mimic a process. Support for alarm management, recipe handling, operator logging, real-time and historical trending, multimedia, and unlimited tags puts PAC Display on par with competing HMI development applications costing thousands of dollars more per seat.

• PAC Manager-a configuration and maintenance tool used to set up and inspect controllers and I/O data in real time.

• EtherNet/IP Configurator-a configuration tool for establishing communication between an Allen-Bradley Logix controller and intelligent remote Snap I/O.

• OptoOPCServer (included with PAC Project Professional or available separately)-an OLE for Process Control (OPC) 2.0-compliant server used to consolidate and publish Snap PAC System data to OPC-aware clients, including third-party HMIs such as Wonderware’s InTouch, Intellution’s iFix, and Iconic’s Genesis.

• OptoDataLink (included with PAC Project Professional or available separately)-connectivity software used to enable bidirectional data transfer between the Snap PAC System and enterprise databases-such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, and MySQL-without brokering the data through an HMI.

About Opto 22

Opto 22 develops and manufactures hardware and software for applications involving industrial automation and control, remote monitoring, and data acquisition. Opto 22 products use standard, commercially available networking and computer technologies, and have an established reputation worldwide for ease-of-use, innovation, quality, and reliability. Opto 22 products are used by automation end-users, OEMs, and information technology and operations personnel. The company was founded in 1974 and is privately held in Temecula, CA. Products are available through distributors and system integrators.

Also read, from Control Engineering :

– I/O modules should be high density, easy to wire and configure, and reliable: Opto 22 ;
– Integrating Controls for Hydrogen Production ;
– Snap-PAC-R1-W Wired+Wireless Programmable Automation Controller .

– Also see Control Engineering Channel pages for: Information Control; Machine Control; Process Control; and HMI / Operator Interface .

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering ,