Exclusive: Schneider Electric enters collaborative automation market

More proof of the inexorable combination of IT and control engineering can be found in Schneider Electric's recent release of Unity, a set of software products and associated hardware designed for distributed automation applications. Unity products are designed for control engineers, system integrators, and IT development engineers.

12/01/2003


More proof of the inexorable combination of IT and control engineering can be found in Schneider Electric's recent release of Unity, a set of software products and associated hardware designed for distributed automation applications. Unity products are designed for control engineers, system integrators, and IT development engineers. The software's open design and interoperability with other systems and devices—provided by using XML—allows collaboration among engineers, operators, and product designers throughout the product lifecycle management process. Unity's three software products are:

  • Unity Pro —Programming, debugging, and operating software for PLCs. Based on Schneider's PL7 and Concept software, Unity Pro allows creation of links to any document or tool, in either local or remote mode, for access to diagnostic help tests or a database in real time.

  • Unity Studio —Based on Microsoft Visio, Unity Studio is software for developing and structuring distributed automation applications. Unity Studio incorporates Unity Pro, PowerSuite for drives and motors, and XBT-L1000 for user interfaces and OPC Factory Server (OFS) for real-time communication. Unity Studio allows users to develop their own environments for data exchange, accessing tools such as mechanical or electrical CAD, production management, process simulators, drives, etc. Using the Visio 2002 graphic editor, Unity Studio automatically generates a data set (functional structure, communication addresses, Global Data) for each station in the distributed architecture with no programming required. It can be used to position various stations in users' Ethernet TCP/IP network (PLCs, HMIs, variable speed drives, hubs, etc.).

  • Developer's Edition —Additional software for IT and systems development engineers working with VBA, VB or C++. Developer's Edition offers access to all Unity Pro and Studio object servers so that tools can be interfaced by a supplier in partnership with Schneider (e.g., electrical or mechanical CAD, supervisory software, MES and ERP, batch, etc.) or designed and implemented by the user.





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