Press Releases and Editorials
New Innovations in Software Improve Connectivity Between Shop Floor and Information-Processing Centers
For Immediate Release
CUMMING, Ga. – July 30, 2004 – With the recent surge in the number of PLC products available, performance and speed of control devices has taken a backseat to connectivity, as the latest industrial concern. As this trend emerges and connectivity becomes a more standard system offering, the ease and efficiency of a company’s connective systems is key, in order for it to gain a competitive edge in its industry.
As the efficient flow of information becomes a necessity for industry leaders, the challenges associated with connecting two vastly different systems – plant floor control and enterprise computing – are of great concern to those who make system decisions. Shop floor control systems and information-processing centers must work together interdependently, to make the most of the wealth of information that is continually being passed back and forth. Too often, a difference in timetables, operating languages, and data-collection priorities hinder true connectivity between the floor and the IT offices.
From a plant floor perspective, system input/output and speed are the top priority. Those who run the floor expect to have systems in place which run quickly and process as much information as possible, without requiring that an operator be present to oversee the interaction between the PLC and the network. As a means of solving this problem, polling software has traditionally been used as an intermediary between the control devices and the computer network. However, the plant floor operates in real-time, often on a millisecond timetable. PLCs are always “talking.” When polling is used to process this chatter, too much traffic is created on the network, from an IT perspective. The traffic tends to slow down the entire process, and the network becomes clogged with a continuous flow of information. Some of this information is important, but a large percentage of this data is irrelevant. This leads to an unnecessary wait time in situations where the computing system really does need to receive information instantaneously.
BizWareDirect, a technology provider for AutomationDirect, offers inexpensive and easy-to-use software solutions that overcome the emerging difficulties of data collection, and enable true data connectivity between the shop floor and the IT office. The firm’s complete line of DataWorx™ software packages is designed to alleviate some of the challenges associated with connectivity by breaking down communication barriers that exist between the plant floor control systems and the enterprise computing centers.
One of the most significant advantages of the DataWorx software packages is that they use report-by-exception data logging, rather than the traditional polling method. Traditional SCADA or HMI polling software packages act as an intermediary between PLCs and the computing system. SCADA or HMI applications have a tendency to tie up a company’s network because they are continually asking for unnecessary data updates. DataWorx’s unique report-by-exception logging, however, allows direct communication between PLCs and the computing system, eliminating the need for an intermediary. The PLC is placed as a user on the network, which allows it to send information only when needed.
The report-by-exception logging method eases IT’s network traffic concerns, while still satisfying the plant floor’s need for optimum performance and maximum speed. This alleviates some of the system challenges and communication barriers that traditionally have been seen in attempts to efficiently connect shop floor systems with corporate computing systems. The DataWorx software packages allow the two systems – which run on different timetables, speak in different languages, and have notably different goals with respect to data collection – to work together more efficiently and more harmoniously.
BizWareDirect’s DataWorx line currently consists of the DataWorx PLC and DataWorx WinPLC software packages, each of which is offered in a standard and professional version. These DataWorx packages are specifically designed to perform with AutomationDirect’s DirectLOGIC PLCs and WinPLCs. BizWareDirect plans to extend its product line to offer the same ease and functionality to other PLC users in the near future.
The DataWorx software packages easily connect an unlimited number of DirectLOGIC PLCs or WinPLCs to standalone PCs or network servers for easy and efficient data logging. Any PC or server on the network can collect valuable data from the PLCs/WinPLCs without the need for special PC programming or any third-party software applications. The DataWorx system allows the PLC to have complete control over the data storage. Information gathered by the DataWorx system can be stored into text files or, with the professional package, into a database using SQL statements. The professional software packages also enable the user to easily and quickly define database operations to the PLC, so it is able to conduct database operations on its own.
BizWareDirect is a software-development firm that specializes in industrial data management. BizWareDirect offers affordable, easy-to-use software solutions that increase efficiency by making data more useful and more accessible to those who need it. For more information on BizWareDirect, or its complete collection of software products, please visit www.bizwaredirect.com, or call (770) 886-5878.
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