Unifying information a key to plant floor connectivity
Plant-floor information systems connect data collected at the machine level with enterprise and corner-office software. The exact terminology used to describe such systems range from Manufacturing Execution Systems to Manufacturing Intelligence.
The latter term is preferred by Foxborough, MA software provider ICONICS, which is taking its message on the road this year in a series of sessions called Solutions for Operational Excellence. Whatever the system is called, said ICONICS director marketing Tim Donaldson at a recent event, the goal is much the same in a changing manufacturing landscape.
“There is an information overload,” Donaldson told the audience of plant engineers and managers at the ICONICS event. “The goal is to get the data, use it and run your business effectively.”
To bridge that gap toward effective use of data from multiple sources, ICONICS supports the OPC-UA (unified architecture) effort, which will be released shortly. “What OPC is trying to do is act as the connectivity piece,” Donaldson said. “ARC Advisory Group sees a huge growth market in HMI/SCADA.”
“The goal behind manufacturing intelligence is to share information with all your tools,” said Donaldson. “The data may be the same, but what changes is your role, your location, your department.
“Open standards are the key tie-in to achieve operational excellence,” Donaldson added. “Once you’re open, you’re not tied to any individual vendor.”