Advantech looks at ways in which automation equipment can be successfully implemented to maximise the operational potential of factories of the future.
The essential idea behind the automation system pyramid, Advantech states, is that the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition technology (SCADA) plays an essential role by acquiring and managing information coming from the field.
This results in better control and reduces maintenance cost by storing and managing all data in a single control room.
SCADA technology links the top and bottom layers of the automation system pyramid. The Manufacturing Execution System (MES) layer, situated above SCADA, represents the interface between the lower SCADA and HMI layers and the top Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) layer of the pyramid.
Because the MES is an interface between the pyramid rows, reliability is essential.
To ensure accuracy, Advantech uses Embedded Server technology with strict revision control, which guarantees a stable platform for a long period of time.
Some key features of server technology are Xeon CPU, ECC Memory, RAID and Redundant Power Supply support.
Furthermore, Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is used to monitor the system real-time, receive alerts and manage the system from a remote location.
In the bottom layers of the pyramid, Human Machine Interface (HMI) must be present to allow the exchange of information between machines and operators.
By creating a unique Graphical User Interface (GUI) for all the operators in the production line, SCADA systems allow users to perform operations in an efficient and effective way.
The diversity of plant topology requires flexible HMI systems and strong, yet flexible equipment that can operate in harsh environments (as regards to temperature and electric environment).
The architecture described above needs a reliable communication layer that must be transparent (no interference with devices communications) and reliable (communication infrastructure is the backbone to which all the devices are connected; a communication issue can interfere with the entire pyramid functionality).
Advantech says it can deliver complete solutions, ranging from operator interfaces to high computational power IPC, as well as reliable and transparent communication solutions for the SCADA and MES layers of the pyramid…
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