The plant floor has changed dramatically over the last decade. Rather than countless components working independently of each other, now a process can be automated through a unified architecture that allows disparate parts to work together by facilitating communications between PLCs and controllers to central supervisory SCADA and HMI systems. SCADA software has come a long way, and products like InduSoft Web Studio have proven that it’s possible to create a smooth process that combines technology from many different manufacturers across multiple platforms.
Not only can the SCADA software help these devices communicate with one another, but receiving and storing the accumulated data is easier than ever. Indusoft Web Studio has patented database connectivity, meaning that data can be stored in any SQL database. IWS can consolidate information from different devices and present it through rich-graphic interfaces like dashboards, available locally and for remote web thin clients.
Why Bridge Different Manufacturing Systems?
There are many reasons plant managers may want or need to mix and match machinery from various manufacturers. Sometimes three different specific machines may all serve a purpose within the plant, but may also need to communicate with one another. Sometimes updated technology may be added before old equipment is phased out, meaning that older and new models will need to share information. Sometimes older equipment breaks and cannot be replaced because the model is no longer being manufactured. Any of these reasons may prompt a plant manager to seek out SCADA software capable of acting as a bridge between these different manufacturers.
Communicating freely between different protocols
InduSoft takes a firm stance on compatibility and interoperability. Not only does the InduSoft Web Studio SCADA software provide support for OPC UA, OPC .NET 3.0, and OPC Classic, but built into the software are also over 240 drivers for all major manufacturers. This means that users can use OPC, or any of the native drivers in IWS, like MODBUS.