Many machine owners are tired of writing and developing their own software to monitor machines. Here are some common problems machine operators encounter, and how to combat them.
- Maintaining software that someone else wrote years ago – This is common, as machines and equipment are not updated often enough to keep up with turnover on the plant floor. Therefore, it’s likely that you’re stuck using a SCADA or HMI application developed by someone else. Look for a SCADA software with an easy-to-use development environment with a small learning curve.
- Applications aren’t backwards compatible– It should be easy to migrate your application when the SCADA software changes version, or you migrate to a new supported Microsoft operating system. Ensure that your development software will maintain backwards compatibility with applications created in older versions of the software, and will continue to support new operating systems in future iterations.
- Not able to modify applications because you lack programming expertise – Stopping to continuously write in new functionalities adjust the current control solution will eat into the productivity of any process. Choose a SCADA/HMI software that provides all the tools you need, such as configuration wizards that don’t require heavy programming knowledge to use.
- Never having the right features – A common problem among machine operators is that they are missing a key component, such an alert or an alarm that would make the process easier. An HMI software that includes all the necessary tools for a feature rich HMI will ensure that it’s easy to add functions quickly and easily to the application.
- Not having the right drivers – This is a big concern when new equipment is added, and technology changes. If you choose a SCADA software that includes native drivers for all major manufacturers of PLCs and controllers as well as OPC support, it will be possible to update your application any time hardware changes, allowing you to use the best, most efficient equipment for the job.
- Need a better way to see how your machine or process is performing – It’s important to be able to quantify how well your machine or process is performing. Look for a SCADA software that includes an OEE or dashboard solution that can help measure performance at a glance, with detailed graphs, charts, and other easy-to-read indicators.
- Thin Client access to the machine or process – Sometimes the best place to keep the information isn’t on a panel on the machine, or even on the plant floor. A web-based HMI can be invaluable for plant managers, or operators who need to keep track of several machines at once. A web-based HMI can also be invaluable if the application needs to be changed often or quickly. Just update the application on the server, and all web based applications will instantly be updated along with it. . It can also be more cost effective to access the HMI from a web portal, rather than purchasing a runtime license for each individual instance. Choose an HMI software that includes licensing for web solutions.