08 Feb 2019 - Peter Jackson
Production machinery comes in a variety of forms with each manufacturer having their own idea of what it needs as a controller. In any plant there will be diverse control platforms operating well, but in isolation from each other. Each one holds data about its own part of the process, information that is valuable for predicting maintenance requirements, reducing the risk of unplanned shutdowns, and is probably used in management reports.
Op-tec stands for open technology, which we use wherever possible to capture data from control and automation equipment and platforms. Use of modern, open protocols avoids tying you to any single supplier. We've used the principle in applications from sub-sea through manufacturing plant and into space. It is adaptable, reliable, and maintainable.
The data network in a manufacturing environment is hardly ever installed with future expansion in mind and as more traffic is added speed suffers. We can reduce the burden by removing the 'chaff' in a control program so that better performance can be obtained with zero capital expenditure.
"It just stopped" is not what any production manager wants to hear. We can gather and historise operational data so that characteristics preceding a failure may be recognised in future reducing unplanned shutdowns and associated downtime.
Having staff take readings from displays on the production line and manually transferring them into reports is time-consuming and often creates errors. We map process data to the correct fields in management reports instantly and accurately.
But it's not compulsory.
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