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Industry 4.0 Summitt

Manchester Central (M2 3GX)

28/02/2018 - 01/03/2018

Industry 4.0, the 4th industrial revolution, smart manufacturing, digital factories…these are (more)

Drives & Controls 2018

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

10/04/2018 - 12/04/2018

Drives & Controls exhibition is recognised as the UK’s leading show for Automation, Power (more)

UKIVA Machine Vision Conference

Arena MK(MK1 1ST)

16/05/2018

Following a successful launch in 2017, UKIVA Machine Vision Conference returns to Arena MK, Milton Keynes, (more)

Industry 4.0 support delivered within new SCADA platform

Industry 4.0 support delivered within new SCADA platform

Paul Hurst of Products4Automation explains how the new features included in Automation Platform.NExT SCADA will accommodate the trends of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is a concept that has shaped automation dramatically since its conception at the 2011 Hannover Fair. Attaining a ‘smart factory’ requires total interoperability and the utmost transparency of information between devices – which means SCADA software is required to be more versatile than ever before. These requirements have been carefully considered by Progea, as it launches its new SCADA platform, Automation Platform.NExT. The new SCADA system has been designed to service and accommodate the existing and new technologies that will define the attainment of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

Automation Platform.NExT has been designed as a future-proof SCADA product, hence why it has been written from first principles on the .NET framework. Progea spent four years intensively researching and testing Automation Platform.NExT – while holding constant dialogue with users and industry to gauge the suitability of new features.

One of the main provisos of Industry 4.0 is scalability. Industry 4.0 demands that field devices of various hardware specifications can communicate openly with each other, to build a singular network that unites all devices in a facility. Furthermore, being able to expand your SCADA system as your business grows is a primary concern, as easy integration of new devices can greatly reduce installation costs and save time. The answer to this was to provide a versatile and modular SCADA system that could be easily managed.

Automation Platform.NExT has been specifically built to run on Windows 10, which offers many innate benefits for scalability. Many smaller devices, such as Raspberry Pi, are now supported by Windows 10. This means devices that typically would not be able to be integrated into a unified system can now do just that. To compound these benefits, Microsoft has ensured that Windows 10 is Internet of Things (IoT) compatible, allowing multiple devices to communicate on the platform with ease. If devices of such a small size are supported, it offers integrators the tools to create a unified and customised monitoring system. Automation Platform.NExT delivers the power to serve the largest facilities, but also the versatility to incorporate the smallest devices into its framework.

Scalability is further supported by Automation Platform.NExT via its own modular construction. The platform allows the addition of plug-ins and modules – enabling total centralisation and customisation of processes and their 

Clarity of information is achieved via Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) supported by DirectX graphics. This gives SCADA operators the ability to create modern 2D and 3D graphics with dynamic functions that also give plenty of scope for user artistry. Such features will allow users to create and adapt their SCADA system with developments inside the plant, while also allowing easy integration and representation of new technologies into their centralised systems.

Interoperability is a key asset for designing software that will move with the Industry 4.0 concept. Creating a global network relies not only on servicing various hardware capabilities, but also being able to communicate with the protocols that govern them Progea has therefore designed Automation Platform.NExT to be compatible with OPC UA network protocol, one of the most utilised industrial communication languages on the market. This allows more scope for integrators, while also providing the efficiency and safety in communication that is a given with a proven platform. Openness is also greatly increased, as OPC UA can engage with some of the most recent automation products to enter the market.

Data gathered through these communications is managed by an I/O Data Server, which provides total industrial connectivity. All data types are supported, rendering traditional boundaries redundant and enabling users to have complete control over data types. Via OPC UA, data access, alarms and conditions plus historical analysis is available to be accessed anywhere, anytime via the Cloud. In addition, the I/O server driver management uses specific protocols for field devices such as Siemens, Rockwell, Omron, Modbus, Profibus, PROFINET, Konnex, EtherCAT and PowerLinK.

Products4Automation is the exclusive UK distributor of Progea’s Automation Platform.NExT.

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