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Connecting the Enterprise through a Standardized Communications Layer

Posted by Patrick Gilligan

Over the past two years, I’ve met with companies from various industries to discuss their automation architecture. A common theme in these meetings is the desire to define and implement a standard that can be adopted globally. The idea is to create a complete view or snapshot for management to monitor. Getting data in the hands of decision-makers quickly and reliably allows for efficient decisions to be made—whether it’s cars being manufactured, food being processed, machines being built, or goods being packaged. As companies expand their reach in our global economy, identifying and tracking all information in a factory process is essential for growing revenue.


Auto Manufacturers’ Need for Speed Puts Kepware in the “Driver” Seat

Posted by Patrick Gilligan

In 1914, Henry Ford’s vehicle assembly line produced an average of twenty Model Ts an hour. In 2014, some manufacturers roll more than eighty vehicles off one assembly line in the same amount of time. We have come a long way from the days when you could have any color Model T—as long as that color was black.


From the Bottom Up: Data on the Move - Part I

Posted by Tony Paine

Manufacturing and industrial automation environments have become increasingly complex. They house different types of equipmentalong with different manufacturing software applicationseach with a different purpose. Yet somehow, it all has to work together in order to solve real-world manufacturing objectives. On top of that, businesses are looking to utilize the data and information that these manufacturing systems produce.


Why System Integrators Need to Put Users First

Posted by Erik Dellinger

Walking into the world’s largest polymer manufacturing plant, you’d see nothing unusual. Your guide would proudly show you the pristine new control room or the 40 towering, shining steel silos. You’d probably not meet Christine—even though without her, the whole thing would come to a grinding, expensive halt.

Hidden away in a windowless, tiny office, Christine and her small team are managing those silos. Almost all the production risk is on their shoulders. Get it wrong and the silos overflow, or a product is contaminated, stopping production and costing millions of dollars an hour. 

This team needs a simple process to follow; every action they have to perform increases the risk. If their process includes digging through a SAP screen for each silo, exporting data to Excel so it can be properly viewed, sending data to other teams for MES, DCS, and Labs data to be added, and then sharing it with a third party logistics team, something is going to go wrong.


Moving Information from the "Shop Floor" to the "Top Floor"

Posted by Tony Paine

The amount of data generated within an organization continues to increase exponentially. Different personnel need access to the appropriate information so they can make the best operational and maintenance decisions for their organization. Depending on who or where you are in the organization, there may be one or more different ways of obtaining this information.