Ignition by Inductive Automation Dataset Tags for Performant Dashboards
How ECS Solutions uses dataset tags in Ignition by Inductive Automation, updated periodically by gateway timer scripts, to drive graphics on dashboard displays.
This allows the dashboard to simply display the datasets rather than execute queries. This results in better overall performance of the gateway (queries are only running one time), faster load times for displays (data is already available and just has to be rendered), and transparent updates over time (no application hang for periodic data refresh).
Creating informative dashboards, especially dashboards that provide data analytics, can be challenging. Oftentimes the requirements for the dashboard will evolve as it is developed. Over time, the queries and scripting functions and analyses that drive the data behind the dashboard start to pile up. This drains resources and drags down performance. This can also leave end-users with a (technically) functional but inefficient, slow, or even “clunky” result. If the analyses are being performed on the clients (a common pitfall for an inexperienced Ignition developer), this problem is compounded as more and more users start to access or view the application, each client running its own separate queries and analyses.
Class-based Unit Coordination Utilizing Link Groups
Take advantage of product functionality to coordinate activities between units.
Class-based recipes allow a single recipe to be executed against all Units that meet the required functionalities. Phases required to perform inter-unit coordination can be used to transfer information from any source unit to any destination unit utilizing Phase linking functionality. Based on the equipment arbitration requirements these coordination Phases can be shared among multiple units or can be created so each unit has its own instance of the required Phase.
**THIS IS A REPOSTED BLOG FROM AutomationWorld. Click here to read the full article.
Case Study: Brewhouse Automation and Functional Upgrade
ECS Solutions was contracted to replace a control system that was becoming obsolete at a brewery in Florida. The Venezuelan-based parent company, for which ECS Solutions employees had already completed multiple projects, was concerned that the automation hardware could go bad and be difficult to replace, leading to a shutdown of the plant. The customer’s production was at risk since the hardware in the system, which incorporated old Siemens PLC, Siemens I/O (input and output), and Siemen’s software, was no longer supported or available.
ECS Solutions has worked at several of the company’s breweries in South America and had demonstrated the functionality of the ISA88 standard, which allows expansion from producing a few items to many and enables changes to be handled by brewmasters in a modular way without reprogramming the control system. The company wanted the brewmaster to be able to create recipes independent of the code in the PLC, so providing the functionality obtained with the ISA88 standard became an important goal. The company wanted the best practices, now working in the facilities in South America, to be introduced into the Florida plant. (more…)
Flexible and Modular CIP and SIP Automation Enables Continuous Improvements
The ISA-88 and ISA-95 approach allow you to combine automated and manual operator activities required to perform consistent Clean-in-Place and Steam-in-Place processes in a procedural model, while also verifying required activities were performed.
Clean-in-Place (CIP) and Steam-in-Place (SIP) constitute critical aspects of the bottom line of a manufacturing process—just as important as the products manufactured with the assets. CIP and SIP play a very important role in the product quality, as well as the overall availability of the equipment to manufacture these products. Being able to consistently execute the required cleaning step regardless of the equipment level of automation is paramount—and being able to clearly specify and enforce the steps required are critical regardless of how these tasks are executed. Operators and equipment should seamlessly perform their task to ensure the desired cleaning procedures are executed in an optimum manner.
Read the article, written by ECS Solutions CEO Randy Otto, on Automation World now!
ECS Solutions Acquires the Assets of LPR Automation
Evansville, IN (October 1, 2021) – ECS Solutions, Inc. founded in 1977, and dedicated to performance improvement and innovation in batch manufacturing, has acquired the assets of LPR Automation, LLC of Bowling Green, KY. LPR Automation, founded in 2003, specialized in a wide range of control engineering and automation services.
“ECS is very excited about this partnership with LPR. We have long since looked at the Bowling Green, KY area as a vibrant, growing industrial market. With LPR’s established local presence, ECS can augment LPR’s existing skills with increased capacity and a specialized skillset in batch process automation. Together we can better serve this market.” said Randy Otto, ECS Solutions CEO.
About ECS Solutions, Inc.
ECS is a CSIA Certified control system integrator dedicated to performance improvement and innovation in batch manufacturing. After more than three decades of developing batch process control systems using a total process automation approach, we have the experience and expertise it takes to build powerful, high-performing plants that produce high-quality yields. Because we are dedicated to batch manufacturing the approaches that we have developed over 40 years are all designed to BOOST production performance and quality.
ECS operates under the guiding principles of excellence in all projects undertaken, measured internally by profitability and externally by satisfying requirements, and trust earned by demonstrating integrity and technical prowess. ECS’ core values are instilled in every employee to communicate candidly, build trusting relationships, serve others well by being responsive, lead with the courage to take risks, continuously improve in response to changing markets and technologies, disarm conflict by handling it one on one, seek excellence rather than perfection to meet the objective, and make ECS a better place to work.
Case Study: Integrating PlantPAx into an Existing Process Cell for a Pharmaceutical Company
A major pharmaceutical company was in the process of commissioning a control system for a new process cell and asked ECS to provide site support to complete the commissioning and qualification.
The control system supplier had taken a simplistic approach to keep costs down. A single controller with multiple Panelviews provided the heart of the control system that also interfaced with some OEM skids. The control hardware consisted of a quality Rockwell ControlLogix controller with multiple Panelviews. The controller code was all custom with little use of off-the-shelf products and was an assortment of custom blocks of code tied together, providing minimal functionality.
Little to no thought had been put into the operator and how they would run the system to create quality product. Standard operating procedures had not yet been developed. Producing a quality product was dependent upon the operator selecting the correct sequence of functions from operator stations at multiple vessels. This approach exposed the company to a great deal of risk in producing a quality product and controlling the rate of production.
Case Study: An Expansion of a Water Treatment Plant
A municipal utility asked ECS Solutions to design and construct an expansion to one of their Water Treatment Plants. It was proposed to expand an existing facility from ten million gallons per day (MGD) to a total treatment capacity of 30 MGD and upon completion of the expansion, an existing 18 MGD plant was to be shut down.
Earlier, ECS had provided the configuration and start-up support for the SCADA system used to operate the plant and had installed the existing SCADA and control system at both the plant to be expanded, and the one ultimately to be shut down. The proposal provided by ECS Solutions for the expansion covered the control and/or monitoring of:
- Four existing and four new aerators.
- Existing and new primary and secondary settling basins.
- Existing sludge and reclaim equipment.
- All existing and eight new filters.
- Existing and new high service pumps.
- New chemical feed equipment for lime, sodium hypochlorite, fluoride, and polyphosphate.
Case Study: FactoryTalk Batch Integration into a Control System for a Pharmaceutical Company
A large pharmaceutical company was commissioning and testing a new control system that was limited to providing only manual control of Equipment Modules. In some cases, manual control of Phases was available, with these Phases operating as coordination Equipment Modules but not having the infrastructure capable of interacting with a standard sequencing engine. To run a Batch Process the operators were required to manually enter recipe values and capture report information via an HMI, while tracking all activities in the various units. This allowed significant opportunities for operator errors (errors in setting parameters, errors in running the Equipment Modules in the correct sequence, or, in some cases, the physical inability to run multiple Equipment Modules at the same time).
ECS Solutions recommended and subsequently undertook the addition of a sequencing engine that not only stores the recipes (which contained the order in which the phases should be executed) but also stores all pertinent Parameter Values. With this modification, the operator is required simply to select a recipe together with all the equipment needed to run the batch. The batch engine is responsible for coordinating all the activities, including the parameter value transfer and Report information capture. The system also has the capability to prompt the operator regarding those tasks that require operator interaction. The installation of the addition did not interfere with any existing activities and all the existent code and functionality was preserved, with no changes being required.
Batch Forensics: The Case for Procedural Unit Tags
Simple to implement, unit tags provide instrumental value that can enhance recipe editing capability and execution.
A unit tag is a class-based tag that identifies a characteristic of a unit.
The values of these tags are usually associated with information captured via the control systems analog and digital input cards, signals like temperature, weight, pressure, level, conductivity, pH, level switch, etc. Other unit tags can contain the status, state, material of construction, or any other user-defined attribute that can enhance the recipe editing capability and execution.
**THIS IS A REPOSTED BLOG FROM AutomationWorld. Click here to read the full article.