Automation World: These are interesting times for manufacturers. Global competition has forced
businesses to retool their manufacturing strategies, while new technology has provided ways to drive impressive productivity gains. How has operations management software played a role?
Mike Bradley Sr.: What we’re seeing is that the operations view itself has changed. It has now become a production, product and business view, not just a manufacturing view. Operations management software—which includes human-machine interface (HMI), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), manufacturing execution systems (MES), manufacturing intelligence
and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration applications—is filling a much broader role and addresses a much broader audience.
In addition to the operations functions, operations management software needs to meet the concerns of IT (information technology) for security and maintainability across all of the integrated manufacturing and business systems. And for engineering, operations management software needs to reduce development time, effort and errors.
AW: Wonderware has been at the forefront of developments in operations management software
since its launch, in 1989, of the first Microsoft Windows-based HMI package. Provide a historical
perspective on how the evolution of Wonderware offerings meets the challenges of today’s definition of operations management.
Bradley: Software has evolved from easy-to-build, single-node, single-machine and process HMI applications, to multi-node, multi-machine and process applications, to the integrated suites of software for factory applications that we introduced in the 1990s.
Since 2000, we have worked with leading companies to understand their challenges with integrating all aspects of their operations, including the plant, IT and business systems. Invensys’ significant investment to address these challenges resulted in the introduction of the ArchestrA software architecture, which is based on industry standards and includes common industrial software services that we call Industrial SOA (for service-oriented architecture).
ArchestrA technology supplies three key benefits to our customers. One, it meets today’s demanding integration needs, with a focus on ease-of-use that hides complexity. Two, it emphasizes ease of connectivity to existing plant and business systems across the enterprise. And three, it delivers speed of implementation, allowing faster roll-out of the solution over multiple plants to realize company-wide benefits more quickly.
AW: Now Wonderware is pioneering another major breakthrough for operations management software, with the launch of InTouch 10.0 HMI and System Platform 3.0 software. How will these solutions change the game for manufacturers?
Bradley: Here again, I’ll answer your question by focusing on the three main benefits that our software provides for the market. First, to improve engineering effectiveness, the feature sets of the InTouch 10.0 HMI and System Platform 3.0 software enable engineers to build intuitive, reliable and maintainable HMI, SCADA and MES applications using a single, high-productivity software platform that helps reduce time, costs and errors. Second, to improve IT effectiveness, this latest software platform makes it much easier, less time-consuming and less costly to integrate and manage secure, integrated operations applications on an ongoing basis. And third, to improve operational effectiveness, these software solutions empower operations personnel with intuitive views of the right enterprise-wide information in order to improve operational efficiency, reduce training costs, and minimize unplanned application downtime.
AW: The theme for this special issue is, “Breaking the Barriers to Achieving Operational Excellence.” What boundaries are manufacturers having difficulty breaking through, and how can Wonderware help them achieve sustainable operational excellence?
Mike Bradley Sr., president of Wonderware: Operations personnel are having difficulty getting easy access to the right information needed to improve efficiency and lower costs. These latest offerings provide exciting new ways to view all of the required operational information graphically, and in context—not just as a sea of tag data. This will help operations increase productivity as personnel readily visualize integrated application information from across the entire manufacturing enterprise.
Engineering personnel have challenges with designing and building intuitive, secure, reliable and maintainable applications while reducing application development time, errors and costs. Because these offerings are based on ArchestrA technology, they provide engineering personnel with unprec-
edented graphical and editing tools, and support collaborative team engineering, application standardization and easy change management and propagation.
IT personnel need to manage business-to-manufacturing application integration in a fashion that is much easier, less time-consuming and less costly, especially for large-scale deployments. The new offerings provide centralized application deployment, built-in diagnostics, security and unprecedented compatibility with other business and manufacturing systems.
In short, the new InTouch 10.0 and System Platform 3.0 software from Wonderware address the specific needs of all three manufacturing audiences—operations, IT and engineering—so that they can break through traditional barriers and collaborate in unprecedented new ways, in order to achieve operational excellence.Primary Responsibility for the Ongoing Management of Operations Management Software