Vendors Help with Automating Procedures

Automation vendors have been introducing a variety of tools for helping users to automate procedures in their control systems. Rockwell Automation, for example, introduced one last month called the PlantPAx Library sequencer (see photo). It helps users to think through a set of procedures so they can configure forcible steps and define what-if conditions.

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“So procedural control becomes more of a configuration effort and less of a programming effort,” says Jason Wright, PlantPAx product manager (www.rockwellautomation.com).

The sequencer builds in the visualization for helping operators to see what steps they are currently on and what steps are coming up soon. It also prompts operators for any required human decisions and actions.

Another example of a tool that can be used for procedure automation is one from Yokogawa Corp. of America (www.yokogawa.com/us). Called Exapilot, it is a PC-based system that uses a flowchart to step operators through operating procedures.

“It can do simple procedures, such as those that an operator initials in column,” says Dave Emerson, director of Yokogawa’s U.S. Development Center in Carrollton, Texas  “But it can also do calculations and conditional logic.”

>> Read Automation World's complete coverage on procedure automation, "Heard the News about Procedure Automation?"

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