Expo Showcases Data-Driven, Connected Solutions

Sept. 30, 2014
The Expo area of Schneider Electric’s 2014 Software Global Customer Conference is a walk-around summary of the new products and features released under the company’s Wonderware, SimSci, Avantis, Citect, Ampla and OASyS DNA product lines.

Less than nine months after the $5.6 billion acquisition of Invensys, Schneider Electric is showcasing upgraded, integrated and improved versions of its software products at the 2014 Software Global Customer Conference, held in Orlando, Fla. “‘Always accessible’ and ‘always on’ is now,” said Rob McGreevy, the vice president of information, asset and operations software for Invensys. “Everything is data-driven and connected.”

That certainly was one theme of the products released under the company’s Wonderware, SimSci, Avantis, Citect, Ampla and OASyS DNA product lines on display in the Expo area of the conference. The Expo provides nearly 40 product demonstrations, and includes exhibits from 22 partner companies. Here’s a tour of 10 of Schneider Electric booths and what they’re showing this year.

1. Process History & Reporting with Wonderware Software Products

The Expo marks the release of Wonderware Historian 2014 R2, which further improves core functionality and performance over Historian 2014, which was released in January. More than 2 million I/O points can be stored to it, and performance has been significantly improved as well. A key improvement is the ability to connect all the different SCADA systems that are now part of Schneider Electric, including Citect, ClearSCADA and Wonderware InduSoft HMI SCADA, to improve the archiving capabilities of all.

Installations of Wonderware Historian number 70,000 today, representing 20 percent growth over last year. “Historian has always been really good at integrating with all kinds of SCADA systems, PLCs, etc. We also integrate well with SAP, Microsoft Azure and other ERP systems,” said Elliot Middleton, director of product information management. “Now, with this expansion, we’re also connecting to all our SCADA products, as well as to mobile devices. We’ve made it very easy to access the rich data that Historian gathers.”

Wonderware Historian is available in a cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) implementation that lets companies get it running quickly without having to manage on-premises software and servers. McGreevy said, “It’s a native Microsoft Azure historian that is super secure. Data goes just one way.”

Other functional improvements to Wonderware Historian include improved alarm and event support, as well as better access to calculations, like hourly averages, via the process graphics. “HMI data is always about half operator data and half dashboard or status data. Now, it’s simple for operators that need historical context to see it right on their HMI screen,” said Middleton.

2. Real-Time Plant Data on Smartphones and Tablets

Wonderware SmartGlance is the defacto mobile client for Schneider Electric’s historian software. It enables real-time plant data to be displayed on smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and even a smart watch—which is a good solution for gloved technicians and others who need to know a status or measurement at a glance. Personalized alerts on mobile devices improve operational awareness and accelerate troubleshooting and decision-making.

The SmartGlance 2014 R2 on-premises version makes it easier to input data and deal with more data and more users. “This is useful because it also allows native support for Wonderware and CitectHMIs,” said Saadi Kermani, product manager for mobile solutions. SmartGlance 2014 R2 also improves “data self service,” meaning what you see on your mobile device is configurable rather than needing to be programmed, he added.

3. Recipe Management and Manufacturing Execution Systems

Wonderware Recipe Manager Plus, released in June, is the company’s new medium-sized recipe management application. Wonderware InBatch provides basic master-batch and recipe-management capabilities, while the Wonderware MES/Operations product delivers more sophisticated batch management. Recipe Manager Plus is simpler to use, more adaptable and very flexible.

“Through an adaptive, model-driven standardization of processes, it provides recipe management and execution, as well as tracking and traceability, in-line quality management and statistical process control,” said Dirk Kozian, senior product management for business process management and batch software. “It also can run standalone or connect to any device via OPC-UA. 3M Germany was an early adopter, and they’re connecting it to a third-party HMI/SCADA front end.”

4. Wonderware MES 2014

The latest version of the company’s Wonderware Manufacturing Execution Software introduces a new web-based user interface to enter and track equipment downtime via any workstation or mobile device. The new user interface is the same as those for Wonderware InBatch, Workflow and other offerings, enabling easy interaction among all system components. New functions in the software include better in-line quality management (more sampling methods and better display and categorization of quality information), as well as a new line set-up web page easier configuration of lines for OEE monitoring.

5. Analytics and Energy Management
Schneider Electric has long been a power, energy and electrical company, and the acquisition of Invensys brought Wonderware Corporate Energy Management (CEM) solutions into the fold. As power starts to get more expensive, it becomes important to know how much you’re consuming and start managing it—treating it as a raw material coming into your process.

If there is a particular machine that is starting to use more power than another, maybe that’s changing over time, because the machine is degrading and needs some maintenance. Power is also something to be protected, to be optimized, because—like any raw material—the quality of it is important.

“Whether it’s water, air, gas, electricity or steam, you want to capture data and add context. That’s what we do,” said Christian-Marc Pouyez, product manager – Intelligence, HMI & Supervisory. “We bring production data, weather data and more into a database and add structure. We deliver out metrics and KPIs.” The solution gathers data from Wonderware Historian, Wonderware MES database Wonderware CEM and elsewhere, and enables self-service access to information so energy managers can be authoring their own content. “You can show energy information by batch, for example,” he said.

6. Remote Electrical Asset Monitoring

More synergy between the Schneider Electric and Invensys software portfolios was revealed in the Remote Electrical Asset Monitoring Services booth. “We taking the expertise from the Invensys software side of the business and leveraging the electrical hardware expertise of Schneider,” explained Kim Custeau, director - asset management, systems. “Schneider Electric sells contracts to manage, monitor and provide validation of performance on electrical assets—those they make, and others their customers might own. What we’ve done here is extended our asset management capability to electrical assets, using Wonderware Historian primarily to log the information and provide the ability to disseminate that information for management purposes.”

The assets tWonderware Enterprise asset management (EAM) product typically took care of were pumps, motors and compressors. The new solution extends the use of Wonderware information- and asset-management products for the purpose of the electrical services that Schneider provides. EAM can also help end user customers optimize their electrical assets, manage spare parts ordering, set up maintenance activities, and coordinate overall maintenance and operation management activities for their assets.

7. Enterprise Asset Management

Avantis Condition Manager 3.0 is an easy to use, rules-based asset condition manager that collects and stores machine maintenance and materials (spare parts) data by machine, so all information about an asset in accessible in one place. It also intelligently analyzes the data and sends alerts about actual or potential problems. “Rather than do work based on a calendar, users can do it based on the health of the asset,” said Don Marsillo, product manager. “A single entity record—one screen—is an ‘asset database’ that keeps track of all information related to that asset.”

The software collects and stores a wide variety of raw data—from manual inputs to Excel spreadsheets to OPC-based device diagnostic data—and provides multi-variable, rules-based analysis. More importantly, it can automatically generate user-defined workflows, work orders, equipment activity records and more to optimize asset operation and provide early failure detection. Integration with maps from Esri, a geographic information services (GIS) company, lets users manage their assets visually by mapping out routes for different maintenance activities, for example. The GIS location reference can be included along with all the other work activities and information.

8. Immersive Operator Training System

The Dynamic Simulation Suite (DYNSIM, SCP 270, TRISIM Plus) for process design and control emulation is showcased in this booth. Also the EYESIM Virtual Reality Training Simulator, which is made obvious by attendees wearing 3D glasses and holding game controls. The on-screen demonstration is a customer’s example of a 3D training simulator for plant field operators. This e-learning system includes a Field Operator Tutorial (learning module), and Field Operator Assessment (testing module) in 3D. DYNSIM also includes a DCS Assessment, a 2D module for testing control room operators using the same dynamic simulation of the customer’s actual plant.

“When you do immersive simulation, students expect their actions to have instant reactions. That’s why we provide 3D visuals and sounds, and we hold a patent on the interaction between the virtual environment model and the dynamic simulation of the processes,” explained Peter Richmond, EYESIM product manager.

9. Vijeo Citect and Citect SCADA Software

Citect, purchased in the last decade by Schneider Electric and now part of its HMI/SCADA portfolio, is being enhanced and extended. This purpose built, high efficiency HMI SCADA product line is one of a number of products in the combined company’s software portfolio.

“Users of Vijeo Citect / Citect SCADA software need not fear that their investment has been in vain,” said Darren Fraser, Citect general manager. “We’re taking a combined view of all the HMI/SCADA products, and leveraging connectivity with the Wonderware software suite.” In addition to Citect, those products include ClearSCADA, OASyS DNA SCADA, Wonderware, InTouch, and InduSoft.

Coming in Q2 2015 is SmartGlance for Citect, and in Q3 expect native connectivity to Wonderware Historian. After that, added Fraser, users can expect connectivity with System Platform—an important addition for big customers who want to manage multiple sites from a central location. “Citect never had access to high level applications like SimSci and Avantis. Now it will. That means Citect customers will see a whole host of new capabilities that can be added to existing sites, “ he added.

10. HMI Visualization

InTouch 2014 R2 and System Platform 2014 R2 build on the enhancements delivered in January with expanded set of symbols and wizards providing greater situational awareness. “It’s now easier than ever to drag and drop elements of HMI displays, which helps improve HMI design, enforce standards, and reduce engineering time,” said Eduardo Ballina, InTouch product manager. There are also more features related to alarms and alarm management, and also some graphic conversion capabilities where you can convert legacy graphics much more easily to the new graphics, he said.