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Connecting Plant to Enterprise via XML

(Sidebar to "Connecting the Plant to the Database" from the June 2007 issue of Automation World)

Besides increasingly popular xCoupler-type technology, another way to connect plant floor data with an enterprise database is through eXtensible Markup Language (XML) technology.
Moblize AKM Enterprise Inc., a Houston-based vendor, has developed a product that can talk to plant devices by wrapping the data around XML. It then sends the data across the Internet to the enterprise database.

“We saw a problem in the market—the plant has PLCs (programmable logic controllers) from five different vendors, and you want to search pressure readings,” says Amit Mehta, principal at Moblize. “So we developed software that can be uploaded to equipment such as PLCs. This software converts device protocols into XML, so that device data can be read by any handheld device or hardware platform that has a browser.”

For mobile workers, the tool can read devices in the field and gather data to be transmitted over the Web. “The real benefit comes when you have thousands of devices in the field,” says Mehta. “As long as you have a browser on your handheld, tablet or PDA, you can get the data as information.”

Once the data is gathered and transmitted to the database, the data can be combed for abnormalities, and alerts can be sent immediately back to the field. “From the browser, you ask the database to show you the devices where pressure is higher than a certain level."
Mobilize developed the technology five years ago. Initially it was created to serve the oil and gas industry, which needs to collect data in the field. The company soon turned to other industries. "We've replicated it for mining and power stations," says Mehta.


To see the main story this sidebar was taken from - "Connecting the Plant to the Database" - please visit



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