To address this issue, numerous automation suppliers have developed manufacturing intelligence software packages designed to aggregate and present data from multiple databases in a way that is easy to understand and, therefore, analyze.
One example of how manufacturing intelligence software can be applied for process analysis is seen in the way Georgsmarienhütte GmbH, a major German steel supplier, uses FactoryTalk VantagePoint enterprise manufacturing intelligence software from Rockwell Automation to leverage control system data and achieve company efficiency goals.
To keep up with production needs, Georgsmarienhütte had added a variety of new capabilities to its process over the years, such as a custom process analysis solution that automatically analyzes off-gases using mass spectrometry. As the company expanded its production systems with technology like the process analysis equipment, it also expanded the volume of data sources managing the information coming in and out of each system. As a result, the company soon found itself managing an overwhelming number of data sources including two historian servers, two Oracle databases, a Microsoft Access database, a Microsoft SQL server and an OPC-DA server for its PLCs.
With so many data sources, operators and plant managers had to use two desktop computers and manual data entry to create an accurate picture of production.
FactoryTalk VantagePoint was selected to address this issue because of its ability to leverage Microsoft SQL data to provide role-based access to production information. Using a unified production model to access each data source, the software maintains data quality and provides Georgsmarienhütte employees, from production workers to management staff, with access to all connected systems using one interface. The software also produces Web-based reports and analytics, providing users with role-based information most relevant to their job.