Enhanced graphics within SCADA systems makes it far easier to visualise production processes, but does that have to be at the cost of increased configuration complexity? Paul Hurst of Products4Automation argues that it does not, and that today’s SCADA solutions can combine the highest levels of visualisation performance with an intuitive interface for ease of set up.
The ability to adequately visualise production processes is paramount for any supervision system. And the more transparent a view of the processes it provides, the easier to is to optimise production efficiency and hit OEE targets etc. If plant operators can have a more realistic presentation of the plant systems, it is easier to interpret the information.
From the factory floor, to a backlit screen
But can the plant floor really be brought to life on a SCADA screen? With products such as Movicon, the answer is most definitely yes, thanks to its hugely powerful graphics capability. Using icons, symbols, frameworks, industry-specific graphics and more, users can easily create bespoke visualisations that accurately reflect the operations of real world facilities.
Combining powerful animation graphics with a complete set of functions for zooming, layering and tabbing, Movicon SCADA delivers a completely realistic and engaging user experience, precisely representing the plant floor. It is like being there; without actually being there, especially so when using a secure web browser on a mobile device far away from the physical plant.
Of course, this would count for nothing if the product were prohibitively difficult to configure. Certainly, with SCADA packages historically, we have seen that combining power with simplicity is not an easy thing to do. All too frequently, the systems that have promised the required sophistication have turned out to be too difficult to use, while those that were simple to configure have proved too restrictive in what they can offer.
In developing Movicon SCADA, however, Progea set out from the start to design a product that would offer the maximum capability, with the greatest deployment flexibility, and could be configured in less time – with the minimum effort. Like any good software platform, it must be simple to set-up: using clear menus and quick navigation with complete and intuitive graphics, Movicon SCADA has been designed for fast project engineering.
Space to move around, quickly
The Movicon workspace is nicely developed, after feedback from thousands of users. All the tools are ready-to-use at easy reach, and the configuring of systems is entirely done using the vast range of object libraries and resources, all fully customisable through their properties window. The properties windows, which can be moved, positioned and docked as required, provides all the properties divided logically by group and sub-groups.
The idea behind providing such a large number of configuration properties was to eliminate the traditional need to have to keep reverting to script code. The result is a significant saving of time in planning, project debugging and maintenance.
A huge range of project templates provides a great start point for any new project, and the in-built symbol library is rich in pre-built symbol graphics, ready for immediate previewing, and simply added to a project using drag and drop. Indeed Movicon’s ‘Power Templates’ Templates’ technology makes it possible to auto-create projects simply by inserting symbols on the screen.
A code base near you
Projects are based on XML code, so they are both intuitive and open. Users also benefit from easy editing of vector graphics for completely customisable screens, along with powerful design and layout tools. In addition, there are new classes of analogue display objects based on .NET technology, providing unrivalled graphics.
The latest version of Movicon SCADA includes new refactoring tools, capable of automatically eliminating typical programming errors. And native, built-in support for Microsoft Visual Source Safe ensures ease of distribution and multi-planning efficiency, as well as managing modifications and traceability.
There is built-in support for multi-monitor systems, and auto-resizing of vector and bitmap graphics to screen or window resolution. This is also true for web client visualisation, all ensuring that the SCADA package delivers optimised performance.
We can see, then, that SCADA users can indeed have the best of both worlds: the ultimate in process representation but with true simplicity of configuration. With the intuitive, simple to use tools offered by Movicon SCADA for example, plant operators can easily achieve enhanced visualisation of their processes, enabling real world productivity benefits.