Directly connecting the plant floor to the business level

07 June 2011

Today’s manufacturing processes rely as much on physical automation as they do on communications protocols to seamlessly integrate all areas of the production process.

However, communication to higher level business systems are often still fragmented as layers of PCs and systems need to be navigated to deliver data to an ERP or MES. Mitsubishi Electric, working with IT technology spinoff ubigrate, has cut through these layers to deliver real-time data directly to a users SAP system.

The C Connector PLC module simplifies the link between automation systems and higher-level databases, ERP applications and MES applications. Production data can be monitored and recorded, and higher-level production decisions more easily implemented, helping to increase plant visibility and boost productivity.

The C Connector facilitates direct, bidirectional exchange of data between a PLC and the higher level systems to simplify the collection, storage and monitoring of field data within the business application, and the sending of instructions directly to the plant floor.

Eliminating the need for intermediate PC hardware and its inherent infrastructure and IT vulnerabilities such as virus scanner maintenance, OS upgrades and incompatibilities, hardware failures, operator abuse, the industrial proven C Connector runs directly on Mitsubishi Electric’s iQ controller, where it has direct access to live process data and all connected I/O. Here it can also be used to collect data from other automation devices in the field such as RFID sensors, barcode reader, weighing systems or vision systems.

Commenting on the launch, Mitsubishi Electric AMD development manager, Thomas Lantermann, said: “The ability to make correct production decisions, to enhance quality and to ensure full traceability depends on making plant-floor data readily available to higher level systems. Traditionally, connectivity to ERP systems such as SAP was fragmented, but the C Controller simplifies and strengthens the link making it reliable, robust and secure. After all, why put a weak link in your system hierarchy when you can get your high reliability systems talking directly?”

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