In today’s dynamic market, companies must emphasize flexibility and adaptability in production to stay competitive. Modular production offers a promising solution by enabling swift plant adaptation to evolving processes and market needs through standardization. This approach is key to achieving long-term success.
Proprietary Systems are still the Norm
At present, the world of automation is still dominated by proprietary control systems. Engineering adaptations and networking of state-of-the-art systems with advanced levels of automation often involve considerable investment in terms of time, personnel, and money. Moreover, the potential economic benefits associated with flexibility, productivity, and efficiency, which actually could have been offered long ago through modern Industry 4.0 technologies, remain untapped due to the current approach.
Several factors contribute to this sluggish evolution. Reluctance to invest, resistance to change, and a shortage of skilled workers are common obstacles. The presence of proprietary control systems hinders universal networking, interoperability, and sustainability. Programmable logic controller solutions (PLC) from various manufacturers, for instance, often face significant compatibility issues, requiring extensive adaptations for them to work together, if at all.
Open Standards for the Integrated Smart Factory
Traditionally, production processes were tailored to a limited range of products, but this no longer aligns with current market needs. Today’s focus is on addressing individual product requirements rather than specializing in a few. Adaptability is vital for manufacturing companies to survive in the digital age, where competition for innovative solutions intensifies.
The solution to this challenge is open automation, involving universally recognized, interoperable standards. This paradigm shift promises substantial cost savings for all stakeholders, including system providers, OEMs, machine manufacturers, system integrators, and end customers, creating mutual benefits for everyone involved.
Versatile Production thanks to MTP
Adaptable processes present significant opportunities, and the Module Type Package (MTP) plays a vital role in modular automation. MTP serves as a common language to describe process module properties, enabling seamless modifications to process sequences without extensive engineering. This allows efficient and rapid adaptation and scaling of production by adding or removing modules.
The higher-level control system, the Process Orchestration Layer, coordinates these modules, providing order and recipe information for synchronization and communication with partner systems like ERP.
As a consistent participant in the NAMUR meetings, we embrace the philosophy and offer a corresponding product with our powerful Batch Orchestration System (BOS): Plant iT BOS can orchestrate every module of the plant – be it a reactor, a mixer, or a complete CIP system. ProLeiT’s Plant iT BOS also provides additional features like material tracking, comprehensive management, and order batch and BOM management for plant operators.
Expanding Open Automation
To unlock Industry 4.0’s potential, technology alone isn’t enough. Orchestrating automated applications must align with modern needs, emphasizing vendor independence and separating hardware from software. This approach fosters engineering freedom and a software-driven top-down method for sustainable, competitive systems. The IEC 61499 standard, though over 15 years old, suits today’s plant requirements with distributed, event-driven, vendor-independent automation logic.
ProLeiT collaborates with Schneider Electric to propel this paradigm shift. ProLeiT’s latest V9.90 version supports Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxureTM Automation Expert (EAE), an open, manufacturer-neutral automation solution. This IEC 61499-based tool facilitates seamless function module interconnection and simplifies cross-communication among control components. It promotes hardware-independent software distribution and expedites engineering & commissioning.
Transitioning to IEC 61499-based automation systems revolutionizes process and machine design. Platforms like EAE herald a new era of open automation with pioneering pilot projects in collaboration with ProLeiT.
Break free from Platform Limitations: The ProLeiT Advantage with EAE
Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ Automation Expert (EAE) and ProLeiT Software offer significant benefits when combined. Plant iT’s support for multiple platforms, including EAE, allows seamless entry into Universal Automation. EAE can be incrementally added to existing Plant iT orchestration systems, offering hardware-agnostic, software-centric, and open automation PLC capabilities.
Moreover, Plant iT can integrate dPAC devices, enabling easy equipment and line additions without requiring larger control platforms. This move towards PLC hardware platform independence empowers customers to base purchasing decisions solely on process and performance parameters.
Additionally, ProLeiT’s standardized automation classes speed up engineering, expediting the implementation of automation solutions.
This unique combination proves invaluable in the Food & Beverage industry. It enables homogeneous monitoring and control of the entire production process without system discontinuities, thus streamlining operations. In addition, operators benefit from a consistent working environment regardless of the control platform, reducing training and administration.
Finally, ProLeiT can help take the automation solution with recipes, orders, etc. to the next level beyond hardware-agnosticism by introducing ISA S88-compliant structures based on recipes and orders, which enables subsequent reporting or simplifies the exchange with an existing ERP or MES system, if this is not yet covered by the existing batch system.
Unleash Agility and Efficiency: Empowering Your Future with Schneider Electric and ProLeiT
Together, Schneider Electric and ProLeiT ensure more flexibility with considerably fewer costs and time implications in terms of engineering, commissioning, and production adaptations. Take advantage of this opportunity and react faster to current market situations by being able to adapt production systems even more dynamically and reliably in the future.
Visit our website at Batch Orchestration System (proleit.com) to learn more about how ProLeiT’s BOS can enhance your production flexibility, improve efficiency, and support you on your journey towards the Integrated Smart Factory.