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Automation platform will find bottlenecks

01 July, 2004

Automation platform will find bottlenecks

Omron has announced details of a "plug-and-work" technology designed to unify information management for a new generation of automation equipment including motion controls, PLCs, sensors and temperature controllers. Announcing the technology in Japan, Omron revealed that it will be implemented in a variety of forthcoming automation products.

The first 58 products to use the technology - called Smart Platform - include CPUs, communications boards, position controls and programmers.

The technology is designed to gather more data from production lines to help identify bottlenecks and to improve productivity. Omron says that previous control technologies have not collected this data efficiently for various reasons, including the difficulty of extracting the information from networks, problems in setting up devices with complex functions, and the cost of gathering the information.

It claims that Smart Platform will solve these problems. The techniques it uses include:

• Using control devices to collect, extract and record manufacturing, quality and diagnostic information. This, combined with the "know-how of veteran engineers", decreases the data-handling load on PLCs.

• Storing the data in all of the control devices connected to a network, and then creating and recycling "the function parts that define and contain the user`s original information-processing procedure".

• Optimising the operation of the complete production line for the entire lifecycle of the equipment. There will a unified environment for developing programs, networks and equipment.

Smart Platform will allow users to mix-and-match automation components, without having to worry about hierarchies or communications issues. It will use a single programming environment for all devices, with configuration achieved by dragging-and-dropping on-screen representations of the various components.

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