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Tool helps to pinpoint causes of machine failures

18 October, 2018

Itris Automation, the French software firm that specialises in tools for verifying and troubleshooting PLC codes, has released a real-time diagnostics tool that helps to pinpoint the causes of breakdowns in PLC-controlled machines. Called ICS Monitoring, the tool helps users to find the origin of problems faster, thus reducing downtime.

The software simplifies the representation of a PLC program’s data flow and logic, and displays real-time values of variables. This representation, with the live values and dynamic navigation, is said to simplify the troubleshooting of PLC programs.

Itris claims that ICS Monitoring is “unique” in its support for different makes of PLC, including Schneider Electric, Siemens, Beckhoff, Phoenix Contact and Rockwell Automation, as well as Codesys-based systems. No code instrumentation is needed when setting up the system, because the only reference is the code.

The software is said to integrate seamlessly into production environments. It can connect directly to data via Modbus TCP or OPC, allowing the data to be shared in real time. It can also work with version management tools to keep program information up-to-date, and with supervisory systems, from which it can be launched directly. 

Real-time communications between ICS Monitoring and PLCs can be set up via a communication server with OPC, or by communicating directly with the PLC using Modbus TCP.

One of the early users has been the French semiconductor materials specialist, Soitec. Sylvain Jacques, the company’s production manager, reports that the tool has “fitted perfectly” into Soitec’s infrastructure. “It especially complements our Scada systems which raise alarms and provide information about potential breakdowns,” he says, and “allows us to see the current status of our installation so that we can quickly make the right decisions to maintain its operation and availability”.

After an initial launch in France last year, Itris is now starting to sell ICS Monitoring globally.

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