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Process Control Software for PLCs, and remote terminal units

Mar. 05, 2018

Process Control Software 


This is a software package from TA Engineering Co., described as real-time monitoring and supervisory control software. It is intended for use in distributed process control, manufacturing, and production applications. The program will interface control devices such as digital process controllers, PLCs, and remote terminal units. The package specifically included all displays and configuration capabilities for Foxboro's 760 and 761 series of digital controllers, with and without Exact self-tuning. Character-graphic display capabilities are crisp and attractive, using a 16-color palette for display design and editing. 

Everything in AIMAX-PLUS is menu driven via function keys from a line menu across the bottom of display screens or via number keys from a main menu screen. Display screens provided with the demonstration include point displays, group faceplate displays, overview, trending, and alarm displays. All displays can be edited or designed from scratch by the user. The character-graphics editing capability included a library of basic shapes that were easily stretched to any size, horizontally and vertically, then colored as desired by the operator. 

The parameters of any point need to be defined only once, via a point configuration screen; then these parameters are applied throughout the package. AIMAX-PLUS can display screens that include bar-type trend graphs, faceplates, and process graphics, all at once with live data. Even some of the big distributed control systems don't do that. The real-time data acquisition and processing programs are compiled after configuration to run in a background mode. Thus, reconfiguration and display designs can be performed in the foreground while the real-time programs can be run continuously in the background. AIMAX-PLUS does all this via MSDOS. The real-time programs run in memory for speed, while the foreground programs access disk more often. 


This software package, described as a multivessel inventory management software system by Kistler-Morse. It can monitor weights and levels in up to 120 vessels or bins filled with bulk materials, as for batch mixing by recipe. It can activate up to 128 relays controlling feed gates and alarms. Inventory data is logged to memory for report generation and management analysis. Host computers and PLCs can access data from ROPE via RS-422 communications. The complete ROPE system includes a serial communications PC-bus card for interfacing up to 120 sensors. 

Process Control Software for PLCs, and remote terminal units


This integrated hardware and software system from Dow Chemical Co. is intended for on-line control and data acquisition in research laboratories and pilot plant operations. CAMILE uses multiple microprocessor STD-bus front-end units hosted by an IBM PC-AT computer or compatible. Nine-card and 24 card STD cages permit up to 60 or 240 I/Os and 16 or 64 PID loops. The interface hardware list incorporates everything from transmitters, thermocouples, and strain gages to proximity switches, turbine meters, control valves, and speed control. CAMILE systems are designed to de-energize all outputs when power fails, the host system goes down, or the host system fails. The user is responsible to ensure that his process is left in a safe condition when CAMILE outputs de-energize. Color displays in CAMILE range from menu-driven configuration and connection screens to process graphics with real-time data points and live trend screens. 


An integrated hardware and software system that uses an IBM PC-AT or compatible, Compaq DeskPro, or Hewlett-Packard Vectra as the workstation is offered by Data Acquisition Systems. ICON/1000 has an applications generator that can call Computer-Aided Process Engineering (CAPE) software which, in turn, allows programming to be done at the process flow-diagram level. Software language debugging and verification of match and syntax are automated by CAPE, which is claimed to be able to handle everything from regulatory to advanced control. ICON/1000 hardware includes proprietary environmentally hardened controllers based on a 68010 microprocessor running a real-time multitasking operating system. Each controller includes six modules and can handle up to 48 I/Os. The full complement of four controllers can serve 192 I/Os. 

Diagnostics and Networking Base (DNB) 

DNB software, offered by Mictron Inc., is a PC-AT/XT-based monitoring and diagnostic system enabling manufacturing production personnel to observe and maintain production equipment efficiently. It gathers data for diagnosis from transfer machines and PLCs via special communications interface cards at controllers or machine stations. The DNB system provides tool management, system reports, maintenance inventory database, and remote information center, in addition to machine monitoring and diagnosis. 

In an application at Chrysler Kokomo, DNB links upward to a Micro VAX host via a 10 Mbyte Ethernet network and downward to Indramat servo controllers and Allen-Bradley PLC-3 PLCs. DNB has simulated real-time inputs and provides some very nice animated graphics. The screen shows horizontal bars growing with time during machine cycles and finally indicating compliance or noncompliance with design times for each cycle-very much more satisfying than static markers for data points. 


CELLworks from FASTech Inc. is described as a set of integrated software products and tools for automated production systems. It is designed to run on an 80286 or 80386 class PC. CellWorks uses software modules, called servers, that provide a high-level communications interface to workcell automation equipment; e.g., a robot server has start-and-stop commands and a bar code reader has a read command. When the user wants to read a part, he tells the bar code reader, "Read part." These rules are stored in an expert system cell manager called CellMan. Servers are available for a variety of standard pieces of automation equipment, data handling functions, and communication networks. Display screens show wide use of windowing in production status, cell production yield analysis, and cell design displays. FASTech's system employs the Quantum QNX, a UNIX-like multitasking, multiuser operating system, to which the company applies the real-time descriptor. 


These are interface modules that permit GE Fanuc Automation North America to use PC-AT/RT industrial PCs or GE Fanuc's Cimstar industrial computers for direct monitoring and control. The PLCs, for which the Genius I/O was originally introduced, can thus be bypassed where this might be an advantage. Included software drivers interface both Basic and C language. Up to 32 Genius I/O devices can reside on each PC bus. 


AutoNet was designed by Imagination Systems Inc. for the remote programming and monitoring of Accurex's data acquisition units using RS-232C serial lines; hence, it uses the programmable features of the Accurex front panel. The software for industrial process data management supports front-end data loggers and I/O devices from Neff, Accurex, and Aero. The system provides scheduled polling of each data acquisition unit, centralized data collection, real-time data displays for on-line monitoring, compatibility with standard spreadsheets, data file management, and network configuration and operation.