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Making SCADA Scalable with next generation architecture



Scalability and flexibility are the new watchwords in industrial control technologies, as manufacturing and processing plants must be able to adapt almost instantly to changing market requirements. Movicon.NExT™ has been designed to ensure maximum scalability while offering an all-inclusive configuration environment through the selection of modular options that enable the easy development of bespoke solutions.

Modern manufacturing and processing operations have to be both scalable and flexible so that they can cope with ever-changing requirements. Typically production starts with a modest throughput and this is expected to increase as market demand grows. It is then quite likely that increasing numbers of product variations will be introduced and the plant will be expected to adapt seamlessly to varying demand for these.

If such an adaptable plant is to be built it is inevitable that its control system will have to be equally able to accommodate change. Historically control systems have been monolithic and relatively inflexible, but a new generation of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) technology has emerged that achieves flexibility though modularity, and the latest iteration of this, Movicon.NExT™, according to its UK division provides the ultimate in flexibility and scalability.

For continuing long term success in a market, manufacturers must constantly improve their products through, for instance, new features, lower prices, quality enhancements, technical advances and increased reliability. To achieve this the production technology must constantly evolve, initially as a series of small predictable steps and then later a step change is needed to take the product to the next level. To achieve this, production technology providers must recognise that new challenges are arising and find the courage and originality to confront them in new and creative ways.

SCADA specialist Progea was founded and nurtured to always be at this emerging edge of new industrial control technologies. One of its innovations was to restructure SCADA and HMI (human-machine interface or visualisation) technologies into a modular format so that systems could be designed and constructed quickly. Similarly, they could easily be reconfigured as requirements changed.

Its latest automation platform Movicon.NExT™ is engineered to overcome the restrictions of conventional SCADA/HMI technology by using next-generation native-based software solutions incorporating the most advanced technology. This creates solid foundations for long term investments, as its inherent flexibility coupled with openness allows easy expansion and reconfiguration without having to scrap existing systems.

Movicon.NExT™ is based on .NET code which provides a plug-in framework for systems design and offers an all-in-one modular and flexible work environment for systems development.  The industrial software feature applications are distributed around the system as required and thus optimise field communication, data collection, HMI interface graphics and supervision. Further Movicon.NExT™ uses its computing power to provide datalogging, analysis, efficiency monitoring, business productivity calculations, maintenance management, alarm handing, safety and much more.

Key features of Movicon.NExT™ include: scalability for cost effective and straightforward systems extension; openness which ensures interoperability between systems and the use of best-in-class software such as XAM, WPF, MS SQL Server, Azure for cloud applications, XML, VB.NET and OPC UA; security through user authentication and third party security modules, and web connectivity. Movicon.NExT™ guarantees maximum native connectivity to any device or application module and thus provides new levels of fast communication, real-time data management and graphics optimisation.

Coupled with this performance level, Movicon.NExT™’s developers have created wizards, templates, symbol libraries and toolboxes to make programming and installation as easy and intuitive as possible. All of this means Movicon.NExT™ is fully able to implement control systems for Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications.

User friendliness has been built into Movicon.NExT™ at every level. For instance it is able to support the latest in 2D and 3D graphics so that screen displays can include realistic images, clear schematics and well presented data. It ability to collect, store and analyse data then produce clear, concise and accurate reports means Movicon.NExT™ offers the best possible level of industrial process control, while its modularity allows users to control the cost of ownership in both the short- and long term.

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