Software provides direct link to control and business systems

Paul Boughton
FactoryTalk VantagePoint 4.0 software from Rockwell Automation now includes enhanced connectors, configuration and reporting tools to significantly reduce the time, complexity and cost of developing meaningful reports, visualisation and analytics for manufacturing operations and enhance performance for manufacturing intelligence applications. The latest version is designed to simplify the end-user experience, include connectivity to additional Rockwell Automation products, and provide native integration to Microsoft SharePoint 2010. This brings an unprecedented opportunity to expose plant-floor data to the enterprise and many other capabilities like business intelligence, collaboration and communications typically not found in a real-time manufacturing operation.

FactoryTalk VantagePoint software connects to disparate data sources – real time, historical, relational and transactional – to create a single resource that can access, aggregate and correlate information into a common, unified model that allows trends, reports and dashboards to help customers make fact-based decisions. FactoryTalk VantagePoint Web-based dashboards and reports monitor key performance indicators and help empower users at every level of an enterprise to better manage their operation in real time.

FactoryTalk VantagePoint 4.0 provides enhanced connectors and preconfigured reporting content for Logix programmable automation controllers, FactoryTalk Historian, FactoryTalk Metrics and FactoryTalk EnergyMetrix, making it faster and easier to setup reporting around common equipment types. This new release also enables production intelligence for PlantPAx process automation system customers by providing prebuilt reports and a visual model of the process library. FactoryTalk VantagePoint also includes direct connectivity to third-party historians and control systems, allowing customers with a heterogeneous plant floor to make better decisions and have easier access to their data.

“Plant-floor equipment continuously generates valuable data,” said Keith McPherson, director of market development, Visualisation and Information Software, Rockwell Automation. “Added connectors and configuration tools in FactoryTalk VantagePoint speed access to that information. With these enhancements, manufacturers have more flexibility in working with their data and can extract more value from their manufacturing assets with a smaller upfront investment of time.”

Users can create reports using common tools – such as Microsoft Excel – and view data through the FactoryTalk VantagePoint portal or Microsoft SharePoint, leveraging a long list of Web parts, scorecards, business intelligence and other collaboration tools.

“Our business intelligence and collaboration solutions rely on widely used applications, which significantly reduces the cost of ownership and increases the time-to-value for organisations,” said Caglayan Arkan, worldwide director, Manufacturing Operation Strategy, Microsoft. “Our work with Rockwell Automation enables us to extend this familiar framework into a real-time production environment that helps dramatically reduce the complexities and cost of reporting in operations.”

FactoryTalk VantagePoint software can be used to address specific manufacturing needs, including downtime reporting, status tracking and multiple-control-system reporting. Users can work intuitively and interactively with reports and dashboards to view key performance indicators that enable data-driven decision making.

The application is based on a unified production model (UPM) that aggregates disparate manufacturing data and gives context for relationships among equipment, product, materials and people. The UPM organises various manufacturing and enterprise data FactoryTalk VantagePoint helps thousands of leading manufacturers monitor and manage productivity in real time to drive plantwide optimisation and make more insightful decisions about business priorities from product quality to equipment utilisation to help reduce costs.

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