Taking advantage of open standards to increase OEM product sales

1st February 2013

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Plants are more cautious about the equipment purchased and integrated into existing systems and customers are demanding more from their solutions. Jack McIntyre reports.

The economy of the world has taken many twists and turns over the past five years and has had an impact on every industrial automation company in some shape or form. Automation projects were put on hold and are only now slowly coming back online. As projects come up, OEMs and machine builders face new challenges.

Customers are no longer satisfied with equipment that only communicates using proprietary technology, and can no longer afford to be locked into one vendor's product line. They need the flexibility to build quality solutions which will enable them to utilise the best equipment/software on the market. They also want proven results that the equipment will increase production, decrease costs, and easy to integrate into existing systems. The challenge for OEM's is how to overcome these issues and sell more products. One solution is to use open standards to enable each device with the ability to connect to existing systems, and the ability to visualise and share real-time data.

This could be accomplished by using OPC Systems.NET. A service orientated product, which is designed to take existing data and expand it, so it can be accessed across the entire organisation. This provides anyone accessing the system with the ability to visualise real-time data directly from the source into whatever Visual Studio capable graphics package that already exists on site, ie Auto Cad, Blender 3D, Illustrator.

OPC Systems.NET enables OEM's and manufacturers to get the real-time data needed to make decisions to maximise ROI. Data comes directly from the devices and has not been touched by human hand, thereby eliminating any possible errors or manipulation. New components can be introduced into existing systems and the data from those components can be evaluated in real-time to gauge its impact. Data evidence can be taken to decision makers and prove the business case for purchasing more components to increase system productivity and efficiency. Device manufacturer's who add OPC Systems.NET to their machines can increase their opportunity to obtain multiple orders from customers because evidence of their component's performance can be easily viewed by anyone in the customer's organisation.

Data produced by OPC Systems.NET can be used to implement a predictive maintenance schedule rather than a reactive one. Imagine how many times a crew has been deployed to change bearings, fluids, and seals simply because that is what the maintenance schedule dictates? By seeing the data in real-time across the enterprise, maintenance schedules can be predicted and asset lifetime can be extended.

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Jack McIntyre, EVP (Open Automation Software), on behalf of System Devices UK Ltd, Runcorn, Cheshire. UK.

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