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Case Study: HMI System Upgrade

The Challenge

hmi system upgradeElantas PDG, a premier global supplier of specialty polymers for applications in the electrical and electronic industries, is built on the continuous improvement concept. So it was no surprise when they decided to partner with McEnery Automation to help them migrate their legacy Wonderware InTouch HMI systems to System Platform technology. Elantas was operating their production processes with legacy Wonderware InTouch HMIs running on failing computer hardware. The system also employed a legacy Wonderware historian to collect and store historical data which relied upon a single source for data collection with no redundancy. Engineers were required to manually pull together data from the historian to create weekly reports. An upgrade of the existing Wonderware system was essential for improving reliability, simplifying future expansions, and to facilitate plant wide access to production information and reports.

The Solution

We worked closely with Elantas production and engineering personnel to understand their needs and concerns, and then designed and implemented a new control system architecture utilizing Wonderware System Platform 2012 and VMWare virtualized data servers configured to communicate with the existing ControlLogix PLCs. The Wonderware System Platform architecture consisted of two Application Object Servers acting as primary and secondary sources of data collection, one Galaxy Repository to manage the configurations, one Historian to collect and store process data, and one Information Server used to automatically generate reports for engineering. In addition, a total of five new physical workstations replaced the failing operator workstations located throughout the plant. The upgrade process allowed our engineers to leverage the new System Platform 2012 technology while maintaining a similar look and feel to the legacy InTouch HMI applications, eliminating the need for operator training. While upgrading the HMI applications, existing errors were identified and corrected, which allowed us to increase the efficiency and performance of the system. Upon completion of the project, an extensive set of documentation including system architecture and user manuals was delivered to the customer to assist with maintaining and operating the new system.

The Result

The updates system provides operators with more user-friendly and stable HMI workstations. The updates to the existing operator workstation hardware decreased computer outages, coupled with the implementation of redundant data collection sources, have significantly reduced data loss and plant downtime. By leveraging the capabilities of virtualized data servers, with a High Availability (HA) host server, an additional level of redundancy has been added to the system. The virtualization of the data servers also enabled Elantas’ IT Department to assist with the management of the system. The new system eliminated the time-consuming and error-prone need for manual entry of data to generate standard weekly reports. Instead, by utilizing the capabilities of the Wonderware Information Server, McEnery Automation engineers were able to provide automatic access to real-time information, allowing stake-holder to make informed business decisions, and providing additional opportunities to create ad hoc reports for optimizing operations.