Design News, May 2013

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S martphones and tablets have already been hitting the plant f loor as a method for monitoring machine performance, system status, and process data. But now automation control suppliers are developing a next level of hardware and software development tools that will speed up and extend the power of mobile factory apps. By providing easy access to machine control information and an almost unlimited capability for displaying process data, these solutions will likely spawn a new generation of iOS and Android Web apps focused on mobile machine monitoring and (eventually) control. Tablets such as the iPad are often viewed as a convenient interface for viewing data to improve management of production and quality functions. Higher level means that access could be implemented using a smartphone (iOS or Android), or a Windows-based PC running Visual Studio. "We are allowing access by higher level development environments to our motion control core. In the past, you always had to go through a field bus. It's all Ethernet TCP/IP-based using high data Source: Bosch Rexroth Corp. rates which is really great for visualizations, but also for machine control," said Fischbach. "The key issues we are trying to address are efficiency in software engineering by offering customers development kits. Options include Eclipse for Android, Xcode for Apple IOS, and Microsoft Visual Studio." By allowing customers to develop Source: Opto 22 Machine Accessibility Apps "We are seeing that machine builders want to build more accessible machines, and get more information into the hands of the operators. As machines get more complex, information available in the motion controller or PLC control need to be connected to mobile devices. Traditional machine HMIs are morphing into the mobile world," Peter Fischbach, industry manager handling automation for Bosch Rexroth, told Design News. He said that applications at this point are more targeted at monitoring, visualization, and data evaluation, and not directly controlling a machine because of security risks. But as machines get more complex, there is more of a focus on visualization, data information exchange, and not necessarily on controlling the machine. What Bosch Rexroth is trying to achieve with its Open Core Engineering technology is to combine traditional PLC process control with the IT world, factory networks, and enabling users to easily get process data out of a machine. This is accomplished not just by connecting the field bus to an OPC server, but also by implementing a core communication feature in their controls, which allows a higher-level access. The groov Box from Opto 22 is an industrially hardened device that plugs into the plant network using separate network interfaces for the control system and computer network. All communications from Web browsers to the appliance use secure sockets layer (SSL) for security. Design News | MAY 2013 | w w w. d e s i g n n e w s . c o m –35– magenta cyan yellow black ES246420_DN1305_035.pgs 05.03.2013 23:44 UBM

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