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Intellution bids for true e-manufacturing

Antony Adshead
Intellution has announced releases that mark a strategic change of direction towards true e-manufacturing. New products will enable shopfloor control processes to be linked to enterprise-wide and supply chain systems, writes Antony Adshead.

This month the manufacturing software specialist will release its core product update, iFix version 2.5. IFix centres on Intellution's human-machine interface/ supervisory control and data acquisition (HMI/Scada) core specialism which was previously isolated on the shopfloor owing to a lack of interoperability.

Intellution's use of industry standards - a component object model specification called object linking and embedding for process control (OLE-PC) - enables the interoperability of shopfloor monitoring and control with operating systems such as Microsoft NT as well as ERP software.

The object-based architecture will give IT departments that want to model manufacturing processes easily-customisable tools that are readily available.

Version 2.5 provides aggregated measurement of production metrics to aid plant or board-level decision making through to giving sales staff the ability to track customer orders in the production process.

IFix's iDowntime component, for example, provides analytical tools to help plant managers understand the complex problem of machine downtime in manufacturing.

At the enterprise level, VisiconX enables data from enterprise databases that have collected data from the shopfloor to be queried. IBatch collects process data from batch manufacturing operations to enable tracking of products, such as food, beverages and pharmaceutical goods where recall costs can be heavy.

Web portal functionality will be bundled in the form of iClient TS.

Intellution plans to release Java-based portal software that will allow machine processes to be configured independently of location later this year. IBatch 4.5 will be available in the summer.


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