Thread Starter

Ranjan Acharya

Dear List, I have not personally used APACS before (other DCSs such as ABB MOD300 and lots of PLCs / SCADAs / HMIs). Any feedback? I am more interested in the negatives because I can get all the positives from Siemens-Moore. Thanks

Steven E. Braun

I like this one. To the point and no excuses so I'll give it a go..... First of all, let me establish that I am currently doing an extensive project with a Siemens-Moore APACS+ and Quadlog system. I am mostly a PLC guy but I have worked with a number of DCS's. I personally quite like the APACS and I find it very flexible for our intended application, a Cat Cracker in a refinery. The current version of APACS is R4 and it consists of essentially two parts: 4-mation and Vision. 4-mation is the programming environment for the hardware and is compliant with three of the four IEC 1131-3 standards. 4-mation is most definitely oriented towards the DCS nature of things. APACS is very easy to program, more like a PLC than a DCS. Although 4-mation starting to show some age, it is still quite solid and very serviceable. I have very few complaints with either the hardware or the 4-mation software. It is, however, the Vision part of the APACS system that will either alienate you or convert you. Vision is a very, very large pre-built Wonderware package. Our system, as delivered, had over 12,000 tags plus acres of scripting before we even began to construct our client's application. Be prepared to become very proficient with Wonderware. Although the Moore engineers created many tools in order to adapt the Wonderware package to the APACS hardware, they just did not have time to finish them all. There are some pretty good size holes in the process. If you have (like we do) some good Wonderware people, things are quite manageable but still complicated. This system works for us and will also work for our client but I can see where it could seriously frighten others. Big investment needed here. Tech support is pretty good but could stand some improvement. Sales support is definitely not a big plus for Siemens-Moore in my area. Sometimes just getting the part numbers right is a major challenge. It seems like we are constantly adding addendum PO's to purchase items that did not come "standard" or we did not know that we needed. Steven E. Braun [email protected] [email protected] Bellingham, WA

Ranjan Acharya

Thanks for the first response. We have lots of Wonderware expertise, so it seems that the Vision side of APACS will not be a problem. Does anyone have any further input on the 4-mation side? We have more than enough expertise with A-B, Siemens S5, Siemens S7, TI, Modicon et cetera and it would be nice to see how 4-mation compares to the standard PLC tools. With regards to the controller hardware, any problems? Cycle time / scan time issues? I assume that the PC side of things runs under Windows NT 4.
I realize this is a couple of months late but I'll put my 2 cents in anyhow. I currently operate a batch plant utilzing a Moore DCS (SMoore). The APACS equipment has worked very well for 6 years now. We use UNIX based servers to run the HMI and archiving software. The UNIX based APACS Process Supervisor (APS) also runs quite well. Serveral areas of weakness are prevalent though: 1. SMoore has gone through a transition from MPCo. to Siemens. There are some dufficulties getting the right expert involved in trouble-shooting efforts. 2. The 4-mation software has not been fully tested prior to release i.e. 4-mation service pack C created some major problems in the control logic. Several service memos to identify bugs in the service packs. 3. Project management has traditionally been a weak area for SMoore, however, I expect some improvment in this area once the Siemens ideology has had a chance to sink in. 4. Direktor is the Batch supervisory software currently provided by SMoore. It has traditionally been the weakest piece of the system with many crashes to its credit. Direktor is provided by Wonderware (Foxboro) and does not play well with APS. My recommendation is if you need a UNIX based system due to a large number of tags, stay away from Direktor at all cost. 5. SMoore has been slow to certify the more recent versions of UNIX. UNIX 4.0 G is the latest to be certified however, 4.0 F is the latest version running out in the field. This is a problem since Compaq-Digital will stop supporting UNIX 4.0 F in the very near future. 6. 4-mation does not run well on Compaq PC's. I've been lead to believe that this has something to do with the Compaq flash bios. Our Gateways have performed quite well. 7. Windows 2000 is also not certified just yet, I beleive NT 4.0 service pack 4 is the latest certified OS to run 4-mation on. The real question is if Siemens is going to keep the APACS line alive and well. Addressing the areas of concern above would be beneficial to anyone interested in a SMoore DCS, however with satifactory answers for the above concerns, the SMoore system would work quite well for anyone. Regards, Jim
Dear List,
I am user of MOORE DCS from last six years. This is an excellant DCS in terms reliability & simplicity I ever used DCS in my working Carrier.
I am only worried, MOORE is already taken over by SIEMENS and may stop APACS System to promote their OWN product.
We have asked the question pertaining to APACS future on our last visit to Siemens Spring House, PA. office.
There are no negatives. APACS will be supported by SEA for 10 plus years.