Yokogawa Upgrades OpreX Software Suite for CI Servers
Yokogawa updates its flagship OpreX software for better software and third-party device interconnections.
Hardware is an important part of control system technology, but the software systems that connect, control, and analyze the process cannot be undervalued. The exchange of data in a secure format between machines and facilities is an integral part of the advancement to Industry 4.0.
Yokogawa’s Control Legacy Continues
Well past 100 years old, Yokogawa provides solutions for industrial control, measurement, and data acquisition to the energy, chemical, and food industries.
OpreX, Yokogawa’s flagship software suite, offers products for control, measurement, execution, and product life cycle. OpreX software provides critical data to operations managers and technicians to help decision support and other decisions about systems and processes to make them perform better.
Recently, Yokogawa added upgrades to the Collaborative Information Server (CI Server), a product of the OpreX control and safety system family.
Yokogawa recently upgraded its CI server to support better interconnections. Image used courtesy of Yokogawa
OPC UA Alarms and Conditions (A&C)
Open Protocol Communication Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is an industry-standard for automation devices to communicate with each other over an open protocol. This protocol allows for devices on the same network to expose data so that it can be read or written to. Just about every PLC supports OPC UA, making it a popular choice when collecting data from automated equipment and processes. CI Server now supports OPC UA A&C, allowing devices and control systems to report their alarm or system state in a secure fashion. Any other third-party device that supports OPC UA will also be able to transmit data to the CI server for further analysis.
Centum VP and ProSafe-RS Support
When monitoring plant systems from a central location, a DCS system is required. Centum VP and ProSafe-RS are DCS systems for plant-wide monitoring and analysis. CI Server is now capable of receiving alarms over an integrated network. This functionally expands the existing Centum VP application and increases the connectivity of the ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system.
Plant-wide monitoring through the use of DCS is critical in large process facilities, like those in the oil and gas industry. Image used courtesy of Unsplash
Plant Resource Manager
Most large manufacturing or processing plants will have some kind of software that manages maintenance schedules, resources, and maintenance costs throughout the lifecycle of the plant. The PRM software from Yokogawa is now integrated into the CI server, which opens up the PRM software to more data that is beneficial to maintaining equipment and processes.
The CI Server acts as a middleware between all the different software packages offered in the OpreX software suite. The control systems can now report data to a centralized namespace, and monitoring / analytical tools can access data from the same namespace. This architecture reduces complexity and provides a single point of contact for all software and data storage.
It’s more efficient to develop a single point of contact for all software and data storage. Image used courtesy of Unsplash
Data Collection In Industry
Industry 4.0 is all about data collection, companies want to collect as much data on their equipment and processes as possible. Data collection at its core is quite simple, the control system reports sensor values, measurement results, part information, and even machine cycle time. The data system needs to be able to collect the data in an organized fashion so that people and software can retrieve the data for further analysis.
As systems grow, data systems become more complex and more difficult to maintain. A method to alleviate complex data systems is to use a centralized location to store all the data. This method requires the server to communicate to multiple different systems at the same time. Yokogawa’s recent upgrades to the CI server do just that. By making use of OPC UA and integrating the CI server into other software platforms, Yokogawa has created a centralized namespace for all plant, control systems, and maintenance data to be stored and analyzed.