zenOn and Eplan linked in powerful new configuration

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A powerful new SCADA and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software integration concept will be presented at the Hannover Fair. Seamless integration with the new zenOn 6.21 SCADA/HMI software enables Eplan users to automatically engineer the control and visualisation parts of an automation system without specialist knowledge, and improve operation over the product lifecycle.

The zenOn SCADA/HMI software and Eplan CAE package integrate at two points, the Eplan platform and the Eplan engineering centre. During the design process, the engineer can directly access zenOn from the Eplan platform. Similarly, the Eplan viewer - or, indeed, the full Eplan suite - can be accessed directly from zenOn during normal operation to track alarms and debug systems. This powerful exchange of data between the two systems improves workflow from design to maintenance and is said to make automatic engineering possible.

Eplan divides a process or a machine into several modules, during which functional units are defined as cross-discipline mechatronic objects - for example, comprising an electrical design and the related visualisation functions in zenOn. These are then compiled into a set of 'mechatronic building blocks'. This approach not only simplifies design engineering, but also encourages the reuse of design elements.

Timm Hauschke Product manager for EPLAN Software & Service, considers the fact that sequential engineering processes are still standard in mechanical engineering as a frequent source of errors: "This causes long lead times, poor co-ordination and, above all, many errors that arise from manual copying. The consequences are more costly engineering time and unnecessary site visits."

Function blocks

Standardising functional components into sets of building blocks can lead to noticeable improvements in productivity because blocks can be reused, thereby saving engineering time and improving the design workflow.

Copa-Data Product Manager, Axel Netuschil, is excited about the new automatic engineering possibilities: "At the push of a button, EPlan users can generate all discipline-specific documentation such as circuit diagrams, fluid diagrams, PLC programs and project information in the zenOn SCADA/HMI system."

This radical new functional engineering approach not only structures complex plant or machine processes into clearly structured modules, it also reduces the dependency on highly specialised engineers that are often contracted by the day.

Benefits for operation and maintenance

The Eplan and zenOn integration is very powerful, and can significantly reduce the operation and maintenance resources that need to be allocated over the product lifecycle. The source of an alarm generated in zenOn can be tracked back to the source in Eplan. For example, a faulty valve actuator could be tracked back to the electrical engineering plans in Eplan Electric P8. In the past, the operator would need to alert the maintenance team, who would then spend valuable time tracking a fault through electrical plans to find the valve in question.

The runtime link between zenOn and Eplan also makes maintenance tasks easier to manage. For example, the master data and maintenance data required by zenOn Industrial Maintenance Manager can be automatically generated when a motor is added within the Eplan platform. This motor could be automatically registered within zenOn, which will alert maintenance personnel to check the motor at its predefined service intervals.

Axel Netuschil has found Eplan users curious about the new possibilities offered by zenOn integration: "The direct combination of zenOn and Eplan platform saves a lot of time, money and energy. Instead of looking for error sources manually after an alarm, the source can be opened directly in Eplan. Users can react quickly and accurately with the support of zenOn."

By improving workflow from design to maintenance, engineering costs can be reduced and special customer requirements can be met more easily. These significant improvements in productivity free up resources for the development of new technologies and products.

The new zenOn 6.21 SCADA/HMI system will be presented at the Hannover Fair in hall 9, on stand G32.

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