Management Information Systems

Presenting information from the process floor that is useful, reliable and accurate to management can have a significant influence on the performance of a plant. We have observed how production has increased in a plant just as a result of the fact that shift and daily analysis of production was instituted and reported daily. The relevant data was displayed on a large display in the plant.

Morning production and planning meetings will never be the same again. Historical analysis and strategic planning rely on up to date reliable data. Data might include, plant and machine efficiencies, production rates, downtime, maintenance stoppages, power failures, shift comparisons, raw product usage, waste produced, total production, stock levels, product palletised and product shipped out. Our observation of how important this data can be to a manager is the reaction when for some reason the data is not available.

The process needs to be studied to deduce what information is needed by management to assist them to make daily decisions and identify quickly problems or potential problems requiring managerial intervention.

The PLC software engineer must insure that the information is gathered accurately and reliably and insure that it is sent to the SCADA system. In the event of a network or SCADA failure the data should be archived locally at the PLC until the link is restored.

Critical information like production figures should ideally be gathered at multiple points with duplicity so that figures can be cross referenced to confirm accuracy. The SCADA engineer must ensure that the incoming data is being received and is being stored redundantly.

WinCC SCADA and most other SCADA packages offer standard add on tools that are designed to provide managers with information to assist them in their tasks. These packages can then link to standard Microsoft environments for the data to be further processed if necessary.

In some cases scripting within the SCADA or purpose written applications are used to process the data where standard packages are not suitable to requirements. An IT engineer will extract the information from the historical database and interface it with analytical and reporting software. Any reports created must be sent to relevant personnel. This may include local or remote printing, e-mail, display boards and screens, SMS or all of them. Reports must be archived for later access if required.

We are able to execute the requirements at all levels of this chain.