During the company’s hunt for a solution, one of its process control engineers recommended the FactoryTalk® VantagePoint® EMI software from Rockwell Automation as a tool for time series data and report generation.
“VantagePoint software was the only tool that had native connectivity to all disparate data sources,” the analyst said. “There really is nothing else out there that has that capability.”
After conducting a proof-of-concept to demonstrate the software’s feasibility, the company connected its historians and databases to the FactoryTalk software to begin the automation process. As part of the project, the company also upgraded hardware, created its own dynamic, asynchronous manual data-entry form (OLS) for report customization, and retrained operators on the reporting process.
In the end, the company was able to generate automatic reports based on logical models shaped by the users. Additionally, operators could access data on a real-time basis, also helping to improve operations. Users learned that if they were unable to gather the report through the eventing feature, they could use the Web portal to access information instantly.
Seamless Integration Results in Savings
The mining operation’s use of FactoryTalk software resulted in multiple reports, including material-balancing recordings, that can now be generated automatically.
While a structured training curriculum is often required after the implementation of a new process, the company’s operators and engineers were actively crafting reports after roughly one training session.
The automated reporting also significantly reduced the time it took for operators to pull together month-end reports. What used to take more than six days to complete now takes operators half a day – a time savings of 80 percent. Today, roughly 80 reports are produced each night, all of them created without manual reporting and the probability of human error.
Overall, the company saw a 25 percent increase in bandwidth for its engineering staff and supervisors because they were freed from the manual reporting process. Operators were also alleviated from documenting data on paper log sheets because the automation migration resulted in the creation of a custom relational model.
“With a little training, operators no longer write on paper,” the analyst explained. “They write into our custom front-end. We mimicked the same fields on our paper log sheets, so now when they type it in, it’s synchronized and there for everyone to see.”
After the successful integration of the plant, the company decided to incorporate similar models into two other locations, with plans to bring the system to other existing locations.
The results mentioned above are specific to this company’s use of Rockwell Automation products and services in conjunction with other products. Specific results may vary for other customers.
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