One of the most important investments any company makes is in the software and systems forming the business’ operation foundation. For an industrial facility this includes instrumentation, equipment, and PLC’s. It also includes maintaining instrument calibrations, PLC programs and various other device configurations and settings.
For facilities using the a wide range of PLC platforms, FactoryTalk AssetCentre is a powerful tool to manage all of these functions and more.
One of the strongest arguments for using AssetCentre is for its disaster recovery capabilities. Someday you will have a PLC that loses power, along with a dead battery with the latest and greatest version of the program sitting in a box in someone’s office. Until you can find and reload the backup program, your process is down and you are losing money and productivity by the second.
If you had been using AssetCentre the amount of downtime you would experience in that situation would be greatly reduced. AssetCentre stores the as-built version of the program in its version control system and periodically scans the network checking for changes to the programs. When it finds changes backups are automatically created, always keeping the most up-to-date version of your code on hand.
Latest and Greatest
In addition to PLC program backups, AssetCentre provides an audit trail letting you know who is making changes to programs and when they are being made. This is accomplished with a software version control system. The original code is stored in AssetCentre. To make changes your staff “check-out” the latest version of the code, make changes, test and commission the changes, and then “check-in” the code, updating the database with timestamps and information on who made the changes. AssetCentre not only stores PLC programs under version control but any electronic file such as AutoCAD Drawings, Microsoft Excel files, and many others.
AssetCentre simplifies the process of instrument calibration. You can store calibration settings, procedures, personnel information, labor time and calibration test results. You also get access to historical information on changes to calibrations and when they were performed.
Similar functionality is built-in for device configurations such as I/O modules, control valves, and various other devices.
In addition to storing programs, software, instrument calibrations, and device configurations, AssetCentre has reporting capabilities to keep your staff informed on changes to the system, results of network scans and reminders for when instrument calibrations need to take place.
AssetCentre allows you to build a tree based representation of all of your assets making them easy to navigate and manage. This also makes it easy to standardize your assets and add to your system as your facility grows.
In today’s connected world it doesn’t make sense to put your investment at risk using out-dated methods to keep everything up to date. We use similar tools when we are developing software for your facility, why not maintain things the same way?