Wonderware looks to the future
Almost 1,800 Wonderware employees and customers descended on the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas during the last week in June to take part in the company’s first "Showcase" — a trade show, conference and exhibition highlighting all of its new products. Show organizers said the event was a chance to roll-out its products in a different atmosphere than at a traditional trade show.
The highlight of the event was a "flow island" exhibit: a working model of an actual processing plant that uses Wonderware, as well as a number of other products under the Invensys umbrella. Invensys is Wonderware’s parent company.
The show, according to Wonderware, offered a chance for the company to make some noise, and demonstrate how its products work together in manufacturing.
Among the new products rolled out at the event was the relaunch of Wonderware’s Avantis asset management software. The company says the new Avantis is designed to help companies that want to optimize capital investments. The updates focus on productivity improvements, a closer connection to desktop systems with enhanced export capabilities and an expanded ability to link PC files to business applications within the software.
The company touted a new strategy, along with the Avantis product, dubbed "Collaborative Asset Optimization," or cAO. "Asset management systems can play a key role in supporting the supply chain because enterprises today need to integrate every facet of their operations to facilitate business decision-making," said Carl Henning, senior vice president and general manager of Wonderware’s Avantis operations. "Knowledge of what’s happening on the plant floor is crucial to this process and cAO is the means by which the plant floor data is transformed into actionable business information that can be disseminated to anywhere it’s required."
cAO, says Wonderware, will link asset health information with the Avantis system and its FactorySuite InTouch human-machine interface software, which could allow work activities to be based on actual asset conditions so that plant professionals can take action in advance of any failures. The same asset health information could also be available to both operations and maintenance personnel so that they can better schedule maintenance services to minimize or avoid production downtime.
Wonderware also gave attendees a glimpse of its new ArchestrA framework. Set to roll out in 2002, ArchestrA is designed to be a new operating environment which runs on top of Microsoft Windows and its enabling software.
Officials at Wonderware says the show was an enormous success, and the company is already planning the next Showcase, which could become an annual event.
Alison Dunn is the assistant editor of PEM Plant Engineering and Maintenance.