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Inductive Automation
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News / October 13, 2010

Reduce Enterprise Downtime In Less Time

OpteBiz Uses Ignition To Build Standardized Connectivity Package

Delays. System failure. Maintenance. Miscommunication. What do these all have in common? Downtime and efficiency loss.

Reducing downtime pays big dividends for manufacturing companies. Having part of the operations down for even a few hours can result in thousands of dollars in lost revenue. But the biggest hurdle to solving these issues is knowing when and why certain process components are down—whether mechanical, technical or human—and being able to take proactive steps in lessening or foreseeing a factor before it causes a loss of time.

For example, if a certain product isn’t going to be ready on time, the packaging department needs to know in enough time to be able to rearrange schedules—instead of just sitting there being unproductive because there is no product ready.



OpteBiz's solution gives users quick access to important machinery statistics.



The above screen compares how various machines are operating in terms of efficiency.

Paresh Dalwalla, president of OpteBiz, Inc., said the biggest obstacle companies face with downtime solutions is the time it takes to implement a real-time control and information system that can track all the needed data and coordinate that information between different departments. Dalwalla explained that companies are seeking a faster, easier way to implement such a solution. He outlined that there are five key areas in demand by manufacturers:

• operating efficiency management (OEE)
• tracking and traceability
• maintenance management
• advanced real-time analytics on the financial end
• connecting the enterprise resource planning (ERP) network to the manufacturing execution system (MES) network

A Standard Opportunity
OpteBiz saw the dilemma as an opportunity to create a standardized package of hardware and software components, which are pre-programmed together to fulfill the key areas of demand.

“There is a big opportunity in the industry for a rapidly-deployable, low-cost solution,” said Dalwalla. “Most of these implementations become very large projects. We see that as an opportunity to cut down the lead-time and implementation time by standardizing the solution, and making the implementation cost effective by minimizing on-site engineering time and doing more tasks remotely.”

But first, they needed to find and select the best pieces for the job.

“When we set out to find software, we were looking for something that was more web-based,” Dalwalla explained. “It needed to be cost effective, and offer a lot of flexibility in terms of developing add-on products or solutions. And then of course, it needed to be more universal in terms of operating systems. That’s when we found Inductive Automation.”

Keys To the Solution: Web-Based, Cross Platform, and Unlimited
Ignition by Inductive Automation meets all the requirements OpteBiz was looking for. It is definitely web-based. And it is cross platform. But even more key is the unlimited factor. Since the software is licensed by the server, and not by the tag or client, one installation can allow an unlimited number of tags to be used on the system, or an unlimited number of clients to be launched.

“Ignition is a lot more flexible in terms of what we are able to offer to customers,” Dalwalla said. “Most important is that it is very easy to use in our packages because we don’t have to buy a separate client license or tag license. Licensing simplicity is a very critical factor.”

Dalwalla outlined how OpteBiz’s solution works. First, it’s a standardized, ready-to-implement package of software and hardware. Since everything is already set up to work together, it can all be taken into a company and be set up and running in two weeks.

If the customer already has the hardware pieces, only the software needs to be installed on one server on the network. Then, OpteBiz does the software implementation remotely—because Ignition allows an unlimited number of designer tools that can be web-launched from the customer’s server. All that is needed is a remote desktop access to the system. With that in place, OpteBiz configures the customer’s system. If the customer does not have the required hardware, then OpteBiz will preassemble the hardware and ship it to the customer’s facility for installation either by the customer’s maintenance engineers or by OpteBiz engineers. A third option is to install the hardware and let OpteBiz host the server and collect the data remotely.

Success In A Package
Dalwalla gave an example of a large automotive component manufacturer in India that is successfully running OpteBiz’s packaged solution.

“The customer found it really good from an improvement perspective,” Dalwalla explained. “They were able to analyze their operations. Prior to this, they had no such visibility. They see significant room in improving the efficiency of their process and machines."

The India manufacturer is able to improve efficiency through OpteBiz’s solution because it gets information to the right people in a timely manner. It also improves the accuracy of information and eliminates duplication of data entry via humans—which is another big time-saver since workers don’t have to enter the same data in multiple places.

“The biggest advantage for our customers is that they can get to data that exists in a detailed format,” said Dalwalla. “So now they can see the analytics. Customers can have standard or customized reports based on their needs. Now they can see how to make changes in the machine or maintenance aspects.

“They can do this in real time and from anywhere. Basically anywhere in the world. We’ve even given them the ability to see this on an iPad or iPhone. In the India installation, there are multiple users using this on mobile devices. This is very important from a management perspective and is becoming more critical with the increase in usage of mobile devices in the business arena.”

Dalwalla summarized that the solution benefits the customer as a whole because it provides a base of accountability for the plant, workers, and machines. Ultimately, it is all about the net present value (NPV) that is added to the client’s financials through cost-effective implementation of the solution and increased operational efficiencies.

On Oct. 26, Paresh Dalwalla will join Inductive Automation to discuss how Ignition played a key role in developing OpteBiz’s standardized packaged solution. To register for the upcoming webinar, Reduce Enterprise Downtime in Less Time, click here.

Paresh Dalwalla is president of OpteBiz Inc. located in Toledo, Ohio, with offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India. OpteBiz is focused on providing real-time operational intelligence solutions that help improve operations. Dalwalla has more than 18 years of experience in MES and has co-authored a book on S95 standards. He is also a board member of the ISA S95 committee for Enterprise to Controls Integration. Contact Paresh Dalwalla for more information at pdalwalla@optebiz.com or visit www.optebiz.com.