Saturday 1 October 2011

Design software

The new PcVue 10.0 tools, Application Architect and Application Explorer, from ARC Informatique, can save up to 50% in development time over the application´s complete life-cycle. From the design phase right through to testing, from maintenance to re-engineering, they are aimed at all users, from applications developer to occasional user.

These days, the total cost of acquiring a supervisory application is reckoned not just in terms of licensing costs, but also the development time required. Applications change over time, incorporating new functions and improvements; so the cost of upgrades and corrective maintenance must be taken into account. In this respect, PcVue 10.0 is an innovative solution. In addition to providing high-performance tools for easy application design, it includes the tools needed for rapid maintenance: diagnostics, object-oriented modifications, change distribution etc., while ensuring that the specification and behaviour of the application are reliable.

Shipping for the first time with PcVue 10.0, Application Explorer covers all the configuration functions for a supervisory project. It is based on ergonomic rules for systems environments, making PcVue even easier to use. Application Explorer enables the use of tree structures and lists, Multiple Document Interface, Copy/Cut/Paste including sub-items, intuitive navigation within the application, use of previous/next buttons and a range of display options (icons, lists, details etc.), along with standard Windows keyboard shortcuts.

Application Architect is a powerful new tool incorporating high-level mechanisms for templating and re-use of components. With it, you can create re-usable objects including not only graphics, symbols and block diagrams but all the most usual configuration elements too, such as variables, alarms and their associated behaviour: events, archiving, thresholds, commands, scripts etc. Applications can be created in four steps. First there is modelling, which consists of determining the input and output variables, behaviour, graphical representation etc. Then there is configuration, to identify and determine common features and differences across the processes within a template. Next, instantiation consists of describing the structure of the process and the real physical objects in plant terms (motor, conveyor, production line, fan etc.). Finally, there is the customisation stage, where Application Architect enables the developer to modify processes so that they are ideally suited to the particular local setup.

In addition to Application Explorer and Application Architect, the Smart Generators—which enable automatic application generation and imports from external sources—have undergone further improvement in PcVue 10.0. These developments concern LNS®, Siemens STEP7® and Yokogawa® Stardom® connectors and the almost entire import of FactoryLink™ applications.

In addition to this, PcVue 10.0 is built on international energy sector standards: IEC 61850 and its wind-power variant IEC 614000, as well as IEC 60870-5-104. Standard 61850, which is natively integrated into PcVue 10.0, defines all the objects necessary for substation management along with their various attributes. Engineering rules are also defined. In particular, the file formats have been standardised to ensure interoperability in the configuration phase. The IEC 60870-5-104 protocol is used for hydroelectric generation, electricity substations, building management systems, industrial sites, railways etc. It covers data and complex services such as dual control, switch position encoding, short and long pulse controls, and time-stamping at source.

A number of other improvements have also been added to PcVue 10.0: new functions for BACnet, integration of new Ethernet Moxa and General Electric drivers, native SMS integration to improve on-call staff management, new block diagram graphic controls, integration of the latest Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 and VMware environments.

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