Modular Control System Framework

2D web front end with standardized real time display of heterogeneous machines on the shop floor.

The new control system framework FactoryWare by Eckelmann serves as a link between ERP and shop floor IT. It provides universal solution components in order to display heterogenous plants or complex material flow systems in real time. FactoryWare is our answer to production plants and systems in which processing centers and production cells from different manufacturers are to be connected in an intelligent manner.

Thanks to core functions independent of industrial sectors, OPC UA, and modern web technologies, the Industry 4.0 control system framework can be adapted more easily than conventional control systems or SCADA systems to meet the specific requirements of various sectors and applications. For that reason, the basic system contains, for example, a module for a spread process image that can be used independently of the application.

FactoryWare at present is successfully in use already in various industrial sectors for material flow systems and production control – from panel lines in shipyards to the food industry. Since 2016, a team of 10 keeps on developing the innovative control system framework continuously at Eckelmann, and uses it for concrete projects.

Effective Control System Engineering

The system is consequently structured in a modular and services-based fashion. Back end and front end are separated, and data structures can be adjusted flexibly and swiftly, just like application engineers would wish for for an effective and goal-oriented control system engineering.

By using modern web technologies for the front end, the solution can be used platform-independent on a wide range of terminal devices. This allows for easy scalability and up-to-date solutions with different terminal devices for operation and control of complex plants.

Modern Concepts for Visualizing Production Processes

That way, for example, a process visualization with WinCC is possible just as well as individual 2D or 3D web front ends. The industry-specific 3D front end for material flow systems includes a module for visualizing the plant in real time. It allows the user to intuitively access information on individual objects at any time, such as the battery charging status of a transport system. A digital plant twin integrated functionally in operation and control of the plant is among the key technologies in the plant of the future.

3D web front end with real time visualization of material flow.

Happy Developers Write Better Programs

FactoryWare is a universal control system framework. That means that, in contrast to conventional control systems, basic features and industry-specific features can be configured very easily for various application cases. The consequent modularity and modern architecture are what make that possible. At the same time, the solutions can be expanded on with relatively little effort by adding any project-specific features, or client-specific GUI designs can be implemented.

And maybe most important of all: FactoryWare makes programmers happy – by using a modern programming environment, state-of-the-art tools, and a clear structure. In all projects realized by Eckelmann using the framework so far it became evident that happy programmers find better solutions and work more productively.

Integrating complex machines and processes to form one system has always been a particular proficiency of Eckelmann. FactoryWare now generates a flexible, modularly upgradable solution space for digital transformations of level 1 and level 2 automation.  

Dr.-Ing. Johannes Stelter