Big Data, Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things are just examples of key words that have driven innovations in the mechanical and plant engineering sectors. They all call for a complete rethinking in the design of software and automation architectures. In view of this, SMS group realized the need to develop an new, future-proof software architecture from scratch. The result is the new X-Pact® Process Guidance system, a basic automation system for future needs jointly developed by a team of experts.
The first step in developing X-Pact® Process Guidance was to change the perspective. Previously, the focus had been on individual systems, such as Level 1, Level 2, etc., primarily built on the existing software basis and the skills of the developers. Since IT has been making its way into plant automation, this is no longer the case. X-Pact® Process Guidance primarily caters to the different requirements of data users and data consumers. The central element is the HMI (X-Pact® Vision), a unique interface designed to provide seamless interaction between the user and X-Pact® Process Guidance. The display will automatically adapt its content to the needs of each individual process step. The operator interface follows the process and switches to the relevant page. During operation, the operator receives a display of the automatically executed process steps, previously set up by the responsible metallurgists using the same interface. The operator can browse through the process – through past process steps, the current status and future steps – with a process slider. By moving the slider, the operator can move along the time axis. X-Pact® Vision provides four different views:
- Operator view
- Maintenance view
- Process specialist / Metallurgist view
- Management view