JUL-AUG 2019

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32 INTECH JULY/AUGUST 2019 WWW.ISA.ORG SYSTEM INTEGRATION in the respective engineering system is not reasonable, as often no symbols and comments are included. Some - times a subsequent use in the engi- neering system is not possible at all, because the backup consists only of compiled data. It is therefore imperative when choosing a data management system to consider the type of data backups be- ing produced. When it comes to main- taining high-quality data management and enabling the greatest possible pro- duction capacity, restorable backups always need to be available. A manufacturer-independent approach In recent years, the need for version control has also become apparent to device manufacturers. Nowadays many manufacturers offer version-control solutions. However, they are normally only compatible with their own devices. This means that they can only be effec - tively used in plants that do not have a wide variety of devices. However, in to - day's world, a production facility com- prised of only homogenous devices is becoming more the exception than the norm. As the automated sector continues to grow, so too do the number of different devices. This growth goes hand in hand with the increasing complexity of pro- duction facilities, which contain myri ad different robots, field devices, control- ler programs, and drive systems, all of which have their own program lan- guage and data formats. A future-proof version-control system is both manufacturer independent and transparent. It is capable of working with a full range of automation devices and systems commonly used today and is not tied to any single manufacturer. As new- er products become more established, ac tion needs to be taken to ensure that the necessary comparators are made available to users. (A test comparator helps to automate the comparison be- tween the actual and the expected result produced by the software.) Comparators are essential when it comes to version control, as it is only possible to detect and display differ- ences between versions with their help. Version-control comparators allow orga- nizations to make text-based, graphical, and tabular version comparisons that are easily accessible and readable, and backed up by technical implementation. A location-independent approach With the globalization of manufactur- ing plants, it is no longer rare for pro- duction to be spread across many lo - cations and time zones. Therefore, it is highly important that version-control systems are location independent. A comprehensive server allows backup data taken from different devices and locations to be synchronized and cen- trally managed. It also allows differ- ences between versions to be detected quickly and easily. A version-control system also must account for external factors and third- party users. In times of lean production and lean maintenance, it is imperative that a version-control system be capa- ble of detecting, monitoring, compar- Version-control software monitors changes made to a file or to several files over time and logs them, so they can be easily found and tracked. To reduce plant downtime, it is necessary to monitor, track, safeguard, and compare changes made to project data as well as device program logic.

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