JUL-AUG 2019

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INTECH JULY/AUGUST 2019 33 SYSTEM INTEGRATION ing, and analyzing changes to devices made by external system integrators and original equipment manufactur- ers. A version-control system capable of coordinating external personnel ac cording to a variety of requirements has an added benefit: the documenta- tion-of-change reasons allow for 100 percent clarity and traceability. Because a good version-control sys- tem can monitor, detect, compare, and analyze changes to devices made by anyone anywhere, it can support a move to smart maintenance. Smart maintenance combines machine learning with predictive analytics. This allows maintenance work to be trans- formed from corrective to predictive. To predict maintenance needs, a sys- tem must be able to recognize indica- tions of malfunctions or defects taken from a large quantity of different types of data. And that data must be accu- rate. If data is corrupted or is missing, the source of error needs to be quickly detected, and normal operations need to be restored as quickly as possible. With version-control software, main- tenance staff can rely on the accuracy of the data, and then produce well- defined and clear strategies to predict when maintenance action is required. Steps to a successful implementation With a central server and an unlim- ited number of installed clients, some version-control solutions allow users to work offline and check in new versions when necessary. Automatic synchroni- zation helps to prevent unauthorized ac- cess and automatically documents who changed what, where, when, and why. The industrial plant's information technology (IT) departments should be involved in any implementation of device version-control software to help ensure everything is properly prepared upfront. Depending on the level of in- tegration during installation—such as integrating only a few typical device types or installing a plantwide solu - tion—implementation of a system can take as little as one day or as long as several weeks. When implementing across multiple facilities, including global implemen- tations, it is recommended to roll out the system in phases to make sure all is running properly and in sync. Nonhomogenous production fa- cilities require many different project planning tools and editors that require multiple shifts. This results in large pro - duction and maintenance departments. Good version-control systems can inte - grate tried and tested editors and project structures while supporting users with a menu-driven tutorial and automated backups. This results in a high degree of usability by a wide range of staff and should require minimal training. Implementing a system for device software backup and version control will logically result in adjustments to the IT infrastructure. However, it is a worth- while investment—not only due to the reduced costs that it brings about, but also because of the way it helps to re- duce risks to production facilities. A se- cure and safeguarded production facility means fewer errors, reduced downtime, reliable delivery times, and satis- fied customers and partners. These benefits make the invest- ment in a version control and back- up system truly worth it. The version control and data backup functions of a data man- agement system are a valuable aid when automat- ing simple but time-consuming tasks that would have been carried out manually. It thus helps to free up maintenance staff for other important tasks. Regularly carry- ing out compari- sons allows au- thorized changes to be monitored. It also allows unauthorized changes to be quickly detected, which in turn al lows users to quickly find and restore a previous error-free version. Thus, al- though the IIoT is set to bring about rad ical changes to the work environ- ments of today's maintenance depart- ments, the aim of those departments to maintain a well-secured and safeguard- ed production facility will not change. Production processes will simply be- come more efficient. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR Robert Glaser is the CEO of AUVESY Inc. ( Before this role, he worked for AUVESY Germany for more than 10 years, since the company's founding in 2007. He was most recently director of research and development for the company. Glaser holds a master's degree in computer science. View the online version at PRO Sol Com Process Communications Solutions ProComSol, Ltd is a leader in the design and manufacture of advanced, cost-effective, and reliable HART communication products for the Process Control marketplace. 216.221.1550 Convert your mobile device into a full featured HART communicator.

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