How many times have you needed a Human Machine Interface (HMI), report, dashboard, or other user interface that contains data from multiple sources and just couldn’t come up with a clean solution? This is a common request with the ever-growing user demands in today’s manufacturing facilities and, until recently, a solution was not possible without combining a hodgepodge of applications onto one screen. To make an HMI one might use FactoryTalk View, Wonderware InTouch, or a custom OEM screen/device. To view information contained in a database one might use Web Reports, SQL Server Reporting Services, Crystal Reports, or possibly custom Java/.NET applications.
Rockwell Automation’s solution to this problem is a product called FactoryTalk VantagePoint. This application allows data contained in multiple sources to be presented in one common model. That’s right, data in your PLCs and in your databases can be accessed and visible on the same screen. I know you’re thinking “yeah, I’m sure it all has to be Rockwell hardware, too”, but you’d be wrong. With VantagePoint you can access not only Rockwell’s Allen Bradley PLCs, but connections for KepWare or any other OPC server are also available that can connect to just about any PLC. Of course, Rockwell’s FactoryTalk products can also connect to VantagePoint including Historian, Metrics and ProductionCentre. In addition to this, you can retrieve data from WonderWare InSQL, OSI Pi Historian, SQL Server, Oracle, and any other database accessible through ODBC or Ole DB.