CHICAGO (Oct. 2, 5:35 p.m. EDT) — Syscon-PlantStar, which makes production monitoring systems for plastics manufacturing, and Kepware Technologies Inc., a global supplier of client servers, are joining forces to bring open process control technology to injection molding.
The companies announced the agreement June 20 at NPE 2006 in Chicago.
Open process control, called OPC, is a client/server architecture widely used by industrial machinery. But officials from both companies said OPC has not been available to injection molding machines, which largely run on proprietary systems.
“The goal of this new partnership with Kepware is the development of a new, standardized data-map, OPC server product line that is geared specifically to the injection molding market,” said Rick Goldstein, vice president of Syscon International Inc.
The new product, called OPC-IM, brings unified communications and data mapping to injection molding. OPC-IM servers will present a single user interface for all communications with programmable logic controllers, Scada (supervisory control and data acquisition) and other automation platforms, said Kepware President Mark Hensley.
Goldstein compared OPC-IM with a universal translator that eliminates concerns about connectivity.
South Bend, Ind.-based Syscon-PlantStar is a division of Syscon International. Kepware is based in Portland, Maine.
Syscon-PlantStar has years of experience integrating its production monitoring and data collection products with nearly every brand of injection molding machines. By eliminating specialized program charts, the new OPC deal with Kepware will help molders realize a “substantial savings in acquisition and application of specialized software development,” Goldstein said.
The initial OPC-IM drivers shown at NPE were the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Data Exchange Interface and Euromap 63, two widely accepted standards for computer communication standards.
Also at NPE, Syscon-PlantStar introduced the QuickShot Monitoring System, an entry-level production monitoring and scheduling system for injection molding machines. Gary Bendix, national sales manager, said QuickShot is a real-time product designed for small custom molders that now may be using clipboards and manual data input.
The company also debuted Panorama X.20, an interactive Web browser interface. Features include new “process journals” functions that put time and date stamps on every journal entry, improved tools for preventative maintenance and Shot Tracker to follow all data from shot to shot.