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HMI reporting software

Industrial software provider Wonderware has developed a world-first HMI reporting system that can diagnose process problems for greater plant efficiency. Sarah Falson writes.

Once upon a time, SCADA systems were the only industrial solutions available for alarming, trending and mimicking. But using a new reporting software which has now been launched from Wonderware, plant operators can analyse the efficiency of their processes and use this data to make cost savings at plant level: without a SCADA system present.

According to Wonderware’s product director, Alexander Mazal, the company’s new HMI Reports product can provide users with a complete return on investment, for example an industrial chiller, in the form of energy savings within a tiny two-day timeframe.

In Sydney to market the HMI Reports software, Mazal spoke to PACE about the benefits of using reporting systems to optimise plant efficiency.

World first

“HMI Reports is a complete out-of-the-box software solution that provides the overall functionality for data management. The product is extremely user-friendly and doesn’t require any special skills or programming knowledge to operate,” he said.

Designed specifically for the automation industry, HMI Reports is a first on the market, Mazal said, and can be used by anyone in a plant environment regardless of their engineering knowledge.

“HMI Reports is a world-first true reporting system for automation. It can connect to any real-time data sources — such as controllers, SCADA systems, DCS systems, and existing historians — and collect real-time data to make historian and alarm archiving reports for distribution and analysis,” he said.

Although the new HMI Reports offering is designed to complement Wonderware’s existing suite of industrial products, it can also be used alongside non-Wonderware HMI and SCADA systems, and also when there is no SCADA present at all.

According to Mazal, this should be an attractive benefit for prospective customers. “As a general rule, plant reporting is an extremely difficult solution to deliver. HMI Reports however will give you fast and economical delivery with instantaneous return on investment,” he said.

“Although the historian business has been the backbone for Wonderware in Australia for the past five years, HMI Reports will allow us to enter new niche markets and to develop more solutions in the reporting arena.”

HMI Reports will provide a viable offering for Wonderware in industries that have traditionally been slow to take-up new technologies and innovative products, according to Mazal. “This product will open up new doors and allow us to access new verticals and new customers,” he said. He also suggested that HMI Reports should be attractive to those in the mining and facility management industries, as well as the company’s traditional customers in the food and beverage, steel and building automation areas.

The company has received a number of enquiries from Australian food and beverage processing plants since the product was launched officially in March this year, and Mazal claims that one overseas customer was able to gain an immediate return on its investment.

“One customer, a building facility management system integrator, installed a new chiller to air-condition a large building centre. When they installed HMI Reports, they found that the chiller was using up to 30 per cent more energy to chill the air than it should have been. When they sent the report to the chiller vendor, they ascertained that dust in the chiller was causing it to use more energy. Since repairing the chiller, they have been able to save 30 per cent on their energy bills,” he said.

Top-level design

HMI Reports is designed for use by plant management personnel, maintenance and production engineers, and other workers responsible for plant processes. Although these personnel would traditionally have a medium- to high-level engineering knowledge, HMI Reports can also be used by staff without scripting or programming know-how.

This new offering reinforces Wonderware’s focus on delivering out-of-the-box solutions that are also easy-to-use. These strengths have been prevalent in the company’s offerings since the first release of InTouch HMI in 1989. Today, Wonderware applications that were developed years ago can be easily upgraded by the press of a button, without any re-works or additional customisation, Mazal said.

Wonderware is excited about the launch of HMI Reports and foresees a new reporting trend in the automation market.

“The main purpose of HMI Reports is to fuse financial saving with plant analysis. If you know how your plant is running, you can find out where costs are located and from there save on any unnecessary outputs,” said Mazal.

“There has been a demand from end-users for a product like this for a long time, but no-one on the market could provide it. When we present HMI Reports to our customers and they commend us on really listening to our customers’ needs, that’s a great achievement for Wonderware.”

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