C-Connector provides shop floor to top floor connectivity
20 February 2012
Mitsubishi Electric has introduced C-Connector, a PLC module that cuts through the layers of a plant-wide automation system to deliver real time data directly to a users SAP® system.
Modern manufacturing processes rely as much on physical automation as it does on communications protocols to integrate production in to a seamless process. However, communication to higher level business systems is fragmented as layers of PCs and systems need to be navigated to finally deliver data at the plant’s ERP or MES centre.
The C Connector PLC module simplifies making the essential link between automation systems and higher level databases, ERP applications and MES applications like SAP®. Production data can thus be easily monitored and recorded, and higher level production decisions more easily implemented, helping to increase plant visibility and to boost productivity.
For the automation engineer the C Connector is intuitively operable, while for enterprise and logistics personnel the information is presented in a manner which is readily usable and understandable.
The C Connector facilitates direct, bidirectional exchange of data between a PLC and the higher level systems, simplifying the collecting, storage and monitoring of field data within the business application, and the sending of instructions directly to the plant floor.
Eliminating the need for intermediate PC hardware and its inherent infrastructure and IT vulnerabilities such as; virus scanner maintenance, OS upgrades and incompatibilities, hardware failures, operator abuse, the industrial proven C Connector runs directly on Mitsubishi Electric’s iQ controller, where it has direct access to live process data and all connected I/O. Here it can also be used to collect data from other automation devices in the field such as RFID sensors, barcode reader, weighing systems or vision systems (cameras).
Setting up bidirectional communications is as simple as selecting an integration template for the target system from the extensive library of pre-configured templates. These cover many different SAP® solutions including direct BAPI interfacing, MII connection, web services and even Pco connection is planned. Data can also be output as standard CSV, Excel or XML files. This eliminates the need for detailed knowledge of the target system and its interfaces, dramatically simplifying integration overhead.
Mitsubishi Electric’s Jeremy Shinton comments: “The ability to make correct production decisions, to enhance quality and to ensure full traceability depends on making plant-floor data readily available to higher level systems.
“Traditionally connectivity to ERP systems such as SAP was fragmented, but the C Controller simplifies and strengthens the link making it reliable, robust and secure. After all, why put a weak link in your system hierarchy when you can get your high reliability systems (SAP and PLC) talking directly?”
Photo Caption: Mitsubishi Electric’s new C connector provides shop floor connectivity to SAP®. The C Connection cuts through layers of PCs and systems to deliver real time data directly to users’ SAP® systems.
For further information, please contact Amaechi Oduah:
Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. Automation Systems Division
Tel: 01707 276 100
Fax: 01707 278 695