3 March 2003
4 high-tech giants team on plant-to-enterprise systems
Chicago - ABB, Microsoft, Intel and Accenture said Monday they will work together to help manufacturers bridge the gap between plant floor operations and enterprise information technology (IT) systems.
In an announcement at National Manufacturing Week, the four high-tech giants said combining their efforts will help manufacturer customers by simplifying integration and enabling them to make more informed, real-time business decisions.
The foursome said they will provide a full range of computing diagnostics, solution design, development and integration services for manufacturers to help them obtain manufacturing automation technology that will work seamlessly in a plant environment and integrate with a wide variety of enterprise IT systems.
"Removing the barriers to real-time data synchronization must be part of the overall business equation for collaborative manufacturing," said Larry O'Brien, director of process industry research for ARC Advisory Group. "No single company today can do this across the enterprise. To achieve this in a way that yields a common direction for manufacturers will take the combined efforts of strong companies such as those included in the Industrial IT alliance."
The alliance draws upon ABB’s Industrial IT, a standards-based architecture designed for compatibility of diverse manufacturing components and faster "plug and produce" integration. Each element within the plant – including equipment, raw material and finished goods – is represented in the automation hierarchy by a dynamic software shell called an "Aspect Object" which speeds navigation to critical information.
Accenture designed and built an integration layer based on Industrial IT and the Microsoft BizTalk Server to help enable the real-time exchange of data between the enterprise and plant floor systems. Within the alliance, Accenture also will provide program management support to help clients with diagnostics, solution delivery, hosting and large-scale systems integration.
Intel Architecture enables modular IT infrastructure that mixes wired and wireless communications capabilities with open and scalable Intel-based servers, networks and storage.
Microsoft's .NET technologies were designed to enable customers to more easily integrate diverse legacy systems and business processes with more current and future technology. Microsoft’s enterprise technologies and products also provide manufacturers greater visibility into the enterprise, making it possible to optimize and automate business processes with a faster time to benefit and lower cost of ownership than with other enterprise IT systems.
Microsoft's .NET technologies, including alliance details, will be covered at a first-of-its-kind ISA OPC & .NET in Manufacturing Technical Conference and training to be held March 31-April 2 in Los Angeles.
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