Before we delve into the benefits of FactoryTalk® AssetCentre software, I have an important question for you.
When I was fresh out of college working for an integration company in the 1990s, I learned that many of my customers didn’t have a disaster recovery plan. I would get calls in the middle of the night or on a Sunday afternoon asking for help. The calls generally went like this, “Hey Dave, I’m glad your number is in the book, and I was able to get you. Something’s going on with the equipment. We cycled the power on the PLC, and when it came back up there’s a flashing light. Ed says he thinks it lost the program. You didn’t happen to keep a copy of the program when you were in here last month did you?”
I quickly learned to keep a copy of my customers’ programs, store them on a floppy disk, and file them away with a label indicating the customer, machine, and date. Then when I got the “Hey Dave” calls, I would generally be able to help.
Is your disaster recovery plan to make a “Hey Dave” call? If so, you should consider FactoryTalk® AssetCentre software.
FactoryTalk AssetCentre software is a centralized tool that provides a secure electronic document repository for programs and configuration files for all your automation assets. It has features to support change and version management, disaster recovery, lifecycle management, operator track and trace, and system security. I’ll explore each a bit below.
The disaster recovery option allows for scheduled automatic backups of application code and device configuration. It confirms that the correct program is running in a device and provides alerts when differences are found between the running program and the master file.
One of the main features of FactoryTalk AssetCentre software is its ability to archive and provide version control of device configuration files. The archive keeps track of each version of the files and the edits that have been made. It allows you to find the latest version of your code and compare it to an older version to see the differences.
FactoryTalk AssetCentre software can scan your network to discover automation devices and software running in the plant. It will then compare this information to the data in the Rockwell Automation® product lifecycle and download center and display the lifecycle status of your equipment.
Changes to device configuration and application code are monitored and logged by FactoryTalk AssetCentre software. The logs allow you to see when changes were made and who made them. This detailed audit trail can be used to meet regulatory requirements or simply to avoid harm to the production process.
FactoryTalk AssetCentre software provides secure access to your control systems while preventing unwanted or unauthorized modifications that could negatively impact production. Changes to critical process variables and programs can be detected and cause a notification to be sent to the appropriate personnel.
If you need to better manage your automation configuration files and control programs and want to do so automatically without requiring additional work from your employees, FactoryTalk AssetCentre software may be right for you.