When asked if we work with a particular technology here at DMC, my answer is always "yes". PLC, Embedded, Test and Measurement, Business Logic: we do it all and more.
WinCC OA (OA) is the spiritual analogue to that philosophy in SCADA form. There are native drivers for Siemens and Allen Bradley PLCs as well as an OPC driver so it will work with nearly any modern controller.
Supporting a wide range of hardware is expected of a product that is targeted to the same space as Wonderware and Iconics. If this was the only thing that separated OA from Siemens' other offerings, we wouldn't be as excited about it as we are.
To understand the power of OA you have to understand that it is built upon itself. There is a core language that is derived from C and supports a long list of functions that are built in. The user interface is built on top of this core language and is user editable.
With this kind of open nature, there are a dozen ways to do anything and they are all equal. Consequently, it's not always easy to pick the best implementation path. While the script editor does have some shortcomings, it more than makes up for them with the flexibility and customizability it enables..
The powerful environment is complex and can have a steep learning curve, but once you are up to speed, the implementation possibilities are almost limitless:
- The alarm screen doesn't meet your needs? Modify it.
- You need to dynamically generate screens and then add them to the navigation system? Dig around in the deep parts of OA for your solution.
- Auto populate engineering parameters screen with auditing? Done.
- The tab key function for navigating between controls on the screen doesn't meet your needs? Override it with your own logic.
Every single example above, and more, was accomplished by DMC's team here and we were able to deliver the solutions our clients needed without ever resigning ourselves to "that's the way it is." As someone who has had to go to great lengths to work around technical limitations in the past, it is pretty amazing to be able to create anything I can dream of using these tools.
Our partnership with the WinCC OA team is growing rapidly as we develop the detailed knowledge to be effective in this platform. Look for a series of blog posts on the intricacies of WinCC OA over the next few months.
As always if you’re interested in us implementing your SCADA system, please read more about DMC’s HMI and SCADA offerings.