Networked production in the smart factory

The transition to new drive types and changing consumer behaviour in the automotive industry are increasingly reflected in the production systems of automotive manufacturers.

The zenon software platform from automation software supplier COPA-DATA helps companies to implement industrial IoT and digitalisation in the automotive industry. Today, the company publishes its latest major release: zenon 10, a more integrated, all-in-one solution of the software platform.

The events of the last 16 months have sharpened the focus on digital solutions and business models. The latest major release from software specialist COPA-DATA of zenon 10 helps users in the automotive industry to meet the challenges of the sector.

Fusion of OT and IT

The automation and digitalisation of the production and energy sectors has been in the DNA of software manufacturer COPA-DATA for more than 30 years. “I see zenon today as synonymous with the fusion of OT and IT. With zenon 10, we have the perfect platform for introducing production systems to IT. In the future, there will be more tools and services that round out the whole package. But zenon 10 already has all the important blocks,” says COPA-DATA founder and CEO Thomas Punzenberger.

The automotive sector has pioneered networked production with smart factory approaches, relying on innovative solutions such as zenon. “Vehicle manufacturers are going through a challenging time. Nevertheless, they remain highly innovative and lead the way in state-of-the-art production approaches. zenon 10 can help on many levels, with improved digital processes and simplified engineering,” says Bernd Wimmer, Technology & Consulting Manager at COPA-DATA.

In particular, the comprehensive connectivity that zenon offers with its many native drivers aids digitalisation. The TIA driver for the S7 1200 and 1500 controllers used by many vehicle manufacturers has been further expanded in zenon 10. There is new support for TIA version 16 and symbol name processing has also been optimised. This makes it possible to use the drivers even more flexibly.

The container technology Docker enables highly flexible infrastructure. Another zenon Docker container was published with zenon 10. Now, the zenon Web Engine can run in Docker and be used to set up a zenon HTML5 network. The containers offer greater flexibility for the infrastructure and network topology in a production line of vehicles where, for example, large screen displays, dashboards or Andon boards are provided to show the live status of current production.

Furthermore, improved Smart Objects in zenon 10 can help standardize production processes. In vehicle manufacturing, this involves the standardisation of hardware components as well as project engineering and development. Smart Objects in zenon are comprised of symbol libraries, image templates, data types and much more. As a result, encapsulated objects can be defined that can then be used in standardised form. This technology opens the door for simpler and more efficient system engineering in the automotive industry.

Video: zenon 10 for the automotive industry

The highlights of zenon 10 for the automotive industry can be viewed in detail in this video.
The general technology innovations of zenon 10 can be viewed in detail in this video.

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