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Old May 30th, 2017, 04:55 AM   #1
Kalagaraz
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FactoryTalk view SE questions

Got several production lines with tons of panelviews currently running factorytalk view ME on each of them. It's kind of a pain making changes and keeping back ups of everything so was looking into maybe switching to either factorytalk view SE or transitioning to another scada system like Ignition.

I've never used factorytalk view SE and have a few questions.

1. Most important, is there some kind of failsafe mode for when network goes down? For example transitoning to running a local version of factorytalk ME or something? Ignition keeps a copy of program on client, and if server goes down, just runs the copy on client. I can't be having every panelview in facility drop out and lines go down because IT reboots a computer or we have a main cable go bad.

2. Is there any kind of version control and automatic backup? Be handy to be able to make some changes real quick, see how they work out, and revert back quickly if need be.

Thanks,
Kalagaraz
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Old May 30th, 2017, 06:34 AM   #2
Maxkling
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You can get decent redundantacy out of FTView SE using a primary and secondary HMI server and separate data servers. If your client looses connection with either HMI server you will see a disruption in service.

If you have issues with IT dropping a production network or device then that needs to be addressed with IT.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 07:35 AM   #3
Paully's5.0
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You aren't going to get what you are asking out of SE. Redudancy like Maxkling suggested. You could keep your PV running ME and add SE to the mix, but that's just a mess and you still have to manage all your ME applications. SE will not do that. As for the IT comment, if they take down the plant they take it down simple as that. IMHO if IT wants ownership in production areas they should have their asses handed to them if they break everything.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 08:11 AM   #4
Maxkling
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We have been running FTView SE in a physical redundant set up for 2 years and have never had a full stoppage with the HMI.

There should be redundancy in your backbone and switches, physical redundancy between servers, and software redundancy from FTView. If a single machine or cable takes down the production network there is a design issue. Now I'm sure we have all been there when 100% redundancy has failed but it's rare and there is usually an underlying reason, whether someone takes the blame or not.

If you want a client to still communicate when the server has failed. Each client must maintain connection with the PLC's which I'm pretty certain FTView SE does not accomplish this.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 11:40 AM   #5
tblount70
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I've used just about every flavor of ME and SE.

ME is used just to program individual HMI stations. You can run it on a networked PC. That means you can make and test edits on a development PC, then copy the runtime out to the HMI stations if you like. File maintenance is manual, and you have to go out (or VNC into) each individual HMI station after you change the application.

Jumping up to any version of SE will give you an expanded tool set and lots of future potential. File maintenance becomes much easier if you go with SE Network Distributed, but of course it comes at a price ($$, learning curve, and in some cases IT hassle).

OP isn't really asking for redundancy per se. He wants the individual HMI stations to continue working when other (unrelated) PCs are not. Redundancy features are not required to achieve that. SE Station will continue to work as long as the HMI station can communicate to the PLCs. SE Network will continue to work as long as the data server(s) can communicate with the PLCs. Note that the data server for a simple application can exist on HMI station PC itself.

Be careful when you look through the Rockwell literature regarding redundancy. The different offerings there are meant to provide real-time switch-over from one server to another. That, plus the various network redundancy schemes, can be used to increase the reliability in truly mission critical applications. Usually I don't see a plant jump from standalone ME to that level though.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 12:32 PM   #6
Maxkling
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FTview.jpg

If you loose the HMI Server or Data Communications Server whether from a network failure, hardware failure, or IT mistake, all HMI Clients will cease to work.

If I read correctly, this is what you are trying to avoid?

If so, you will need a Client that will have a direct connection to the PLC's and be able to run stand alone from the server (like the ME environment). Do your panelviews currently connect directly to the PLC's or do they find their way through the network?

As stated earlier if you can open up your network to get VNC control to the panelviews it will make your life a lot easier on making edits and backups.

Another option would be to use the "Network Station" option of SE. I have personally never used it, but each Network Station act as a server/client and can house the data server also, keeping it an all in one node, except for the factory talk directory. See page 11.
http://literature.rockwellautomation...r010_-en-p.pdf
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Old May 30th, 2017, 01:46 PM   #7
arlenjacobs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalagaraz View Post
Got several production lines with tons of panelviews currently running factorytalk view ME on each of them. It's kind of a pain making changes and keeping back ups of everything so was looking into maybe switching to either factorytalk view SE or transitioning to another scada system like Ignition.

I've never used factorytalk view SE and have a few questions.

1. Most important, is there some kind of failsafe mode for when network goes down? For example transitoning to running a local version of factorytalk ME or something? Ignition keeps a copy of program on client, and if server goes down, just runs the copy on client. I can't be having every panelview in facility drop out and lines go down because IT reboots a computer or we have a main cable go bad.

2. Is there any kind of version control and automatic backup? Be handy to be able to make some changes real quick, see how they work out, and revert back quickly if need be.

Thanks,
Kalagaraz
I think the replies have covered most of it already. Here's another view:
Did all of those PanelView HMIs come from the same programmer/vendor? At the same time?

Managing all those PanelView files is a pain, yes and it is with any stand-alone HMI. But give some thought about trying to combine 20+ different HMIs into a single HMI software project; especially if they all came from different vendors.

I'd rather manage a bunch of different HMIs projects than try to combine them all into one large networked project (from a return on time investment). Combining HMIs, that were not designed to that, is a HUGE effort.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 01:48 PM   #8
arlenjacobs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalagaraz View Post
2. Is there any kind of version control and automatic backup? Be handy to be able to make some changes real quick, see how they work out, and revert back quickly if need be.
PanelView Plus can hold several project in it, and you choose which one to run. I would just download a project as ProjectTest01.mer run that. If it doesn't work the delete it and go back to the old one (still on the PanelView).

Also use the Project Copy in FTView Studio to create a test project that you can play around with. Edit that test copy. When you are happy with the changes, then backup the original and copy over the changes.
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Old June 1st, 2017, 06:15 AM   #9
Kalagaraz
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Thanks for all the advice and information guys/gals. I'm not real knowledgeable on IT issues, but one that we have all the time is a contractor comes in, has a static IP set on his laptop, plugs it in, and we shut everything down from a duplicate IP. We have one line that has 3 PLCs in it which communicate across house network, and this is an occasional downtime issue for this line. All our newer lines we have 2 ethernet cards installed, 1 for house network and 1 that goes out to everything else line needs to run including sub PLCs and HMIs. More recently, I've started installing 1783-NATRs to connect all this subnet stuff back to house network.

The 2 main issues I've having with Factorytalk view ME that I thought SE might help with are:

1. It was just me doing the programming for awhile, but more recently they got a guy to help me out. It's a bit difficult for us to both work on same panelview together with how FactoryTalk view ME is designed. We actually have Ignition here that we use for some displays, and it is a lot more friendly when we are working on the same HMI.

2. Again experience from ignition, it's just really nice to be able to make a change and it instantly be on the HMI without having to compile to a specific version (which I think we have like 1 of every version in existence here...) and download it.

Anyways I see your guys points on it being an IT issue if we are losing network connectivity. It's very difficult though to convince upper management about these kinds of issues though.
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Old June 1st, 2017, 11:47 AM   #10
arlenjacobs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalagaraz View Post
The 2 main issues I've having with Factorytalk view ME that I thought SE might help with are:

1. It was just me doing the programming for awhile, but more recently they got a guy to help me out. It's a bit difficult for us to both work on same panelview together with how FactoryTalk view ME is designed. We actually have Ignition here that we use for some displays, and it is a lot more friendly when we are working on the same HMI.
Yes, FTView SE would make editing the same project much easier. That was designed for multiple people to edit the same project at the same time; although it's not good when you try to edit the same file (graphics, macro) at the same time.

You can't really compare an HMI (like the PanelView) to FTView SE or Ignition when it comes to multiple engineers editing the same project. The stand-alone HMIs were not designed for that.
Use a network share to backup/restore each time someone makes changes. If that drives you crazy then you'll need to upgrade to a networked HMI like FTView SE or Ignition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalagaraz View Post
2. Again experience from ignition, it's just really nice to be able to make a change and it instantly be on the HMI without having to compile to a specific version (which I think we have like 1 of every version in existence here...) and download it.
Use your laptop to test new changes. You can quickly test just a display without compiling/running the whole FTView ME project.


If this helps:
HMI software designed for process industries (Ignition, FTView SE) are better for multiple engineers and on going changes to the HMI; after startup/commissioning.

Stand-alone HMIs (PanelView Plus) are designed for packaged machines where there are few or no changes after startup/commissioning.
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