e-F@ctory is Mitsubishi Electric’s vision for manufacturing and unifies its best-in-class control hardware and networks with enterprise IT systems offered by strategic partner companies, including IBM and ILST.
e-F@ctory’s enterprise connectivity solution offers numerous advantages over traditional data collection methods and is built to handle high levels of data processing and interaction, not just today, but in the future. As more and more IT systems are used to remain competitive in the manufacturing space, they require increasing amounts of shop floor information. Without e-F@ctory, the sheer volume of data required would overwhelm the control systems and force costly retrofit or clumsy work-around solutions.
“This is truly groundbreaking technology that provides the tools to immediately improve almost any enterprise’s bottom line through increased productivity, reduced lead-times and waste,” said John Browett, product marketing manager, Mitsubishi Electric Automation. “e-F@ctory was born out of the expertise we developed in-house through facing our own challenges as a global manufacturing enterprise.”
e-F@ctory is based on four main components: iQ Automation™; iQ Works; the CC-Link network architecture and the MESIF (Manufacturing Execution System Interface) or eMESIF (enhanced MESIF).
iQ Automation™ represents the next generation of automation platforms from Mitsubishi Electric, and builds on the foundation of its highly successful Q Series Automation Platform. With more than four million systems installed worldwide, the Q Series is a groundbreaking system that helped define the “Programmable Automation Controller” (PAC) category created by Automation Research Corporation (ARC) shortly after its introduction.
With iQ Automation, Mitsubishi Electric extends the Q Series’ industry-leading feature set beyond unifying sequence, motion, process and PC based control on the same compact, industrially hardened platform. iQ breaks new ground by adding CNC and robot control capability, a significant benefit to a wide range of industries where Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) can be reduced by eliminating the engineering work needed to integrate disparate control disciplines on the same system.
iQ Automation’s hallmarks are industry leading performance and reliability. A unique dual bus backplane and innovative multi-threaded architecture ensures productivity gains far beyond any current competing system. This allows thousands of data transactions to be handled per second without compromising overall system performance.
iQ Works is the complementary integrated development environment for iQ Automation that can be used to develop and maintain complete systems, regardless of the control disciplines and networks involved. Thus, even a system that integrates motion, sequence and other components such as HMI can be managed with iQ Works, which combines these tools with a single, seamless graphical front end that intuitively guides the user through system configuration, development and maintenance.
With e-F@ctory, Mitsubishi Electric Automation is contributing technology to the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) that takes the established open CC-Link network technology and expands it into a fully developed architecture. This takes the form of CC-Link IE (Industrial Ethernet), the world’s first application of gigabit Ethernet technology, to the industrial automation market. With essentially unlimited bandwidth, CC-Link IE uses innovative program-free configuration technology that permits even large networks to be set up and operated without needing to write any program code. CC-Link IE seamlessly integrates with the other parts of the architecture, such as the CC-Link device network, CC-Link Safety and CC-Link/LT. Multiple networks can be combined for scalable systems whose capacity matches the needs of entire manufacturing or assembly plants.
Currently the CLPA has over 900 partners, providing over 850 products. Since its inception in 2000, the open CC-Link network architecture has become a major global force, with over four million nodes installed worldwide.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s Manufacturing Execution System Interface (MESIF) and enhanced MESIF (eMESIF) technologies offer tremendous cost savings by allowing shop floor controllers, such as iQ Automation™, to communicate directly with enterprise IT level servers and mainframes. This avoids the need for intermediate PC-based hardware and its associated reliability, cost and maintenance issues. But MESIF goes beyond just eliminating excess hardware; through MESIF’s low-cost, direct channel to IT systems, manufacturers gain a valuable window into their processes, resulting in higher efficiency, reduced waste, better quality and ultimately, an improved bottom line.
Once reserved for large corporations with large budgets and IT staff, MESIF and eMESIF levels the playing field by putting this capability into the hands of any company. By leveraging the GOT1000 HMI-based version of the MESIF, Mitsubishi Electric even offers the capability to bring this advantage to users of third party equipment. MESIF and eMESIF are compatible with a wide range of IT platforms, including those from industry leaders such as Microsoft, IBM and Sun, as well as industry standard technology such as SQL.
About Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc., in Vernon Hills, IL, offers a comprehensive line of factory automation solutions. Products include e-F@ctory solutions, automation platforms, programmable logic controllers, human machine interfaces (HMI), AC variable frequency drives, servo amplifiers and motors, motion controllers, control software, computerized numerical control systems, and robots. For a broad range of factory automation applications, visit the Mitsubishi Electric Automation web site at http://www.meau.com.
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