ERP Alliance Hits the Shop Floor

Wonderware has teamed up with Dutch Origin International to launch a strategic alliance for integration of plant floor automation using ERP solutions.

Wonderware [], a unit of the Siebe Intelligent Automation division, has teamed up with Dutch Origin International to launch a strategic alliance for integration of plant floor automation using ERP solutions, parties to the deal announced recently.

The Irvine, Calif.-based Wonderware Corporation decided to form a strategic alliance with I.T. and ERP solutions provider Origin BV. The aim of the alliance is to provide total business solutions by integrating the shop floor with enterprise systems. Solutions will be based on the Wonderware FactorySuite software for developing plant floor automation applications that interface directly with customer ERP solutions from SAP, Baan, QAD and others.

Wim Verkuijlen, Origin director of industrial automation, says their rationale for the deal is taking work off their engineers. “As part of our offerings we supply consultancy, system integration, implementation and support services for ERP and manufacturing execution systems (MES) applications,” Verkuijlen explains, “using standard software systems from major suppliers such as SAP AG, QAD and Baan.”

In the past, Verkuijlen says, “we have developed custom software for plant floor control systems. But this non-exclusive alliance with Wonderware will eliminate the need for our engineers to create custom software, allowing us to provide powerful plant floor solutions using standard, off-the-shelf application development modules from their FactorySuite package.”

Verkuijlen terms it “a good partnership,” since Wonderware provides the software tools and Origin provides services to configure customer systems using those tools.

Evidently Wonderware agrees. “Adding the FactorySuite components to their arsenal of standard software tools gives Origin the ability to create enterprise-wide automation systems for their global client base,” says Joe Cowan, Wonderware vice president of sales and marketing. “They can now provide services covering the complete supply chain, from the plant floor to the ERP level, with real-time data being used on a transactional basis for updating all elements of these enterprise-wide systems as events occur.” This is instead of waiting for end-of-shift, end-of-day or end-of-month batch reports, the standard practice to now.

The Wonderware FactorySuite provides core technologies for plant applications. The suite includes high-level development versions of all tools for application creation, plus sufficient run-time versions for test and verification of applications. Users then simply purchase run-time copies for installation on the plant floor to execute the applications they have developed.

FactorySuite also includes modules for process visualization, PC-based machine and process control; resource management and work-in-process (WIP) tracking; flexible batch management; a real-time, relational plant information database; Internet/intranet browser and server components for remote application and data viewing; and a library of more than 700 I/O servers for interfacing to control and sensor devices on plant floors.

Sweetening the deal for Wonderware, Cowan adds that they like Origin’s strength in “key vertical markets, such as electronic assembly, semiconductors, chemicals and food processing. Wonderware’s only business is developing and selling shrink-wrapped software packages, we don’t provide implementation services,” he says.

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