Cleverdist is the most effective Industry 4.0 enabler on the market. Our corporate philosophy is that of working worldwide with different regional partners, specialized in various sectors, which have a relationship – or have the infrastructure to quickly establish it – around our final clients. We provide our help when and where it matters, avoiding unnecessary dependencies, and focusing strongly on providing the highest value in the shortest time, while developing the necessary regional competence for our clients and partners to maintain and build around our designed systems.
When it comes to designing a solution with WinCC OA, we have the most extensive experience. Our team includes certified trainers, engineers and scientists that, for more than 15 years, have been intensively developing very large systems based on WinCC OA in very close collaboration with ETM/Siemens. Since the foundation of Cleverdist, we have been very successful and effective at training different teams around the world (including Siemens and CERN teams), and in guiding them throughout the whole design, development, integration and system commissioning process.
Keep reading to get a feeling of our WinCC OA expertise and the knowledge we are ready transfer to your company or to your favourite local system integrator.
Engineering WinCC OA Solutions
At Cleverdist we are specialists in Industry 4.0 consulting. As such, we understand well that industrial systems are increasingly exposed to rapid technological changes. For this reason, in all the projects where we participate, we make sure that the necessary tools are available to enable fast engineering and that solutions provide the necessary flexibility and maintainability. At Cleverdist we make our Smart Nodes engineering tool available to our clients and system integrators. SmartNodes, is an engineering tool fully built on WinCC OA and integrated with WinCC OA IDE. SmartNodes speeds up development up to a x3 factor and results in solutions that are easier to maintain and evolve. We have also developed – and guided the development – of custom made Engineering Frameworks and Tools focusing on the specific needs and context of a project.
At Cleverdist we know how important it is to keep a clear separation between production and development environments. At the same time, WinCC OA architecture and its hot-configuration features provide great flexibility when updating production systems. By looking at our customer assets and practices we assist them in the design of an infrastructure that allows for changing, improving and fixing their production system safely and without disturbing operation.
We have experience in designing modular, version-controlled WinCC OA components representing self-contained WinCC OA subsystems that can be individually installed, updated and roll-backed. We also include, if appropriate, our customers’ software repositories (SVN, CVS…), file servers and databases in the infrastructures we design. We can provide solutions using different user interface technologies (WinCC OA panels, Web interfaces, etc.) to manage deployments and software configuration of components in standalone or across distributed system.
So, whether our clients have a business in operation 24/7 or they are engineering brand new systems, they profit from our experience in defining deployment strategies and setting up an IT infrastructure to support them.
From the smallest to the largest
During our professional experience we have dealt with WinCC OA systems of all sizes; from the smallest standalone system running in micro PCs to the largest WinCC OA systems distributed in the range of a hundred WinCC OA servers and more than 10 million i/o. It is especially important for largest systems to monitor and control not only the business processes but also the WinCC OA infrastructure, like the servers’ health, file integrity and consistency across systems, overloaded and blocked managers, etc.
At Cleverdist we extend WinCC OA’s system overview functionality and integrate the monitoring of the infrastructure with the overall system in such a way that experts can be notified before any infrastructure problem affects the business operation. Our experience with WinCC OA spans across all the supported Operating Systems.
At Cleverdist we have extensive experience in WinCC OA redundancy. With our deep comprehension of how redundancy works, our customers’ systems reach the required availability. Beyond WinCC OA drivers and other core managers we can also help you to develop or modify your own control scripts or API custom managers to be redundant compliant.
Additionally, we are experienced in configuring WinCC OA in virtual environments, especially using WinCC OA in VMware vSphere cluster solutions. When required to fulfill the highest availability requirements we configure WinCC OA redundancy in combination with vSphere in HA (High Availability) mode.
Industry Standards and Quality Assurance
At Cleverdist we have experience working in projects requiring WinCC OA SIL qualified systems (from the specification and design phase until its final validation) and different IEC standards (IEC 61226, IEC 61508, IEC 61513…). For this purpose, we have developed methodologies, quality management plans and tools to provide visibility and traceability throughout the entire development live-cycle. We use agile issue tracking tools (like Gitlab with Kanban), use software versioning tools (like GIT) to keep track of WinCC OA source code, generate automatic application builds with testing and use tools for WinCC OA static code analysis (SonarQube). In addition, our engineering tool – Smart Nodes – provides Unit Testing capabilities, enabling rigorous software development approaches such as Test-Driven Development (TDD).
Customer specific WinCC OA extensions
Whether our customers have special performance requirements, a need for custom WinCC OA drivers, API managers, EWO widgets (3D, video, Augmented Reality), AI extensions, interfaces to other business systems (ERP, MES, Asset Management, etc.) or require very special user interfaces, at Cleverdist we can always rapidly translate a unique requirement into a reality.
Hierarchical control, expert systems and neuronal networks
WinCC OA already has the built-in tools to script all process control for your business. However, with our WinCC OA engineering tool –Smart Nodes– you can do it in a quick, modular, object oriented and hierarchical manner, saving you the time normally devoted to ensuring the synchronization/handshake for your different processes and dramatically easing the modification of the logic, process analysis and troubleshooting.
Using Smart Nodes is equivalent to programming in an Object Oriented language. Therefore, you can write sophisticated functionality with less code and effort, saving a huge amount of engineering time. As an example, you can easily create your own expert system using basic WinCC OA scripting knowledge. Moreover, by encapsulating your program functionality in Smart Nodes objects you obtain a much more maintainable and reusable solution.
WinCC OA provides the tools to define users and groups of users with different privileges in each of the custom defined areas of control. At Cleverdist we have extensive experience in using and extending these tools. We have experience integrating and synchronizing with our customers’ external user management tools, databases, LDAP servers, Windows Active Directories, etc. We coherently integrate access control with our customer WinCC OA user interfaces and we implement an optional mechanism allowing for the use of privilege elevation so that even when a user has high privileges in a control system, he or she would still need to explicitly elevate them when attempting to perform any action requiring it.
Cleverdist has great expertise in the alert handling domain. We do not only help our customers configure the best suited alert types but we also help in developing a coherent alert handling strategy, maximizing the efficiency of their alert system. Our systems offer the possibility of associating alerts to a certain user or group of users. We also have tools that provide specific or hierarchical alert help instructions. With our alert systems operators always know what to do. In addition, through our experience in very large systems, we are versed in protecting operators from alert avalanches. We have been using WinCC OA summary alerts and its alert reduction mechanism for years. Topping our alert offering, we have developed a notification system that can inform users via SMS, email, etc., when specific alerts rise. This notification system can be connected to an LDAP server or any other external tool – like an operator shift tool – to dynamically know who it should send a notification and how (phone number, email address, etc.). In summary, we make sure that control room alert screens are used in the most efficient way, protected from avalanches, and that alerts target the right individuals.
We have worked with all possible types of archiving in WinCC OA: File archiving, external DB archiving (OCI, ODBC, etc.) or the built-in WinCC OA Oracle archiving RDB manager. We also have a deep understanding of WinCC OA Oracle schema, and in extreme cases, we have even created custom schemas fitting our customer’s needs. We help also in developing the extensions to query the data in this schema from external tools; for example, from Web Server applications. When we use WinCC OA Oracle archiving we make optimal use of the mechanism that allows to buffer data to disk during eventual disconnections to database. We created a monitoring mechanism that raises alerts, sends notifications and temporally configures WinCC OA RDB manager to quickly restore the data to Oracle once the connection is re-established.
And a lot of innovation
Innovation is an important part of Cleverdist foundations. Our years in the research industry have honed our consultants’ skills to develop innovative thinking. Artificial intelligence, computer vision, augmented/virtual/mixed reality and a long list of innovative possibilities that we have coherently integrated within WinCC OA to bring the most advanced and efficient technologies to our customers allowing them to stand out from their competitors. They tell us about their dream vision of a WinCC OA solution and we make it a reality that surpasses expectations.