From time to time our engineers have been required to develop software and hardware to fill the gap between the user requirements and the software available on the market. This innovative approach dates back to 1996 when Fairfields first developed a Voice Call system, an add-on for SCADA, allowing a system to call a duty engineer, alerting them of an alarm.
Since then we have developed Manufacturing Intelligence Systems (MIS) and in 2008 were the runners up in the Institute of Engineering and technology’s (IET) innovation awards for a custom database system developed for the acquisition of large amounts of data at high speeds.
Hardware & Networks
When designing a supervisory systems it is important not just to consider the software itself, but also give consideration to the underlying hardware, on which the system will be operating. We have dedicated IT specialists who can design a hardware architecture which not only suits the application but also meets any additional IT standards which our clients may have. Whether it’s a standalone PC based system, a cloud based system or a large virtualised server architecture using Thin Clients – we have a solution.
A resilient SCADA system relies on a robust and secure network as a means of gathering data from the PLC(s) or RTU(s) in the field. See more on our industrial network solutions and network security.
The Internet of Things (IoT), particularly Industry 4.0, is changing engineering approaches with the vision of “smart factories”. More and more of our clients are starting to recognise the importance of making the right information available to the right people at the right time. This could be information such as energy usage, plant performance or alarms. This facilitates better and more informed decisions to be made, ultimately leading to improved plant performance.
We are working with our clients to remove the barriers between their IT and Engineering departments. We combine control engineering and ICT disciplines to allow us to deliver turnkey projects providing data analytics, remote monitoring and mobility. This can often include the systems on the factory floor being connected to the manufacturing intelligence systems and the enterprise level using secure networks.
More and more companies are now creating vast databases of data which is collected direct from the plant floor – but this data is only valuable if analysed and reported in the correct way. The engineers at Fairfields have delivered several Historian Systems and, more importantly, have developed the reporting system which gives clients access to their data. Our engineers work with the client to ensure the correct data is stored and to develop the most appropriate methods of reporting it. Often this requires diverse data being reported to different people at different levels within the company and in varying formats. From detailed reports for engineers being used for predictive maintenance to Key Performance Indicators for management. In addition to reporting on historical data, live indicators can also be made available via webpages. Reports can be made available in many different formats – from Excel Spreadsheets and graphs to PDF reports or online reporting through a webpage on a mobile device.
Often plants have existing systems which may have become obsolete or do not deliver the features required in a “smart factory”. We have developed a dedicated Service Department, helping our clients to maintain these systems as well as managing obsolescence. Our engineers can assist with upgrades of hardware, operating systems and software packages.