From acquisition to reporting – the data flow for dynamic reporting with zenon, as used in ISO 50001 energy management (Part 1: Data Acquisition)

What is it all about?

A variety of performance improvement initiatives in the field of industrial production use zenon´s cutting edge technology to manage respective data volumes. For ISO 50001 energy management, this specifically relates to the monitoring and evaluation of corporate energy consumption.

This article will give you an insight into how data handling mechanisms are arranged by zenon in order to generate a consistent data flow, starting with data acquisition, followed by data archiving and reporting.

Generic Data Acquisition

The industrial IT and automation environment comprises a large amount of entities to monitor and control specific equipment, such as machine, process or building automation equipment, as well as business related systems (ERP, CAQ etc.). Data interfaces can range from well-defined and standardized (i.e. branch related) to proprietary communication mechanisms.

The ability of zenon to hook up to those entities is based on four pillars:

  • Direct out-of-the-box support of a large variety of communication standards and protocols
    More than 300 communication protocols can be utilized right away with zenon, with minimum development effort. All 300 are well integrated and tested. If a 3rd party product supports the generation of configuration data, i.e. variable list export, zenon can import this data accordingly to reduce implementation time and potential mistakes.
  • Flexible network technology
    Application design using zenon allows the use of powerful network design features, such as multi-server/multi-client or redundancy. Moreover, the system can be altered at any point in time, without indepth networking know-how. Hence, it can be easily modeled, according the best fit with regard to the coverage and the logical arrangement of information sources on all levels.

If the integrated communication features of zenon are insufficient, one has the option to use predefined programming interfaces in order to realize specific data links. This will require some programming.

  • Integrated scripting module (API)
    Script modules can be embedded as an integrated part of a zenon project. These establish a link between the zenon Runtime application and the “external world”. By means of VBA, .NET or C# scripting the developer can, using a COM interface, create a customized bridge between zenon Runtime and external components (e.g. SQL database).
  • Modular integration of communication drivers (“driver kit”)
    The integration of communication protocols, as described above, is based on a well-defined interface which connects a communication driver module (Windows .exe or dll) with the central communication management module of zenon (Dispatcher). This interface is open to use for a modular implementation of any further communication standard.

Preserve your flexibility

Typically, there are multiple sources of data within the industrial environment which need to be accessed. It is important for the practitioner to consider the limits of any system before specification, in order to ensure the system deployed can support possible future extensions to the system as well as current requirements.

In the next part we will have a look into the task of data-archiving, typical requirements and how zenon manages this.

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