Posts Tagged ‘Maintenance’

Ergonomics of Sustainability, Innovation & Continuous Integration (part 4)

Monday, August 8th, 2016

In the previous blog post we explained how to upgrade a zenon standalone system. This time we are going to focus on a zenon Network server-client system.

On a zenon Network server-client System we have to bear in mind that more than one operator works with the system. This makes the upgrade sequence a bit more challenging as the uptime of the whole system becomes more important.

The good news is that the whole zenon system can get upgraded step by step. There is NO need to shutdown the whole system for an extensive upgrade period. This is a crucial advantage when it comes to the step-by-step planning of an upgrade sequence.

“Client only” PCs in a zenon network can always be upgraded prior the upgrade of the Server PCs. This way, only the PC being upgraded is temporarily unavailable while the rest of the zenon network runs uninterrupted.

zenon has worked this way since zenon 7.00, based mainly on zenon’s Runtime Compatibility function. For more about Runtime Compatibility check out the zenon online help (F1) -> Manual -> Runtime -> Runtime Compatibility.

Upgrade Scenario:

In our second example, we are going to upgrade a zenon network client server system with one zenon project running, from a zenon 7.20 system to zenon 7.50.zenon_product_version_connectivity_-12 Step 1: Read back and import the Runtime files into the Editor project in the old version 7.20. Make sure that, in the Editor for the current version of the project, the settings for “RT changeable data” concerning decompilation settings are set correctly.

Step 2: Create a workspace backup in the current version 7.20.

Step 3: Install the zenon Editor of the new version 7.50 on the Engineering PC. Now both zenon Editor versions – 7.20 and 7.50 – are installed and can be used by starting them through the zenon Startup Tool.zenon_product_version_connectivity_-08zenon_product_version_connectivity_-11 Step 4: Upgrade client Runtimes (all except Server 1 of the project).

Stop the Runtime and install the new version of the Runtime.

Hint: Installation without demo projects is advisable.

After successful installation, enter the path to your project for the new 7.50 entry in the Startup Tool.

Now both zenon Runtime versions 7.20 and 7.50 are installed on the PC. In the worst case scenario, you can always go back to using the 7.20 Runtime.

Step 5: Start the new 7.50 Runtime. The same unchanged zenon project files of 7.20 will be synchronized from the process-leading server 1. Now, the Runtime version 7.50 on the clients is executing the zenon project of version 7.20.

zenon_product_version_connectivity_-13Step 6: Upgrade Server 1 just like you upgraded the clients in the previous step.

Warning: this will result in some downtime.

Stop the Runtime and install the new version of the Runtime.

Hint: Installation without demo projects is advisable.

After successful installation, enter the path to your project for the new 7.50 entry in the Startup Tool.

Now both zenon Runtime versions – 7.20 and 7.50 – are installed on the PC. In the worst case scenario, you can always go back to using the 7.20 Runtime.

zenon_product_version_connectivity_-14Step 7: On the Engineering PC load the project -> this will be converted to zenon 7.50. Compile the project for zenon 7.50.

Step 8: Transfer the zenon project files of version 7.50 to Server 1 using Remote Transport.

Step 9: Start the new 7.50 Runtime on Server 1 with the Startup Tool.

Step 10: The zenon project files will be synchronized to all clients automatically.

Hint: On very large zenon network installations, the network bandwidth can be a crucial factor to keep an eye on. This should be considered during the planning phase.

Depending on what you prefer to work with – the Startup Tool, the Remote Transport or the Network Topology – Steps 7 through 9 can vary a bit.

zenon is flexible and offers a tool for all your needs: do it your way!

Now your whole zenon system runs entirely on zenon 7.50 and you can benefit from all the new features available.

Ergonomics of Sustainability, Innovation & Continuous Integration (Part 3)

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

In the previous blog articles we looked at the information that is essential to understand before initiating any upgrade sequence with zenon. In this article, we will look more closely at the specifics of updating a standalone system.

As a reminder, these are the possible zenon network types:

  • Standalone (single PC, no zenon network active)
  • Client – Server (single server)
  • Client – Server (redundant server)
  • Client – Server (circular-redundant server)

In our first example, we are going to upgrade a standalone system with one zenon project running from a zenon 7.20 system to zenon 7.50.

Step 1: Read back or import the Runtime project files in the Editor project in the old 7.20 version. Make sure that in the Editor for the current version of the project the settings for “RT changeable data” concerning de-compilation settings are set correctly.

Step 2: Create a Project or Workspace backup in the current 7.20 version.

Step 3: Install the zenon Editor of the new 7.50 version on the Engineering PC. Now both zenon Editor versions, 7.20 and 7.50, are installed and can be used (by starting them through the zenon Startup Tool).

Step 4: Upgrade the standalone Runtime.

Stop the Runtime and install the new version of the Runtime. Hint: Installation without demo projects is advisable.
Now both zenon Runtime versions – 7.20 and 7.50 – are installed on the PC. In the worst case scenario, you can always go back to using the 7.20 Runtime.
Following successful installation of the new Runtime, start it.

Hint: The installation changes the paths for the Runtime start. StartupTool: Enter the path to your project in the StartUpTool for the new 7.50 entry.
zenon Remote Transport: Retransmit the project and reset the start project on each client PC before restarting.
Now the Runtime of version 7.50 is executing the zenon project from version 7.20.

zenon_product_version_connectivity_-10You can now choose to follow steps 5a or 5b.

Step 5a: On the engineering PC, start the new version of the Editor. Compile the Runtime project files for the new version. Remote Transport the Runtime project files for the new version to the Runtime PC and reload the project.

Step 5b: You achieve the same result if you transfer the new Runtime project files to the Runtime PC before starting the Runtime of the new version. In this example, I would rate this as the preferable sequence.

It is up to you what sequence to use, I am simply outlining the possibilities here. This gives you the flexibility to plan your upgrade process according to your own needs.

Downtime lasts, in this example, for the duration of the installation of the new zenon Runtime and its subsequent start.

Upgrade Engineering PC only:

Perhaps you don’t want to upgrade the Runtime; you would prefer to continue to run it in version 7.20? No problem! You can do this by updating only the Engineering PC.

In the process described above, leave out Step 4 and do not install the Runtime of the new version.

Instead, on the engineering PC, start the new version of the Editor, compile the Runtime project files for zenon 7.20 and use it for the Runtime running in version 7.20.

Advantage:

  1. You can still serve older Runtimes with Runtime project files of its version where there is no need to use zenon’s latest features.
  2. At the same time, with the same Editor, you can create new projects using the new version and benefit from zenon’s latest developments and features.

zenon is flexible: it is up to you what sequence you use. Do it your way.

In the next blog post, we will have a look at a client-server system and how the upgrade proces s works there.

Ergonomics of Sustainability, Innovation and Continuous Integration (part 2)

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

The first blog post of this series gave some background information about compatibility of diverse zenon versions.

When we talk about a zenon version we need to be precise and need to name exactly what we mean by it. This graphic outlines the different components involved and their respective version.

  • zenon Editor
  • zenon Runtime
  • zenon project runtime files
  • zenon Runtime data (version independent)

Runtime data is all the data created by the zenon runtime, like *.aml, *.cel, *.arx, *.bin and so on.

zenon_product_version_connectivity_-09 zenon_product_version_connectivity_-11

The versions of the zenon Editor and the zenon Runtime are usually known by system integrators and end customers. What is less well-known, because it is hardly visible from the outside, is that compiled Runtime project files also carry a dedicated version for which they are compiled. Runtime data is basically version independent.

Conversion:

A zenon project, no matter what version it was created with, can always be converted to the very latest zenon version. This effectively makes zenon a safe haven for your investment into a project.

In order to improve your zenon project with the latest features you must convert it to the new zenon version. Ideally, upgrade to the most recently released zenon version in order to benefit from the very latest developments and new features.

How to convert even very old zenon projects, to the very current zenon version is explained in detail in the Online Help, see “Manual -> Project Conversion”.

The current zenon version offers a direct restore for zenon projects of versions 5.50 SP7 and newer.

HINT: Mind that for an optimum conversion from 5.xx projects, the 32 bit version of the editor should be used.

ATTENTION: Always check what differences between versions are important to consider for your project before executing a conversion.

Always check the following sources:

  • Release notes of your new version
  • Documentation & Online Help ( F1) -> Manual -> “Project Conversion”
  • Knowledge Base on Service Site for known Issues tagged with “Compatibility” or “Conversion”

Before a project can be changed in a zenon Editor it must always be converted to the exact version of the zenon Editor. This is done automatically on loading it for the first time into the zenon Editor. Please bear this in mind when restoring a backup of an older zenon version in the Editor of a newer zenon version. The project can also be loaded from the existing projects in the database, and this also follows the same sequence. Conversion takes place on a project basis which means that, when restoring a workspace backup containing multiple zenon projects, it should be done project by project.

zenon_product_version_connectivity_-08

The project from a newer zenon version cannot get loaded to an Editor of an older zenon version, neither through a backup nor through opening an existing project! If you attempt to do this, a message box appears. This shouldn’t ever be a problem, since zenon project files can be compiled for older zenon Runtime versions (thanks to zenon’s Editor compatibility).

Backup:

As mentioned before, conversion takes place at the point a zenon project using a former version is opened in the zenon Editor of a newer version. During this process, for safety reasons, a backup of the former version remains stored in the zenon backup folder, so the original project can always be used if required.
Everything you create remains available to you.

The Runtime project files can get compiled (F7) anytime from the zenon Editor project files.

Before we start, I would like to underline two important points to consider:

  1. Always make sure you have the updated license details for the new zenon version available.
  2. Test first – always carry out a first test with your project, during the upgrade planning phase, on a test environment rather than on the live system.

In the next blog article, I am going to focus on the first upgrade sequence option.

Ergonomics of Sustainability, Innovation and Continuous Integration (Part 1)

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Introduction

zenon_product_version_connectivityThe goal of zenon is to give you the best tool, a tool on the latest technical level, for you to be able to get a head start in offering exciting automation solutions to your customers. Speed, flexibility, motivation and sustainability matter.

At COPA-DATA we talk about the ergonomics of sustainability, innovation and continuous integration:

  1. To secure your investments done so far in a project
  2. To let you and your customers benefit from new product features and improvements at an early stage
  3. To allow an easy update process of your zenon system with lowest downtime for step 2 to be possible quickly, even in existing and running systems.

With zenon this is an easy process where you only have to focus on your core competence and the project and not so much on the application you created it with.

To excite your customers is the highest goal to reach and can be the crucial advantage to your competitors. For you to be able to excite your customer with new features and offer this even for systems already running the above-mentioned points are compulsory and are areas which zenon can offer solutions for.

In terms of our product zenon we talk about:

  1. Conversion
  2. Improvement with newly developed features
  3. Easy upgrade process for a continuous integration

With zenon your investments are safe and no matter what version of the product you started with first, you are anytime able to convert it to the very latest zenon version. This is an important point in order for you to be able to improve your existing projects with the newest developments and features currently available on the market, without the need to recreate anything again.

Point 1 and 2 is presumably well known to you, Point 3 is probably not so common. This is why we are going to focus in a series of blog articles to address it in order to bring the possibilities to your attention.

System changes during the lifecycle of the production equipment are very unpopular, upgrades are often delayed as much as possible, mostly till they are unavoidable. But this hinders you also from improving the whole system by letting it benefit from recent developments and new features.

One reason is often that this creates a long or undefinable downtime of the production. We at COPA-DATA believe that an upgrade can be done quickly, reliably and safely. This blog series will outline how this can be accomplished on a zenon system with the shortest downtime.

The key word is Compatibility.

COPA-DATA has invested significantly in features and functionality built into zenon, to provide engineers and end users with the highest amount of true compatibility options.

You can find the most important functionalities described in the Online help:

  • Editor Compatibility:
    F1 -> Manual -> Editor -> Compatibility
  • Runtime Compatibility:
    F1 -> Manual -> Runtime -> Runtime files -> Compatibility Runtime files
  • Runtime files:
    F1 -> Manual -> Runtime -> runtime files

These already published blog articles also address the compatibility features:

In this series of blog articles I would like to outline this procedure in more detail and explain the technical background.

In the next blog post I am going to deal with the conversion process.