GE Fanuc Automation

April 27, 2005
Proficy(tm) Change Management Version 5.0

GE Fanuc Automation Americas, Inc., a unit of GE Infrastructure, has announced the new Proficy(tm) Change Management Version 5.0 - a major new version of the company's plant-wide advanced automation management and control software - which allows users to increase productivity, quality, security and flexibility, while also helping companies meet crucial regulatory requirements. As a key part of GE Fanuc's asset management family of Intelligent Production Solutions, Proficy Change Management focuses on managing a company's data assets by monitoring, controlling and protecting the wide range of data being generated throughout an operation. Powerful capabilities, including security, version control, audit trails, central storage and automated backup and recovery, ensure that users' automation systems continue running safely and effectively.

"Consistency and control are critical elements of a manufacturer's success, and the ability to maximize productivity while minimizing operational costs will often determine whether or not a business can survive in today's highly competitive and tightly regulated environment," said Gimmi Filice, manager of change management solutions, GE Fanuc Automation. "Proficy Change Management provides the tools for managing automation systems and protecting software and engineering investments. This proven solution can help companies stay on top of key performance indicators and turn manufacturing processes into a competitive advantage."

To increase plant uptime, Proficy Change Management provides immediate, reliable disaster recovery and ensures that backups with the latest data are always available when needed. This system also affords users fast ROI, as Proficy Change Management returns a company's investment by preventing or reducing the duration of downtime. Typically, the cost of one hour of downtime, in most facilities, exceeds the investment in the software solution. The system monitors data assets such as PLC programs, HMI applications, device configurations and any other files that are critical to keeping control systems operational.  The software also prevents or significantly reduces user errors.  Engineering processes improve through a common methodology for accessing devices files and other plant information. The software maintains consistency between multiple facilities and helps enforce Good Manufacturing Practices (GmP) throughout an organization.

For reduced costs of engineering and maintenance, Proficy Change Management offers ongoing control over a large number of device and software programs in a multi-user environment through its client-server system. Users can lower costs through functions such as automatic scheduling and automatic backups, and reduce equipment failure and related maintenance costs. An open solution, the software is compatible with a large array of complementary hardware and software offerings - from GE Fanuc as well as from other automation suppliers such as Rockwell, Siemens and Schneider - which further eases engineering demands and allows users to leverage an installed base of equipment.

Additionally, Proficy Change Management improves safety, security and regulatory compliance. The system prevents errors by automating critical manufacturing functions at the configuration level, prevents and detects unauthorized changes and access requests, and supports Electronic Signaturing required to meet the FDA's 21 CFR Part 11 regulation.

With its expanded functionality, Proficy Change Management Version 5.0 now allows Proficy HMI / SCADA - iFIX® users to take control of changes to their HMI applications. Proficy Change Management provides the ability to centralize the storage of the files that make up an iFix application, so users always have a backup in case of disaster.  A comparison utility allows users to identify changes between different versions of the iFix application or automatically detect unauthorized changes to the picture files.  As an open system, Proficy Change Management also now permits control and management of Siemens S7 PLC programs as well as ABB SC4 robot and Siemens 840D support.

A new Product Wizard allows users to quickly and easily create product profiles to define what file or files to manage, files to include or exclude, what directories to grab and what program to run.  The system automatically provides binary or text comparison functions, so users can determine the differences between versions.

Furthermore, the software's SQL Server can now be configured as the Audit Trail database in addition to the existing Access and Oracle databases. Also new, the Proficy Change Management client can be automatically locked based on a period of inactivity.  Users can configure the amount of time before the station locks.  Once locked, it can only be unlocked by the logged in user or an administrator, making it ideal for regulated applications.

A new Master Version function allows users to designate which version is the Master for retrieval and comparison functions.  This is permission based, so only approved users can designate the Master. Other new functionality in Version 5.0 enhance the capabilities for ease of use, additional device support and faster integration as well as increased functionality geared toward meeting the needs of users in the regulated industries.