Automation made easy: latest version of the zenon software

6th August 2019
Lanna Cooper

The latest version of the zenon Software Platform from COPA-DATA is now available. The independent manufacturer has made its automation software for the manufacturing and energy industry even more secure, efficient and user-friendly. Together with zenon 8.10, COPA-DATA is also releasing a new version of its zenon Analyzer 3.30 reporting and analytics software.

For Gerald Lochner, Head of Product Management at COPA-DATA, the challenges of our times are clear: "We have developed zenon to meet the requirements of state-of-the-art automation. The software platform is now faster, more efficient and with greater connectivity and security than ever before. Once again, during this development cycle we have followed the philosophy of our company founder, Thomas Punzenberger for our customers: There is always an easier way.”

From 400 to 150,000 value changes per second

The number of variables in industrial projects is growing exponentially. As a result, COPA-DATA developers have optimised zenon's algorithms and further improved the code. This has enabled COPA-DATA to speed up response times in both zenon Editor and zenon Runtime. Realistic performance tests demonstrate bulk changes during configuration are far faster - with time savings of up to 97%.

Spontaneous and triggered archiving are now also much faster and capable of multi-tasking, as per cyclical archiving in zenon. By updating the technology and optimising the storage system, the software has been upgraded from 400 to up to 150,000 value changes per second. Run time performance is now unaffected when archiving large amounts of data.

Usability: A recipe for multiple units

In batch-oriented production, the unit classes used to configure processes provide additional flexibility in the zenon Batch Control module. This makes it possible to create generic recipes that are unit-independent. The user decides which unit of equipment to use at the start of the production of each batch. The same recipe can be used easily with other equipment.

Drag-and-drop functionality is a new feature in the popular zenon Extended Trend module. This function allows variables to be added directly to trend curves in Run time. To ensure the curves on the axes are visually identifiable, you can carry over the curve color to the value axis. Controlled by a variable, for example, individually designed buttons can improve the visibility of curves and axes on a trend chart.

The HTML5 Web Engine, part of the web server, has been updated to the latest technology standards. This ensures zenon's independence in terms of operating systems and its connectivity. The combined element, often referred to as the multi-purpose tool in zenon, is now also available in the Web Engine.

Engineers can save time in project creation, because the released properties of the symbols are fully supported. Existing screens no longer have to be adapted for the Web Engine. With zenon 8.10, it is now possible to evaluate limit value violations and perform functions supported by the Web Engine, such as configuration of set values or screen switching.

Increased security as default

COPA-DATA complies with the annually audited security certificate IEC 62443 for software manufacturers. The international series of industrial standards provides a framework for preventive and systematic detection and reduction of security gaps in industrial automation and control systems.

In addition to the integration of new drivers, for example, for Hekatron fire alarm systems, many existing drivers have been updated. Furthermore, zenon now also has the BACnet certificate in accordance with ANSI/ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers), and thus complies with the important 135-2012 standard for building automation.

Additionally, the RemoteRT driver now supports encrypted communication with the Connector Container. This is an application that can be started in parallel with zenon Run time and provides remote access to Run time subcomponents. Additional drivers have been optimised for authentication and encryption without affecting their functionality. All this results in even greater security when using the zenon Software Platform.

Know sooner what's coming

Sudden equipment downtime can be frustrating, especially if it could have been foreseeable. In such cases, the predictive analytics function in zenon can provide valuable services. This feature identifies trends from existing data and shows, for example, when a part should be replaced. The new release makes this trend prediction even more accurate, as zenon Analyzer 3.30 now provides data in seconds rather than minutes.

This ensures improved information and faster decision-making, increases planning security, and reduces down time. In reports, time or value-based forecasts can be generated using a variety of templates. Live production data can be compared with historical data to ensure production runs within the desired parameters.

New in this version: the forecasts from zenon Analyzer can also be used in Run time for a zenon 8.10 project. This enables HMI users to visualise live predictive trends in energy consumption or product quality, and they can adjust their behaviour early on.

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