Why Use Accord ?
Accord provides an object method for configuration of process systems. It has been developed by systems integrators for use in client systems, and has proven to be very efficient for systems development and operation.
The automation arena is of interest to many personnel; the end-user clients, system integrators, consultants and designers, and educators and students, and this post is to describe how Accord may be useful to each type of user. Many of the points will be applicable to more than one type of user.
For end users – manufacturing and utility companies:
Automation systems usually require specialist knowledge for design and maintenance. We have found that clients are much more comfortable in understanding the layout of their process systems when looking at a Builder configuration than when looking at PLC code blocks, or SFC type functions in advanced system editors. Because the Model in Builder is easy to understand there is greater confidence with site personnel understanding and being able to modify the system configuration. We have talked site personnel through changes to their configuration over the phone, for changes that would not be possible using standard PLC programming.
in addition the add-on modules make Report Generation, Planning and Recipes very easy to deal with. End Users really like the facility to generate any Report type, or to make new Recipes with different process steps, or to quickly make new program schedules.
Our new configurable KPI control should be very useful for engineering and production personnel also.
Lastly many companies would like to have good accurate documentation, even just for reference purposes, but do not need or wish to go through validation exercises. The Accord Builder documentation facility allows for good documentation to be produced quickly for them, and it may be regenerated after changes to the model without having to track all the changes across the documents.
The documents are to templates and are entirely accurate, and to MS Word format, so they an be easily modified for use in systems that do have to be validated, and again this is attractive as it shortens the validation time.
For system integrators:
The platform is designed by systems integrators for use in projects, and makes system generation very efficient. We have configured systems in only a few days, that otherwise might take much longer. This is especially applicable if Recipe management or Reporting is required.
Accord PLC Library will implement the configured Model automatically, taking care of the PLC process software aspect of the project. The PLC Hardware is configured using standard editor. If any networking with other PLC’s is required then this is configured using the Standard editor also, a. The IO addresses are configured in the Model in Builder and the PLC Model will then monitor and activate IO as required. The PLC is still open – Accord Library reserves certain functions and data areas but otherwise the PLC may contain standard code also. All the data addresses allocated by Accord may be found as a report in Server, so these address may be read or written to for interaction between Accord process and other processes, in the same PLC or other PLC’s.
Again, as in the note for End Clients, the provision of process and testing documentation is very useful for system integrators as their focus is usually on programming and commissioning and getting the project completed on time and budget. This is very useful for generation of final documentation, which is often difficult to get to after commissioning,
As Accord will automatically log all commands and may be configured to log all activations a commissioning log may be easily produced from the reports system and audit trail.
Scada integration is usually with Accord HMI and Controls. When a control is placed on a screen it is configured for name and behaviour and no tagging or scripting is needed. Normal HMI applications can be built as the PLC addresses for each item are available. Guidelines for use of each address are available also.
Also, the provision of Templates gives systems integrators a good starting point for their systems.
Accord is very useful for smaller system integration companies who wish to produce software projects quickly without having to hire many skilled automation engineers. This is because the PLC programming and HMI integration is taken care of. accord does not provide a PLC language or a HMI scripting facility so it is not useful for learning PLC programming.
For Consultants and Designers:
In general the Accord model is designed to be understandable for all engineers, for the process being implemented to be clear. In some cases a designer may wish to generate the model and to generate a Process Description or an FDS automatically from it. The test documentation may also be produced.
In this case the designed system can be finished by integrators.
The system also allows for Process Emulation on a PC. The model may be imported to the accord server and will then run as if it is on a PLC. In this case the HMI Design may be used to test the program; that it steps on correctly and that activations occur as required. As the HMI List type controls automatically provide access to all items and devices it is not necessary to build full graphics to test the system.
Our next addition of a Rule based simulator will enhance this more, allowing designers to test responses to expected plant operation.
For educators and students:
Accord is very good for providing students with real world examples of process control. As above the student may configure a system and learn how it will act in reality either using the Emulator or a PLC. Students may use this as a good introduction to process control. Students who wish to learn PLC programming will have can obtain a good understanding of what other systems can provide through programming.