A new software tool can gather information from plant floors and enterprise management systems, linking various industrial databases together. Data Xchange, from Siemens Energy and Automation Inc., Alpharetta, Ga., connects databases to industrial devices via OPC (OLE For Process Control). Data can be shared between controlling devices, such as PLCs, PCs, or SCADA applications, without additional programming.

In the past, acquiring and analyzing production data, troubleshooting system disturbances or bottlenecks in production flow, and measuring machine use and efficiency was complicated, difficult, and in many cases, simply not done. This program simplifies data acquisition and analysis, and helps users make more accurate and timely decisions. In practice, a predetermined event tells the Data Xchange engine when to start a particular transfer operation and how often an action takes place.

Software requirements include a PC with Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 5 or higher or a Windows 2000 operating system. A Pentium II or a similar CPU, OPC servers for desired devices, and OLE-DB providers for desired databases are also required.