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article image Security, version control, audit trails, central storage and automated backup and recovery ensure that automation systems continue running safely and effectively.

GE Fanuc Automation has released Proficy Change Management Version 5.0, a new version of the company's plant-wide automation management and control software. It allows users to increase productivity, quality, security and flexibility while also helping companies meet regulatory requirements.

It focuses on managing a company's data assets by monitoring, controlling and protecting the wide range of data being generated throughout an operation. Security, version control, audit trails, central storage and automated backup and recovery ensure that automation systems continue running safely and effectively.

It provides immediate, reliable disaster recovery and ensures that backups with the latest data are always available when needed. The system also affords users fast ROI, returning a company's investment by preventing or reducing the duration of downtime.

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 throughout an organisation.

It offers ongoing control over a large number of device and software programs in a multi-user environment through its client-server system, reducing maintenance costs. Users can lower costs through functions such as automatic scheduling and automatic backups. Equipment failure and related maintenance costs can also be reduced. 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.

The system prevents errors by automating critical manufacturing functions at the configuration level. It prevents and detects unauthorised changes and access requests, and supports the electronic signatures required to meet the FDA's 21 CFR Part 11 regulation.

Version 5.0 allows Proficy HMI/SCADA-iFIX users to take control of changes to their HMI applications. It allows users to centralise the storage of the files that make up an iFix application, so they 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 unauthorised changes to the picture files. Proficy Change Management is an open system, permitting control and management of Siemens S7 PLC programs as well as ABB SC4 robot and Siemens 840D support.

A product wizard allows users to 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.

The software's SQL Server can now be configured as the audit trail database in addition to the existing Access and Oracle databases. 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 suitable for regulated applications.

A 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.

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