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Automated Data Logging Made Easy—No Desktop PCs, No Middleware…No Hassles

November 01, 2013

Automated data logging has become a staple on many manufacturing lines due to its effectiveness in bolstering quality control and traceability. This steady stream of data provides helps companies create a rock solid workflow record that is incredibly valuable in protecting against legal or other problems down the road.
Sure, some companies are still trying to log data with paper and pen, but as with most other manual functions on the line, anything that is slower, less efficient and more error prone will eventually be replaced. Companies are either acting proactively or are being forced to make a change due to recall containment, government regulations or quality assurance requirements.
Unfortunately, if you're a control engineer or other professional charged with optimizing the line, automated data logging is likely one more thing being added to your already crowded plate. With current methods, it can threaten to drag down the performance of your line. Further, the PCs and SCADA middleware needed—not to mention several days of custom programming—can be expensive and hard to maintain.

Data logging made easy

But what if you could provide the people upstairs with all the line data they need, without having to take on a new IT burden, and without the torture of watching the “solution” eat away at the speed and quality of your line? According to Omron Engineers Alex Nowak and Johnston Hall, there's a new, seamless solution available that's fast, easy and cost-effective.
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"It's a recent development and we're all really excited about it," said Nowak. "Now, in addition to providing fully integrated control of logic, motion, vision and safety all in one box, the Omron Sysmac NJ controller can now also connect the line directly to your existing Microsoft SQL or Oracle database. There are no computers or software to add. None. It's all inside the Sysmac NJ,” he explained.
In addition, Nowak notes, the Sysmac NJ solution is very flexible and scalable, and is suitable for nearly any size company and any size budget.

Maintain your line speed

"With the Sysmac solution, the difference in impact on line performance can be very dramatic," added Hall. With the old middleware solutions, the middleware had to poll the data and that took time. Performance was in the 1 to 3 second range. This meant that the line speed could be reduced by 1 to 3 seconds. The Sysmac NJ has SQL client in it and can send the data directly to/from the SQL server in the 20 milliseconds range. The Sysmac NJ solution reduces the code needed and speeds up the manufacturing line.
Although the data logging feature extension on the Sysmac NJ has only been available for a few months, Hall notes that the customer reaction has already been extremely positive.
"With the speed, ease and cost-effectiveness of the Sysmac NJ data logging solution, it seems evident that we've been able to meet a strong customer need," he said.
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