Utilizing the PI SDK Streamlines Data Communications by Removing the ‘Middle Man’
Have you ever called a customer support line and found yourself talking to the ‘middle man’? That’s the staffer who knows just enough to sound legitimate but not enough to fully answer your questions. That’s the individual who will “get back to you” as he confers with other company resources only to parrot back a partial answer. While the middle man does his best there’s always some amount of information, some detail that’s lost. With its market leading data historian OSIsoft has worked diligently to assure that there’s no middle man when it comes to accessing a manufacturer’s process data.
For years OSIsoft has facilitated communication between industrial automation applications and the company’s PI historian through licensing of its PI Software Development Kit (SDK). As a ‘native’ means of communication with the historian the PI SDK has proven superior to other methods such as OPC HDA. Like a ‘middle man’ OPC HDA requires data exchanges with the historian that occasionally involve dissimilar data structures. Those dissimilarities can cause exchanges to go wrong. For applications like control loop performance monitoring (CLPM) technologies and the manufacturers that rely on CLPM analysis, just the potential for things to go wrong is a source of concern.
A few aspects of CLPM applications utilizing the PI SDK that are worth considering include:
- Lost in Translation
As in the children’s game of telephone any exchange of information is bound to get fouled up if communication isn’t precise. Unlike the children’s game, however, a mix up involving the data stored in a manufacturer’s PI historian is not a funny affair. Fortunately those CLPM technologies that utilize the SDK deliver clear and consistent communications using PI’s established protocols. No translation needed.
- Costs of Configuration
While system integrators might suggest otherwise, pre-configuration using an SDK is a good thing. It limits cost creep during both the short- and the long-term as initial configuration can be performed faster (less cost) and fewer aspects of a CLPM implementation will require future support (less cost). So the PI SDK speeds up an implementation and accelerates a manufacturer’s TTO – Time To Optimization.
- Maximum Efficiency
Process manufacturers – like OSIsoft – are constantly on the watch for opportunities to improve efficiency. The PI SDK achieves that goal by delivering the most efficient communication between the historian and the CLPM application server. And since there’s no unnecessary drain on either the historian or the CLPM server, a single CLPM implementation utilizing the SDK can support more control loops than otherwise.
PlantESP is one CLPM technology that connects natively to the PI historian using the SDK from OSIsoft. The CLPM platform from Control Station can also communicate to a manufacturer’s existing historian by way of OPC HDA, OLE-DB, SQL DB among other methods. Planned product enhancements will further align PlantESP with the OSIsoft technology. Specifically, PlantESP will adopt the Asset Framework in order to support the advanced data hierarchies increasingly employed by many process manufacturers.