The INGEAR.NET software from CimQuest is a set of runtime free class libraries that simplify building, developing, and deploying connected systems for manufacturing applications using Visual Basic or Visual Studio .NET. It uses only three primary classes of .NET code:
It includes a direct Ethernet communication channel to the PLCs enabling developers to write HMI interfaces to PLC controls or acquiring data from them. No additional third-party components, drivers, APIs or tools, such as OPC Servers, are required. This simple programming model by CimQuest InGear contributes to faster response times and ease of use and ultimately – profitability.
Special Devices, Inc. uses INGEAR technology to derive many benefits. The process…
- Installed the In Gear software for each PLC family they were going to talk to.
- Allen Bradley OCX
- Configured Each PLC in a test environment (In out test lab)
AB 5, 500, 5000 and the 1400
- Wrote and deployed some simple .net applications using INGEAR to run on the test PC allowing the company to set and get data from the PLC's.
- Once satisfied with the results, adding monitoring to the code and hooked to production equipment.
- After a short time gaining the confidence to add Setting values and well as monitoring.
The phrase ".NET PLC driver" lead Randal Boyd, Software Engineer for Special Devices Inc. to www.ingeardrivers.com. According to Boyd, the challenges Special Devices, Inc. faced that caused the initial conversation with INGEAR included:
- Equipment control obsolescence.
PLCs and PCs that no longer communicated with current systems; therefore impossible to upgrade.
- The crippling affect of PC cards and preparatory hardware. (Boyd needed to break the links that bound the proprietary hardware such as ISA cards.)
While Special Devices looked at other technology solutions, Boyd noted, "Many systems were already dated. The Idea of upgrading to something less old does not make sense, it should be current. With INGEAR I found there was a short learning curve, with ease of integration into my existing software."
Boyd said there were three primary benefits derived from using INGEAR:
- Greatly reduced the time from requirements elicitation to production.
- Allowed reuse of exiting MMI code.
- Simplified the systems to a supportable level.
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