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Founded in 1991, Copperline has provided reliable, fast and scalable solutions to automate product manufacturing and distribution processes for its client companies. Where others focus on one area of the automation process, we have been successful in addressing automation needs across the entire spectrum of technologies encountered in an automated facility. Our integration specialists have the experience and knowledge to integrate the business applications with the production facilities, to connect the back-office with the factory floor.

A typical automation project involves the following components:

  • Business Application - This typically consists of a database and business rules from which all process decisions are driven. This component may consist of legacy applications, as well as specific enhancements to support the automation process. The Business Application incorporates the data of record, and as such it must provide data integrity.
  • Real-time Data Server - In all cases, real-time processes require predictable and reliable turnaround on requests for data. Business Applications are often batch oriented or engineered with response times that aren't adequate to support the real-time requirements of the automation process. The Real-time Data Server reconciles the disparate needs of these two environments to satisfy all constraints. In addition, it can implement algorithms to support the decision making processes, thus freeing the real-time processes from complex and time-consuming implementations of business rules.
  • Real-time Processes - A real-time process is a process in which functions are required to be completed within pre-determined time constraints. In a warehouse application, failure of the real-time logic can result in rework, lost deliverables, overtime, late shipments, and in the worst case, loss of customers.
  • Human-Machine Interfaces - HMI's fall into two categories, those used to control and monitor the process and those used to perform the business functions. The former may include a control panel or monitoring screen, the latter may include wireless picking terminals used in a warehouse application. An intelligently designed interface can be a tremendous enabler of productivity, a poorly designed HMI can impede functionality.
  • Network Communications - Tying all of these components together is a network communications layer. Communciations between Real-time processes, Real-time Data Server and HMI typically rely on TCP/IP sockets, which can be implemented on any software or hardware platform.
  • Low-level IO - Low level IO is used in any automation process to read input from the field and provide output signals to control hardware. Many such options exist in today's technologies, and each have their advantages. Most importantly, the low-level IO used in an automation process must be fast and reliable. Real-time processes use Low-level IO to communicate with the devices that they control.
  • Physical Layer - The electro-mechanical devices that are controlled by an automation project make up the physical layer. They can vary widely, including material handling devices, label applicators, scanners, sensors, diverters and sorting systems.

Proper implementation of these components will result in a system that is 100% reliable. We at Copperline have incorporated these concepts in building trouble-free, reliable systems for our customers.

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