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  • 2018-06-20

Report on IPA 2018 Workshops

The 16-th edition of the training workshops for the Asix Platform authorised integrators is over. We had a pleasure to host representatives of 42 integration firms on May 17-18 of this year in Hotel Novotel, Wrocław.

The substantial part of this year's meeting included speeches given by specialists from ASKOM in the form of 8 lectures, divided into 5 thematic units related to new features of the Asix.Evo system and to Asix Energy - a new solution developed to monitor power utilities. WAGO ELWAG also delivered its presentation. Every year, the fixed part of the first workshops day is a social meeting – this time, we had an opportunity to visit tourist attractions of the city of Wrocław and then, in the evening, to receive all participants at a gala dinner in the Novotel Hotel.

This year's meeting was opened with a tour around 5 must-see locations in Wrocław: Ostrów Tumski, the University of Wrocław including Aula Leopoldina and the Mathematical Tower (here comes a little correction of our guide's information mentioned at the request of one of the trip participants: the meridian 1702’15” goes through the tower and the meridian 10044’45” goes through Oslo), the Market Square, Bulwar Xawerego Dunikowskiego and Ossolineum.

In the afternoon training session, the Asix Energy platform was presented (which is currently in the final testing phase and will soon be made available to the clients) – it is designed to quickly build versatile applications used for the management of any power utility consumption. This solution is entirely based on the Asix.Evo system and it supports the implementation and operation of a power management system in compliance with ISO 50001. It contains predefined graphics, freely parametrisable reports and a large set of indicators facilitating strategic decisions made to optimise the production process. To get details about Asix Energy, you are welcome to visit:

WAGO ELWAG had a guest presentation during which it announced a new release of the software package developed in cooperation between ASKOM and WAGO ELWAG and designed to support building control automation. WAGO Visu Building – behind this name there comes a unique software package (to be marketed soon) which is a kind of realisation of the DCS systems for the WAGO + ASIX platform. Structures of variables, related to the functional blocks from the WAGO controller libraries, are automatically imported into the ASIX system where visualization object templates are generated for them. The Asix system provides visualization object templates associated with WAGO controller software units for building control automation (the controller software unit collects data and implements control algorithms while the Asix system graphic object associated with it presents the whole information in an edible way to the operator and allows master control). The process of creating the entire BMS application is automated by the SCADA Creator of applications for WAGO which step by step defines elements necessary for the application to work. More details about WAGO Visu Building will be available to you soon on the website

The fixed item on the agenda – "Askom for Integrators” where guests have an opportunity to address comments and questions to individual developers of the Asix software, concluded the training part on the first workshop day. This was followed by a less official part - a ceremonial dinner. This was a great opportunity to exchange experiences and have talks on a professional and friendly level.

The Friday training marathon began with a speech about configuring the Reporting Services in the Asix.Evo applications. It brought a complex presentation of issues related to the use of the Reporting Services type reports within the context of the Asix.Evo application. So, the items discussed included the MS SQL server correct installation process and the process of configuring the AsRaport report environment to work with MS Reporting Services and with the Asix-based application process data. Then, a simple report was created and displayed. The speaker also presented several service operations which are helpful while solving problems with reports which do not work in non-standard situations.

An important item of the training agenda was the presentation of a new object Data Chart. This is an object which makes it possible to draw any kinds of graphs and charts of various kinds of data organised in sets (tables, database tables), supplied by scripts by means of an application data mechanism (AppData) or by means of special functions (e.g. ToTable(..)). Contrary to a standard Chart object, the Data Chart enables the support of data not coming from the archive of process variables and being independent of time. The set of special functions supplying data to the Data Chart contains new functions: ToTable(elements…) – returns a table composed of elements delivered after comas, Sequence(first, last, step) – returns a table filled with a string of numbers or times and ArchiveData(var, agg, from, to, interval, period) – returns a table of aggregated archival values of the variable within the indicated time range. The topic discussed also covered the AppData mechanism used for data exchange between elements of the system (between scripts mutually and between scripts and objects such as: Data Chart, Container of Templates, Data Table). The value returned by the AppData mechanism may be: of the simple type (int, float, double etc.), of the table type (string, int[], float[] etc.), a collection (List, Dictionary etc.) and a table (DataTable, DataView). The following new elements have been implemented into the Asix package as part of the AppData mechanism support: AppData function, SetAppData action and the methods: GetAppData, SetAppData and RemoveAppData.
The new features of the Asix system which were discussed in detail also include a central diagnostic module which makes it possible to collect and show diagnostic data sourced from different Asix application workstations in a single location. A simple mechanism of the central diagnostic configuration involves indicating the diagnostic server and completing a set-up for every workstation which is to regularly send information about its condition to the central diagnostic server, an option enforcing the diagnostic data transfer. The diagnostic data can be reviewed by means of a pre-defined diagnostic window where the mentioned data are organised by workstations, divided into several types of data (e.g.: channels, archives, alarm domains, drives). In addition, the user can use the new function StationDiagInfo(..) to specify the diagnostic data which he/she would like to present on the synoptic diagram of his/her application.

There was also the traditional annual presentation discussing new functionalities which were introduced into the Asix package over the last year. The following list contains items selected from a long list of novelties which were presented (not discussed in separate presentations): 

  • SVG image support mechanism designed for the control of visibility and colour of selected elements of the image without having to use image controllers. The Asix system Picture object allows a named element, a group of elements or an SVG file layers to be controlled. Such solution significantly simplifies the application design stage and offers wide possibilities of using SVG graphics to visualise processes.
  • New style of the series: field stepwise for the Chart object.
  • Possibility to add other source files ( the so-called class libraries) to scripts. It allows the universal classes saved in a separate file to be used repeatedly.
  • New operations on bit values (for testing and controlling bit values).
  • The Active Alarms Table can display alarms from many domains at the same time.
  • New communication drivers:
    • CipOmron - communication with new NJ/NX type Omron controllers by means of the EtherNet/IP protocol in the Explicit Messaging mode. 
    • Diris - communication with the Diris Digiware electric energy meter modules through the Diris D-50 gate. The data exchange takes place through the Ethernet connection in the Open Modbus TcpIp mode.
    • MelsecTcpip (in the final tests) - data exchange with the the Mitsubishi controllers under the Melsec Communication Protocol. The data exchange takes place through the Ethernet connection. The supported drivers include: MELSEC-A, Melsec-FX3U, Melsec-L, Melsec-Q, Melsec-QnA, Melsec-R.
    • KMP (in development) - communication with KAMSTRUP meters acc. to the native Kamstrup Meter Protocol. The data exchange takes place through the RS-232 connection.
    • Advantech Wise - used for data exchange between the Asix system and the WISE series modules manufactured by Advantech. The communication is performed by means of the Ethernet connection and the HTTP/REST protocol.
    • MQTT driver - used for data exchange between the Asix system and the MQTT protocol brokers. The MQTT protocol 3.1.1 version is supported.
  • REST server - an Asix package module provided to make the Asix.Evo system application process data accessible in the REST convention.
  • An alternative version of the Power Guard Chart, preferred by the utility services (the triangular form), was introduced.

The next training part covered practical advice on the use and parametrisation of various types of archives. Specific properties of the particular archive types were discussed, including suggestions of how to select an optimal archive type.

The last lecture delivered a presentation of the new Container of Templates object. This object makes it possible to dynamically generate diagram contents by multiplying the template in a number depending on the size of the data supplied. It allows you to define a table with a pre-defined number of lines and columns. Further cells of the table display templates with consecutive parameters values. If the elements to be displayed outnumber the table cells, it is possible to navigate between the pages by means of proper operator actions. The object also enables the reading of the current number of elements, the total number of pages and the current page number. New functions have been developed to support the object: VarNames(criteria…) – returns the table with names of variables meeting specific criteria and ObjectData(objName, dataId) - returns an indicated internal datum of the object.

During the second workshops day, integration firms were ceremonially honoured with awards in the following categories: 

  • the award for the highest sales of the Asix licences in 2017 went to REDNT Sp. z o.o. in Katowice; 
  • the award for the highest sales of the Asix licences in 2017 (2nd place) went to P.P.H.U.EVRY Sp. z o.o. in Lubin; 
  • the award for a long-term contribution to the implementation of the Asix systems went to ELKO Sp. z o.o. in Toruń.

The workshops were concluded with a joint dinner.

You are most welcome to attend the next year's workshops for the Asix Platform Integrators.

The training materials related to this year's workshops (presentations and demo applications) are accessible in the IPA section dedicated to our integrators: