SitePilot Line Diagnostics – a continually design-enhanced system

The diagnostics for your line

The more complex a plant is, the more important it is to have a reliable production data acquisition and analysis system. It is crucial that even short malfunctions – also known as microstops – can be explicitly assigned to the machine causing them and can be evaluated. Relevant production key figures can be lost if data is acquired not at all or only manually. SitePilot Line Diagnostics, our production data acquisition, and analysis system can clearly display weak points and bottlenecks in your filling line in real-time and optimize them in a targeted manner. Downtimes are reduced, and your plant can be operated cost-efficiently and at maximum capacity.

Relevant production data always available

The following data are centrally acquired and edited by the system:

  • Process data (temperatures, pressures, quantities, velocities, etc.)
  • Production data (meters, orders, operating times, downtimes, etc.)
  • Malfunction data (malfunction messages, warnings, instructions)
  • Consumption data (raw materials and supplies)
  • Energy and media data (power, water, steam, etc.)
  • KPIs (OEE, MTTR, MTBF, efficiency, rejects rate, etc.)

A state-of-the-art software solution

Since the first version of Line Diagnostics, the system has been continually design-enhanced and supplemented by new modules. The following modules were included right from the start:


Information Board

  • Provides a glanceable, simple overview of the line as a dashboard
  • Observes and monitors the line’s live processes
  • Complex causal connections are restricted to the most important key figures by means of machine- and line-referenced widgets
  • Highlights important information by color-coding

Analysis Board

  • Provides detailed data analyses
  • Causes and reasons for the current situation can be derived
  • Different process and status data are graphically compared
  • Supplies information on downtimes and the causes involved


  • Provides extensive reports based on defined analytical paths
  • Makes possible a standardized and comparable evaluation of production situations over defined time periods
  • Reports are web-based and can be retrieved at any terminal within the production or company network


Downtime Management

  • Provides selective downtime and efficiency analyses based on the OEE (overall equipment effectiveness)
  • Undetected causes of downtimes can be classified either directly or retrospectively by hand
  • Bottlenecks in production are identified and flagged
  • The most important key figures can be accessed with just a few mouse-clicks
  • Customized OEE models can be factored in

Line Monitor

  • Real-time monitor with status information on the machines
  • Events occurring can be localized
  • Provides a graphical overview for simple comprehension of causal connections
  • Provides cross-line display of machine statuses and key figures
  • For aseptic machines and lines, animated flow charts are available, which image all relevant media circuits with the associated final control elements, like pumps, sensors, and valves, plus analog values

Motivational Display

  • Real-time status, key figures, and trends are displayed on large screens
  • Supplies information and transparency based on simple overviews and aggregated key figures
  • Offers a user-configurable, changing display for comprehensive information
  • Provides an option for retrieving the client’s HTML5 pages

A continually design-enhanced system

During the course of continual design enhancement, Line Diagnostics has been expanded to include additional modules, with concomitant added value for the client:


Failure Analysis Board

The Failure Analysis Board enables clients to perform selective weak-point analysis of a line’s machines. With the edited information, each machine in the line can be analyzed for malfunction-susceptibility and availability. The analysis can be based on user-selectable time periods, so that specific situations in the line’s operation can be selectively viewed. For the analyses, various key figures are available, on the basis of which starting points for ensuring higher availability of the machine can be derived. High and low-performers can be very quickly identified by color-coding of the key figures displayed. Various dashboards are available for purposes of evaluation.

Order Management

The Order Management Module provides easy order management and order-referenced display of information and key figures for evaluating production performance on the basis of a line’s reference machine. All information and key figures are imaged on the basis of production orders manually created and started at the reference machine. For creating, managing, executing and observing the orders, user-friendly web-based interfaces are provided. For retrospective calculation of raw materials and supplies consumed, parts lists can be kept for the individual articles involved. Consumption figures are calculated automatically upon completion of the order. For the evaluation of ongoing and already-completed orders an order report with all relevant key figures is available.

Updates and upgrades possible at any time

Line Diagnostics is being continually design-enhanced so that we can always offer you an up-to-date, optimal solution for long-term efficacy.

If you want regular updates or upgrades, the system can be coupled to a maintenance and support agreement, ensuring that your software is always automatically state-of-the-art. If necessary, you can get in touch with our knowledgeable experts at Process and Data.

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25 Years of Botec: The Process Control for Professionals

Botec is celebrating its anniversary. It has been on the market since 1994 and has evolved to become one of the leading process control systems in the beverage and liquid food industry. Today, Botec is being used in over 2,400 lines all over the world. Not only breweries but dairies, soft drinks manufacturers and spirits producers also swear by our process control system. To ensure that we continue to live up to our pioneering role, we are still constantly tweaking our improvements and functional expansions after 25 years.


The new Botec release is available with the following innovations:

1. Optimizations in recipe and order management

  • Even easier parts list management
  • Optimized synchronization of process sequences and parts lists

2. Completely revised tracking & tracing module

  • Simple and intuitive navigation
  • Comprehensive ability to filter data
  • Improved transparency
  • Access to all batch information

Botec: View of the revised tracking & tracing module - 1/3

3. Gesture control with our new Connected HMI from Krones

  • Display which has received multiple awards
  • User-friendly authentification with RFID token directly on the device
  • Integrated status LED for alarms and notifications

Botec: Man's finger touches display - Connected HMI

4. Expanded functions for bar code scanners

5. Expanded test functions for SQL server

  • Possibility for the operator to already perform regular inspections
  • Easy-to-grasp traffic light function for the simple display of the server’s overall status
  • Early detection of performance problems
  • Enhanced operational reliability

Botec: View of the expanded test function for SQL- server

6. Expanded Consumption Report

Botec: View of the expanded consumption report

Available for the Iltis WPF visualization solution:

1. Optimized touch-screen support

  • Improved ergonomics for the operator
  • Individually scalable buttons and font sizes
  • Responsive design for optimal use on desktops, tablets, and cellphones
  • Two-hand operation as additional protection for all safety-relevant functions

2. Display of trend views from the consumption report

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Digitalization Digest: Issue 1 – Network Review and Upgrade

Network Review and Upgrade for a Chemical Company

The first entry in our Digitalization Digest (articles and thoughts regarding manufacturing plant digitalization) consists of an Ethernet modernization planning project for a chemical company located in the southeastern USA.  The company has seven distinct site locations on a campus that employs hundreds of people. The project was to gather information on all switches, media connections, and equipment related to the network for the purpose of executing a methodical, phased upgrade.

The review process included assessments of over 150 managed and unmanaged switches, the main distribution frame (MDF), all intermediate distribution frames (IDF), as well as the connections from industrial switches at the site to each other and to computers/databases/terminals.  The project was specifically targeted at Level 1 and higher on the ISA-95 model, not focusing on PLC connections to the production processing equipment level.

The company had a moderately accurate inventory of their managed switches and main computers (essentially everything with an IP address).  The network is monitored by two different pieces of management/monitoring software (MNS), these being IntraVUE and WhatsUp Gold.  However unmanaged switches, fiber media converters, and patch panels had not been inventoried effectively and devices like these had been added throughout the campus over the years.  Added challenges were that much of the hardware was fifteen years old or older and had been installed in an open-air plant environment so that the exteriors of the machines etc. were in poor condition.

Post onsite investigation, a plan was generated to consolidate equipment – multiple smaller switches were to be replaced by larger switches.   Reuse of the patch panels was originally considered, but after discussions with the client, it was evident that newer update patches would be preferred in most cases. Every effort was made to create the lowest quantity of unique situations, i.e., minimizing variability and design time, and to reuse existing punch-downs if serviceable and able to be transferred into new enclosures.

A proposal was completed for migration of each site and included the following:

  1. Recommendations for overall system planning and architecture accounting for available connections and transmission lines, required routes of communication, and best practices with respect to layers, VLANS, etc.
  2. Hardware plan per site.
  3. Labor per site for both configuration and deployment.
  4. The client was self-installing Visio documentation so that generation/update of existing system drawings would be performed in that medium.

PDA developed plans to move forward and provided documentation for each of the seven sites that identified all components of the network, with photographs and labels.  The project is ongoing, and every effort will be made to provide easier access to the network as well as the ability to identify problems when they arise.  Further upgrades to any of the seven sites will be more readily achieved as they become necessary.

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Services Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

Read More | Posted In: Digitalization Digest, News

Cybersecurity: The Way to Secure a Factor

Digitalization primarily means that industrial networks and systems do not operate as isolated applications but are interconnected more intensively and exchange data. Office IT and industrial production IT are increasingly merged during this process. Cybersecurity is an important companion here as only secure factories are sustainable.


The increased interconnection of machines, production networks, and corporate sites improves the level of efficiency in production, which in turn lowers costs. Intelligent monitoring simultaneously makes production sequences transparent and makes faster reactions possible.

On the other hand, increasing the amount of networking harbors risks. This can be seen in ransomware infections such as WannaCry or Petya/NotPetya, for example. Large-scale, international infections caused massive damage and production losses in both cases.

It is here that the major importance of cybersecurity as an elementary module of digitalization becomes most apparent. Cybersecurity, based on a structured approach and best practices, must be taken into consideration right from the beginning and not simply viewed as being an add-on or necessary evil. It is not just one single measure, but rather a process to be continually modified.

This process already starts before the commissioning of new systems and networks at component manufacturers and integrators who utilize secure protocols and are required to integrate secure components. The permanent collaboration of line operating companies, integrators, and component manufacturers ultimately leads to sustainable cybersecurity which, for example, covers the effective elimination of any weak points discovered later.


In addition to the protection of new systems and networks, existing systems need to be taken into consideration in any structured cybersecurity strategy. It is important here to take the limits of the protection afforded by technology into account. As a result, it may not be possible to improve the protection of some old systems as their hardware components do not have the capacity needed for a security solution or a software update. Other examples are limits caused by protocols which are no longer supported, antiquated operating systems or new technical requirements which are not provided in the old system.

Therefore, it is important to systematically examine existing systems to determine which technical and organizational measures can be implemented. This necessary analysis comprises a review of all of the systems in the network, what each of them does, their communication relationships with other systems and their respective weak points and risks. Both security expertise and knowledge of business processes and industrial production IT are a fundamental requirement for this.

Either immediate risk-oriented options for protection or compensating measures which can be taken for the technical safeguarding of the system can be derived from this analysis. The latter are, for example, network segmentation using firewalls with individually customized sets of rules or the introduction of whitelisting applications which allow only specific processes to be executed on a system and which thus prevents the execution of malware.


In addition to protecting technology, an all-round security solution in a digital factory must take the factors “people” and “organization” into account. Studies and practice reports repeatedly show how security measures are ignored or bypassed by people, despite the existence of established processes and reliable technology. In its “Top 10 threats and countermeasures”*, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) identifies three threats for industrial control systems (introduction of malware through removable data storage media and external hardware, human error and sabotage, social engineering and phishing) all of which can essentially be traced back to a human element.

This means there is a need to introduce awareness measures to make production employees conscious of potential threats to industrial systems and networks. Such measures comprise, for example, targeted workshops and demonstrations to illustrate the dangers of connected USB storage media or campaigns which use posters, e-learning platforms, and internal social media content to increase the basic awareness of cybersecurity.

On the other hand, information security requires appropriate organization structures and top-management support. Widespread standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001 or IEC 62443-2-1, are available to define uniform guidelines, roles, and structured processes. No immediate certification is required to prove that these standards are being met. Their use as a reference work and guideline should be sufficient as a preliminary step. Based on this, it should be possible to implement the standards completely over time and use certification to provide proof of a company’s information security to all of its stakeholders. This generates trust and simplifies communication with customers and suppliers thanks to the use of clear terms and processes. Furthermore, an overall vision of information security is then created in the company and a central control area enabled.


Since the conventional security measures with which the IT world is familiar, such as the running of anti-malware software in industrial production, are sometimes not possible, alternatives need to be found to provide security in such cases.

One trend is the use of security solutions which continually monitor network traffic in the production environment. If, for example, deviations arise in otherwise normal network traffic due to malware infections or unauthorized access to network components, such applications will provide immediate notification of the anomaly. Industrial production networks are mostly very well suited here, as repeating patterns always appear in the communication between network components, and deviations are thus easily recognized.

In order to evaluate detected anomalies correctly and react effectively, guidelines, processes, and roles ultimately need to be defined in addition to the technical security solution. External service providers can provide support if they are familiar with the systems and business processes used and if they can follow proven standards and best practices.

A valuable addition to continuous network monitoring involves an integration in a security operations center (SOC). The SOC can provide the systems operator with immediate support thanks to its ability to evaluate anomalies quickly. On the other hand, the anomalies of different systems operators are merged in a SOC, thus creating a more comprehensive image. Potential security incidents can be detected at an early stage and the systems operator warned accordingly. This way, a SOC can contribute significantly to the uninterrupted operation of a company.


A digitalized factory opens up many opportunities. Structured, risk-oriented cybersecurity is an important precursor to digitalization and forms the basis for sustainable industrial production. It can only succeed if people, organization, and technology work together, and must be audited regularly.

We would be only too pleased to support you on your path to the world of digitalization. We can offer you individual security advice regarding people, organization and technology, as well as our DIQURITY services.

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Plant Support Service Agreements: Part 3

Food Manufacturer


Corporate Sales at the Food Manufacturer landed a big contract that required them to re-work one of their rooms. The project had a very aggressive timeline to finish and their normal sales cycle was not fast enough.


PDA was able to re-work the service agreement so that they could handle the design portion (laying out control methodology, IO count, the panel builds) which saved them the time they needed to complete their new project on time.

Our goal is to make our service agreement work for the individual needs of the client and that also means being flexible enough to change course quickly when necessary.

The Spectrum of Benefits of a Plant Support Services Agreement are easy to see:

  • Fixed amount of expense on a monthly basis
  • Fixed, variable, or combination scheduling monthly
  • Scheduling to fit your needs
  • Highest priority for incoming service calls
  • Mixture of engineering, industrial IT, service, and other staff to meet all your needs!

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Use

The subject of artificial intelligence has become one of the industry’s most important factors for future success if a company is to further strengthen its competitive standing. From general system control through to the regulation of optimum product sequences, AI is currently in a position to lead the entire industry into a new era.


The use of artificial intelligence – for the overall control of entire filling lines or for sales prediction, for example – plays a crucial role in a company’s ability to remain competitive in the future. A variety of existing line data or historical environmental variables are applied to develop a mathematical model which can then recommend decisions based on current data: from the fine adjustment of the line control system through to the optimum product sequence. However, in many cases, it is a real challenge to integrate such mathematical models from the laboratory environment into production while simultaneously keeping to clear requirements as regards stability and efficiency, as well as ensuring quality during operation.


The successful use of AI in production sequences requires comprehensive industrialization in all of its phases: (1) The creation of the data corpus, (2) training and testing of the model and (3) operation and updating of this model. Domain experts, data scientists, data engineers, and software developers must all work in close collaboration at this stage.

At SYSKRON, we employ precisely such comprehensive teams of experts to provide you with support during your initial steps towards the use of AI.

White blue graphic containig icons and text

All this is done in very close collaboration with our partner TIKI (Technological Institute for Applied Artificial Intelligence). TIKI is specialized in providing technical tools and expertise for developing AI solutions quickly and precisely so that they can be used with reliability and durability in everyday production.

We combine the traditionally different approaches of the team members named at the outset through the use of TIKI’s end-to-end integrated managed data science platform (DSP).


The managed TIKI data science platform supports the industrialized development and operation of AI applications, especially in the beverage and liquid-food industry environment. It unites the following success factors:

  • Customized integration of leading open-source software components for smooth development, continual improvement and “continuous delivery”, i.e. the possibility of being able to start up new software within the framework of artificial intelligence, regardless of fixed release times.
  • Software development tools with more than 40 reusable AI methods and procedures.
  • Support of a flexibly scalable and supplier-independent public cloud infrastructure
  • Sophisticated performance monitoring and surveillance of the AI during operation

All of the specified models and tools also help us to actively support you when installing AI in your company. Both our internal teams and the team of experts from TIKI will create the optimum basis for the successful implementation of your AI solutions.

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PDA is Ignition 7.9 GOLD Certified

Process and Data Automation (PDA) is proud to announce we have recently been Ignition 7.9 GOLD Certified. Ignition by Inductive Automation is the industry’s only server-centric industrial automation software platform with unlimited licensing, built for connecting industrial devices, databases, and business data together in one central location. Now, with the new Ignition version 7.9, they’ve made it easier than ever to get, see, maintain, and manage Ignition systems across our entire enterprise.

The Ignition Gold Level Certification Test covers more advanced features of Ignition: advanced architectures, tag historian and compression, redundancy, SQL databases, troubleshooting error messages, and more. PDA already was Ignition Core Certified which covers the basics of Ignition: architecture, real-time status and control, historical data logging, UDTs and templates, and alarming. It is designed to test your understanding and knowledge of Ignition. 

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PDA is Officially Sepasoft OEE Downtime Certified
Process and Data Automation (PDA) is proud to announce that we are officially Sepasoft Downtime certified. “This comes as a result of years of successfully working with these products. This certification is validation of the dedication of both parties to the success of joint projects”, PDA President Joe Snyder commented.

MES Projects require a different approach than that of traditional SCADA implementations. Project Management, Change Management, knowledge of production beyond software, and a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of an MES implementation are as equally important as having a solid understanding of the MES Product Suite and framework architecture.

The MES Certification program has been designed to ensure that Certified MES Professionals and Certified System Integrator Companies have the necessary skills to ensure a successful MES implementation. As an MES Certified Integrator, our clients can be confident that their MES solution will be implemented in the correct way.

Visit our Integrator Link HERE . 

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Plant Support Service Agreements from Process and Data Automation (PDA): Offering a Spectrum of Services to Our Customers Part 2
Part 2: Training can be part of our Service Agreement? Yep.

When talking about the advantages of our Plant Support Service Agreement, employee training is often not thought of as part of service – but one of our clients discovered that training was their major need.


A frozen food manufacturer came to us and explained that their current maintenance employees didn’t have the HMI & PLC skills they currently needed. PDA sat down with them and worked up a plan to help.


PDA adjusted its Plant Support Service Agreement to offer training for six months. PDA did handle a little maintenance during the six-month but predominantly handled training. PDA built up a training resource for the client and provided ad hoc training to their employees and the client saw benefits in employee performance very quickly. At the end of that six months, PDA switched back to what their regular scheduled service agreement was. None of this had any additional cost and they remain a happy client.

The Spectrum of Benefits of a Plant Support Services Agreement are easy to see:

  • Fixed amount of expense on a monthly basis
  • Fixed, variable, or combination scheduling monthly
  • Scheduling to fit your needs
  • Highest priority for incoming service calls
  • Mixture of engineering, industrial IT, service, and other staff to meet all your needs!

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

Read More | Posted In: News

PDA’s expertise on Plant Digitalization leveraged in Food Engineering 2-Part Series

In a recent 2-part Digitalization series for Food Engineering Magazine, Scott McCausland, Digitalization Services Manageroffered his expertise on planning for digitalization in manufacturing plants.

This two-part series takes the reader through the process of becoming a digitalized plant with experts weighing in on how to best navigate the journey.

Part of that journey is a solid assessment of the network environment. That will allow a processor to see any deficiencies and formulate a plan to move forward, says Scott McCausland, “Just because equipment is ‘old’ doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of acting as support to reach a goal. In general, a robust network infrastructure is required.”

Scott later discusses that some machine builders, such as Krones, have already provided a solution that allows the addition of new sensors and data aggregators without touching the original legacy machine. PDA is the North American integration arm for Krones’ Syskron.



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