- September 15, 2010
- Software Toolbox Inc.
September 15, 2010 ‚Äì Software Toolbox released Version 3.2 upgrade to the FactoryWidgets software for viewing and monitoring manufacturing performance data on desktop computers by personnel anywhere in a company to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs).The new release enhances the power of FactoryWidgets by increasing available data sources to include standards-based OPC data sources, by expanding licensing flexibility and by adding flexibility for displaying data values. The 3.2 version is a free upgrade for current license holders with active support agreements and may be downloaded online. New users now can leverage OPC connectivity while continuing to enjoy the Wonderware Historian connectivity already in FactoryWidgets.The new version also provides greater flexibility in licensing by allowing for simultaneous named and concurrent user licensing modes. This means users can apply FactoryWidgets licenses to best fit their business and the needs of individual users. Named licensing allows licenses to be tied to and reserved for a specific user login, while concurrent licensing allows for floating licenses that are allocated and released as required by users. FactoryWidgets is a product created by Apex Software Development, a unit of Boise, Idaho-based Apex Manufacturing Solutions, in response to client requests for simple, no-hassle and affordable mini-applications that display user-defined KPIs on desktop PCs without the need for ‚Äúthick‚Äù client software or a browser. They enable any personnel ‚Äì even those who aren‚Äôt directly involved in production operations ‚Äì to monitor activities that impact the work they‚Äôre doing. Future versions of the package will permit connection to SQL-based data sources.The FactoryWidgets product is sold and supported through Software Toolbox and their channel partners. Suggested U.S. list price is $995 for a 5-FactoryWidget starter pack. Corporate-wide site licenses are also available, with the price per FactoryWidget decreasing as the number purchased increases. The FactoryWidgets software is available for instant Internet download or by shipment of physical CD media. Interested users may also opt for a 14-day, no-obligation free trial. ‚ÄúThe new upgrade greatly expands the connectivity universe because it can turn practically any manufacturing software or hardware system into a data source for FactoryWidgets,‚Äù said John Weber, Software Toolbox president. ‚ÄúOPC has become a ubiquitous standard for accessing manufacturing automation and control information in other software applications or in control system hardware through OPC server software. FactoryWidgets can now access all of that OPC data regardless of the vendor.‚Äù‚ÄúThis latest release fulfills the promise of Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence (EMI) because FactoryWidgets can display data from multiple disparate data sources on the PC desktops of all users in a manufacturing company, from the shop floor to the top floor, at a very cost-effective price,‚Äù said John Nichols, Managing Director of APEX Software Development, developers of the FactoryWidgets software.‚ÄúLeveraging OPC capabilities means FactoryWidgets users aren‚Äôt limited to displaying only real time manufacturing information, but can also, through the use of utilities such as Software Toolbox‚Äôs OPC Data Hub, access and display data contained in non-manufacturing databases and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.‚ÄúSystem administrators can quickly browse OPC data sources at the central WidgetServer, choose the data they want to expose to desktop users, and provide friendly names for the data for managers to pick from on their desktops,‚Äù Nichols explained. ‚ÄúA new import/export function makes short work of creating tag lists containing hundreds, even thousands, of tags. This capability increases the value of the FactoryWidgets product by dramatically increasing their flexibility and reach throughout the enterprise.‚Äù‚ÄúWith no price differential between named and concurrent user licenses, users have the ultimate in choice to put FactoryWidgets to work the way that best suits their business,‚Äù Weber added. ‚ÄúOther enhancements in FactoryWidgets 3.2 include the ability to use the Goal and KPI widgets without a requirement for a ‚Äògoal‚Äô or ‚Äòsetpoint‚Äô value, which allows those widgets to be used as analog value bar graph displays. In addition, the KPI widget allows the display of up to 4 values on a single widget, making it a very powerful tool for display of multiple values in a compact space.‚Äù About Software ToolboxSoftware Toolbox was founded in the Charlotte, NC, area in 1996 to be a primary source for industrial automation software ‚Äì from project conception to completion ‚Äì and is the place where clients turn to find, evaluate, purchase, and get support for automation software tools. Since then the company has served more than 10,000 clients in 110 countries worldwide with drivers, components, development tools and HMI/SCADA add-ins/enhancements ‚Äì all backed by industry-leading technical support and consultation services.