Software Toolbox introduces FactoryWidgets Software

  • May 11, 2010
  • Software Toolbox Inc.

May 11, 2010 – Software Toolbox announced FactoryWidgets--low cost, easy to use and high performance data display objects for viewing and monitoring manufacturing data on desktops by personnel anywhere in an enterprise.FactoryWidgets are provided for both analog and discrete displays, which can be configured in the units of measure and titles that match user business terminology. Users can specify their dynamic color behavior to match their preferences as well. Other FactoryWidgets show progress towards a goal, display multi-variable manufacturing metrics, and monitor elapsed time of manufacturing and process steps, as examples. FactoryWidgets are offered with centrally managed licensing to facilitate easier and more affordable administration. Licensing is based simply on the number of FactoryWidgets in use on any number of computers and can be managed on a named or concurrent user basis, to match user preferences. The WidgetServer component is lightweight, installs in minutes and can be connected directly to manufacturing data sources anywhere in the enterprise. Through an exclusive arrangement, the FactoryWidgets product will be sold and supported through Software Toolbox, Inc. 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, Weber indicated. 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. For more information and ordering contacts, users should visit the FactoryWidgets web site at: www.factorywidgets.com. The FactoryWidgets product was created by Apex Software Development, a new business unit of Boise, Idaho-based Apex Manufacturing Solutions. According to John Nichols, Apex Managing Director, “FactoryWidgets sprang from the requests of our engineering services clients. Although they recognized the value of manufacturing portals and dashboards for operations personnel, the cost and complexity were too much to justify for ‘casual’ users and often weren’t capable of being used effectively. “These new ‘widgets’ are simple, no-hassle and affordable mini-applications that display user-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) on desktop PCs without the need for ‘thick’ client software or even an Internet browser,” explained John Weber, Software Toolbox President. “They enable any personnel – even those who aren’t directly involved in production operations – to monitor activities that impact the work they’re doing.”“We’ve been using the FactoryWidgets and they’ve been very well received by our people,” said Chris Bacon, Production Manager at Pepsi Bottling Ventures in Nampa, Idaho. “They are an unobtrusive reporting mechanism that all levels of technical knowledge can easily comprehend and utilize for monitoring real-time data for both primary and ancillary management needs.” “The widgets are user-configurable in different colors and with customizable text to match the individual user’s needs and they can be set up with on-screen translucency so they aren’t obtrusive while people are doing other work,” Weber added. “When target thresholds are reached, however, their behavior is easily noticed. Hovering your mouse over the FactoryWidget brings it into ‘focus’ for direct interaction. They can be configured so that clicking on them links users to more detailed information that they usually may only have access to in a browser – such as a report generated by a Wonderware Historian Client or Wonderware Information Server – and no closing or minimizing of other applications is needed.“The widgets can be placed or dragged anywhere on user screens to display essential manufacturing information as easy-to-read, up-to-the-minute status information for a broad range of indicators – from production rates and profitability to overall equipment effectiveness, energy usage, production yields, work order completion and many other critical data elements that people want to see,” Weber noted. A short demo video is viewable at youtube.com/factorywidgets and at the FactoryWidgets web site.“Customers asked if we could give management users something like widgets or gadgets to view a small number of relevant KPIs, which was the genesis of the product,” Nichols added. “The initial version of the FactoryWidgets package is designed for use with Wonderware’s Historian software. Following closely behind this first release, subsequent versions are planned to connect to OPC-compliant and SQL-based data sources.”About Software ToolboxSoftware Toolbox was founded in the Charlotte, NC, area in 1996 to be a primary source for industrial automation software – from project conception to completion – 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 – all backed by industry-leading technical support and consultation services.

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