SEAMetal Networking capabilities
SEAMetal HD is highly networkable and uses a special distributed networking architecture to both ensure data reliability and reduce the chance of a single point of failure.
Corporate WAN infrastructure
Using existing corporate network sharing and security, the system is able to allow users to view reports, statistics as well as saved images (saved onto a centralized image storage area on the network) can be accessed by authorized individuals. Managers and viewers with authorization credentials can view reports from any SEAMetal HD workstation, as well as browse through old backups.
Statistics can be viewed live, as well as from recent backups and analyzed over time by different people working on the network.
Authorized workstations can even view reports from one another as necessary.
Backups are performed either to a global repository on the network, or to separate individual backup location.
Standards can be rolled out to workstations, updating or inserting new standards without any interruption to the users regular work.
Centralized database vs. distributed database
A central repository of data sounds like a good idea (backups, single location with data, one location to update standards, etc.). However, this idea does have several defficiencies:
- A Database like Oracle or MS-SQL requires a dedicated server, usually quite an expensive one.
- Licenses for Oracle or MS-SQL are often quite expensive.
- A central database should have a trained individual (DBA) to handle it, back it up and manage it.
- The network becomes critical for manufacturing.
- The server becomes critical for manufacturing.
- The database becomes critical for manufacturing.
The main problem is the single point of failure issue. The server, network and database must be available 24/7. Problems in any of these key pieces will prevent any station from being able to perform measurements, and will effectively stop production. Even database maintenance will cause a company to stop being able to perform any seam inspection.
Red circles in this diagram show this design and the single point of failure points:
To reduce “lifetime costs” for SEAMetal HD, a different system was devised. The distributed database prevents any point from being a potential “single point of failure”. Any station can continue operation even without network access or server access. Data continues to be collected. This type of system requires that standards be rolled out to several stations in order to retain synchronisity, and does have more overhead in terms of backup, but it is very reliable and more durable when used properly.
Systems can be equipped with remote control software which can allow access from any station to any station in order to provide support, fixes and remote training.
Remote support is also available, but requires standard VPN access and a yearly maintenance contract.