FAQs

Below we have added previous customers questions and answers to some common queries about FactoryLOOK product and associated service.

  • What is the licensing scheme for Vistrian’s software products?
  • What is the pricing model for your solution?
  • What support services does Vistrian provide?
  • Can additional equipment be “added” to the system as the customers plant grows?
  • How will FactoryLOOK extract info if the equipment have no communication ports?
  • How will FactoryLOOK extract info if the equipment only has a serial port?
  • How much data can your system store and for what duration?
  • Is the data exportable to other applications?
  • What does the Vistrian solution include? Hardware, Software, Services?
  • What is the frequency of data collection?
  • How do we handle changes to equipment configuration, layout changes etc.?
  • How does the Vistrian solution handle hardware failure on the server?
  • Can FactoryLOOK acquire data directly from sensors?
  • What are the training requirements in order to use FactoryLOOK?

Q: What is the licensing scheme for Vistrian’s software products?

A: For small implementations, Vistrian provides a bundled solution called v2 that consists of hardware and all software required to get your Manufacturing Intelligence project off the ground. For large implementations, license fees consist of two components, the first component is the license fee for the server side, and the second component is the license fee for each piece of factory floor equipment that is connected to the FactoryLOOK server.


Q: What is the pricing model for your solution?

A: Vistrian will provide turnkey pricing for all aspects of the Manufacturing Intelligence implementation. The turnkey pricing includes hardware items (such as servers, switches, data storage units, etc.), software licenses, and professional services fees (for customization, installation, training etc.).


Q: What support services does Vistrian provide?

A: Vistrian’s services organization provides initial consultation, customization, installation, training and on-going managed services.


Q: Can additional equipment be “added” to the system as the customers plant grows?

A: Yes. The Vistrian FactoryLOOK implementation is scalable and additional equipment can be easily added to the system as needed. In many cases, the customer can perform this task. If necessary, Vistrian’s professional services team can perform this task for the customer.


Q: How will FactoryLOOK be able to extract information if the equipment does not have a PLC with communication ports

A: In some of these cases, when possible, it may be useful to add a communication module to the PLC to facilitate data extraction. Where addition of a communication module is not feasible, Vistrian will explore the use of the programming port and in some cases, connect to the I/O.


Q: How will FactoryLOOK extract information if the equipment controller only has a serial port?

A: The Vistrian implementation can be configured to perform data extraction from serial ports of the PLC. RS-232, RS-485 and RS-422 are all supported.


Q: How much data can your system store and for what duration?

A: The amount of data that can be stored is only limited by available disk space. Factors such as data collection frequency, data field size (# of bits), and capacity of existing disk drive are the drivers in the determination of the overall size of the data store and the duration of data availability. During the initial consultation phase with the customer, the Vistrian sales team will establish the customer requirements and will propose appropriate configurations of hardware configuration to support the customer’s expectation.


Q: Is the data exportable to other applications?

A: Yes. The FactoryLOOK application uses Microsoft SQL Server as the database, and data can be exported for any purpose suitable for the customer.


Q: What does the Vistrian solution include? Hardware, Software, Services?

A: Vistrian provides a turnkey solution that includes hardware, software and professional services to suit its customers. The exact configuration of hardware and software will be determined during the initial consultation and sales processes.


Q: What is the frequency of data collection?

A: The frequency of data collection will be dependent on the customer’s requirements. In addition, the capability of the target equipment is a major contributing factor in the resultant data collection frequency. The Vistrian solution when appropriately configured will be able to support frequencies as fast as 100s of readings each second.


Q: How do we handle changes to equipment configuration, layout changes etc.?

A: Software tools will be provided as part of the FactoryLOOK application that will permit changes to equipment and layout configurations. In addition, for customers that have on-going managed services agreements in place, the Vistrian support team will perform these tasks routinely.


Q: How does the Vistrian solution handle hardware failure on the server?

A: Because in large implementations, Vistrian uses a distributed hardware and software architecture, failure on one server does not cause a major outage of the FactoryLOOK software. The Accumulator layer of the architecture continues to collect and analyze data even if the main server is off-line. When the failed server is brought back on-line, data flows into the main server automatically and after a short “catch-up” duration (depending on the duration of the outage), data is again available to the user.


Q: Can FactoryLOOK acquire data directly from sensors?

A: Yes. When appropriately configured, the FactoryLOOK system can acquire data directly from sensors. This is especially useful in applications where environmental or facilities data is collected from all over the facility. Another application where this feature is useful is when legacy production equipment with minimal controller capabilities needs to be instrumented with sensors to improve process quality.


Q: What are the training requirements in order to use FactoryLOOK?

A: Anybody who is familiar with a browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox will be able to use FactoryLOOK. All interaction with the application is via browser and all functionality is accessible by point-and-clicks of the mouse. Training classes are included as part of the turnkey project and a typical training class takes no more than 2 hours to get the users ready to be productive with FactoryLOOK.