The world is not all Blue. So began another IBM multi-vendor announcement, this time for the computer integrated manufacturing sector. As with the AD/Cycle announcement last month (CI No 1,266), IBM’s CIM announcement (CI No 1,291) was clearly aimed at senior management familiar with IBM’s presence in the office rather than at developers who, in […]
The world is not all Blue. So began another IBM multi-vendor announcement, this time for the computer integrated manufacturing sector. As with the AD/Cycle announcement last month (CI No 1,266), IBM’s CIM announcement (CI No 1,291) was clearly aimed at senior management familiar with IBM’s presence in the office rather than at developers who, in the CIM context, are probably not IBM users. Ivor Horton of IBM Havant emphasised that the CIM Advantage Family would lead to greater management control within the context of new technology, would enhance your business process without introducing radical change, would save your investment in information technology and would solve the problem of ever-proliferating redundant and incompatible data. This is because of IBM’s CIM architecture (which, by the way, is a strategic direction not a tangible concept) and its new CIM Advantage Family of products. The CIM architecture was described by Horton as an information system structure to manage data at an enterprise level. It is an IBM information system designed to run above a non-IBM information technology complex. It offers a common method for accessing shared information regardless of the data’s origin, and is intended as a framework to accomodate a changing manufacturing environment giving users the ability to plug in and pull out different suppliers and applications.
It is designed, via a facility called Distributed Automation Edition, to embrace IBM’s SAA and AIX environments as well as interfacing with non-IBM environments. The architecture is meant for use within any industry sector, not just manufacturing, and one of its prime goals is the integration of office data with factory data. It has several layers ranging from the data repository, through system enablers for programmers, application enablers for users without programming skills, to the common services that interface to the data store and repository in a way that is technically independent of specific database management systems, communication protocols and types of screen presentation. In other words within this architecture application programming can be done regardless of hardware, and data from existing applications can be used in new ones. Included in this CIM commitment is the use of AD/Cycle development products, including Repository Manager, the support of double-byte character processing, and conformance to industry standards, such as, the Product Data Exchange Standard, PDES, Programmers Hierarchical Interactive Graphics System, PHIGS, Manufacturing Automation Protocol, MAP, Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistic Support, CALS, and the Computer Integrated Manufacturing – Open System Architecture, CIM-OSA. The CIM Architecture enables access to all CIM data from a single control point, regardless of the diversity of data origins. Also, by providing multiple views of the same data, individual CIM applications need see only the subset of CIM information that is relevant to their needs. The entire IBM CIM concept is based on enterprise modelling – creating a model of the way a business is run.
By Katy Ring
The enterprise model is then broken down into the twinned concepts of build-time (the development of the CIM environment) and run-time (the execution of applications within the CIM environment) which provide the user with the ability to define and manage the execution of CIM application programs and system services in a changing physical environment without extensive application program maintenance. These two concepts also allow the addition of functions and applications without affecting existing operations. Build-time and run-time are not intended to denote a separation in time. For although the CIM implementation begins with an initial build-time to define the first portion of the particular CIM environment, once the initial definitions are made, run-time and build-time may operate simultaneously, as the CIM implementation progresses. The products supporting this CIM announcement fall into four categories – design, production and busine
ss planning, plant operation and architecture product components. The key architecture component is CIM CDF (Communications and Data Facility) which has a repository and a data store to provide data management services for CIM data, distributing data to end users independently of the application environment. The strategic product for IBM here is System 370, which was described by Horton as the IBM CIM product. Parallel CIM CDF functionality on the AS/400 will be announced in 1990. There will be no backward functionality to System 36 or System 38 which will be interfaced as non-IBM products. Within the design environment IBM announced the 6090 Advantage Graphics System which has mainframe attached graphics processing capability derived from the new proprietary 6095 graphics processor incorporating 10 parallel processors running at 10 MFLOPS each. IBM claims it can transform three dimensional models into two dimensional images of photographic quality, thereby reducing the need for prototyping. This new system (which complements IBM’s 5080 Graphics System) is supported by new releases of Graphigs (programmers hierarchical integrated graphics standard) for PS/2 and System 370. Among the engineering applications announced was ProductManager, based on CIM CDF/370, which allocates manufacturing involvement in the design process; the Valisys product family, knowledge-based systems that provide worst case tolerance analysis and then generate program code to validate whether the process is reaching tolerance level – the analysis is then sent to CATIA on the host which is linked up to statistical quality control at the PS/2 level; and IBM CAD, a PS/2 based design drafting system, which costs under UKP1,000 for the basic software, and interfaces to CADAM, CATIA and non-IBM systems.
Dusted off COPICS
As for applications, IBM has dusted off COPICS, releasing a new DB2 version that works with CIM CDF/370 and can be linked to the shop floor, as well as adding new functionality to MAAPICS/DB which now also links to the shop floor and has an EDI inter-face. Talking of shop floor, IBM announced some new tools for this area – Plant Floor Series which includes PlantWorks, an application enabler to monitor and control the production environment; PlantControl, an application to configure a continuous flow manufacturing system; and Paperless Manufacturing Workplace, an application to electronically prepare instructions and drawings. IBM has also extended its industrial (7568) computers by announcing a model 800 which is a 25MHz 80386 machine with 120Mb hard disk drives. It has added to its 7525 range of data collection terminals by bringing out 7527 Models 1 and 2 which have independent processing and large storage capability. Finally IBM announced Manufacturing Automation Protocol (MAP) 3.0, a communication offering to support the sharing of shop floor applications in a multi-vendor hardware environment. The majority of these new products will be available in the second quarter 1990, and IBM hopes that the world has got the message underlying these announcements, which is that the hardware will be able to change without threatening the rest of a firm’s CIM investment.