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Expert live Q&A: Engineered Software

Date: Friday, September 18th, 2020: 10:00 - 10:30 AM EST

Welcome to the Engineered Software question and answer session. 

Taking viewer questions in this session is Matt Marchwinski, Atlas Copco’s Software and Controls Engineering Manager. We begin this Q&A with a brief explanation of our Engineered Software team. Matt explains that he works with a group of four developers, a software project and proposal manager, and a few other key members. For the Power Focus 6000 (PF 6000) and the PF6 FlexSystem platforms, Matt and his team work tirelessly on custom work for Atlas Copco software solutions. They can customize the way that your controllers and tools communicate to each other, they can set up printers, custom applications, custom interfaces and more. 

When asked about the benefits of running a software project through the Application Center, Matt explains that his engineers are experts with firsthand knowledge and full access to Atlas Copco equipment. Matt and his team can simulate a customer’s plant environment while developing custom applications so that the solution is accurate and ready to be installed. A question is then asked about the purpose of customer adaptors for the PF 6000 and PF6 FlexSystem. Matt explains that they are an interface to a customer’s existing MES system. We can write protocol adaptors that reside directly on the controller itself and can communicate to those systems. Matt then goes on to describe the SQS adaptions that he and his team have done. They can create product registrations that communicate barcode information to a plant system. They’ve also done interfaces to external equipment that don’t talk to the tools on the line.

A viewer question comes in about global projects and the global customers that we serve. Matt explains that Global Projects is a network of five application centers strategically located around the world that have the ability to do custom work for hardware and software. In regard to global customers, we typically serve the customers we are closest to. But the network of Global Projects shares resources and knowledge between high performance groups to achieve excellent customer satisfaction. Matt goes on to describe the specific software development processes that he and his team follows; we are certified in ASPICE – level 2, which refers to automotive software process improvement and capability determination. We’re proud of our achievement in this quality metric for software. 

Following a question about SQS and whether or not a customer needs custom software developed to connect to their MES system, Matt answers with a yes and a no. From SQS version 3.3 and up, this capability has been added in the form of a template that can be used. In the final portion of the Q&A, we move onto the topic of writing programs that interact with a customer’s existing system, such as SAP or a PLC. Matt explains that we have a software called Assembly Auditor that performs an end of the line audit on a specific part. It then prints out the build information and will communicate it to the customer’s PLC and create line stops for build issues. Finally, a viewer asks what types of custom communication protocols can be used with the PF6000 platform, and Matt explains that ethernet-based protocols are common, but he’s also done FTP interfaces and serial communication as well. To learn more about what was asked and how Matt answered, tune in now!