Continuing with its mission for true open-architecture control, Manufacturing Data Systems Inc. (MDSI), Ann Arbor, Mich., offers control software with single database and uniform access methodology. Through a system of pointers and shared memory, the software allows outside programmers to read/write any variable in control software that has not been designated read-only. For programmers, it dramatically reduces programming times and simplifies integration of third-party programs.
With this development, any hard, real-time module can read or write any variable in the machine control environment in 5 to 10 nanoseconds. This technology eliminates much of the effort required by other machine control products, where the motion, the PLC, and third-party programs require separate programming both for integration and for every time a variable changes in a component.
"Because we can never anticipate what a user may do with our software down the road," says Bruce E. Nourse, MDSI chief technology officer, "we chose to create a system that would be user extendible. In an industry where other controls require multiple databases and recompilation to make changes, we have created a single database with a uniform access method and automatic extensibility without recompiling."