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Introduction

Altitude is a state-of-the-art suite of software applications which brings data together from a variety of systems under a simple and easy to use web graphical user interface. Using existing IT network infrastructure or the Internet, it is possible to monitor and control - in real time - the operation and efficiency of buildings and industrial processes. Based on proven communications standards, Altitude is fluent in most system protocols, industry-standard or proprietary, including

  • LonWorks® (LNS)

  • BACnet®

  • OPC DA (Data Access)

  • OPC A&E (Alarms and Events)

  • Modbus serial, TCP - RTU and ASCII

  • Satchwell® BAS2800

  • Invensys® Σ (Sigma)

  • Johnson Controls ®

  • Siemens®

  • TAC INET®

  • Trend®

  • American Auto-Matrix®

  • Honeywell®

  • Andover Controls®

  • SQL (Reads data from an ODBC compliant database)

  • DDE

  • CSV (Reads and writes data to a simple text file)

  • DALI Lighting

  • PLC’s

  • Metering

Applications

Altitude incorporates all of the features and functions required for numerous applications and industries that require Web based HMI/SCADA functionality, below are just a few of these:

  • General HMI/SCADA

  • Front end / HMI for open & proprietary protocols such as LON, BACnet & Modbus

  • Front end / HMI for OPC based systems

  • Front end / HMI for industrial processes & PLC’s

  • Common HMI for combining multiple protocols & systems. E.g. Modbus, Profibus, KNX or Johnson Controls®, LON®, TAC® etc.

  • Industrial Process Control & Monitoring

  • Pharmaceutical 21 CFR Part 11 applications

  • OEM Applications & system builders

  • Warehousing / Packaging

  • Automotive Monitoring & Control

  • Energy Demand Management

  • Energy Metering & Sub-Metering

  • Energy consumption usage profiling

  • Remote Monitoring Applications

    • Legionella Monitoring

    • Food Storage Temperature Monitoring

    • IT Server Room Monitoring

    • Environmental Monitoring

    • Elevator Monitoring

    • Water / Wastewater Monitoring & Control

    • Leak Detection Monitoring

    • Refrigerant Leakage Detection Monitoring

    • Remote Process Monitoring

Altitude Software

Altitude consists of the following applications:

  • Altitude Manager – the application that manages the following Altitude Services:

[image] Altitude Server (Communicates to the Web Client with TCP/IP)

[image] Communication Drivers (Communicate directly with the Controls Networks)

[image] Data Services (Manipulate Data within the System)

  • Client Services (perform specific functions e.g. Alarming, Logging, etc.)

[image] Altitude Pilot (WYSIWYG screen designer)

  • Altitude Web Client – the Java applet that resides in the web page when viewed by a web page browser

  • Altitude Pilot – the tool used to manage the Altitude projects files and create and edit the screens shown by the Web Client.

 

Altitude Manager

Altitude is a Windows 2000, XP Professional®, Windows Server 2003® & 2008®, Windows 7 32-bit Client-Server   based application, handling communications between the web clients and the controls network system.

The Manager can run one or more communications drivers providing access to thousands of open, proprietary and legacy protocols. The architecture is based upon services, which perform specific functions and run as separate tasks, ensuring that the performance of one service does not affect that of the others. This modular architecture improves reliability and maintainability.

The primary role of the Altitude Manager is to handle the flow of information between the services. All the transactions between the Services are passed to the Manager, which then routes the information to the appropriate receiving Service(s) and Web Clients. Typically, data is read from the drivers and passed through to the Web Clients and displayed as text, dials, colored blocks or animated graphics. The data is checked against security credentials to ascertain that the user is allowed to read or write to that data. Other data may be read from the drivers and logged periodically into a database. Some data values may also be written to, for example by a user clicking a button on the Web Client, or using a graphical slider. Other data values may be set periodically with a scheduled event by one of the scheduler services.

 

 



Altitude Web Client

The Altitude Web Client is Java based application capable of running within any compatible web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox,Safari and any browser supporting the SUN Microsystems browser Java Virtual Machine (JVM) see www.java.com). Handheld computers (PDA) such    as Windows Mobile® devices and mobile phones with this capability can also interact with Altitude. Wireless enabled PDA’s offer a useful mobile HMI enabling operators to control and monitor their buildings from any location. This use of the JVM provides client platform independence.     The application provides a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) graphical presentation for interaction with the connected controls systems. The    client receives data from the Altitude Server providing real-time updates of the controls networks in the web browser.

The Client application resides on the computer where Altitude is installed and is automatically downloaded by the browser, removing the need  for any additional software to be installed on the client PC.

 

 

 

Figure 3 – Screen Samples showing dynamic lighting control in a hotel, building air handing unit (AHU) and industrial process monitor

 

Altitude Client Security

When a client connects to the Altitude Server the user needs to feel confident that the Altitude Client software will not pose a security risk to their computer. Specifically, the user needs assurance that the Client software will not disclose any information from the computer and will not be able to access the local machine’s file system or introduce a virus. For this reason the Altitude Client Software is implemented in Java. Security is an integral feature of the Java platform. The Java security model offers a variety of ways to inspect, review, and restrict the execution of applications. In contrast, the binary security model as used, for example, by ActiveX controls, offers only a small fraction of Java's capabilities, and in some instances, offers no security at all.

 

Altitude Pilot

Altitude Pilot is a Windows application for designing, maintaining and managing Altitude projects. Pilot is designed to minimize  the engineering time/effort necessary to develop an Altitude solution, while still providing a powerful range of features. The Altitude project consists of a project    file (that contains the configuration for the services), screens (displayed by the Web Client), Smart Components (for advanced screen mimics), graphics (JPG or GIF for display within the screen) and graphic libraries (contain standard building and process control images).

 

 

 

Rapid Engineering with ‘Smart Components’

A key feature of Altitude & Pilot is ‘Smart Components’ - graphical elements with all associated data points automatically referenced. A Smart Component is a pre-defined object, which can have intelligent associations with the data and is a powerful feature of Altitude that compliments the shapes and allows complex screens to be quickly and easily designed. Smart Components are linked rather than added to the screen and loaded dynamically when the screen is being viewed. If changes are made to a Smart Component in the project then these changes will be reflected on all screens that use that object.

Pilot also contains many features required to minimize the time & effort required to build clear intuitive HMI projects, some of these features are:

  • Wizards – guide the user through common tasks such as project creation, Smart Component creation etc.

  • Substitution – allows you to create a single Altitude Screen and automatically link it to data based on a parameter (also known as offset addressing).

  • System Documentation – features to provide project documentation.

  • Templates - allow the same foreground/background objects to be automatically placed on a number of screens, for example, project menu’s & navigation

  • Themes - Themes allow the user to have combination of elements from various templates built around a similar theme. Themes enable you to create a project using a predefined theme to provide a common look and feel.

  • Groupings - Sequential grouping makes selected objects appear on the screen in a specified sequence. Groups may also contain Actions and Properties.

  • Multiple layers – 30 built in layers which can be controlled at both design time & run time.

  • Smart Text - auto sized text labels, labels can auto size depending on the size of the value or marquee (auto scroll) if too large for the allocated area.

  • Productivity features – many productivity features are included such as automatic opposing actions. Enables the automatic selection of opposing actions, e.g. if there is a Mouse Enter action the reverse can be automatically enabled when the Mouse Exit action occurs.

  • Sankey Diagram Nodes - Used for creating real time Sankey diagrams.

 

Notes:

 

All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2002-2010 Plexus Technology Limited U.K. Information contained in this document regarding device applications is intended through suggestion only and may be superseded by updates. No representation or warranty is given and no liability is assumed by Plexus Technology Limited with respect to accuracy or use of such information, or infringement of patents arising from such use or otherwise. Use of Plexus Technology products as critical components in life support systems is not authorized except with expressly written approval by Plexus Technology. No Licenses are conveyed, implicitly or otherwise, under any intellectual property rights.

 

All Trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies

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