GE Fanuc Introduces Proficy Workflow

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, -- GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, a unit of GE Enterprise Solutions, announces its breakthrough new software solution, Proficy Workflow, powered by the new Proficy SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). Proficy Workflow, an industrial Business Process Management (BPM) system, digitizes and streamlines production processes, from work instructions and SOPs to corrective action and HACCP monitoring.

"Proficy Workflow brings the power and results of BPM to the industrial environment," said Erik Udstuen, GE Fanuc's Software General Manager. "As one of the world's largest and most innovative manufacturers, GE can help companies deliver BPM to production operations and drive three key initiatives: integration—coordinating processes across the enterprise; digitization—driving processes electronically; and finally lean—defining a process improvement framework for business transformation."

Integrate, Digitize, Lean
With Proficy Workflow, companies can improve, eliminate and automate steps in production to lean their organizations—decreasing time to value on materials, speeding response, lowering TCO and ensuring sustainability. This new industrial BPM software combines manual and automated work processes without custom code, allowing production experts to solve problems immediately without demands on IT.

Built on an SOA platform, Proficy Workflow integrates information and services on a Plant2Enterprise basis, adding value to all existing ERP, MES and HMI systems. Companies can integrate business and production processes across systems and departments for reliable, repeatable process execution. Additionally, the software provides for the integration of people and their functions, or roles, allowing for customization to individuals' work styles and decision making. With improved integration, production teams can manage and audit work processes more effectively and consistently.

"A key tool that will enable today's plants and factories to realize [the] strategy for operational excellence is the ability to define the process or workflow steps required to achieve a logical execution path," said Craig Resnick, research director with ARC Advisory Group. "Proficy Workflow appears to meet this criteria of a tool that will help move manufacturers, processors, and OEMs to a single environment where the existing systems are connected and interacting with each other to maximize the information value of each asset, which will positively impact plant and factory productivity and profitability."

Industrial BPM
As an industrial BPM solution, Proficy Workflow takes a production "flowchart" and digitizes it, connecting the people, materials, equipment and systems involved in the work process. Unlike BPM in the enterprise—which operates in hours and days—industrial workflow operates in a time window of seconds and subseconds.

"Proficy Workflow enables companies to achieve a responsive, data-driven, event-based production management strategy," said Greg Millinger, Workflow/SOA Product Manager for GE Fanuc. "By digitizing processes with industrial workflow, users can capture process, traceability and quality data, drive lean initiatives based on factual information, and close the loop for production improvement."

Based on patent-pending workflow execution models and featuring the latest in intuitive graphical interface designs, Proficy Workflow can solve a broad spectrum of production challenges. Workflows can involve basic tasks such as asking an operator to check tank levels every hour, to managing an entire production process, to orchestrating data transformations between ERP and MES. The workflow system—and its reporting—can touch almost all production personnel, including quality managers and quality technicians, maintenance, operations supervisors, industrial engineers and more.

Common use cases include: orchestrate high-level processes and manage the data between systems; digitize Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) tasks; digitize Standard Operating Procedures and work instructions; HACCP monitoring procedures and corrective action; alarm and event response, corrective action; manual assembly error-proofing; plant task management; decision wizard; and line, workcell and machine setup.

With Proficy Workflow, users can digitize a process that involves one or many steps. Also, the workflow can take place in one station with one user or spread across the plant and move from person to person, following a set of rules. The workflows follow the execution path logic developed by the power user through easy-to-use graphical authoring tools. Each step could include linked documents such as work instructions—or any information that pertains to how the user should complete the process.

To accommodate exchange and storage of data, Proficy Workflow and Proficy SOA comply with the latest industry standards, including BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) and S95. The software follows S95 standards for a common framework and data model in which different systems can communicate and give context to data found in static and real-time systems. Once standard data models are in place, workflows can use the data within the models to carry out their execution and have a place to store results of execution.

Powered by SOA
The combination of Proficy Workflow and the Proficy SOA architecture gives companies the power to respond to changing business needs with composite applications that leverage existing production systems through the SOA data and services repository. Industrial SOA technology also provides the real-time platform to achieve a centralized production configuration and management environment, including a messaging backbone with a plant-wide data asset model and activity model.

Proficy Workflow will be available in the second quarter of 2008. For more information on Proficy Workflow, visit.

About GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms
GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, a joint venture between General Electric (NYSE: GE) and FANUC LTD of Japan, is a high-performance technology company and a global provider of hardware, software, services, expertise and experience in automation and embedded computing, with products employed in virtually every industry, including manufacturing automation, defense, automotive, telecommunications, healthcare and aerospace. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms is a worldwide company headquartered in Charlottesville, VA and is part of GE Enterprise Solutions.

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