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For further information, contact:
Shari Worthington, PR Counsel, +1 508-755-5242
Steve Harr, Director of Business Development, +1 508-621-3618

PuffinSCADA, Open Source SCADA Software Project, Released to Controls Community

Open SCADA system overcomes limitations of closed, proprietary architectures;provides flexibility, reliability, and lower costs

Houston, TX (September 10, 2001) - Control.com Inc., the global online community for control professionals, today announced at ISA/2001 in Houston, Texas, the availability of PuffinSCADA, a new open source SCADA software package for the Linux operating system. Available through the Control.com Web community, PuffinSCADA is a combination modular software toolkit and reference implementation (an example SCADA system built using the toolkit). The software is designed for integrators and in-plant automation developers who need the versatility and widespread support available with open source software.

PuffinSCADA was developed by Greg Goodman of Chiron Consulting and Bob Hampton of Optimizations, Inc. The two have worked together on automation consulting projects for over a decade. Over the years, they recognized the need for a SCADA package that would provide their own projects with all the advantages of open source systems - high reliability, peer-reviewed software; lower software production costs; and access to source code that freed them from the mercy of a single vendor's, oftentimes limited, capabilities. The result is PuffinSCADA.

"The Control.com community is committed to the advancement of interoperability in the industrial controls industry," said Ken Crater, CEO of Control.com. "As such, we are immensely pleased to see PuffinSCADA released to the market. In order to establish open control as a viable alternative to proprietary systems, we need a variety of flexible software development tools to support a range of functions, from data collection to statistical quality control to direct machine control."

PuffinSCADA Toolkit

PuffinSCADA is comprised of a software toolkit for constructing SCADA systems and a "reference implementation" (an actual SCADA system built using those tools). The underlying toolkit is a collection of C-based libraries, mechanisms, and conventions that implement a client/server-based SCADA system. A wide range of SCADA features are included, such as alarm processing, message logs, and data historian. In addition, the software provides a protocol for interprocess communications, several database management systems, and btrees for indexed historical records. Libraries are available for operating on memory, files, and strings; managing high-level socket and FIFO connections; and manipulating time and date at millisecond resolution. PuffinSCADA also includes a mechanism for combining discrete database elements into complex components.

"PuffinSCADA is designed for performance and versatility," said Greg Goodman, PuffinSCADA developer and Principal of Chiron Consulting. "The software enjoys all the benefits of being open source and native to Linux. It is customizable and extensible, and can be combined with a vast array of software tools, including graphics and plotting programs, visualization tools, and sophisticated databases. PuffinSCADA also includes bindings for Tcl and Python."

PuffinSCADA Reference Implementation

PuffinSCADA includes a general SCADA system built with the underlying toolkit. It is a reference implementation, one of many possible SCADA systems that can be built using the tools. The system includes a runtime database, an I/O module that implements the Modbus protocol, a profiler for measuring system performance, and basic GUI tools for configuring the system. The tag database supports digital, integer, real, and string tag types, as well as a variety of analog and digital alarms (e.g., state alarms, control timeouts, and communication failure alarms).

The authors plan that a draw-and-display package will be available in the near future. It will be a vector-based drawing package based on the newly developed XML standard, SVG. SVG, which stands for Scalable Vector Graphics, is a language for describing two-dimensional graphics in XML (eXtensible Markup Language). XML will be used in future versions of PuffinSCADA for system configuration and data interchange.

"As in any open source project, we are anxious to see the contributions of others as PuffinSCADA is extended to meet a variety of automation needs," said Bob Hampton, PuffinSCADA developer and President of Optimizations, Inc. "We expect the number of I/O protocols and supported languages to increase. As different users with different HMI requirements participate, there will be a great proliferation of data viewers, Web access methodologies, and integration with external HMI tools."

Price and Availability

PuffinSCADA is being demonstrated at the Control.com booth (1019) at ISA/2001, September 10-14, 2001. The complete source code will be available free of charge through the Control.com Web site in Q4 2001.

About Control.com

Control.com is the largest online community of control engineering professionals. Home to the Open Control Laboratory, the Automation ListÔ, and the PLCArchive™, the company hosts a growing technical knowledge base and variety of peer-to-peer forums that provide numerous opportunities for interchange in the control community. The company is advancing the industry toward the open control paradigm, where interoperability among different vendors' products allows designers to create control systems with the products that work best for their applications. Control.com plays a key role in the establishment of open control as the norm, through the integration, supply, service, and support of open systems and their components. For more information, visit http://www.control.com.

Contact information:
Steve Harr
Director of Business Development
Control.com
134 Flanders Road
Westborough, MA 01581
+1 508-621-3618, Fax: +1 508-621-3614

Shari Worthington
PR Counsel
Telesian Technology
49 Midgley Lane
Worcester, MA 01604-3564
+1 508-755-5242, Fax: +1 508-795-1636