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RTA makes headlines: powering newspaper-printing consoles



ABB - In business since more than 100 years has more than 160,000 employees collaborating with customers in some 100 countries today. ABB is a business-to-business supplier - from process, manufacturing and consumer industries to utilities, the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, as well as automation and power products, and into financial services, where ABB Printing is a part of the automation division.

  Dow Jones & Company, founded in 1882, publishes the world's most vital business and financial news and information. The Wall Street Journal has daily circulation of about 1.8 million and is the largest newspaper in the U.S. December 1995 happened something with The Wall Street Journal in the US. The Wall Street Journal went, what we call putting CMYK into its paper, colored.


But what has this to do with RTA?

Well, ABB won 1994 the contract to refurnish all newspaper presses at Dow Jones on all of the 17 printing sites in the US. Goal was to add two printing towers on each press to get this job done and colored leads could run through the presses. The control system for all printing couples had to be done with a uniform control console, uniform even the various printing presses were manufactured from GOSS (US) and TKS (Japan) - in other words from completely different suppliers. And on top of that there were all the different printing couples, dampeners, inking-units, compensators, which the two printing press manufacturers had used over the years.



But Dow Jones asked even for more - further production planning tools were required. The Control Console had to supervise and control the press according to the product being printed and not only according to the press configuration. Upon selection of the desired page, all indications, commands, etc. had to retrieve and sent data from/to the press elements affecting the particular page. Another additional pre-requisite was to automate the presetting of the presses in order to transferring the preset values from three nationwide scanner locations directly onto the presses via Dow Jones' internal WAN. And everything had to be based on a standard technology. SUN workstations running SUN-OS (Unix), a Motif (X11) windows based user interface, an ORACLE (SQL) relational database system etc.

This challenge, interesting as it is, called for a flexible development tool, which allowed fulfilling these, various demands.

ABB choose RTA to develop a new MPS control console (MPS730). Especially for occasions like this, were everybody needs a helpful and flexible tool, based on well-known industrial standards, RTA is the right tool because it allows fast and flexible implementation of projects with such high demands.

The configuration - the RTA redundancy in a glance, security pure



The attention was focused on security, because breakdowns cost money in newspaper plants - a LOT of money in this case. Two press consoles control the printing press. Both are redundant RTA-servers, one as a master to provide all process data over the L.A.N. to all other RTA-nodes. The second console is configured as stand-by server, able to take over in a blink (HOT-STANDBY). During normal operations both consoles can be used to operate the press. RTA takes care of resource sharing problems in real-time, thus making sure that two press operators working on the two consoles at the same time do not give conflicting commands to the press.

The Production Preparation Console, another RTA-client in the Dow Jones system, provides the RTA-servers with all production data before the production is started and can be used as a third console during the printing process as well.



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