AssetCentre Automates Asset Discovery

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 @ 09:06 AM gHale

FactoryTalk AssetCentre v7.0 software from Rockwell Automation automates discovery and tracks the status of devices, network switches and software on workstation computers across an entire facility or production operation.

The software streamlines lifecycle management and can help decrease unplanned downtime.

A modern production environment contains hundreds to thousands of assets. In the evolving world of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), assets are becoming more intelligent, but it remains a challenge to identify and inventory every asset in a system. The FactoryTalk AssetCentre asset-inventory agent scans a network to discover hardware, firmware and software information for assets active in the facility. The devices are then tracked in an active asset inventory.

The user can schedule the asset-inventory agent to scan at regular intervals or run on demand. New discoveries end up compiled for user confirmation before they are added to the active inventory. Ongoing tracking of updates provides a history of how a system has changed and potential hazards, such as workstation computers running unauthorized software. Manual entry is still available for devices that are not identifiable during the scan or to fill in missing information or attributes for discovered devices.

The asset-inventory agent increases efficiency for a number of operational tasks. Streamlined lifecycle management improves how a project scope is developed. For instance, an engineer needs to know how many devices are running in production during a firmware update, especially those devices near end of life. The asset-inventory agent will automatically discover all of the current firmware, IP address and additional data that will help define the project.

The automated discovery will also help when patching security vulnerabilities. When a vendor issues a notice and fix to vulnerability in a device’s firmware, engineering would manually inventory each device to determine the risk and threat exposure. With the asset-inventory agent, engineers quickly discover the affected devices and put a plan in place to mitigate the risk.