Microsoft has joined up with partners such as SAP, Ernst & Young and Siemens Nixdorf to launch DNA for Manufacturing, a blueprint for how to develop Windows based, distributed manufacturing applications.
DNA for Manufacturing describes the Microsoft sanctioned approach to implementing distributed applications in a manufacturing environment, using Microsoft technologies such as its Component Object Model (Com). The guidelines are also partly based on Ole (Object Linking and Embedding) for Process Control, which was earlier Microsoft software aimed at the manufacturing industry.
Marcus Schmidt, Microsoft?s industry marketing manager, said: "It?s an architecture for bringing together the types of applications that a manufacturing company uses, from ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to industrial control."
Under the DNA for Manufacturing model, ERP packages communicate with plant operations applications via Com. The plant operations packages, in turn, talk to plant floor systems using Ole for Process Control, which is based on Com. Various plant operations applications are also linked together by means of Visual Basic for Applications (Vba).
Schmidt claimed that the Com based link between ERP systems and plant operations enables new levels of interoperability because it enables plant operations packages to read and write information to ERP applications, for example.
Five ERP vendors, including SAP, Baan and JD Edwards, have said they will support DNA for Manufacturing, while other supporters include Cincom Systems, Compaq, Ernst & Young, Marcam Solutions, National Instruments and Rockwell Automation.
Last year, Microsoft outlined its DNA architecture for the financial services industry, DNA for Financial Services (DNA FS). Similar initiatives for other industries bear somewhat different names, however, such as Activestore for the retail market, and ActiveX for Health Care.
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