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Siemens ends development of FactoryLink

05 February, 2009

Siemens has announced that there will be no further development of the FactoryLink SCADA software that it acquired when it bought the UGS Corporation for $3.5bn in May 2007. Siemens’ main interest in UGS was in its product lifecycle management software and FactoryLink overlapped with Siemens’ own Simatic WinCC SCADA range. At the time of the takeover, there were more than 80,000 installations of FactoryLink worldwide.

With the release of Version 8 of FactoryLink, Siemens has decided to stop the further development and to assign a “maintenance” status to the product. This means that FactoryLink will no longer receive functional expansions, although it says that the continued use of existing systems will be assured through product maintenance steps. Support for version 7.5 of FactoryLink will end in October 2010, and for version 8 in October 2012.

Siemens is offering conversion tools to help FactoryLink customers to migrate to WinCC and is cutting its WinCC prices for those who make the change.

FactoryLink started life in 1978 as the first user-configurable HMI for the emerging PLC market. In 1986, it is said to have become the first HMI/SCADA product to use an open software architecture and a real-time database.  

The news that Siemens is ending development work on FactoryLink has prompted other SCADA suppliers to try to win over FactoryLink users. For example, the Austrian automation software developer Copa-Data, which describes FactoryLink as “an ageing and potentially troublesome application”, has announced a migration path and a configuration wizard that, it says, will make it easy for FactoryLink users to move their projects to Copa-Data’s own zenon package.

Copa-Data product manager Reinhard Mayr says that “the product recommended by Siemens as an official upgrade path is also approaching the end of its product lifecycle. This leaves FactoryLink users with a difficult decision.”

He adds that Copa-Data was approached by FactoryLink customers and has collaborated with them to develop the wizard, which offers “a straightforward, tried-and-tested method of moving from a discontinued application to an innovation leader”.

The open-source wizard can also be used by users of other HMI and SCADA systems to convert to Copa-Data’s xenon package.

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