The Group Object feature in the IGSS package is a design element, which aims at saving costly hours of development. The idea of the Group Object is to allow the system designer to reuse a whole collection of any number of related objects and their descriptors so they are viewed and organized as one complete entity.
Design the First - Copy the Rest
A good example of the use of Group Object functionality would be the design of a pump station. In the process diagram, there are several different descriptors related to the pump.
- The one type of descriptor might cover 3 different presentations; one for the number of cubic meters pumped the day before, one for the accumulated number of cubic meters and one for the actual number now being pumped.
- Another type of descriptor might be to control the pump with start and stop buttons on the process diagram.
- A third element might be the inclusion of a graph to show a trend in the amount pumped through a given time interval.
- Yet another set of descriptors might be used on the process diagram to show the number of starts the pump has undergone during the current day and for previous days.
Once put into the process diagram, all of the above can be collected, saved and reused either in the same IGSS configuration, or application, from which they were taken, or exported for use in a whole new IGSS configuration. All object properties, including all the descriptors are copied into a group for which the designer finds an appropriate name.
In the example below, the system designer has created a group called PUMP_STATION-Delta. He places all the objects and their descriptors, which constitute a pump station into the group. Later on, the system designer copies the Group PUMP_STATION-Delta into another part of the configuration on which he's working and the complete pump station is replicated as a new unit.
The Group Manager dialogue in the Definition module for creating reusable Groups
Workgroup Approach with Group Object Creation
In large projects, the Group Object can be used in a workgroup approach, enabling multiple contributors to work on the same project. This is accomplished by allocating design tasks to several system designers who each have responsibility for a specific phase in the process. The first designer configures the process diagram for raw materials blending, the second designer configures the process diagram for pre-processing, the third designer configures the process diagram for melting and forming, etc. When finished, each designer creates a Group Object of his work. These individual process diagrams, which have been saved as three separate Group Objects, are then merged into one final, master configuration.
Building Libraries of Groups
When using group to build libraries, the aim is to create a library of templates of various object types to be used in new IGSS configurations or applications. The designer often needs access to the same types of analog and digital templates due to projects with similar process visualization and control elements and reuse of these objects and descriptors is often very advisable.