5 can’t‑miss changes in DCIx
- Digital Factory
Far greater and more efficient utilisation for the data you collect, broader possibilities for in-house editing and transaction creation, and of course a cloud-native approach. And the new offerings in DCIx go beyond just this – there’s news in the client applications as well. Read up on the system’s five most important changes, which are not to be missed.
1. Reporting that you can do on your own
DCIx normally works with two types of reports:
Analytical reports are used for working with a selected set of data within DCIx. “To make it even easier to work with data from DCIx, we’ve created a separate data warehouse and thus separated reporting data from the production database – and we’re planning to expand this data warehouse further”, is how Software Development Director Jan Kocián presented the firm's new data access vision. With the data warehouse separated off from the production data, reporting no longer degrades the production database’s performance. And the data warehouse is also optimised for running queries over large quantities of data. The main idea behind the new reporting is to empower clients to create reports that meet their own needs – right away, customised for that client’s specifics, and without the need to contact the supplier, i.e. Aimtec. Report creation is made easier by a user-friendly tool, PowerBI, thanks to which data is easy to access. It’s easier than ever to edit existing reports and create new ones.
The second important segment is made up of real-time reporting, that is, monitoring of information in real time with no need to refresh data, either from machines or from transactions. This makes it possible to monitor the current performance of manufacturing facilities and ongoing processes (picking for shipping orders etc.), thus saving time and minimising the risk of human error.
Two examples of real-time reports
Thus the current goal when it comes to reporting is not only to broaden the set of data available in the data warehouse, but also to optimise this data for querying and prepare standardised reports that will become an integral part of the product.
2. Visualisation and digital twins
Closely related to reporting is the visualisation feature – and the digital twinning model takes visualisation to a whole new level. It enables DCIx to show how the goods warehouse currently looks, as a 3D model, including zone distribution and heatmapping by quantities of goods in individual positions. You can also visualise e.g. optimal delivery routes within the warehouse or the movements of technologies through the warehouse in real time. “We’re also working on enabling clients to virtually walk through the warehouse and test whether its layout matches their conception”, adds Jan Kocián on the benefits of a 3D model.
Visualisation of goods in the warehouse, including heatmapping based on quantities of goods at given positions
3. The DCIx client application
When working with a variety of device types, you can’t make do with just a web client and a text-based telnet client. That’s why DCIx has tended to the development of other client applications that ensure you can make full use of the system’s benefits. “Our goal is to enable users to use DCIx simply, without errors, and with the lowest possible training costs, thus improving work efficiency”, explains Jan Kocián. It is critical to optimise client applications for different devices and how they are used. No matter whether we’re talking about the production hall, the warehouse, or logistics, DCIx offers solutions for every role. A warehouse manager has a different set of requirements than a floor worker with her scanner or a miller in his gloves. Along with the general trend towards transitioning to new Android devices, client applications have a high priority within Aimtec’s development plans.
The new DCIx Browser for Android
In this new browser for Android-based touch devices, you can set up a connection to DCIx easily, and also lock the application in the device so that it cannot be exited. That prevents unintended app closures and work slowdowns, and the use of the device for other purposes. DCIx Browser also lets the user connect and control equipment, for example forklifts, over a serial port.
The new DCIx Browser for Android touch devices
The Aimtec Touch Client: now for more devices
Among the new features in the Aimtec Touch Client – used for controlling Android-based scanners – is support for new devices running on Android 9, as well as other features for easier use of the application such as screens, tables, and the ability to style a screen to highlight important information. This system has new features awaiting both users and administrators:
- users can now choose from among multiple login profiles,
- users can now distinguish live and testing environments for various DCIx systems,
- administrators can take advantage of centralised client configuration on all devices.
Development of the new web client
Besides technology changes (a transition to development in the Angular framework), the new web client offers easier control, better usability, and configurability for screens’ contents. Users’ transitions out of the current web client are made easier by a hybrid model, in which transitions from the old screens to the new ones will take place one by one.
The new web client
In terms of client-application support, the new web client and other applications count among the integral parts of DCIx. Likewise the Telnet client, whose future support will depend on whether and when Android-based readers completely replace Telnet readers.
4. New documentation features (built-in)
The documentation has seen changes as well, and it now supports the possibility of configuring DCIx as needed. It is also now easier to work with, thanks to the inclusion of new video tutorials supplemented with text descriptions. Also, the documentation for transaction modules and the descriptions of database structures have seen new revisions. Their main goal is to enable a full understanding and custom configuration by the client.
5. Future plans? Machine learning and the human factor
The gradual perfecting of reactions and processes under the guidance of machines will sooner or later be an everyday part of the world of logistics and manufacturing, and so Aimtec is gradually focusing on machine learning within pilot projects. “At the moment we’re able to interconnect neural networks with the data in DCIx and teach them to perform analyses, whose results we can then display directly within DCIx. The problems we have encountered are none other than data problems – which is typical for machine learning. We have a lot of data available, but it isn’t always high-quality. Especially when it’s user-created data”, adds Jan Kocián on the use of machine learning during pilot projects. Data quality is strongly influenced by the human factor, which complicates, for example, the detection of rejects during production. That is, humans have in some cases marked good-quality items as rejects and vice-versa.
Involvement in pilot projects
For the areas of reporting, visualisation and machine learning, we are still seeking parties who would like to join in on our pilot projects. Are you interested in building and developing DCIx with us? Contact us.
Support plan for the individual DCIx versions
- 2021 – end of support for versions 5.4 and below
- 2022 – end of support for versions 5.5 and 5.6
- 2023 – end of support for version 6.0
- 2024 – end of support for version 6.1
- 2025 – end of support for version 6.2
- 2026 – end of support for version 6.3