Germany-based EME GmbH is a supplier of batch preparation and batch charging technologies for the glass industry.
The company was founded 100 years ago and is today one of the leading suppliers for customers around the world. Glass manufacturers count on the reliability and efficiency of the plants and technologies developed by EME.
First web-based batch system for the glass industry
Traditionally, Windows-based computers were needed to manage and control the glass production process. EME’s software development department designs and implements modules to manage the plants and machinery. Batch handling, recipe management and predictive maintenance are core features supported by the application and used locally at client sites.
Machine to machine communication and management is realized with the SCADA protocol. OPC servers are being used to connect devices, plants, and software modules, in order to implement a failure-proof system management architecture. OPC is an acronym for “Open Platform Communication”, originally referred to as “OLE for Process Control”.
Roger Knüttel, in charge of the Control Development Department at EME, summarizes the core requirements: “The new EME BatchSystem uses the advantages of browser-based software, which can be used without local installation on any type of hardware solution such as tablets, smartphones, desktop computers (Windows and Linux) and with any operating system while taking advantage of desktop-based software like direct access to the control hardware and a high performance database.”
Moving to the web with business requirements in mind
With a long track record and hundreds of plants and systems installed around the globe, a simple rewrite of the entire EME application logic stack seemed impossible. Based on a first contact at a German developer conference BASTA for .NET development, the development team at EME started to explore Wisej as a fast and reliable migration path to move to the web.
The makers of Wisej, Ice Tea Group, had published a migration guide on how to bring Windows Forms based applications to the web. With this documentation at hand and a little advice and support, Roger Knüttel and his team managed to tackle the migration. In a matter of months, all existing .NET based applications were up and running in the browser and first plants equipped with the new software stack.
Mr. Knüttel explains: “Thanks to Wisej, we were able to deliver the first web-based application suite for batch management in the glass industry. Our customers and maintenance staff appreciate the benefits: Access to our systems is now possible at any time and from any place in the world while considering and maintaining a high level of security – just using an internet connection.”
With a long track record of Windows-based software modules, EME was looking for a smooth transition to move their application suite to a fully web-based solution. The goal was to keep existing features and maturity of the software while reaching platform and device independence for those that operate EME equipment at the glass manufacturing sites.
Roger Knüttel continues: “Thanks to Wisej, the new EME BatchSystem uses a modern web framework as a base of the development, which provides us with the flexibility to include any upcoming technology. We were able to take over most of the existing functionality and proven algorithms, combining the benefits of a new web-based solution with the reliability and stability of our existing code base.”