SRH – STARS Platform
Customer Profile: Process Control
|SRH Systems is an international joint venture of three global companies – Schenck, Ricardo, and Horiba – each a market leader in their field of automotive technology. The combined strengths of these companies provide SRH with a unique pool of expertise for the development of test automation solutions for the automotive industry.|
SRH applies this knowledge to build the systems that will carry automotive testing into the future.
SRH’s latest product offering is STARS, a next-generation software automation platform that supports a wide range of application areas, such as diagnostic testing (vehicle, engine, powertrain, transmission, brake, clutch, etc.) and data management.
STARS AND .NET
STARS was designed for today’s distributed computing environment and that is why the platform was built into the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET environment. SRH wanted to develop a platform for distributed applications of multi-national companies operating over LANs, WANs, and the Internet. The new system needed to be flexible in terms of using technology that could easily integrate with third-party applications and other enterprise systems.
In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, manufacturers need to be more responsive and agile than ever before. To keep pace, there is an increasing reliance on open technology solutions that can be easily integrated with those of their customers, suppliers, and business partners. Microsoft .NET, in particular, eliminates many of the problems associated with systems integration, both within and across enterprise boundaries. The result is an ever richer exchange of data and greater efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain.
“We had a clear mandate for creating a system that could support our customers, especially those with a global business model that conduct business at multiple sites around the world,” says James Fowler, a managing director at SRH Systems. “Similarly, our new STARS automation platform had to follow our customers’ model of working simultaneously in many sites.”
The STARS platform is truly a solution for the distributed world. The system works wherever customers need it to. They can conduct test preparation in the office and test execution at the test stand. Moreover, customers can monitor those tests and view the results from any mobile or remote location.
True Synergy: SRH teams with SL-GMS Developer for .NET
SRH needed dynamic graphic displays for its real-time STARS system. It trusted SL-GMS Developer for .NET to greatly enhance the user interface experience. In the ambiguous world of enterprise computing, each application has its own user interface “point solution,” that requires users to learn a variety of completely different ways to interact with their system and understand how to respond to the current business situation.
With SL-GMS Developer for .NET, users of distributed systems can share data more efficiently, as well as visualize that data in a form that allows for quick evaluation of status, trends, and other pertinent data needed to make quick business decisions.
SRH also understood that front-ends help sell software systems. With SL, SRH not only found one of the most aesthetically pleasing GUIs on the market, but one that is easy to customize and use. “We needed a dynamic graphics solution that could crisply display real-time measurements related to automotive development and testing, such as temperature, pressure, speeds, and flows,” says James Fowler of SRH. “Moreover, we needed a solution that would fit into a .NET environment for distributed applications, that was elegant and simple to use, and that would allow our end users, who are not software programmers, to easily customize and view displays. We got all this with SL-GMS Developer for .NET, as well as the comfort of knowing that SL has long history of working with market leaders in our industry.”
No viable alternative to SL-GMS Developer for .NET
SRH quickly discovered that, other than SL-GMS Developer for .NET, there were not many custom .NET controls available on the market — the only other solution was to use pre-built controls such as ActiveX. However, after some investigation, SRH concluded that ActiveX controls are not well supported in a Microsoft .NET environment. Even worse, third-party ActiveX controls lacked flexibility and were difficult, if not impossible, to customize.
The only real solution was a unified control system with a single engine that could handle the creation of all dynamic user interface objects. That is exactly what SRH Systems found with SL-GMSDraw. This dynamic graphic editor provides a familiar user interface to make advanced features accessible to non-experts, including development engineers responsible for developing new systems for vehicle testing, test rig engineers, and design analysis engineers. SL-GMSDraw allows for complete flexibility in the creation of displays.
SRH also found in SL Corporation a willing partner for the early development of Microsoft .NET solutions. This was a rare attribute, especially from a company that had a stable history of success in business support systems. SRH concluded that it needed a partnership with an established company with a solid track record of successful implementations within Process Control industries.
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