How to Use PI ProcessBook to Remotely View Your DCS or PLC Screens


If you are a production engineer at a running plant and you have to troubleshoot process issues from home in the middle of the night when you get the call about a process upset; wouldn't it be nice to be able to look at all the HMI screens the operators are looking at?


Well, if your company has invested in a PI Historian then you are in luck.  There is a trick that is relatively cheap and easy to do this.  First, though, you will need to get Pi's client software ProcessBook installed on your work laptop if you don't already have it.

If your company allows you to VPN in then you should be able to run ProcessBook from wherever you have an internet connection.

ProcessBook has the ability to create DCS style graphics by drawing process lines, adding vessels and dynamic instrument symbols.

PI ProcessBook

To recreate all of your DCS screens in ProcessBook would take a lot of time and if you had someone else do it, a lot of money.

There is a shortcut that you can do though.

You can take a screenshot of a DCS screen by pressing ALT+PrtSCN and then opening up MS Paint and pressing Ctrl+V to paste.  Save the screenshot to a datastick and move it to the laptop that has ProcessBook on it.

Then using Paint or some other picture editing software erase out the dynamic symbols on the DCS screenshot.  Save it and set it as the Background in a ProcessBook graphic.  Now you just have to replace the dynamic symbols with ProcessBook symbols (which doesn't take long) and you have a read-only replica of your DCS screen that you can access from home.

If you have any trouble setting the DCS screenshot as your ProcessBook graphic background let me know and I can walk you through it.




James Cox -jhcoxx at more than warmmail dot U kno
View User Profile for James Cox -jhcoxx at more than warmmail dot U kno

re: How to Use PI ProcessBook to Remotely View Your DCS or PLC Screens

Friday, December 9, 2011 8:40:58 AM

Depending on how capable you are / what level of access you have in your DCS system, it would probably save time to modify the color of the process variables to match the background color of the display before taking the screenshot.

Then, when you add the ProcessBook Values, be sure to use the SymbolAttachments capability to attach each Value to the DCS graphic.  That protects you from accidently moving the background relative to all the PB Values (but still gives you the ability to select and move each Value - a slight but very useful distinction between Grouping symbols and using the SymbolAttachment feature)...


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