C++ MultiPlatform classes libraries

We're evaluating for the UI of a project with multi-platform requirements a set of C++ class libraries.

The "short-list" has been restricted to:

Poco is an open-source product, while Troll-Tech is a commercial-one.

The first-one has been signalled to me just a week ago and seems to be very powerful so that we're strongly considering it also because the class library hierarchy is very well-designed and seems to be refactored more and more times and it's not the classic design where you can see decades of evolution and ideas forced to stay together.


TDD & Database development

I'm working on database refactoring on a project where the PK of the central table has to be changed (unfortunately at the end of the project).

Regression test obviously is a must, so while I was looking for some tools to simplify my job, I've found these:



  • TSQL Unit is useful when you don't have a testing framework in your project environment and you need a "light" tool to simplify database development while the project is already on-run;
  • DBUnit is an excellent tool to be integrated in your existing testing environment (nUnit) to enlarge the scope of unit test to the database deliverables.


Sharepoint & OSIsoft

On friday I've gone to visit the local offices of OSIsoft in Philadelphia.

I've seen http://www.osisoft.com/Products/PI%20System/ which a platform which leverages MOSS/WSS to create portal application which integrates data and information from L1, L2, L3

Interesting platform. Todays we achieve the same results in terms of application features (from the user perspective) but we deliver value through a custom project. We'll evaluate if using OSIsoft platform we could increase out effectiveness.

AISTech Day 2 (06 May, 2008)

The Pitt's conference center:


Today, I've "played" my last session:

BAM Applications and Steel Production – Getting business value from tracking information

A recent niche of Business Intelligence is called BAM (Business Activity Monitor) which means having high value business information in near real time presented using Dashboards and Key Performance Indicators.

This is an area which provide huge added value for steel makers because the BAM paradigm is an enabling technology to optimize the production stages and processes.

A BAM application has been developed and released during 2007 in Thy Marcinelle plant in Belgium (RIVA group).

An integrated system has been developed with the following features:

  • Level 2 Tracking and Supervision
  • Level 3 Reporting
  • Level 3 Plant Dashboard

Level 2 software layers send information to Level 3 reporting and BAM application using an enterprise service bus architecture. Tracking information are processed and connected to business information providing real time monitoring of the plant performance.

Instead I've attended to the following sessions:

Multisite Sales and Operation Planning at a Major Flat Carbon Steel Producer

P. Moinier, AIS

The abstract is:

BlueScope Steel (BSL) is implementing an integrated supply chain management system with AIS' SteelPlanner® solutions. The solution includes multi-site sales planning, operation planning, master scheduling and unit scheduling. This paper describes in detail the multi-site sales planning. The objective is to optimize profit by choosing which orders have to be produced on the different production units and when. While doing this, production constraints like line calendar (maintenance, shifts), line campaigns, and minimum/target/maximum levels of WIP stock are considered. The expected benefits of the overall project, integrating different levels of the supply chain in one view, are to sustain target delivery performance by more effective flow, order and inventory planning. In particular, the benefits from multi-site sales planning optimization will be improved customer service (due date fulfillment increase and lead time decrease), a reduction of production and stocking costs, an increase of line throughput , an improved visibility of potentially upcoming problems and improved information sharing among different management levels.

I was very impressed by Pascal presentation and he's a very good speaker.

I've already seen SteelPlanner at the previous AISTech during a session.

I know it (http://www.steelplanner.com/) as a very good tool for scheduling optimizations of hot strip mill. In this session Pascal has explained the optimization of the whole supply chain but I'haven't understood the role of steel planner in this. 

Integration Technology at ArcelorMittal Dofasco

B. Barna, ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.

The abstract is:

It is not a question of "if" you will have to deal with integration issues, but rather a question of "to what extent." ArcelorMittal Dofasco has recognized the key role integration and related technologies play in an IT strategy supporting a manufacturing environment. This presentation recounts ArcelorMittal Dofasco's journey to its present state, and highlights successes and lessons learned in the modernization of its information systems.

During the session the it governance approach (...and wishing list) of ArcelorMittal has been discussed.

WebSphere MQSeries provides the ESB while BEA provides all the applications and portal development infrastructure.

AISTEch 2008 - Day 1 (05.05.2008)

I'm arrived on saturday here in Pittsburgh and it's a real nice place.

Here is the link to the conference http://www.aist.org/08_aistech/2008aistech.htm


Today, I've "played" 2 sessions:

Data Warehouse and Mining Tools for Steel Production Control

Data-warehousing and mining technologies have been recently adopted by ILVA in Taranto plant and they are used to collect data from the different production lines (i.e. hot strip mills and plate mills) and consolidate them into an huge data hub named Quality Data Warehouse.

The Quality Data Warehouse provides Historical Data:

  • To optimize the processes planning;
  • To build the engineering plans;
  • To build the reports to evaluate the quality results of produced coils and plates

All these information are easily and quickly accessed through a WEB application over the Intranet based on Microsoft Sharepoint.

The most innovative feature of the system are the mining tools which are used with excellent results by researchers to find patterns and trends or to evaluate the hidden relationships during the stages in the manufacturing processes for quality prediction purposes.

Plant Vehicles Tracking With GPS/DGPS/GPRS Technologies

The ILVA Taranto plant is an huge area with about 150 miles of railways with more than 50 trains and over 1700 freight cars which connect the different production lines (blast furnaces and hot strip mills). The operational management of the logistics and the maintenance of this infrastructure was a huge challenge.

An integrated system has been developed with the following features:

  • Train Tracking with GPS/DGPS/GPRS using Windows-based remote units
  • Telemetry Application to get trains data and alarms in real time to prevent damaging
  • Maintenance Application to report the trains usages for planning purposes
  • Management Application integrated with the ERP system to support and manage the daily operations of railways infrastructure

The integrated system has been released in 2005 with success and it was extended, leveraging the existing infrastructure, also for the tracking of industrial trucks.

A case success paper has been published by Microsoft in Italy:


Instead I've attended to the following sessions:

Fully Configurable Level 2 Infrastructure for Metal Rolling and Processing Control Systems

From John McMillen (TMEIC-GE)

I've already seen the GE architecture and I was very impressed because it has been conceived and design 15 years ago using today's best practice...

Configuration and not development, message bus, scripting to manage message processing, sinks, instrumentation and so on are all features included in GE framework.

From my perspective is an excellent design, my only concern is that some custom features in the platform today are offered off-the-shelves by integration with moder operating systems (ie instrumentation with WMI or message bus WS-Messaging or SQL Server Brokers)

PC-based System for "High-Resolution" Weld Data Acquisition, Archival and Analysis

From T. Roach, (U. S. Steel)

Excellent job regarding the best practices about development of high-perfomance software on Windows Environment (C++ unmanaged obviously).

The application written by Dr. Roach is a signal software recorded with good analysis capabilities.

The Arvedi Endless Strip Production Line (ESP) — From Liquid Steel to Hot Rolled Coil in Seven Minutes

From J. Siegl, Siemens VAI Metals Technologies GmbH & Co.

The abstract is:

Acciaieria Arvedi SpA, and Italian steel producer, installed the world’s first Arvedi ESP Endless Strip Production plant in Cremona, Italy. Start-up is planned for 2008. The unique design and plant configuration of this facility will allow fully continuous casting and endless rolling of high-quality strip in a wide range of steel grades. Due to the highly compact layout (total length 190 m), lower investment costs are incurred compared with conventional thin slab casting and direct rolling plants. Productivity of the ESP plant, based on a single casting line, will be about 2 million tonnes/year, and production costs will be noticeably lower than those of other thin slab plants and also of the ISP plant already operating in Cremona. With the line's ability to produce ultrathin hot rolled strip gauges of 0.8 mm and lower, a subsequent cold rolling process will no longer be necessary for many strip applications. Due to endless rolling operations, the production of strip with uniform and repeatable mechanical properties will be possible along the entire strip width and length. This fully integrated production facility, incorporating advanced technological packages, is the basis for overall plant reliability, superior products and a high line output.

Nothing more to say. I'm very impressed by the overall engineering and I little bit proud because the plant is in Italy!

CQE - Controlling Mechanical Properties of Hot Rolled Coil

A. Polo, Danieli Automation

The abstract is:

Danieli's Coil Quality Estimator (CQE) is an on-line system for prediction of mechanical properties of hot rolled coil, such as the yield strength (YS), tensile strength (TS), elongation (EL) and hardness (HV), at different locations over the length of the strip. The estimation is based on the final microstructure, the evolution of which is traced during entire thermomechanical processing using physically based models for simulation of thermal, deformational, microstructural, precipitational, and finally the structure-property correlation. The uncertainties in actual processing are taken into consideration with the help of the Artificial Neural Network (ANN), which acts in additional to the mathematical models. The system is available for different steel grades such as low-, medium- and high-carbon steels, and high-strength low-alloy steels. The accuracy of prediction is ±20 MPa for the YS, ±20 MPa for UTS, and ±5% MPa for EL. The system is useful for process control and optimization.

The project is very similar to our paper on "DWH and Mining Tools for steel production controls" but we were focused on IT technologies and methodogies, while Danieli has explained their mathematical models and excellend achieved results.

It has been very interesting, because now I've also understood what there is inside the mixed neuronal/genetic algorithm DLL (coming from ILVA) that  we've integrated with SQL analysis services...


Book recommendation: SOA in the real world

Yesterday on the flight to Pittsburgh I've finished to read this book:


I strongly recommend it to all my colleagues in TiQ-Industrial because give a good idea of what SOA is and also there are a lot of architectural pattern for "real" scenarios.