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Five zenon applications for times of crisis

The coronavirus crisis has revealed the vulnerability of our economies. Production facilities that have already made major progress toward digitalization are now better positioned to adapt flexibly to changes. At COPA-DATA, we have already solved some of today's challenges, and these solutions are reflected in zenon's product development.

The restrictions on business operations related to the coronavirus crisis are gradually being relaxed in many countries. For many companies, the question now is how to focus their business activities for the future. Which investments are necessary to be better prepared for such events in the future? How can companies improve the efficiency of their equipment and reduce their current expenses? Digitalization will play a key role in how companies develop and implement any solution strategies.

As a software manufacturer in the automation sector, we help our customers to maintain their production operations in the best possible way, even in highly dynamic times. We provide customers with the technical tools they need to act flexibly, safely and quickly, even in case of unforeseen events – whether in the energy supply sector or in the production of food, medicine and automobiles.


Deployed in critical infrastructures worldwide

zenon is used around the world. Our customers operate in regions that regularly face uncertainties such as natural disasters, blackouts or political instability. So zenon has a lot of experience in dealing with such challenges. Our experience counts, especially when it comes to running critical infrastructures during challenging times. Learn more below about how our software platform is helping customers take on five crisis-related organizational challenges.


1. Clear instructions: Smart Checklist

Even when communication is disrupted by external circumstances, work instructions have to be communicated quickly, efficiently and flexibly. In many companies and organizations, scenarios still exist that were drawn up around paper-based plans and therefore do not include more recent digital developments. The Smart Checklist in zenon is designed to replace paper lists in production. It is a proven tool for helping organizations move forward by communicating modified work instructions clearly and without delay. The zenon Smart Checklist can be used not only on machines or PCs but also on mobile devices. This enables authorized employees to update the list regardless of location, even without access to a standard PC.


2. Keep your distance but stay in touch

Ensuring distance between employees is one of the critical ways we can limit the spread of coronavirus. zenon makes this easy when it comes to engineering. The zenon Editor is multi-user capable and therefore enables several project developers to collaborate on projects while working at different locations. This means that projects can be implemented even if travel restrictions and stay-at-home advice makes it impossible to work together on site. With the Hot Reload function, customers can transfer changes to Runtime during operation and upload these without restarting, thereby helping to reduce the need for onsite maintenance work. The integrated redundancy in the network ensures maximum reliability.


3. Remote control: Home office for machine operators?

For security reasons, machines can often only be operated directly on site. Nevertheless, many tasks in equipment monitoring and optimization could be performed remotely. zenon offers flexible options for remote monitoring, evaluation and control – whether from a PC in the home office or on-the-go using a mobile device.


4. “Today I'll bake, tomorrow I'll brew”

The current pandemic underscores how important it is for companies to be able to quickly convert their production activities. This might be due to strong fluctuations in demand or the failure of supply chains. In addition, a company might decide to switch to producing crisis-related goods at short notice – for example, to produce disinfectants instead of alcohol or respirators instead of automotive engines. Once the pandemic subsides, this agile and modular flexibility of production for different end products will grow in importance.

zenon supports the quick retooling of machines and equipment. This includes routine retooling processes, short-term adjustments, and modular manufacturing concepts.

With zenon's Recipe Administration, it is also very easy to edit and save any number of parameter sets. This makes it easy to implement a quick product change. The user transfers set values to the process level at the push of a button, which also enables far-reaching changes to the system. zenon offers sophisticated security mechanisms and comprehensive user and rights management. It is possible to control, monitor and log both access to recipes and their correct execution. With zenon Batch Control, process owners can create and adapt the recipes intuitively without programming knowledge using a graphical user interface. This reduces cost and increases flexibility without endangering the security of the process or the continuity of recipes.


5. Fast and secure

Critical infrastructures with extensive communication networks are particularly vulnerable and attractive targets for cyber attack. A successful attack would represent a serious danger beyond the individual machine. COPA-DATA is certified according to IEC 62443, the standard for security in industrial communication networks. It provides a framework for securing industrial automation and control systems optimally and continuously improving their security. Redundancy is a key factor in ensuring the reliability of critical infrastructures. zenon ensures seamless redundancy and maximum data consistency so that no data is lost and uninterrupted operation is provided. With the Hot Reload function, customers can transfer changes to Runtime during operation and upload them without restarting – all the way through to the native web client.


Optimize costs, improve efficiency

Particularly in economically dynamic times, the focus is on reducing production costs. In order to be able to make reliable decisions quickly, machines, equipment and locations must be comparable on the basis of solid data, across locations and hierarchies. To this end, an energy data management system (EDMS) based on zenon enables customers to identify weak points. With reports on consumption, key figures in real time, and the correlation with production quantities, zenon helps customers to identify optimization potential.


Project owners and designers can achieve further savings with zenon through automated engineering. Applying best practices, projects can be created and distributed partially or even fully automatically in zenon. This enables companies to invest resources more efficiently in their future projects, including sustainability and digitalization – and thereby gain an edge over competitors.


Additional information about the zenon applications and options described above can be found using the following links:


1. Smart Checklist

Paper on glass technology simplifies and optimizes testing processes
Electronic data recording in the pharmaceutical industry with zenon
How collecting data in a manufacturing plant can increase efficiency and learning


2. Multi-user environment

Collaborative Engineering


3. Remote control

Efficient Project Maintenance
Multi-Project Administration


4. Recipe administration / Setting parameters instead of programming

Recipe administration with zenon

Setting parameters instead of programming


5. Secure communication
Redundancy – simple and effective


Do you have any questions about how to better crisis-proof your projects and equipment with zenon? Contact your local zenon representative or send an email to