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Monsanto Selects EASA to Deliver Technical Applications
Posted Fri February 07, 2003 @04:40PM
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News Monsanto has selected EASA (Enterprise Accessible Software Applications) from AEA Technology as a development platform to deliver custom engineering applications to the enterprise.

Previously, the firm’s engineers found that applications designed in-house to solve specific problems were difficult to use, mainly because the applications only offered a DOS command line interface. However, this limitation has now been overcome. “The subject matter experts themselves used EASA to wrap GUIs around these applications, making it possible for far more engineers to take advantage of the time savings they provide,” said Denny Hayek, Process Engineering Manager for Monsanto.

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Monsanto is a leading global provider of agricultural products and integrated solutions that bring together chemicals, seeds, and biotechnology traits to improve farm productivity and food quality. While designing and maintaining the company’s manufacturing operations, experts within the company have developed a wide range of custom design and analysis tools. These applications assist in the design of piping systems for pneumatic conveying of solids, heat transfer simulation in jacketed, agitated vessels, shell and tube heat exchanger design and ratings and many other applications.

The custom applications can solve engineering problems much faster than the alternative of searching through handbooks to find formulas. They also enforce the use of standardized methods that have been validated and refined over the years. But the user interface of these programs became outdated over the years as the company’s computing environment changed from command-line to GUI programs. “The interface was very difficult to use because the user had to get the syntax exactly right,” said Ed Casanova, Manufacturing Technologist for Monsanto. “Typing one wrong character could produce an error message or run the risk of producing the wrong results.”

Monsanto selected EASA because it allows the in-house application experts to quickly create simple user interfaces around their applications. Without having to write a single line of low-level code, they used EASA’s point-and-click Application Builder to create tab-based interfaces that lead the users through the data entry process. Over the past year, the company’s subject matter experts have created eight EASA applications without any involvement from the programming staff. The amount of time required to create these programs is about one-tenth of what would have been needed to reprogram them from scratch. “Many of the EASA applications have been created in a single day while the most complex require only a couple to three days,” Casanova said.

“The new EASA applications are much easier to use and as a result we are starting to see our engineering staff using them much more than they did the previous DOS applications,” Hayek concluded. “Since the EASA applications take much less time, we are seeing significant increases in productivity. Another benefit is the higher accuracy that comes with using methods that have been developed by the best experts in the company and validated over many years. We are very pleased with the results.”

EASA application
An EASA application for predicting heat exchanger performance.

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