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News

Distributed control system (DCS) undergoes upgrades without halting operations

Invensys : 18 September, 2013  (New Product)
Invensys has unveiled the latest version of its distributed control system (DCS) automation platform at its Foxboro and Triconex users’ conference in San Antonio, Texas, revealing Foxboro Evo’s software applications for process plant control covering operations, maintenance and safety.
Distributed control system (DCS) undergoes upgrades without halting operations

With advanced tools and applications delivered across a high-speed, fault-tolerant and cyber-secure hardware platform, including the integration of the company’s Triconex safety system, the Foxboro Evo process automation system is designed to improve operational insight and integrity.

The Foxboro Evo process automation system has evolved directly from the Foxboro I/A Series and Triconex, both of which control and protect large, complex process facilities and which are known for their innovative, layered architecture. The system extends this approach through a component object-based platform, which can undergo major upgrades without halting operations. Current Foxboro I/A Series DCS users can migrate to the Foxboro Evo system with little or no downtime, depending on which version they are running. Users of competing process automation systems, whose wiring terminations are still functional, can migrate to the Foxboro Evo system without ripping and replacing infrastructure, significantly reducing costs and downtime, just as they were able to do with the I/A Series system.

The platform allows upgrades to be made in stages rather than a wholesale change, allowing process plants to evolve – hence the name “Evo”. This is an open system that can be integrated with third party devices. Also, Foxboro Evo’s real-time accounting capabilities can show the financial implications of decisions made in a process plant. This approach to gradual replacement is targeted at the oil and gas sector where large amounts of technology is becoming obsolete.

“We needed to upgrade the vast majority of our DCS, but like most sites, we didn't have the luxury of a site-wide shutdown to make a full change possible,” said Michael McKenzie, distributed control systems specialist for BP in Brisbane, Australia. “We were facing a substantial obsolescence issue, which we had ranked as a significant risk to ongoing operations, so we needed a solution that would allow us to upgrade components as we needed them, without sacrificing functionality or usability for operators. The new Invensys system allowed for a much easier upgrade of all components and will ensure that we can keep our system well away from obsolescence, so that we're not required to perform any additional large-scale upgrades.”

The Foxboro Evo system includes a new high-speed controller, field device management tools, a maintenance response center, an enterprise historian, 1-n redundancy and cyber security hardening. The Foxboro CP280 controller, which is due to officially launch in December. Twice as powerful as Foxboro’s existing controllers, the CP280 should help Invensys keep costs down when bidding for projects.

Safety and security personnel will benefit from an innovative coupling of control and safety, which enables sharing of operational information while keeping the safety system functionally isolated, as well as state-of-the-art cyber security. Engineers will be able to reduce their workloads, protect schedule integrity and reduce risks via more intuitive design and troubleshooting features, virtualization and other flexible technology. Operators will gain a more complete, real-time view of plant activity via an updated high-performance, mobile accessible HMI. Maintenance technicians will enjoy lower meantime between repairs via real-time device alerts and analytics, alarm triage, performance monitoring and other benefits.   With Invensys due to be acquired by Schneider, the French-firm’s chief executive Jean-Pascal Tricoire gave a video message to the conference assuring delegates that Foxboro Evo is very much part of Schneider’s plans once the acquisition is completed at the end of the year.  

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