Evolution of the Foxboro I/A series

21 November 2011

At its OpsManage 2011 event, held in Paris early in November, Invensys Operations Management introduced the next evolution of its Foxboro I/A Series DCS.

Interesting new features of the I/A Series, which is the core DCS component of the company’s InFusion Enterprise Control System, is the inclusion of an Intelligent Marshalling solution and high-performance Foxboro Control Software and Simulation software.

Rick Morse, vice president, control and safety, Invensys Operations Management, explained more about the latest featurs “These latest offerings – Intelligent Marshalling, which significantly improves the approach to system implementation and design, and Foxboro Control Software 3.0, which allows users to integrate their plant systems, databases and software applications – address major phases of system modernisation and allow our customers to upgrade at their own pace with minimal disruption. Together they link business processes with production processes, enabling real-time business optimisation and creating a fully empowered workforce.

“The new I/A Series system allows users to begin their journey towards real-time business optimization by taking full advantage of their existing automation systems, while preserving their existing investments and lowering their total cost of ownership.”

Traditionally, field wiring is organised in a marshalling cabinet before it is connected to the main I/O module terminal strips of the DCS panel. Because the I/A Series Intelligent Marshalling solution features the Universal Fieldbus Module, a per-channel, configurable I/O module that supports a variety of analogue and digital signal types, it is said to eliminate the need for marshalling.

“Additional marshalling equipment, field and control side wiring, engineering, documentation and inventory can account for as much as 20% of the total project cost,” said Thad Frost, director of fieldbus product management, Invensys Operations Management. “With Intelligent Marshalling, each channel is software configurable on a per-point basis, with no extra hardware being required. All configurations can be done at the workstation, enabling users to securely configure a point from anywhere in the world. It is a simple, elegant solution that eliminates traditional marshalling panels as we know it.”

Designed to simplify engineering efforts and improve the user experience, Foxboro Control Software 3.0 embeds ArchestrA System Platform and Wonderware InTouch HMI into the Foxboro I/A Series system, applying common object technology from process control up to the business system level and out to any third-party system. This allows users to integrate all of their plant devices, systems, databases and software applications. Additionally, enhanced integration with the latest advanced software applications from Invensys, including its mobile workforce management and workflow offerings, provide more systems flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness, helping to drive lower total cost of ownership. By enabling real-time access to critical plant and business data, users are better able to balance competing strategic objectives related to controls, assets, environment & safety and people to optimise their overall business and achieve operational excellence.

The new Foxboro Control Software Simulation 3.0 offering simulates Foxboro Control Software 3.0 applications for rapid systems checkout without the need for control hardware. Simulation capabilities include dynamic control of time, alarms and trends using the same configuration files that are used in a live I/A Series DCS. The software also provides an instant interface to the company’s SimSci-Esscor DYNSIM, Foxboro FSIM and Triconex TRISIM dynamic simulation engines, which are used to simulate plant operations, behavior and responses in conjunction with the DCS or simulated DCS.

Commenting on the new features, Dave Woll, vice president, consulting services, ARC Advisory Group, said: “With the Foxboro Control Software 3.0 release, Invensys provides component-object technology throughout the Foxboro I/A Series system up to the operations management level. Its open-technology platform transcends disparate systems, providing the ability to collaboratively apply best-of-breed solutions, from Invensys or third parties. This level of enterprise-wide integration makes it significantly easier to access, manage and contextualise information for a wide variety of operations users, allowing them to drive and deliver greater production value in real time.

“We are observing a strong resurgence with customers refocusing on cost of ownership and the preservation of their investments over the lifecycle of their plants and systems. Maintaining focus on product lifecycle management pays dividends for them in the long term.”

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