Evolution of Foxboro I/A series includes a time-saving marshalling solution

12 December 2011

At its annual OpsManage event, held in Paris in November, Invensys Operations Management introduced a major evolution of its Foxboro I/A Series distributed control system.

The most interesting new features of the latest I/A Series system, which is the core DCS component of the company’s InFusion Enterprise Control System, are an interesting Intelligent Marshalling solution and Foxboro Control Software and Simulation software, which are said to help reduce total cost of ownership and expand the traditional DCS functionality of the system, allowing for greater visibility across the enterprise.

Commenting on the system advances, Rick Morse, vice president, control and safety, Invensys Operations Management, said: “The new I/A Series system allows users to begin their journey towards real-time business optimisation by taking full advantage of their existing automation systems, while preserving their existing investments and lowering their total cost of ownership.”

The Intelligent Marshalling feature has been included to simplify system implementation and design. Traditionally, field wiring of the control system needs to be organised in a marshalling cabinet before connection to the main I/O module terminal strips of the DCS panel. This is a time consuming taks and can be to expensive indirect costs. Instead, the Intelligent Marshalling solution incorporates a per-channel, configurable I/O module, called the Universal Fieldbus Module which supports a variety of analogue and digital signal types and which completely eliminates 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 required. All configurations can be done at the workstation, meaning you can securely configure a point from anywhere in the world. It is a simple, elegant solution that eliminates traditional marshalling panels as we know it.”

The second new feature is designed to simplify engineering efforts and improve the user experience, helping to link business processes with production processes, enabling real-time business optimisation. Foxboro Control Software 3.0 embeds the company’s ArchestrA System Platform and Wonderware InTouch HMI within 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 enabled the integration all plant devices, systems, databases and software applications.

Additionally, enhanced integration with the latest software applications from Invensys, including its mobile workforce management and workflow offerings, provides more systems flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness.

“Process manufacturing is facing what could be characterised as a perfect storm. The loss of experience as a result of the shifting demographics, the need to operate proactively rather than reactively, the ability to empower knowledge workers with actionable context and more are all new challenges that require changes in our processes and tools,” said Dave Woll, vice president, consulting services, ARC Advisory Group. “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 unique 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 also 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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