At client conference, Invensys unveils next-gen process automation system

By Billy Thinnes
Technical Editor

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Invensys, a supplier of industrial software, systems and control equipment to the hydrocarbon processing industry, today unveiled its next-generation process automation system. The announcement was made at the company’s annual client conference in San Antonio, Texas. 

With 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 was designed to improve operational insight and integrity.

“The three most important ways a process automation vendor can help its customers secure their future is to protect the operational integrity of their plants, enhance the operational insight of its people and enable them to adapt easily and affordably to change,” said Gary Freburger, president of Invensys’ systems business.

“Our new Foxboro Evo system has more powerful processing capacity and other new, advanced applications, the system allows our customers to uncover new and hidden value from within their operations," he added.

The Foxboro Evo process automation system evolved directly from the Foxboro I/A Series and Triconex technology, both entrusted to control and protect large and complex process facilities and known for their layered architecture. The system extends this approach through a component object-based platform, which can undergo major upgrades without halting operations.

“We needed to upgrade the vast majority of our distributed control systems (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.”

Because users can upgrade at their own pace, the new system delivers a low total cost of automation and high return on assets. Additionally, its new applications improve the ability of plant personnel to contribute toward the success of the business by streamlining and contextualizing the information they need to make the right business decisions at the right time.

“As the pace of global business accelerates, automation technology becomes increasingly important in helping manufacturers focus on finding more value within their operations and automation assets,” said Chris Lyden, senior vice president for Invensys. “If users in the control room and in the field can better interpret the growing volume and complexity of the information they receive within the proper context of procedures and operational risk, then they will make more valuable contributions to the business. The Foxboro Evo system is loaded with new features that will help them do that, and it is structured to evolve with them as they and their companies change and grow.”

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. Since the company’s broad portfolio of roles-based engineering tools and productivity applications are integrated within it, the system provides visibility into historical, real-time and predictive operating information to help drive production efficiency.

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 risk 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.

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.

Photo caption: Invensys' new flagship control offering promises to reduce operating risk and enable greater visualization of historical, real-time and predictive operating information for personnel on several levels of the plant.