From Safety Systems to Operational Integrity

Invensys Seeks to Simplify Application, Eliminate Redundant Effort and Provide Integrated Context for Users of its Triconex Safety Systems

By Keith Larson

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Safety is paramount for users of Triconex safety systems. But increasingly, safety integrated systems (SIS) don't perform their jobs in a vacuum. Rather, they must work together with other plant information systems to advance overall operational integrity, said Gary Freburger, president of the systems business for Invensys Operations Management (IOM) in his keynote address to this week's Triconex User Group meeting in Galveston, Texas. "As we build our portfolio, we have this vision of making sure that everything works together," Freburger said.

Overall, orders for the IOM group grew 12% growth in its latest fiscal year, and revenues topped $2 billion, Freburger reported. "We now number 9,000 employees globally, with 55% of our business in rapidly developing economies. Growth is strong across all business segments." This strong financial position, together with a global perspective and industry-leading technology, uniquely position Invensys to help its customers deal with today's rapidly changing business and technology climate. "The rate of that change is much more aggressive than even five years ago," Freburger said. "And we have to be ready to change with you."

Traditionally, plant safety has been split into three spheres—with different people and departments responsible for each, Freburger explained. These include functional safety (controls, alarms and safety instrumented systems such as those provided by Triconex), process safety (operations, maintenance and procedures), and occupational safety (trips, slips and falls; handling materials and working at heights). "But today there's an increasing recognition that safety means all three of these, and there's a need to optimize and report performance around all of them," Freburger said. "We want to protect your people and keep your assets safe, but help you optimize business performance as well."

Toward Inherent Context

Enterprise convergence, as characterized by increasingly flat and integrated architectures, describes the next evolutionary development in control and information systems, continued Rick Morse, IOM's vice president of control and safety systems. The new frontier will be decision-support tools that not only report what happened or even what's happening right now, Morse said, but "what choices do I have, and what should I do next?"

This overarching industry need—and opportunity—is among the key drivers for Invensys Operations Management's product development effort going forward, Morse said. Specific initiatives include portfolio changes among product groups to better leverage synergies, "simplifying" application of the company's products and solutions, and providing integrated context and relevance in order to help its customers make better decisions.

Simplification of the product portfolio has multiple aspects. From a hardware perspective, these include decreasing products' footprint and component count, improving ability to upgrade during runtime, and overall lower cost of ownership. Re-use is another key tenet that for the end user means "don't make me enter the same thing twice," Morse said. It also means shared architectures, streamlined workflow processes and better economies of scale. "Once you've figured out the way to do things right, you want to lock that down," Morse explained. "Products that are pre-engineered for re-use help lower costs of deployment and increase the value they can deliver."

Morse further envisions that the addition of standards-based information capabilities to its already world-class systems will allow Invensys to provide integrated context throughout its current offering. Ultimately, a unified product platform with inherent context and relevance throughout offers the opportunity to "re-invent control and safety," Morse said. Context will be built in, providing situational awareness and guiding the user in what to do next. He likens inherent context to adding traffic-based analytics to a GPS navigation system. "The system understands the traffic situation, and can recommend to the driver what route to take next," Morse explained. In the process industries, "it will change how people do their jobs."

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