IOM Gets It Together

This year's Invensys Operations Management (IOM) user group meeting held in October in Orlando, Fla., demonstrated that the latest reinvention of Invensys has finally achieved what the company has been working on since the original British-owned Invensys kludged together several disparate companies to compete in the automation space in the 1980s and 1990s. It has been a struggle, but now it appears that the venerable brands of Foxboro, Eurotherm, Sim-Sci Esscor, Avantis and Wonderware have been brought together in such a way as to leverage their strengths and diminish their weaknesses.

In a year, IOM has completed the reorganization, finalized branding, and is working on leveraging the strengths of its varied distribution channels, from direct sales to manufacturers' reps to stocking distributors to control system integrators. Steve Blair, president of IOM-USA, said, "Our objective is to not mess up, and if we can do that, we'll come out of this with an immensely stronger distribution organization. We're working on the ‘who does what' right now."

Sudipta Bhattacharya, IOM's CEO and president, presented a roadmap that indicates that InFusion, ArchestrA and InTouch are the future for the software part of I/A, and the 100 Series controllers will be upgraded and improved. IOM also introduced a new programmable automation controller (PAC) bearing the Foxboro name. The Foxboro PAC and I/O subsystems are integrated with Wonderware's software. He also noted that the Eurotherm control system that has mostly been treated as a red-headed step-child by the true Foxboro believers will be going forward as the smaller control system it was intended to be.

The marketing term for Invensys going forward is "Enterprise Control System (ECS)." Invensys' Neil Cooper describes it as "a meta-integration of control, production control and business control with a real-time feedback system.” In the case of Invensys, that's InFusion based on the ArchestrA software platform backbone.

An ECS component is any Invensys offering or any third-party offering that communicates with the ArchestrA backbone software. On the plant floor, that would be the DCS, SCADA, PAC, historian, HMI and safety systems from Foxboro, Triconex, Wonderware, Eurotherm or from third parties.At the site-wide or multi-site level, the term ECS incompasses production and performance applications, such as quality, performance, batch, mobile worker management, MES, asset management, optimization, simulation and workflow, business process management and collaboration, EMI/intelligence, enterprise integration and visualization, with solutions available from Avantis, IMserv, Sim-Sci Esscor, Skelta and Wonderware.

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