Safety Instrumented Systems / Automation Fair

A New Benchmark for Process Safety

Workbench 2.0: An Advanced Editor and a Modern GUI for Improved Process Safety

By Walt Boyes

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"Processes that are required to implement process safety systems need to identify risk, evaluate a strategy around each hazard and come up with a plan to minimize the risk of each hazard," said Julien Chouinard, business director, critical control systems, in the control and visualization business of Rockwell Automation. "Then you can talk about products."

Chouinard debuted the new AADvance Workbench 2.0 this week at the Rockwell Automation Process Solutions Users Group (PSUG) in Houston. "This is an evolved editor with a modern graphical user interface," he said. "What we have here is a complete design, configuration and maintenance software environment that is designed to provide a space where the customer can manage the evolution of the system. It is a collaborative environment for multiple engineers and multiple controllers that can manage history, traceability and version control."

Chouinard continued, "This new offering stems from the acquisition of ICS Triplex and represents the continued investment Rockwell Automation is making as a world leader in the industrial process control and process safety markets. The workbench is now an integral part of the PlantPAx process automation system, which is capable of managing the entire range of plant automation applications, including process control, discrete control, power, information and process safety."

Also Read: Rockwell Automation Deepens Process Inroads

The safety system consists of the scalable AADvance controller platform configured to any mix of SIL 1 to SIL 3 simplex, redundant or triple safety loops. Several units can be used to form a network of distributed safety controllers seamlessly integrated to monitor and control thousands of safety I/O points. A system is configured using the Workbench software to suit any functional safety or critical-control application using a standard range of modules and assemblies. It is particularly well-suited to emergency shutdowns and protection applications for fire-and-gas detection by providing a system solution with integrated and distributed fault tolerance.

The new Workbench software is one of the industry's first T3-compliant software tools, as per the IEC61508 standard that generates SIL 3 code certified by TÜV Rheinland. This significantly reduces the burden of validating the application. "It doesn't validate the application itself," Chouinard noted, "but it does validate the code as generated. We can't save the customer from an application error, but we can certainly see to it that the code that is generated is what the application required."

AADvance Workbench 2.0 features a modern graphical user interface (GUI), drag-and-drop configuration and built-in simulation. Compliant IEC61131 programming languages for optimum flexibility are also featured. With Workbench 2.0, application designers can import, export or migrate projects, as well as use convenient plug-ins to monitor and manage controller status and communication protocols, along with other time-saving development tools.

"With the modern GUI of Workbench 2.0, users aren't confined to a single pane anymore. The floating windows improve productivity by giving viewers more navigational flexibility and a more holistic view of their application," added Chouinard.

Chouinard noted that Rockwell Automation has several ways to implement process safety. "We can use the ControlLogix platform, and many of our customers do, which provides an integrated safety system for up to SIL 2 and, of course, we can provide the stand-alone AADvance system or the triple-modular-redundant Trusted system for up to SIL 3, and now we can use the same Workbench 2.0 software for all."