Schneider Electric debuts Tricon CX

April 28, 2015
Safety system boasts security-certified technology and meets stringent demands for protection, risk reduction and asset availability in high-hazard industries.
About the Author
Paul Studebaker is chief editor of Control. He earned a master's degree in metallurgical engineering and gathered 12 years experience in manufacturing before becoming an award-winning writer and editor for publications including Control and Plant Services.Schneider Electric today unveiled its Tricon CX safety controller to the audience at the company's 2015 Global Automation Conference in Dallas.

The Tricon CX is designed for enhanced safety and critical control applications in the oil and gas, power, refining, chemicals, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, where safe operations are critical and reliable operation is paramount. A certified ISA Secure system, the high-integrity and highly available Tricon CX is designed to ensure operational integrity, protecting against inherent risk and hazards as well as external threats such as cyber attack.

"This year, we're celebrating 1 billion hours running Tricon systems without a single failure on demand," said Steve Elliott, senior director, offer marketing, Process Automation, Schneider Electric. "With Tricon CX, we've turned up the performance, advanced the capabilities and increased the value. We've reduced the response time, increased the run time, and allow modifications without halting the process." And Tricon CX is completely compatible with existing Tricon controllers.

Certified safety and security

"With Tricon CX, we've turned up the performance, advanced the capabilities and increased the value. We've reduced the response time, increased the run time, and allow modifications without halting the process."

Steve Elliott, senior director, offer marketing, Process Automation, Schneider Electric.

Tricon CX meets ISA Secure EDSA level 1 requirements. "Tricon CX is the first system TUV-certified for functional safety and security," said Mike Chmilewski, vice president, process systems offer management, Schneider Electric process automation business. "You can't separate the two anymore – each is a threat to the plant. So we're first in the new TUV program."

The new controller is 50% smaller, 67% lighter, faster and more powerful than the existing Tricon. Along with a 300% increase in controller tag capacity and five times faster peer-to-peer performance, advanced functionality enables online upgrades without operational interruption, and it supports advanced monitoring and control capabilities, including:

  • Supervised DI/DO with advanced line-performance diagnostics
  • Fast analog inputs with integrated HART
  • 1 ms SOE digital input
  • Choice of direct termination or external termination panel

The Tricon CX uses the same logic as Tricon. "There are no changes to the safety circuitry. We use the same circuits as Tricon, but now in ASICS – just miniaturized and with improved communications," said Chris Lyden, senior vice president, strategy and offer, Schneider Electric.

"It's all built in – all the goodness of Tricon in a compact form factor," said Elliott. "You can mix and match it with Tricon. It's the same peer-to-peer network, the same engineering tools. And it's future-proof: a 30-year-old Tricon is as good today as the day it was built, and Tricon CX will still be good 30 years from now."

Closes the loop on safety

With Safety View software, "Priority 1 alarm management ability is enhanced so you can prioritize and present the alarms operators need without flooding them," said Elliott.

Automated testing cuts the time and takes out the human error. With SIF Manager software, "You can monitor safety functions. It tells you whether they will operate where and when they're needed. If not, it tells you what you have to do about it. You can monitor the integrity of the safety barriers you rely on every day to protect your operators, your operations and your plant."

Chmilewski added, "You can bring operations and maintenance into the loop, so they understand what could go wrong, what systems are doing to prevent it, and the information they need to assure us that the systems are working effectively. It's making safety into a closed loop, not just protecting the plant with an emergency shutdown (ESD) system."

Closing the loop empowers operations. "Now you can make balanced decisions," said Elliott. "Whether it's deciding whether it's safe to take a pressure relief valve out of service to add a bypass, or assigning the right priorities to alarms to be sure the critical ones won't be lost in a crowd, you can make decisions about what and when to do something that takes into account the operational risk."

Completely compatible with existing systems

The compact size, higher power and better value are important in existing applications where additional safety functions are needed. "If you want to add capabilities, say, as part of an upgrade or revalidation, you can fit more functionality into an existing space," said Elliott.

"In migrations, Tricon CX runs Tricon and the I/O is compatible," said Chris Stogner, brand director, Triconex Safety, Schneider Electric. "From Tricon v4, the code will auto-convert."

Safety and security have always been a top concern for industrial facilities, and now new threats, such as cyber-attack, have challenged the traditional approaches they have taken to protect and secure their people, property, communities and the environment. "Our clients demand the highest levels of safety and security to keep them safe and ensure the systems they rely on are immune to external threats," said Chmilewski. "Our high-performance, future-proof Tricon CX safety system does just that. With more performance and capability, it can help clients maximize productivity, reliability and security while minimizing risks and the likelihood of business interruption. It's another example of why Schneider Electric is uniquely positioned to power the big ideas our clients need to solve their most critical issues."

Schneider Electric offers defense in depth

Through its Triconex brand, Schneider Electric offers industry-leading safety and critical control solutions for managing risks in hazardous environments. Triconex solutions enable safer operations by maximizing compliance to mandated safety regulations and minimizing both unscheduled downtime and the likelihood of business interruptions. The systems improve operational efficiency, helping clients achieve gains in production availability, asset uptime and ROI. Based on industry-leading Triple Modular Redundancy technology, Triconex solutions are also easy to operate and maintain, and they provide a higher total value of ownership over competitive offers.

"Throughout changes in ownership, we have continued development," Chmilewski said. "Schneider Electric just asked us to make the best system, and increased the investment in R&D. We have a great plan going forward."

In addition to leading technology and solution sets, Schneider Electric's process safety offer includes more than 650 safety engineers who provide a suite of services that help clients better manage their operations. These services include:

  • Safety Instrumented Functions Management services
  • Process safety consulting services
  • Functional safety learning services

Process safety consultants also provide technology paths to help future-proof Triconex technology investments and ensure systems adhere to the latest safety standards.

For more information on the Tricon CX safety system, visit