1661880487534 5thadfrostschneiderarticle2

Digital innovations on tap for Schneider DCS platform

Oct. 22, 2019

“Schneider Electric is everywhere—IT, grid, plants and buildings. Process Automation is part of EcoStruxure, and it turns out we fit in quite nicely, complementing the company’s other offerings.” Thad Frost, Foxboro DCS leader, Schneider Electric, described the EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS roadmap at the company’s Innovation Days conference this week in Austin, Texas.

“We’ve really listened to our installed base, to their needs and requests,” began Thad Frost, Foxboro DCS leader, Schneider Electric, to attendees of his session detailing the roadmap for the company’s EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS at Innovation Days 2019 this week in Austin, Texas.

The conference theme is digital transformation, “so we talk differently about the roadmap,” Frost said. “Instead of hardware and software, we talk about digital services.”

In that area, they’re launching a new Global Customer Service (GCS) website, as the existing one is hard to navigate. “You can log in once and after that, you’ll be recognized,” Frost said. “We’ve also made great progress on our customer action request (CAR) and product enhancement request (PER) programs. On CAR, we’ve reduced the number of outstanding defects—a huge surge in reductions—fixing a lot more things than we have in the past. On PER, we’ve updated the process for better response.”

In another area, the cost and time to maintain the system has been a deterrent—installation, antivirus support and patching. “So, we’ve streamlined those processes,” Frost said.

They have the stuff

Frost provided an overview of digital services, which include Cyber Security Services, Asset Management Services, Alarm Management Services, Loop Management Services, Situational Awareness Graphics, Migration Services and more.

Among the software packages, EcoStruxure System Advisor provides easy and effective database management. “Formerly called System Auditor, it’s the number one tool today for system checks and I/O management, alarm management, change tracking, integrity checks and graphic visualization of control block loops,” Frost said. “Version 3.1 is our most leaned-on tool.”

EcoStruxure Maintenance Advisor maximizes uptime with real-time information, KPIs and reports, alerts with context and criticality per NAMUR 107 and ISA108, recommended corrective actions, work order requests and histories for the operational lives of assets.

EcoStruxure Control Advisor helps the plant achieve optimum performance. “A few years after I started at Foxboro, in 1995, I was working on a loop that wouldn’t behave and found a ‘self-tune’ function,” Frost said. “I engaged it, went home and came in the next day to find I had shut the plant down. We’ve come a long way.”

EcoStruxure Profit Advisor is an IoT-based profitability control solution—a real-time profit engine. “You can immediately see the effect of a change on profitability to identify true performance-improving initiatives,” Frost said. It allows users to concentrate their efforts on providing the greatest financial returns while minimizing project risk and waste.

For cybersecurity, the company now has an Extended Security Update Program for Windows 7, Server 2008 and SQL 2008.  “Windows 7 support ends January 1, 2020. We’ve negotiated with Microsoft for a three-year extension,” Frost said, adding, “Every Schneider Electric employee has undergone rigorous cybersecurity training, and everything we do has cybersecurity in it.”

Control Core Services (CCS) 9.5 features a peer-to-peer analyzer tool, CCS 9.3 and CCS 9.4 maintenance packs, Exceed license separation, and support for Integrated Control Configurator (ICC) and FoxView.

Control Software v7.2 HMI improvements include native animations for Foxboro functions (PageACK, ramp buttons, etc.), configurable and operator-centric Runtime Alarm Panel Interface Upgrade, and read-only control HMI. Control Editor improvements include Control Processor (CP) Host Validation on deploy.

EcoStruxure Field Device Expert v4.2 features Field Device Technology (FDT) v2.1 Frame Application Compliance, Condition Monitoring for HART devices connected via multiplexers, Device Replacement Wizard for HART device migration, HART Device Snapshot and Snapshot reports, and a new instrument technician role.

Online Upgrade (OLUG) FCP280 “has some capabilities today,” Frost said. “We’re enhancing its ability for bumpless role switch, so there’s no downtime going to a new control image.”

In the area of edge control, Server Update is qualified on the latest server hardware (HP DL380 Gen 10) and qualified/supported on Windows Server 2008 and 2016. “Field Device Controller (FDC) 280 does 8,000 blocks like [Field Control Processor] FCP 280, supports TSAA, Modbus RTV and TCP protocols, and supports Triconex HART data pass-through,” Frost said. “A single unit can handle multiple protocols.”

Compact and Standard 200 Series I/O have the same capabilities and lifecycle, and now FBM 214E Compact offers 16 HART channels, combining footprint savings, increased point density and HART capabilities.

Innovation at the heart

For users wanting to migrate legacy systems to EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS, “We now have competitive migration strategies for TDC 3000, as well as APAX, Bailey, TDC 2000, Fisher Provox and Westinghouse systems. It’s our I/O circuitry in the competitor form factor, so you can replace cards without touching the field wiring,” Frost said. “We’re now adding support for HART so you can take advantage of the latest in asset management.”

Intelligent Enclosure allows users to order I/O based on quantity, not type, to uncouple engineering from deployment. There’s a drop-in field version, and a rack-room version, too. “Put them in the field, and have a spare one in the lab for development and parts,” suggested Frost.

Predictive technologies are drawing on existing DCS data and notifications to optimize operations and prevent downtime. “Often, there are too many alerts and logs for any person to deal with. Some are missed, some don’t have context to allow you to determine production impact, and some require R&D to understand what they mean,” Frost said. “Imagine a digital brain that understands reliability at a system level, that can predict failures a week or two in advance, for example, by observing switch and processor behaviors.”

This is the five-year anniversary of Schneider Electric’s acquisition of Invensys. “Schneider Electric is everywhere—IT, grid, plants and buildings,” Frost said. “Process Automation is part of EcoStruxure, and it turns out we fit in quite nicely, complementing the company’s other offerings.”

For example, consider the usefulness of a unified view of power and process, Frost said, “bringing low- and medium-voltage information into the DCS, and leveraging the power of integrating control and process management.”

Running out of time, Frost said the next few years will bring further improvements and features in many areas. Without further elaboration, he teased the audience with the following final slide:

  • Digital: Data Hub and Advisor Dashboard
  • Interfaces: EtherNet I/P, OPC UA
  • Control Software: System Platform 2020
  • Platform: Industrial thin clients, blade servers, zero clients
  • RunTime Model: Asset model adoption
  • Intelligent Enclosure: Intrinsically safe
  • Operations: InTouch OMI, HMI Auto Gen, Auto Taglist (P&ID)

Control Processors: IEC 61850