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Schneider Electric to take I/O to the edge

Sept. 14, 2021

“Eleven years ago, we introduced Universal I/O, and there’s been a steady growth of interest.” Schneider Electric’s Thad Frost explained plans for Edge I/O and an additional DCS migration options during this week’s Innovation Talks virtual conference.

With the 100 Series Fieldbus Module (FBM) still comprising a significant percentage of its installed base, Schneider Electric unveiled new plans for the EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS input/output (I/O) subsystems, including the 2022 launch of Edge I/O, during this week’s Innovation Talks: 2021 Foxboro and Triconex User Group.

Continued support of the 100 Series will slowly fade as Schneider Electric moves customers to its preferred offering in the 200 Series. “Universal I/O usage is growing through intelligent enclosures and through our FBM 247 and FBM 248 offerings,” said Thad Frost, EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS technical leader, Schneider Electric. “And Edge I/O, which is a new universal I/O solution, is coming in 2022. It comes with its own benefits—more I/O per controller and reduced power. Edge I/O is basically denser and group-isolated, while the FBM 247 and FBM 248 are channel-isolated.”

Edge I/O is still software-configurable, and it’s complementary to the 200 Series. Edge I/O includes simplex, redundant and hot-spare operation, along with extending advanced diagnostics to field devices. “If you need channel-to-channel isolation, you’ll use FBM 247 or FBM 248. Otherwise, you’ll use the Edge I/O,” explained Frost.

First things first. “We’re migrating 100 Series FBMs, which were introduced in 1987, to the 200 Series FBMs,” explained Frost. “We’re still supporting the 100 Series the best we can.”

The compact family of the 200 Series was introduced less than 10 years ago, and fortunately it shares the same electronics with the standard series, minimizing the impact of the semiconductor crisis, said Frost. “About seven years ago, we re-form-factored into a compact series. The good news is both the 200 Series FBM standard and compact form factors remain preferred offerings. In the compact, we can fit 16 where before we could only fit eight standard modules,” he explained.

“Eleven years ago, we introduced Universal I/O, and there’s been a steady growth of interest,” said Frost. “The FBM 247 and FBM 248 are software-configurable with eight channels, single and redundant. The common theme around the use of Universal I/O is to prepare for the unknown.”

Features of the FBM 247 and FBM 248 include eight I/O channels, configurable via software on a per-point basis; analog 4-20 mA, 0-10 Vdc, pulse input and HART; discrete 0-24 Vdc, dry contact; and availability in standard and compact form factor, single and redundant.

A cabinet prepopulated with Universal I/O is the foundation of Schneider Electric’s intelligent enclosure. It comes in two sizes that accommodate 64 or 448 I/O in mix-and-match combinations of simplex and redundant configurations. "Customers can procure I/O based on a single part number, based on I/O quantity, not I/O type. You don’t have to wait for the engineering design to be done,” Frost said. 

Live from Schneider Innovation Talks: 2021 Foxboro & Triconex User Groups

Our editors are reporting live from the virtual events. Keep up-to-date with the latest news from the event here!

A new DCS migration offer is on deck for 2022 as well. Essentially, the offer allows for the I/O cards of a competitor’s aging system to be swapped out for brand new Universal I/O cards—without disturbing any existing field wiring. To find out more about which competitors’ older systems will now be eligible for this straightforward and relatively painless migration path, register to listen to the on-demand version of this presentation. 

I/O systems remain an essential element of the modern distributed control system. And with fully configurable I/O that is scalable from the edge to the rack-room, and even flexible enough to slide into its competitor’s wiring harnesses, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Foxboro I/O offering continues to give the term “Universal” new meaning.