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Foxboro Controller Updates Ease Migration Tasks

July 19, 2007

It’s always nice to see young control systems helping their elderly counterparts. At the 2007 Foxboro User Group meeting this week in Boston, the company introduced several enhancements to its I/A Series automation system controller family. Updates to the I/A Series Version 8.3’s hardware and software:

  • Provide a straightforward, cost-effective path for users of older I/A Series systems to upgrade to the latest I/A Series Version 8.X technology, including the Foxboro’s Mesh Control Network, without having to replace or rewire existing I/O modules;
  • Enable older I/A Series systems to take advantage of the latest control capabilities of the high-capacity, rack-room-mounted I/A Series ZCP270 controller to further improve plant performance; and,
  • Remove previous limitations on the number of I/O modules that can be supported by the field-mounted, I/A Series FCP270 controller, which provides an even more cost-effective control and I/O solution, and makes this state-of-the-art field control capability practical for even the largest process plants.
Animated discussion of the latest I/A
Series and InFusion platform capabilities highlighted the exhibit area of Foxboro’s 2007 User Group gathering this week in Boston.

“These controller enhancements are just the latest demonstration of how Foxboro’s ‘continuously current’ strategy helps our I/A Series customers to continuously upgrade their systems to the latest performance-enhancing I/A Series DCS technology, and to do so at minimum cost—often on maintenance budgets—and with minimum process interruptions,” said Matt DeAthos, Foxboro’s I/A Series product marketing manager.

The company also announced the extension of its popular, plug-in DCS migration modules to include a new generation of Honeywell migration products. These new modules let Honeywell users upgrade their aging TDC 2000 systems to the latest I/A Series automation technology and modern HART field communications without having to replace existing field wiring, termination assemblies, system enclosures or power supplies. These I/A Series migration modules are an exact physical replacement for existing TDC 2000 I/O modules, and plug right into the existing system enclosures with no I/O mapping issues. This migration approach is more cost-effective than a complete system replacement, and—with careful upfront planning—reduces associated process downtime from weeks or months to a day or less, which can minimize lost production.

Said Betty Naylor-McDevitt, Foxboro’s marketing director: “In addition to providing a well-proven approach for upgrading obsolete control systems to the latest I/A Series capabilities, our new plug-in migration modules for TDC 2000 systems provide added new functionality by supporting both conventional 4-20 mA and HART digital field communications. This gives users the option of selectively upgrading their field instrumentation to the latest HART devices at any time.”

Rod Wetsch, project manager at the Dakota Gasification Great Plains Synfuels plant in Beulah, N.D., added that, “The Foxboro plug-in migration modules saved us an enormous number of man-hours and minimized our down-time. The new HART functionality is important to us because we can now pull all the information from HART field devices into our plantwide I/A Series control system for diagnostics and maintenance, which wasn’t possible with our old systems.” Dakota Gasification is well along in its five-year modernization program in which its legacy Honeywell and Bailey control systems are being gradually migrated to advanced I/A Series automation technology.

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