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Latest safety controller boasts small footprint, fast I/O bus

Oct. 16, 2018

“It’s the same triple-modular-redundant (TMR) architecture proven in more than 20,000 Triconex systems operating in more than 80 countries but with expanded system capacity, capability and performance packed into a 50% smaller and 67% lighter form factor.” Schneider Electric’s new Tricon CX controller (left) carries on uninterrupted the legacy of the company’s industry-leading Tricon TMR safety controllers.

Front and center in the Innovation Hub at this week’s EcoStruxure Triconex User Group meeting in Galveston, Texas, is release 11.4 of Schneider Electric’s Tricon CX, the company’s powerful safety system that enables secure connectivity among systems, assets and people, and allows for better real-time operations and business decision-making.

“Tricon CX is an extension of the market-leading Tricon platform,” noted Chris Stogner, ExoStruxure Triconex offer director, Schneider Electric Process Automation. “It’s the same triple-modular-redundant (TMR) architecture proven in more than 20,000 Triconex systems operating in more than 80 countries but with expanded system capacity, capability and performance packed into a 50% smaller and 67% lighter form factor.”  This compact design and extended feature set enable customers to more easily expand existing, replace obsolete and implement new systems, Stogner said.

Along with more robust cyber-hardening and enhanced performance, the new Tricon CX v11.4 can handle up to 750,000 TMR I/O distributed across 254 peer-to-peer nodes. Other key features include:

  • A new high-performance I/O bus that goes further, faster. The fault-tolerant 1GB I/O bus and fiber-optic adaptors allow for greater distances—up to 20 kilometers—greater system flexibility, and enhanced end-to-end performance.
  • A smaller footprint and flexible architecture that, together with Triconex Safety Intelligent Enclosures and Tricon CX Universal Safety I/O, significantly reduce system engineering and installation costs, while shortening project schedules and reducing delivery risk.
  • A new version of TriStation that allows the Tricon CX safety system to be engineered and configured faster, including the ability to open legacy project files without the need to install, upgrade, or maintain the programming software;  and the addition of HART container, which allows intelligent device configuration and detection.
  • The all new Triconex Diagnostic Expert that resolves maintenance issues faster and more accurately, including: Enhanced Diagnostic Monitor, which makes it quick and easy to understand system health and identify issues; new Sequence of Event recorder and playback for faster event analysis and identification of process upsets and outages; and high-speed data logging for quick and accurate resolution of operational issues.

Not secure = not safe

“The global manufacturing and critical infrastructure industry is faced with increasingly frequent and sophisticated cyberattacks, which are occurring across all geographies and segments, regardless of which control and safety systems the end users have installed,” said Mike Chmilewski, vice president, Process Safety, Schneider Electric Process Automation.“To help our customers combat these dangers, we applied the unique insights, expertise and knowledge we acquired in the past year to enhance the Tricon CX so that it is able to withstand multiple threats and attack methods.”

Tricon CX is compliant with the IEC 62443 cybersecurity standard and is certified by TÜV Rheinland for use in safety applications up to Safety Integrity Level 3. It is also ISASecure EDSA Level-1 certified, the industry’s leading cybersecurity certification for industrial control and safety systems and components. This has resulted in further security enhancements in Tricon CX v11.4 to mitigate sophisticated methods of attack.

“Strengthening the Tricon controller continues the security journey we committed to when we were the first to receive safety and cybersecurity certifications from TÜV Rheinland,” said Chmilewski. “With its recent security enhancements, dual certifications and standards compliance, and because it was designed in accordance with our recognized security development lifecycle process, Tricon CX remains highly secure while also delivering the highest degree of operational availability of any safety system. It keeps customers on a path for a safer, more secure future, and it serves as the best example of how Triconex safety systems—the most dependable in the industry with more than one billion hours logged without dangerous failure—are helping our customers drive measurable, real-time improvements to their operational profitably, safely and securely.”

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About the Author

Keith Larson | Group Publisher

Keith Larson is group publisher responsible for Endeavor Business Media's Industrial Processing group, including Automation World, Chemical Processing, Control, Control Design, Food Processing, Pharma Manufacturing, Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Processing and The Journal.