Redundancy, versatility added to Universal I/O

May 26, 2016
New Intelligent Marshalling offerings improve flexibility, reliability and efficiency of control and safety system design and operations.
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.For the past five years, users have enjoyed the capabilities of Intelligent Marshalling using programmable Foxboro Evo FBM247 Universal I/O for the full range of analog, discrete and digital signal applications: eliminating the costly and labor-intensive marshalling process traditionally required for control systems and yielding faster implementation and startups, reduced engineering and spare parts inventory costs, and no trips to the field for configuration.

Last August, the Compact FBM247 Intelligent Marshalling module was introduced, with the same benefits in half the cabinet space.

“Now, we are introducing redundancy with the FBM248, in addition to all the features of the FBM247,” said Thad Frost, technology manager, Control & I/O, Schneider Electric, at the company’s CONNECT 2016 event this week in New Orleans. The standard 200 form factor is available now, with the Compact FBM248 coming at the end of the year.

Safety systems also now get the benefits of Intelligent Marshalling with the introduction of the Tricon CX 3902X TMR universal I/O module. “It’s triple-modular-redundant, SIL-3 rated and available for the compact Tricon CX system,” Frost said.

Intelligent Marshalling removes the dependency between control and safety system design and the installation of I/O systems. The new Universal I/O offerings for Foxboro Evo and Triconex enable process automation professionals to seamlessly adapt to last-minute I/O design changes, and provide backup to eliminate the impact of any process downtime.

Introduced this week at Schneider Electric CONNECT 2016 in New Orleans, the Foxboro Evo FBM248 Universal I/O module brings the reliability of redundancy to Intelligent Marshalling. The standard 200 form factor is available now, with the Compact FBM248 coming at the end of the year.

Being universal, Universal I/O modules are designed for limited current capacities, and do not have features required for some applications, such as fuses, power relays, knife disconnects, safety relays, intrinsic safety barriers, etc. To provide this flexibility, the Universal I/O modules work with a range of third-party interfaces that easily and flexibly add any of these capabilities to an I/O point via modules on a compact terminal assembly. Schneider Electric is working with MTL, Phoenix Contact and Pepperl+Fuchs to offer a wide variety of functionalities.

Soon, Universal I/O will be available fully configured, installed and factory tested in a ready-to-go Intelligent Enclosure. “You’ll be able to order by quantity of Universal I/O, redundancy, intrinsic safety, safety and size, and end up with a standard part number,” Frost said. “This further decouples system design from I/O installation. You can ship and install now, and configure later.”

“Upgrading our award-winning Intelligent Marshalling solution to include redundancy and safety capabilities demonstrates our commitment to providing the connected solutions our customers need to improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of their plants and business operations,” said Chris Lyden, senior vice president of strategy, Process Automation, Schneider Electric.

“Configuring control and safety systems I/O can be costly, labor-intensive and subject to change,” Lyden said. “With their additional flexibility, the Foxboro FBM248 and Tricon CX 3902X I/O offerings allow our customers to adjust to unforeseen module changes and errors with little impact to installation time. That can drive huge savings when it comes to project execution and operations.”