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Improve decision-making in process operations

December 06, 2013
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Invensys Foxboro process automation systemInvensys recently unveiled what it says is Invensys’ next-generation control system, “the Foxboro Evo process automation system.”

“This year we have a confluence of technology releases that make a new system, including a new controller, Triconex on the network [Invensys Triconex, the supplier of safety systems], high-density I/O, and control room enhancements,” says Chris Lyden, an Invensys senior vice president.

The advances are indicative of a process-control industry rapidly adopting the latest computing advances in the pursuit of industry safety, security and productivity.

Foxboro, Mass.-based Invensys Operations Management says the Foxboro Evo process automation system evolved directly from the Foxboro I/A Series and Triconex technology, found in some of the largest, most complex process facilities and known for their layered architecture. Foxboro Evo extends this approach through a component object-based platform, allowing major upgrades without halting operations.

“We needed to upgrade the vast majority of our DCS, but like most sites, we didn’t have the luxury of a site-wide shutdown to make a full change possible,” says Michael McKenzie, distributed control systems specialist for BP in Brisbane, Australia. “We were facing a substantial obsolescence issue, which we had ranked as a significant risk to ongoing operations. The new Invensys system allowed for a much easier upgrade of all components.”

In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico Deep Horizon disaster, and given the high incidence of accidents in the chemical industries, it’s not surprising that much work is being done within the process-control industry to improve the ability of operators to make sound decisions, especially in critical situations. Results of this recognition include use of gray tones for screens, with color used only to highlight that which needs most attention.

“It’s really a simple change,” says Lyden. “Consistency in the screens and in use of color and use of behavior attributes to attract the eye, such as those that are used in airline consoles.”

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