The Schneider Electric Foxboro User Group met Aug. 22 to 24 in Foxborough, MA, at the company headquarters. The event included two significant distributed-control system (DCS) product announcements, supported by a Foxboro claim of 100% return on investment in less than a year. This signals the culmination considerable strategic thinking at Foxboro aimed at helping operators and other plant personnel make decisions based on profitability and operating parameters.
These announcements are part of an overall Schneider Electric Foxboro contribution to an industry trend that is bringing operations and maintenance together as a plant production and profitability team. With the real-time accounting embedded module, Condition Advisor, Maintenance Advisor, and Profit Advisor, the entire plant team can work together to solve problems that improve uptime, decrease costs, and plan asset strategies more effectively.
The new DCS
Schneider Electric has improved the capabilities of its flagship EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS, an IoT-enabled, open, and interoperable system architecture and platform. With patented, customizable real-time accounting (RTA) models built in, EcoStruxure not only allows the industrial workforce to evaluate the real-time financial performance of an operation directly at the equipment asset level, it also empowers them to easily identify the impact their actions and decisions have on the operation profitability. The RTA models can be manipulated and adapted to suit a variety of industrial operations across multiple segments, enabling a wide range of customers to reap far more value from their existing systems.
“For the most part, by the time business managers receive their monthly updates from whatever enterprise resource planning systems they use, the information is no longer relevant to the operational business decisions they need to make, or should have made,” said Peter Martin, vice president, Innovation and Marketing, Process Automation, Schneider Electric. “The EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS breaks the mold because our RTA models help control value asset to asset, all the way up the enterprise. By aligning process control with the hierarchy of the plant, we can provide far more visibility into the financial performance of every plant asset and asset set. That allows plant personnel to understand the impact their decisions have on the business and business leaders to understand the impact their decisions have on the operation, in real time.”
Along with the RTA models, the continuously current DCS features high-capacity, high-availability control processors; more powerful, fit-for-purpose I/O; intuitive, role-based engineering tools; and enterprise-wide analytical tools and capabilities. Additionally, its hardened cybersecure design and secure integration with the company’s market-leading Triconex safety systems protect the facility’s critical assets and allow for continuous production. Moreover, its automated, enterprise-wide, real-time condition monitoring and predictive maintenance capabilities minimize unplanned shutdowns, maximize uptime and lower maintenance costs by 30 percent or more.
EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS works in tandem with EcoStruxure Profit Advisor, a new software solution that applies the company’s RTA models to help the industrial workforce diagnose and analyze the profitability of processes throughout the plant. Whereas EcoStruxure Profit Advisor connects to any process historian to mine historical and real-time data, the DCS takes the next step by building the algorithms into the process controllers themselves, thereby extending real-time accounting capabilities to every point in the process.
Of great interest to reliability and maintenance organizations, and plant managers, is the improved Maintenance Advisor and Condition Advisor. Working in tandem, these collect information from the field relative to asset condition. The data can be used for monitoring purposes or integrated into workflow for actions.
The company’s EcoStruxure Maintenance Advisor software, with embedded EcoStruxure Condition Advisor, bridges the gap between operations and maintenance, providing predictive maintenance and decision support for plant-wide assets.
Delivered in a single unified dashboard, EcoStruxure Maintenance Advisor monitors the real-time health of plant-wide assets to detect abnormal operating conditions. It then automatically provides actionable, easy-to-understand alerts with the proper context, along with potential reasons for the abnormal condition and possible actions to rectify it.
The EcoStruxure Condition Advisor for OPC DA (OPC data access) enables real-time, automated condition monitoring of any OPC DA-compliant asset, such as intelligent electronic devices, motor starters, and drives. This new capability complements existing Condition Advisors, which monitor the condition of Fieldbus Foundation, HART and Profibus process instruments. To learn more about EcoStruxure, download this 24-page pdf.–Gary Mintchell