Schneider Electric Targets Process Control

  • May 20, 2013
  • Feature

By Bill Lydon, Editor

In February 2013, Schneider Electric announced the PlantStruxure PES (Process Expert System) as, “The innovative Process Automation System that brings together the best from the PLC/SCADA and DCS worlds and combines this with integrated energy management features…” I had the opportunity to ask Schneider Electric’s Hatem Mohamed, Product Marketing Manager, some questions about this new offering to gain a better understanding.

Question: How do you describe PlantStruxure PES?

PlantStruxure PES (Process Expert System) is the innovative process automation system from Schneider Electric that provides the single global database design and diagnostic features of a Distributed Control System (DCS) within an energy-aware architecture allowing companies to rapidly design systems, reduce downtime, and increase process and energy efficiency.

Question: In the press conference at the ARC Forum, Schneider Electric stated, “PlantStruxure PES combines the functionality of DCS systems and an energy aware architecture to increase process and energy efficiency.”  Could you elaborate on that statement?

PlantStruxure PES provides built-in process, communication and device management libraries. In addition, PlantStruxure PES has optional add-ons for advanced application specific libraries (e.g. cement, food, and mining). Energy management libraries are also embedded within PlantStruxure PES. Since all the process data and application specific data is available in one single place within PlantStruxure PES, it is now possible to combine data from different domains like power and process. This provides both operators and managers powerful insights into what is happening at different process levels:

  • Field level: We integrated power and process devices in the same architecture to create an energy aware infrastructure.
  • Control level: We integrated Process Control and Energy Control to allow some powerful functions such as grid level load control and production load modeling.
  • Operations level: We integrated Process and Energy SCADA to make intelligent functions on the operator level such as an energy scheduler and multi-level demand response possible.

This integration brings a new level of understanding and visibility of where waste is created in a process. PlantStruxure PES allows customers to embed active Energy Management in every step of their process to eliminate energy waste and optimize energy consumption.

Question: How do you contrast this offering to DCS process control systems on the market today?

PlantStruxure PES provides benefits to both manage process and energy within a single environment and reduce energy waste at the source during engineering, operation and maintenance:

  • Dedicated libraries and application templates to help reduce energy waste.
  • Built-in “idle state” services for equipment that can be triggered based on stoppages or other process statuses.
  • Combined production and energy data to generate predictive maintenance alerts for equipment such as compressors to reduce energy use and downtime.

Benefits during engineering, operation and maintenance:

  • Reduced design time using a powerful object model. Data for control and supervision are created consistently and change propagations are managed by the system platform.
  • Reduced downtime due to ease of navigation in operation. The operator/maintenance staff get all the information related to an object (e.g.: from a mimic on a SCADA page), speeding up the diagnostics.
  • Simplified maintenance (management of automation systems) using a single repository of all data concerning the control system application.

Question: Are you natively supporting process industry standards with seamless configuration and native hardware interfaces including Foundation Fieldbus, HART, WirelessHART, ISA100a, and Profibus PA?

PES manages instrumentation through the support of DTM devices on Profibus, HART etc. PES updates the control, monitoring and supervision data for a process, according to a centralized configuration. It automatically handles:

  • Consistency of the topological layout
  • Management of all PAC resources
  • Inter-device communication
  • Operating modes
  • Process device configuration
  • Process interlocks
  • Consistency of the controller and HMI applications.

With the process design information, PES generates the PAC application including:

  • Hardware configuration
  • Application structure
  • Communication configuration
  • Control Devices and corresponding interlocks.

As for your supervisory applications, PES generates:

  • The tag database including properties like alarms, archiving, access rights
  • The communication driver configuration

The controller and HMI applications remain synchronized, acting like a single database.

Question: Do you have native hardware interfaces for each of these at the Schneider Electric controllers?

We have native hardware interfaces for CANopen, AS-I, HART, ODVA architecture (Ethernet IP based + ModbusTCP), PRM compatibility for Profibus, and others that are not necessarily native to the controllers. Future development will be based on Open Ethernet architecture allowing third party interfaces to plug into the controller rack.

Question: What advanced process modeling software do you offer today?

 None Today

Question: What is your approach to ISA88 batch management?

PlantStruxure PES does comply with ISA S88. The application engineers are able to fulfill these rules with PlantStruxure PES. The application manager in PlantStruxure PES makes it possible to organize the process control application in a hierarchical tree, with naming conventions for object instances and variables that belong to a given folder of the tree. It is required to create and rename the application folders according to the physical assets it represents. There is also a built-in template to create sequence actions. Finally, PlantStruxure PES does not restrict the compliance to ISA88, making it possible to comply also with other industry models and standards.

Question: Does PlantStruxure PES include an ISA88-compliant batch engine?

Yes, PES is a modeling tool. Considering ISA88, there are 2 parts: modeling and Batch Management that refers to the Physical/Procedural Model. We link the SCADA and controller levels in the Procedural Model.

Question: What process industry applications have been done with this product? 

So far, we have completed mining processing, water treatment plants T3 & T4, and desalinization applications.

Question: What process industry applications are you targeting?

  • Mining Processing: Cement and Glass
  • Oil & Gas: Small Onshore Production, Tank Farms, Compression stations
  • Water & Waste Water: Water treatment Plants T3 & T4, Desalinization
  • Food & Beverage: Liquid Food Manufacturing

Thoughts & Observations

Many PLC suppliers are focusing on the process industry. Integrated energy control and conservation functions are a key value proposition of this Schneider Electric offering.

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