Schneider Electric Broadens Hybrid Systems at Connect 2016

  • July 12, 2016
  • Feature

By Bill Lydon, Editor,

The Schneider Electric Connect 2016 event was buzzing with energy and Schneider fueled the excitement with the introduction of products that increase the performance and power of hybrid system offerings. This introduction included an upgrade to Schneider’s PES software and an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-compatible controller.

PlantStruxure PES V4.2 Hybrid System

The software base for the Schneider Electric hybrid process automation system is the PlantStruxure PES software, coupled with Modicon controllers.  The system is tightly integrated for efficiency, from design engineering through to operation.  The goal is for engineers to be able to develop the configuration faster and more accurately, the operators to have data at their fingertips to optimize processes, and to provide tools for maintenance teams to diagnose and solve problems faster.  PlantStruxure PES V4.2 is also equipped with ready-to-use application and industry libraries, in order to facilitate engineering efficiency. Energy-management features are integrated from other Schneider Electric automation and power devices, such as Altivar drives, in order to help users achieve energy cost savings.

Jose Bonomo, Vice President, Offer Management, Hybrid Systems discussed where hybrid systems are making major impacts, “Investment in infrastructure like water and power, especially in emerging countries. We also see a need, and a huge amount of automation applications opportunity, for aging systems that will be migrated or modernized.” 

This is driving the developments of Modicon PAC hardware and PlantStruxure PES software.  PlantStruxture PES hybrid systems are being sold through systems integrators and directly to end-users. Bonomo explained, “this is mainly for hybrid applications needing to combine the DCS values on top of the PLC architecture.” PlantStruxture PES leverages the full complement of Modicon hardware including the M340, Modicon Premium, Modicon Quantum, STB I/O System (IP 20 Slice I/O), and X80 Backplane I/O system hardware. 

PlantStruxture PES support a versatile set of hardware.

M580 ePAC

The most recent addition, announced at CONNECT 2016, was the M580 ePAC controller. Designed by Schneider for IIoT applications, the controller features redundant processors, 64 MB memory, native Ethernet, a redundant power supply, IPsec communications protocol, and is cybersecurity certified (Achilles Level 2), and is intended for harsh environments (-25 to +70 degree C).  Schneider officials said that adding the Modicon M580 ePAC strengthens the company’s automation portfolio in the water/wastewater, mining, minerals and metals, specialty chemicals, power generation and food and beverage industries.

“As IT and OT converge, we need solutions that boost plant connectivity and security,” said Chris Lyden, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Schneider Electric’s Process Automation business. “PlantStruxure PES enhances the ability of plant operators, engineers and managers to take better advantage of process and energy management data, which better enables them to improve maintenance, increase asset reliability and uncover additional operational efficiencies, all in a more secure environment. By making our PlantStruxure PES automation system secure and future proof by design, we are meeting the needs of tomorrow’s production facilities, today.”

Built for Industrial Internet of Things applications, the addition of Modicon M580 redundant controllers are intended to deliver plant and asset availability for critical continuous process operations, helping to improve overall business performance.

Today, 50 percent of PlantStruxure PES projects require at least one pair of redundant controllers within the configuration. PES V4.2 meets the next generation of requirements with the M580 ePAC and the ability to lock down ports within a single configuration environment. PES V4.2 ensures nearly 100 percent uptime for customer systems.

PlantStruxure PES V4.2 from Schneider Electric integrates redundant capabilities from Modicon M580 ePAC controllers to improve asset reliability and uptime. Bill’s Thoughts & Observations

Hybrid system offerings, from a number of PLC vendors, have been launched to address a number of process applications including water/wastewater, power plant, food, beverage, and pharmaceutical. PlantStruxure PES has been growing as a solid option in this area. These systems all beg the question of how to determine which applications should use: hybrid systems or DCS? Applications that are SCADA, motor drive and electrical control intensive would appear to be good candidates for hybrid systems. There is a middle ground that is not so clear and, as hybrid systems increase their capabilities, the decision may become harder to make.

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