- May 30, 2010
May 30, 2010 ABB released the latest version of its Freelance hybrid process control system; this release includes new direct and remote input/output modules for even more communication options for connecting with field devices, as well as a new bulk data management system to streamline engineering time, effort and cost. The new release also adds to the system's PROFIBUS connectivity and includes OPC interfaces that provide expanded access to system information, including alarms and events. ABBs Freelance control system provides a footprint and price more typical of a PLC system, with the robust functionality of a DCS. It is ideal for smaller applications, or applications that will expand over time. The integrated environment facilitates engineering, commissioning, maintenance and fieldbus management. The intuitive operator interface enables easy operation and diagnostics of the entire system and it allows the integration of all common fieldbuses, leaving the user to select any they wish - whether FOUNDATION Fieldbus, PROFIBUS, or HART. The latest version of Freelance includes new I/O options for PROFIBUS that provide access to information from a greater range of field devices, as well as the capability for remote diagnostics. It also includes faster CPU performance, so that applications will run faster and so that multiple applications can run simultaneously. A new Bulk Data Manager simplifies the processing of vast quantities of data For even greater access to information, this version of Freelance includes an OPC client interface that provides easy integration to multiple PLCs in the plant, including safety PLCs, packaging PLCs, as well as third party PLCs that could eventually be evolved to Freelance. The Freelance hybrid control system includes numerous controller options, including the AC 700F, which closes the gap between PLCs and complex process control systems. While traditional PLC automation systems are compact in size and lower in cost with fast processing speeds, they offer few engineering options and often lack convenient visualization capabilities. This system goes beyond conventional PLC systems, ABBs Freelance compact DCS system provides functionality typically found in much larger DCS systems, including engineering tools and pre-engineered visualization components, extended troubleshooting capabilities, ready made system communications, and other tools and features. It complements ABBs unmatched portfolio of control solutions that significantly improve process applications of all sizes across the entire range of manufacturing industries. This new release of Freelance provides our customers with even more options to operate their process efficiently with a system that fits the application size, growth plan and budget, said Alicia DuBay, global director of control systems marketing at ABB. We continue to enhance our entire family of control systems to offer more functionality, information access and use, and to easily evolve systems forward to deliver next generation productivity results. ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 117,000 people.