Invensys OpsManage 2010: Enterprise Control System - the journey continues...

Invensys OpsManage 2010: Enterprise Control System - the journey continues...

 
By Bill Lydon - Editor, November 2010
 
Invensys Operations Management (IOM) expanded on their Enterprise Control System (ECS) which was initially launched last year at OpsManage 2009. Steve Blair, President of Invensys Operations Management in North America and Chief Nuclear Officer, opened the event noting, “This is a truly exciting time for us.” “In a little over a year we brought together nine first class brands under one single operation with one goal in mind - to provide solutions that drive value creation for you, our clients…”
 
Blair defined enterprise control as understanding and manipulating the real business drivers to optimize operations from plant floor through enterprise.
 
Blair elaborated on the business climate, “It has certainly been an interesting economic time for all of us and now, fingers crossed, it looks like we are on the road to recovery.” He noted that there are still many unknowns and there may be bumps in the road. “We really don’t know what shape a rejuvenated economy is going to take….CapX spending is low but company cash reserves compared to their assets have hit their highest mark since 1964,” said Blair. His premise is that increasing the speed of business decisions in relation to the short time frame of production control requires real-time transparency between production and business management. “This requires alignment across the organization,” said Blair.
 
Promise, Challenge & Opportunity
Sudipta Bhattacharya, CEO and President, provided an update on the Enterprise Control System and his industry views. “As a company when we brought together four different divisions to form Invensys Operation Management, we made a promise and the promise was we will be the foremost provider in the world of Enterprise Control Systems,” said Bhattacharya. “It’s a vision, it’s a journey, there is no single provider today in the world that has been able to provide a packaged solution, but we will be the leader. That remains the bet...” He then described the Enterprise Control System vision, “The ability to manage the real-time frontier for sustainable value creation is becoming more and more important; to be able to manage the real-time frontier, people must understand the plant floor.” “That is our challenge. That is our opportunity."
 
Bhattacharya described how the inputs to manufacturing are now highly variable including raw material cost & quality, energy costs, order sizes, and product mix. “Strategy is now about my ability to plan constantly and adapt constantly,” said Bhattacharya. He described three basic control loops for manufacturing business systems such as ERP, production control, and process control.
 
 
Each loop has different decision making time intervals to control its functional domain. Bhattacharya made the point that by better connecting these systems in real-time, “The better my execution is expected to be, and that is the real-time frontier.”
 
Editors Note: Even though the production and business systems have longer time intervals between decision points than process control, I think there is a more subtle issue that he did not mention. When any of these systems determine a change is needed, all three systems must synchronize in real-time to optimize operations.
 
Bhattacharya described the ECS as the integration framework that ties applications together in an open Services Oriented Architecture (SOA). The integration framework allows these systems to be deployed with standard components minimizing customization. Bhattacharya made his case for the ECS with some examples illustrating the value of linking strategy and execution in real-time.
 
 
Enterprise Control System = Integration Framework + Applications
 
Partner Ecosystem
Sudipta and others emphasized that the IOM partner ecosystem is a key concept of being able to solve customer problems and make them more efficient. The company is embracing partners much more intimately than others in the automation industry have done before, with an open Service Oriented Architecture and an executive team that is embracing partners. In some cases, they are helping productize the third party offering, selling them and paying royalties to the developing organization. IOM has created a Federated Delivery Model that insures the delivery methodology of their products and Ecosystem partner products to customers is the same, providing a conduit to bring innovate solutions to customers. Ashtad Engineer is the Vice President of Global Partner Ecosystem for IOM with previous experience at Tata Consultancy Services and Rockwell Automation.
 
Foxboro PAC
Foxboro added a new PAC (Programmable Automation Controller), developed by Eurotherm and featuring hot swappable I/O, IEC 61131 programming, and redundancy options. The company is positioning this product as an “Integrated Hybrid Control and Data Acquisition at PLC Pricing.” This is a new controller hardware and software platform that integrates with the IOM ECS and is targeted at installations with less than 3,000 input/output (I/O) points.
 
Rick Morse, Vice President, Control and Safety, Invensys Operations Management, commented, “Although these smaller systems typically have fewer than 3,000 I/O points, our customers are more and more sophisticated in terms of their integrated automation and information needs.” Applications targeted with the PAC include food and beverage, glass, metals, minerals and mining, life sciences, plastics, water and wastewater. Wonderware PAC Software is used to program and configure applications, including HMI software.
 
Triconex GPS
IOM introduced and demonstrated the new Triconex General Purpose System that provides a lower-cost solution for Safety Integrity Level 2 (SIL 2) applications. The system is supported with safety and critical control application libraries. It also integrates with all well-known process control systems using industry standard protocols, and is Achilles-certified, protecting it from cyber attack.
 
Workflow Flow Management
Skelta’s business process management (BPM) and advanced workflow software solutions fill a key need in the Enterprise Control System. The Skleta software provides a very visual and integrated method to define business processes and workflows in within the IOM Enterprise Control System framework, making them visible and explicit. IOM acquired Skelta in April, 2010. The heart of this application is the Process Designer that is used to define process flows in a drag and drop environment to model processes and integrate them into the ECS framework.
 
Process Designer Drag & Drop Design
 
Recorder, Controller, Local Historian
The new Eurotherm nanodac is like having a two loop DCS in a box.The front panel display is Quarter-VGA supporting 320x240 pixels. The unit has 50MB internal Flash memory for data recording, USB port and Ethernet communications supporting Modbus TCP and FTP. The built-in historian supports store and forward to keep data secure through communications interruptions. Alarm notification is by exception to email and SMS. The PID loops use a Eurotherm PID algorithm with Autotune and Overshoot inhibition (cutback). Later this year, a remote visualisation application will be available for the iPhone and iPad that will include numerical /bargraph views, alarm summary, message summary, and history.
 
Thoughts & Observations
I know a number of people at IOM and the moral is high. A big factor is that the company has direction and management is listening to people at all levels of the company.
 
IOM continues build out its vision of the Enterprise Control System. My past experience with sales and application of MES Manufacturing Execution Systems is they always seemed to come up short and require a large amount of custom programming. The Invensys ECS framework based on SOA, with open exposed interfaces, “feels” right. The company has the advantage of leveraging the Wonderware activity, and knowledge of software architectures and interfaces. I think Invensys has it right if they can build sales in the market.
 
The addition of Skelta’s business process management (BPM) and advanced workflow software fills a large missing piece in the ECS offering. It also shows that there is openness to acquisitions for critical elements that are needed for a complete offering.
 
The introduction of the Foxboro PAC and the Triconex GPS are IOM’s answers to the PLC vendors who are promoting PLC, PAC, and Hybrid products for process control and safety applications.
 
Sudipta Bhattacharya has repeatedly told me about his commitment to give people the opportunity to put their creativity into action. I think the nanodac is an excellent example of a product that looks like it should have come from a small innovative company rather than a large one.