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Enterprise control system is `world`s first`

01 April, 2006

Enterprise control system is `world`s first`

Invensys has launched what it is hailing as "the world`s first industrial system that goes beyond the plant or other industrial operations to provide a true enterprise view". The company`s new InFusion enterprise control system combines Invensys` own developments with information and integration technologies from Microsoft and SAP. The result, it claims, is dramatically lower integration costs.

Invensys adds that the technology will allow most plant floor and enterprise systems to be integrated cost-effectively into a common system.

"The InFusion enterprise control system is as revolutionary as our ground-breaking Foxboro I/A Series automation system and Wonderware InTouch HMI software were when first introduced," declares Mike Caliel, president of Invensys Process Systems. "By combining the latest capabilities from across Invensys into a unified architecture, Invensys has realised a step change in the utilisation of open technologies and standards in an industrial system.

"By dramatically reducing both plant and enterprise integration costs," he adds, "InFusion will help our customers finally to break down stubborn technical and organizational barriers, while preserving and extending their equity in existing automation assets."

The technology, which is covered by more than 60 issued and pending patents, is claimed to deliver a unique set of capabilities, not previously available from any single automation or information system. These include:

integration across almost all plant-floor systems (including PLCs and DCSs), subsystems, and intelligent field devices, regardless of the supplier or the protocols used;

low-cost, standards-based information interoperability between plant floor, MES, and enterprise systems;

a unified engineering and support environment across plant-floor and MES systems; and

real-time visibility into both the plant and the business with a unified view across all operations and maintenance activities to help align plant performance with business objectives.

InFusion unites Foxboro`s process control capabilities with Wonderware`s HMI, plant intelligence, and device integration capabilities. It also incorporates other Invensys and third-party capabilities including: Triconex redundant safety and critical control; Foxboro RTUs (remote terminal units) and intelligent SCADA applications; SimSci-Esscor control, simulation, and process optimisation; Avantis real-time condition monitoring and asset management; and a managed approach to wireless technology that makes it practical and cost-effective to incorporate new wireless measurements into a system.

InFusion is intended to cut the cost and effort needed to integrate intelligent plant-floor devices and systems, via standards such as OPC. Process control, MES, and ERP applications can be brought together into a single data model with a common HMI to deliver timely, in-context information to all plant personnel.

A new form of interface, the "collaboration wall" (shown above), can provide plant operators, maintenance technicians, engineers, and managers with a shared view of process control, maintenance, performance, and business application displays.

Invensys says it has worked with partners including Microsoft and SAP to reduce dramatically the time and effort required to integrate real-time plant systems with transactional enterprise systems. The InFusion package includes several new applications including a visually-based engineering environment, and a field device manager that uses the latest FDT and Enhanced EDDL technologies to allow device vendors to program graphically rich applications. Plant maintenance personnel can call up these applications when they need to analyse the health and performance of a specific field device, or to run comprehensive diagnostic tests and archive the test results.

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