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19 July, 2024

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Universal control system ‘will lead to new automation era’

03 July, 2024

A Chinese supplier of intelligent manufacturing systems, Supcon Technology, has announced a cloud-based Universal Control System (UCS) architecture that, it claims, overcomes the limitations of traditional hardware-based control systems with their rigid, hierarchical layers and fixed computing power. It predicts that the development will lead to a new era in automated control.

It adds that by breaking free from traditional physical controllers, I/O modules and cabinets, UCS offers a minimalist platform that integrates control data centres, fibre optic networks and intelligent field capabilities. It will eliminate the need for many control cabinets, ushering in “a revolutionary transformation in control systems”.

Supcon is already well-established, with more than 30,000 customers in more than 50 countries. In 2023, it achieved a 30.1% increase in revenues to 8.62bn yuan ($1.19bn). It claims that its DCS (distributed control system) and SIS (safety instrumented system) portfolios hold market-leading 37.8% and 33.7% shares of the Chinese market. It adds that it has occupied the No.1 position in the DCS market for the past 13 years.

Supcon now claims to have revolutionised the 50-year-old DCS (distributed control system) technology with its next-generation UCS architecture called Nyx. Centred around a control data centre, the system uses a cloud-based real-time operating system called NyxOS, which is tailored for industrial control. It provides a robust, real-time operating environment for control tasks that is said to be reliable and secure.

The Nyx system can execute cloud-based real-time applications, autonomously adjusting resource scale and capacity to match demand, resulting in elasticity and scalability. Its redundant, distributed architecture ensures high availability and fault tolerance, Supcon says.

Nyx uses an optical fibre network to transmit field data to the control data centre at speeds of up to 10Gb/s, with parallel redundancy. This approach reduces the need for a network architecture, cutting the copper cables required by up to 80%, and shrinking the footprint by up to 90%. Project times can be halved, Supcon asserts.

With a field connection technology based on Ethernet-APL (Advanced Physical Layer), Nyx supports Zone 2 intrinsically safe explosion-proof field junction boxes and APL modules. Each instrument has its own IP address. Supcon says it is building an Ethernet-APL ecosystem including power switches, field switches and intelligent instruments.

Supcon launched its Universal Control system at an event in Singapore

Pilot applications are said to have demonstrated Nyx's ability to integrate AI and leverage the GPU-powered control engine, offering functions such as automated configuration and AI-PID. This allows data prediction and adaptive control, enhancing operational efficiency and “ushering in a new era of AI in controls”, thus boosting productivity.

In recent years, Supcon has been exploring the integration and application of AI and other advanced technologies into process control applications. Nyx not only signifies a significant leap for intelligent control, but also forges a "sword" to catalyse industrial transformation, the company declares.

Supcon is inviting partners to join it in “this groundbreaking revolution”.

“Together, we lead the industry towards a smarter, more efficient, and greener future,” it adds.

Supcon TechnologyLinkedIn

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