Persistent financial difficulties at Invensys, the London-based conglomerate, have triggered speculation in some circles that the company could be dismantled or acquired. Invensys executives during briefings at the recently completed ISA Expo met these concerns head on, unlike in past years when they deflected any inquiries into corporate finances. Both Invensys Process Systems (which includes Foxboro, Triconix, Avantis and SimSci) and Wonderware, another Invensys company, report strong growth this year. Wonderware president Mike Bradley touted the benefits of the corporate refinancing program that gives the company a working capital cushion until 2009.
Similarly, Invensys Process Systems President Mike Caliel said that corporate investment in products and services continue and that he expects stability for the rest of the decade. Caliel reiterated the points during his keynote presentation to the approximately 800 customers attending the company’s annual Customer Conference in San Antonio on Oct. 22.
At ISA Expo, Oct. 5-7, in Houston, Invensys Process Systems introduced three new services. Alarm Management Services for the I/A Series automation system from Foxboro and many other vendors’ distributed control systems (DCS), together with Loop Management and Network Security expand the company’s portfolio of what it calls LifeTime Performance Improvement services.
Alarm management utilizes alarm diagnostic software so Invensys’ process control specialists can provide alarm rationalization, re-engineering and ongoing support services. The services are available in three phases: performance study and report; performance improvement recommendations; and life cycle alarm maintenance.
Loop Management Services begin with a thorough evaluation of all current plant or unit control loops, including comprehensive on-line diagnostics of all control valves. Critical under-performing loops are prioritized for remediation, and if desired, Invensys process control experts can perform the actual loop tuning and recommend appropriate valve maintenance activities.
In development for more than two years, the new Site Security Review Service and the System Security Hardening Service are both part of the expanding suite of LifeTime Performance Improvement Services.
Wonderware’s Industrial Application Server 2.0, built on the ArchestrA software architecture, was also announced at ISA Expo. It offers simple, low-cost redundancy with the click of a mouse, scalability from 250 to 1 million input/output points across up to 100 computer nodes, and a self-adjusting communications protocol for use with low-bandwidth networks.
Wonderware also announced the release of new enterprise application integration capabilities leveraging the ISA S95 XML standard. The new offering for advanced manufacturing applications combines ISA S95 XML with the open ArchestrA plant automation and information software architecture.