One aspect of the search for the Holy Grail of industrial control has been how to share memory from different, physically distant controllers directly across a network.
GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc., a unit of GE Infrastructure, claims it has reached near to this goal. The Charlottesville, Va., company’s PACSystems Control Memory Xchange allows multiple devices to share large amounts of control data over a fiber-optic deterministic network at speeds up to 200 times faster than Ethernet, according to Connie Chick, GE Fanuc’s business manager for controllers.
This high-speed memory-sharing application operates in parallel to the main logic central processing unit (CPU) and is said to have virtually no effect on the scan time of the control processor. The technology supports the distance requirements to physically separate redundant processors in different cabinets or buildings, for critical applications with potential security threats.
A primary benefit of this technology is the ability it gives users to achieve tighter synchronization between control systems—which can increase product quality and reduce material scrap. Applications that benefit from PACSystems Control Memory Xchange include paper production; metals forming, finishing and extracting; cement crushing and conveying; oil and gas processing and distribution; wind tunnel testing; chemical dispensing; painting; batch processing; and any other process requiring high speed, high volume data acquisition for high resolution measurement and fast response.
High availability controller
The PACSystems High Availability solutions provide a scaleable, synchronized, hot-standby, redundant control platform, with transparent process switchover to ensure uptime in essential applications. This fast switchover has been measured at up to five times faster than other systems with large data transfers in time critical applications, helping users to realize up to 20 percent more production capacity, according to the company.
These solutions provide synchronized redundancy for any module in a control chain capable of bringing operations to a halt. Should any part of a controller fail, its backup counterpart automatically assumes control. There is virtually no overhead added to the control application, making switchover fast and transparent. The control process and human-machine interface/supervisory control and data acquisition (HMI/SCADA) applications never see a “bump” during a process switchover operation, says GE Fanuc. This functionality maximizes data capture, minimizes system restarts and protects equipment, assuring maximum process productivity.