Although advanced process control (APC) can greatly benefit plant performance, users often find it difficult to manage. Invensys is tackling this issue with a new version of its SimSci APC software, aimed at bringing ease of use to next-generation users. To be released this spring, SimSci APC 2014 will enable customers to shorten their plant testing and commissioning schedules, and improve plant operations and personnel performance.
“Advanced process control can result in tremendous improvements in plant efficiency and performance, but it is largely underutilized, in part because some potential users find it too much of a challenge,” said Peter Reynolds, senior consultant with the ARC Advisory Group. “Invensys addresses this issue head on, with new graphical interfaces, intuitive workflows and custom calculation engines. Making optimization easier will empower both seasoned APC users and the next generation of engineers and operators to address a wider range of process conditions and business challenges.”
Focused on ease of use, the new release upgrades the calculation capabilities of the company’s Connoisseur APC offering with a modernized graphical user interface (GUI). The new SimSci APC 2014 software is structured around an enhanced, natural workflow that includes full support for model case file development and a connection wizard for faster integration to any distributed control system (DCS) and programmable logic controller (PLC). The software will be even more tightly integrated in future releases of the Foxboro Evo DCS, providing enhanced simulation capability.
SimSci APC 2014 software extends the capabilities of traditional APC offerings to garner more control over the process. A new feature called Director allows the control engineer to build custom calculations or add custom supporting controller functions that augment the user’s experience. Natural workflows speed up model building, configuration and deployment, and additional features make the software suitable for a complete APC project implementation. These advancements help the transitioning workforce more easily build and maintain APC applications, and can cut implementation and commissioning time by up to 50 percent.
“The software was developed with the end user in mind, and it includes several well-thought-out features that help achieve better and more sustainable control of the process,” said Tom Kinney, vice president of Invensys’ optimization business.
Kinney pointed to several key features of the new software:
- A built-in auto-discovery wizard captures the specific syntax of any DCS for faster buildup of tag connections.
- An automated testing feature provides faster, more flexible configuration.
- The software is tablet ready.
- New click-and-drag functionality allows users to select the best models from many scenarios.
- Customizable user-defined functions improve how users can cope with changing process conditions.
“The end result is that SimSci APC 2014 provides a better, friendlier and more flexible user experience than traditional APC applications, making operators and engineers far more effective and productive,” Kinney added.