On Eve of Foxboro User Group, Invensys Announces New Products

Aug. 15, 2012
A new program is designed to help clients modernize and improve the performance of their aging control systems and other plant assets. The company has also has extended its virtualization technology offerings.

Modernization Program for Improving Performance of Aging Plant Assets

The program from Invensys Operations Management (iom.invensys.com) guides clients in justifying modernization costs, reducing risk, deploying advanced technology and approaching plant upgrades strategically and systematically.

“Today’s manufacturers are facing new, more complicated challenges, even as their equipment and workforce continue to age,” said Dave Gaertner, global consulting director, Invensys Operations Management. “In order to comply with increasingly complex regulatory guidelines, minimize downtime and maintain safe, environmentally friendly operations, many companies are seeking to modernize their plants with a holistic view of their business requirements instead of making like-for-like equipment replacements. Taking advantage of their existing assets, modernization allows companies to link their business and production processes; remove traditional barriers to collaboration; and empower their most valuable resource--their people.”

According to Invensys, a holistic approach to modernization can provide the clearest, most cost-effective pathway to improving plant efficiencies, increasing production rates and sustaining profitability. Under the Program, Invensys will deliver full-scope consulting; project management; engineering; installation and maintenance services; and products and solutions that minimize the risk of operating obsolete technologies. The company’s hardware and software offerings address all operational areas of the plant, including instrumentation, I/O, HMI, safety and critical control systems, turbo machinery assets, process safety lifecycle components, cyber security systems and other cross-enterprise assets.

“Invensys consultants carefully reviewed our issues and the results we wanted to achieve, then they quantified them based on information such as replacement power costs and other forms of ROI,” said Mike Hull, a computer controls supervisor at Arizona-based Salt River Project, the third-largest public power utility in the United States. “Furthermore, Invensys evaluated which of their products and services could address these issues and achieve our desired results. Invensys Operations Management’s modernization program is a game-changer in the industry.”

Invensys Extends Virtualization to the Control Layer

In a second release, Invensys Operations Management announced it has extended its virtualization technology offerings. Initially focused on the Microsoft HyperV and VMware platforms within its software product lines, the new Invensys offering now includes thin client support and intelligent solutions for the company’s Foxboro I/A Series distributed control system. With a focus on lowering total cost of ownership and promoting overall project delivery excellence, the new offerings will help customers cut implementation costs; reduce risks; shorten project schedules; improve scheduling integrity; strengthen the ability to respond to project changes; and improve global collaboration.

“Unlike automation software alone, control and safety systems are more frequently delivered to manufacturing customers as turnkey solutions when the customer undertakes an installation or an upgrade. On average, those projects take six to 18 months to complete, depending on their size and complexity,” said Gary Freburger, president of the company’s systems business. “However, virtualizing many of our control solutions, including our Intelligent Marshalling and Intelligent Engineering workbench solutions, significantly reduces implementation costs, cuts project risks, improves scheduling and enhances change agility throughout the project lifecycle. It not only shortens the implementation process, it improves collaboration across the implementation team.”

"This represents an important step forward for Invensys and the industry,” said Barry Young, principal analyst, ARC Advisory Group (www.arcweb.com). “Invensys’ new offering supports a three-point strategy that simplifies efforts and reduces risk when delivering major turnkey projects. This end-to-end concept stands to radically alter the way the industry works with major project customers because it provides greater change agility, more scheduling advantages and deeper collaboration across the implementation team when addressing change orders and meeting production deadlines.”

Invensys is now able to deliver a suite of hardware offerings that are “tuned” to maximize the advantages of virtualization technology. Along with Intelligent Marshalling and Intelligent Engineering services, the offerings include a new range of servers specifically selected and qualified as an optimized virtual machine-hosting appliance; a new range of solid-state operator client terminals; thin client management software; a USB modular alarm annunciator keyboard; virtual machine-hosting software; recommendations on cyber-security best practices; guest operating system licenses; and support for Invensys Operations Management’s control and safety offerings that can operate specifically within approved virtualized architectures. All of these are managed within standard product-lifecycle management policies.

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