Over 600 engineers, managers and other assorted interested people descended upon the Hilton Americas Conference Center in Houston September 21 through 24 for the annual Invensys Operations Management Client Conference. This one was both the continuation of users conferences held for years and also the inauguration of the entirely new division of Invensys plc, the London-based conglomerate.

IOM, based in Plano, Texas, combines Invensys Process Systems (Avantis, Foxboro, SimSci-Esscor and Triconex), Eurotherm and Wonderware. New chief executive officer, Sudipta Bhattacharya, inherited the task of forging a new company from all of these parts. The company focuses on two customer segments–continuous process industries and hybrid industries. The former includes oil & gas, chemicals, hydrocarbon processing. Companies comprising hybrid industries would be found in food & beverage, consumer packaged goods and similar sectors.

Given some of the uncertainty of past company leadership as well as the current economy, the atmosphere of the conference was charged with energy and sessions were packed. Employees who spoke with me were uniformly enthused with their new roles and outlook.

There were several products announced at the conference:

EyeSim virtual reality immersive training solution, claimed to be the first industrial virtual reality training solution based on first-principle simulation and augmented reality, enables engineers and operators to see and safely interact with the plant and the processes they control.

Part of the companyâo[dot accent]s new I/A Series 8.5 suite of offerings, the cyber security solution includes control system enhancements and consulting services that support compliance requirements of major new cyber security standards, such as those put forth by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is adopting NERC standards CIP-001 through CIP-009, compelling companies to become NERC compliant by the year 2010. This means having to learn the requirements, design and implement the policies and procedures and, in some cases, install additional equipment.

New features of its I/A Series distributed control system (DCS) are claimed to enable easier and faster control in the field (CIF). Invensys passed the requirements of the Fieldbus Foundationâo[dot accent]s Host Interoperability Support Test in August, and has implemented many engineering and performance innovations beyond those requirements to help clients receive maximum benefit from CIF deployment.

“Our Avantis.PRO 5.0 software is a comprehensive enterprise asset management (EAM) solution that allows our clients to organize, track and understand asset utilization, performance and availability, as well as to manage maintenance activity and costs over time,” said Kim Custeau, IOM director of product marketing. “The updated solution enables role-based, online collaboration and features Microsoft Click-Once Technology and other enhancements that will help clients manage the complexities of their business, improve their asset reliability and reduce their overall operating costs.”

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