I received this press release from Honeywell Process Solutions last week while at the ISA Marketing and Sales Summit. Now I’m on a partial vacation, but I was thinking about this while relaxing at the pool. (Yes, I can relax and think at the same time–it’s walking and chewing gum that’s challenging.)

Honeywell has released what it calls “the process industry’s first vendor-neutral process control suite, which allows plant operators to centrally monitor and control both Honeywell and non-Honeywell process control systems within their plants.” The process control suite lets operators and management break out of the information silos that can often occur with Advanced Process Control (APC) systems.

I do need to point out, though, that this is probably not the first–at least in concept. Perhaps at some level of definition, it could be labelled first. Perhaps from the point of view of Honeywell specific software. On the other hand, Invensys’ InFusion has done this for quite some time–once again, it may depend upon drilling into some finite definitions. ABB’s 800xA system was developed to allow it to bring together the many DCS systems it had acquired over time.

This is not to denigrate the new product, however, as this release definitely shows the power of a trend in process control. Engineers are just not ready to “rip and replace” DCS systems, yet. But they do need to upgrade usability. Since many plants have areas with different DCSs, a software solution to bring the systems together and then upgrade performance, reporting, advanced control and many other features makes a lot of sense.

The release states that the new system is suitable for all industrial applications by revolutionizing performance monitoring with ability to span not only multiple APC technologies, but also multiple processing facilities, giving consistent performance benchmarking across the enterprise and ensuring proper corrective action is taken when and where necessary. HPS studies have shown the solution can increase service factor and application utilization by 25 percent while reducing troubleshooting time by up to 50 percent, allowing proactive maintenance practices to improve utilization and increase application service factors.

The suite includes three software products: Honeywell Loop Scout, which gives control engineers the ability to identify and correct poorly performing control loops; Honeywell Profit Expert, delivering multivariable controller monitoring for Honeywell’s Profit Controller; and Control Performance Monitor, an application that monitors, identifies, diagnoses and remedies regulatory and APC asset issues throughout the plant.

“This new software suite is a first in the process control industry, which means that our customers will have unprecedented flexibility in the management of their assets and the most holistic view yet of their plant operations,” said Donald Morrison, senior product marketing manager, Honeywell Process Solutions. “The recent addition of Matrikon to the Honeywell portfolio brings together the vendor independence of Matrikon’s monitoring technology with Honeywell’s expertise in the deployment of Profit Suite applications.”

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