Eleven automation suppliers presented to the industry trade press at the annual ARC Advisory Group Forum on February 6, 2012. At a half-hour each with one break, that adds up to a six-hour marathon for editors. Here are some highlights.

Invensys Expands Virtualization Support

Invensys Operations Management has expanded its certification for virtualization technology, claiming to be the first industrial automation provider to be certified for high availability, disaster recovery and fault tolerance in supervisory control applications leveraging both the VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization platforms. The company’s ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and Wonderware InTouch 2012 software are now certified for the latest VMware solutions, including VMware vSphere version 5.0 and ESXi version 5.0 for mission-critical applications.

“Historically, high-availability and disaster-recovery solutions in supervisory control systems were expensive to implement, not only because of hardware and software costs, but also because of additional administrative burdens,” said Maryanne Steidinger, director of product marketing.

Virtualization software transforms or “virtualizes” a computer’s hardware, e.g., the CPU, hard drive and network controller, to create a virtual computer that can run its own operating system and applications just like a “real” computer. By sharing hardware resources with each other, multiple operating systems can run simultaneously on a single physical computer. And because it has the CPU, memory and network devices of the “host,” a virtual machine is completely compatible with all standard operating systems, applications and drivers. With virtualization, users can safely run several operating systems and applications at the same time on a single computer, with each having access to the resources it needs when it needs them.

PAS Releases Operating Limit Awareness App

PAS announced the release of inBound, an application that makes plant operators continually aware of safe operating limits. Safe operating limit information is maintained by various groups within the plant and is not readily available to operators. Thus operators are generally unaware of the design and safety limitations of the processes they operate.

inBound is a layered application for PAS’ PlantState Suite alarm management software. It aggregates, validates, and displays physical constraints such as a vessel’s Maximum Allowable Working Pressure (MAWP), design constraints such as relief valve settings, and safe operating limits. These constraints may be manually entered, calculated, or imported into inBound from engineering applications and databases.

inBound enables engineers to develop a boundary hierarchy and automatically detects and reports deviations from that hierarchy, such as an alarm setting that is higher than a pressure-relief valve setting. This capability provides assurance that configuration parameter changes such as alarm limits and instrument ranges remain within the safe operating envelope of the plant.

Yokogawa DTSX200 Distributed Temperature Sensor

Calling it the first Distributed Temperature Sensor for Oil/Gas and Industrial Production
Operations Developed by a Production Control System Manufacturer, the Yokogawa DTSX200 distributed temperature sensor (DTS) is used to monitor temperature, leaks, and flow in oil/gas downhole, pipeline, LNG/refinery tank/reactor vessel, fire detection, and other industrial thermal applications. Released in October 2011, the DTSX200 is the first distributed temperature sensor with a STARDOM field controller option, which improves production efficiency by working together with production control systems. The DTSX200 is being field tested for oil/gas in-well applications by some major oil companies. Yokogawa developed the sensor using optical measurement technologies that it acquired over the years in the measurement field, and has combined it with the STARDOM field controller for additional measurement, control, and data communication capabilities.

Apprion Introduces Collaboration and Mustering Apps

Apprion unveiled ION Collaboration and ION Mustering, both integrated into the ION System and presented in ION’s unified dashboard interface. ION Collaboration is a real-time communication system that allows work teams to communicate collaboratively with message streams filtered according to topic, avoiding unnecessary distractions. Similar to consumer-oriented social networking systems, plant, field, or control room personnel can post critical messages on a topic-specific “stream,” so that all members of a team are up to date on events and activities related to a particular process.

A part of the ION Location family, the ION Mustering Application provides wireless technology and the integrated ION dashboard to verify the location and status of all personnel during an emergency. The solution leverages real-time personnel tracking via WiFi, GPS, or RFID Tags and visual confirmation of the safety of every individual within a facility, providing a much faster, accurate and more efficient system than traditional manual processes. When an alarm is activated, all safety wardens can immediately identify which personnel are already in the mustering area and who might be missing. Personnel icons on regional maps show specific location as well as a visible trail of recent movement.

FDI Cooperation

FDT Group, Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, PROFIBUS & PROFINET International and OPC Foundation found FDI Cooperation LLC to establish a common technology for device information management in the process industries.

These foundations have combined their efforts to form a joint company named FDI Cooperation, LLC (a limited liability company under US law). FDI Cooperation, LLC is headed by a “Board of Managers”, which is composed of the representatives of the involved organizations, as well as managers of global automation suppliers including ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell, Invensys, Siemens, and Yokogawa. “FDI LLC marks an unprecedented level of cooperation among suppliers and foundations to achieve a single integration technology for the benefit of end users”, says Achim Laubenstein, managing director of the FDI Cooperation.

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