Schneider Electric LogoThere were two other announcements at the Schneider Electric Global Automation Conference last week. One ties to the Industrial Internet of Things and the other to helping process control systems work better, longer.

PAC for IoT

First is a high-end Modicon M580 Ethernet programmable automation controller (ePAC). It features hot standby functionality (HSBY), native Ethernet, and embedded cybersecurity in its core. Schneider claims it as the first PAC built for the Industrial Internet of Things, but there have been many controllers with built-in Ethernet released over many years.

The built-in cyber security is interesting since that is the claim to fame for the recently announced Bedrock Automation controller. Obviously, this is a trend worth noting. And a future comparison of how each of those achieves its goal should become a to do item for follow up.

“We’re excited to introduce major innovation in automation with the new Modicon M580 ePAC,” said Jose Bonomo, vice president, offer management, Hybrid Systems, Schneider Electric Industry Business. “Cutting-edge functionality allows us to drive true customer benefit with a future-proof solution designed to meet the most pressing industry challenges.”

Additional features include reinforced cyber security through the AchillesTM Level 2 and ISA Certifications; native time stamping solutions; extension of architecture change during the run; and new topology capabilities.

Advanced system management

The company also has acquired LimeWare, a provider of system analysis and auditing software for Schneider Electric‟s Foxboro Evo process automation and I/A Series distributed control systems. The acquisition provides foxray software to help customers pinpoint and address critical industry challenges.

“Acquiring LimeWare and its foxray software is an integral part of our strategy to help our customers improve their operational integrity and operational insight, while future-proofing their operations,” said Gary Freburger, president of Schneider Electric‟s process automation business. “With additional investment in our flagship process automation offerings, we have even more power to address critical challenges around safety, reliability and efficiency. The ability to more easily tackle pain points, while driving value across the entire process automation chain, is one of the big ideas we are discussing with our customers in Dallas this week, and it remains a major differentiator for our process automation business.”

LimeWare was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Its foxray system management software complements the functionality of Schneider Electric‟s Foxboro Evo and I/A Series process automation systems. The solution offers additional capability for configuration management, alarm management, operator action analysis and overall documentation. It includes:

  • Change tracking with a complete change management workflow process;
  • Graphics visualization of the control block loops;
  • Integrity checks to solve all DCS configuration issues;
  • Scheduled reports;
  • Alarms and operator action management and tracking;
  • I/O and FBM spare reserve and tracking;
  • An advance query engine that can quickly fetch any DCS information.

“foxray software is the go-to tool for working with our control system database on a daily basis,” said Scott McWaters, process control engineer, Hunt Refining Company. “From easily locating and reserving spare I/O to improved troubleshooting and insight with the „where used‟ function, system health reporting, operator action reports, alarm history, inhibited alarm tracking and many other functions, foxray has greatly increased our efficiency. The software has been instrumental in our recent alarm rationalization efforts, and the alarm shelving tool will be used to help cut down on the number of call outs to our on-call engineers for nuisance alarm silencing. This contributes to our overall confidence in the integrity of our operation.”

LimeWare and its offerings will be fully integrated into Schneider Electric‟s process automation business and will continue to be managed by its existing executive team.

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