Using technology to help plant managers and plant teams make their plants more profitable. In fact, they can even track and prove their profitability enhancements.
The Foxboro User Group met this week in Foxborough, MA at the company headquarters. Aside from the opportunity to meet with a number of company executives for in-depth discussions, there were two significant news releases. And, by the way, Foxboro claims a 100% return on investment with its new DCS in less than a year.
Why it’s important: This signals the culmination of a lot of strategic thinking at Foxboro about helping operators and others in a plant make decisions based on profitability as well as operating parameters.
First the new DCS.
Schneider Electric has improved the capabilities of its EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS, the company’s flagship distributed control system. EcoStruxure is Schneider Electric’s IoT-enabled, open and interoperable system architecture and platform.
With patented, customizable real-time accounting (RTA) models built in, the EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS not only allows the industrial workforce to evaluate the real-time financial performance of an industrial operation directly at the equipment asset level, it also empowers them to more easily identify the impact their actions and decisions have on the profitability of the operations they control. The RTA models can be manipulated and adapted to suit a variety of industrial operations across multiple segments, enabling a wide range of customers to reap far more value from their existing systems.
“For the most part, by the time business managers receive their monthly updates from whatever enterprise resource planning systems they use, the information is no longer relevant to the operational business decisions they need to make, or should have made,” said Peter Martin, vice president, Innovation and Marketing, Process Automation, Schneider Electric. “The EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS breaks the mold because our RTA models help control value asset to asset, all the way up the enterprise. By aligning process control with the hierarchy of the plant, we can provide far more visibility into the financial performance of every plant asset and asset set. That allows plant personnel to understand the impact their decisions have on the business and business leaders to understand the impact their decisions have on the operation, in real time.”
Along with the RTA models, the continuously current EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS features high-capacity, high-availability control processors; more powerful, fit-for-purpose I/O; intuitive, role-based engineering tools; and enterprise-wide analytical tools and capabilities. Additionally, its hardened cybersecure design and secure integration with the company’s market-leading Triconex safety systems protect the facility’s critical assets and allow for continuous production. Moreover, its automated, enterprise-wide, real-time condition monitoring and predictive maintenance capabilities minimize unplanned shutdowns, maximize uptime and lower maintenance costs by 30 percent or more.
EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS works in tandem with EcoStruxure Profit Advisor, Schneider Electric’s new software solution that applies the company’s RTA models to help the industrial workforce diagnose and analyze the profitability of processes throughout the plant. Whereas EcoStruxure Profit Advisor connects to any process historian to mine both historical and real-time data, the EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS takes the next step by building the algorithms into the process controllers themselves, thereby extending real-time accounting capabilities to every point in the process.
Of great interest to maintenance and reliability organizations, but also plant managers, is the improved Maintenance Advisor and Condition Advisor. Working in tandem, these bring information from the field relative to the condition of assets. This information can be used for information or integrated into workflow for actions.
The company’s new EcoStruxure Maintenance Advisor software, with embedded EcoStruxure Condition Advisor, bridges the gap between operations and maintenance, providing predictive maintenance and decision support for plant-wide assets.
Delivered in a single unified dashboard, EcoStruxure Maintenance Advisor monitors the real-time health of plant-wide assets to detect abnormal operating conditions. It then automatically provides actionable, easy-to-understand alerts with the proper context, along with potential reasons for the abnormal condition and possible actions to rectify it.
New EcoStruxure Condition Advisor for OPC DA enables real-time, automated condition monitoring of any OPC DA-compliant asset, such as intelligent electronic devices, motor starters and drives. This new capability complements existing Condition Advisors, which monitor the condition of Fieldbus Foundation, HART and Profibus process instruments.