Keith Larson is group publisher responsible for Putman Media's manufacturing automation titles Control, Control Design and Industrial Networking. Corporately, he also as serves vice president of content across Putman Media's other magazine titles. Email him at [email protected] or check out his Google+ profile.Consistent with the event theme of "This Changes Everyone," the exhibit space at last week's Invensys Foxboro & Triconex Global Client Conference is organized around functional pillars designed to highlight how the company's process automation, instrumentation and safety technologies can help all types of individuals perform at a higher level.
Suitably situated in the center of the exhibit space, the "Operate" station demonstrates how Invensys is "re-inventing and simplifying the user interface," says Steve Tiller, technical sales consultant for Invensys. On display are the company's new situation awareness graphics that leverage best practices in color and pattern recognition to improve operators' understanding of process conditions. The demo also features six virtualized applications running on a single physical server, including thin client operator displays. The company's powerful new CP280 control processors and USB annunciator keyboards also are in action.
Over in the "Manage" center, Invensys' recently acquired SmartGlance software is front and center. Now part of the Wonderware portfolio, SmartGlance provides an easy way to provide remote and mobile device access to just about any process data or KPI, said Scott Bump, senior director of common architecture for Invensys. Secure, cloud-based servers send reports to subscribers' smart phones or tablets automatically or on demand. I asked if it's as easy to set up as Gmail on my iPhone — which takes mere moments. "It's easier," Bump said. "Even a CEO can do it."
The "Enlightened Plant" Expo Hall demonstrates how Invensys technologies can help improve the productivity and decision-making of many different engineering and operations professionals.Instrumentation, of course, remains a foundational element of Invensys' "enlightened plant" vision, and over the in "Measure" kiosk the capabilities of the company's new Field Device Manager (FDM) are on display. The new FDM improves technician productivity by displaying device error messages "in plain text," says Rogier van Dijk, development product manager. Rather than displaying some cryptic error code, "FDM puts useful information into context," van Dijk says.
Conference attendees with aging systems likely will find a cure for what ails them in the "Service" center, where upgrade and migration solutions are on display. "Asset retention is particularly important today," says Graham Bennett, DCS migration consultant. "With our migration and upgrade solutions we can retain configuration changes that date all the back to the 1980s," Bennett says. "Users can bring forward what they have now, and add new functionality later," he says. Invensys' Remote Watch and Customer FIRST support and services programs also are featured.
Over at the "Protect" kiosk, the new Safety View visualization tool, which provides operator console visibility into the status of the company Triconex safety systems is highlighted. Alarms and bypass management tools, organized by lines of equipment, are intended to help operators make better decisions, says Al Fung, director of product marketing, safety and critical control.
Technology on display at the "Engineer" center is designed to scratch the productivity itches of both system support and project engineering personas. New configuration tools for the project engineer are designed to leverage control strategy templates to avoid unnecessarily duplicative work as well as enforce consistency and discipline, according to Raymond Baker, technical sales consultant for Invensys. Dynamic SAMA displays are intended to provide a more intuitive understanding of how control logic is executing in real-time. "This can be especially useful at 2 o'clock in the morning, when an operator can't understand why his pump won't start," Baker explains.