Invensys OpsManage11 kicks off in Paris

…. an instant personal first impression of some of the events from the last few days from Nick Denbow, Editor of the Industrial Automation INSIDER newsletter. More info will follow in the newsletter for November, and maybe December too. http://www.iainsider.co.uk

The OpsManage11 customer and partner 2011 worldwide series of events organized by Invensys Operations Management and their global sponsor, Microsoft, kicked off with a well attended Europe, Africa and Russian (EURA) region meeting in France. Held at the modern CNIT conference centre, in the La Défense area of Paris, from 2nd to 4th November, the attendance totalled 905 delegates, significantly up on last year, with over half of these being current or potential customers and users of Invensys products and systems. There were also separate pre- and post-conference sessions for the sales partners and distributors of the major product lines within Invensys Operations Management (IOM), such as Eckardt, Eurotherm and Foxboro, which also contained some customer presentations describing successful applications: plus there was also a process systems safety management event.

Recognizing that most attendees know IOM via one of their major brands, the conference sessions were organized this year into tracks describing the developments, applications and roadmaps for each of these brands, as well as being cross-referenced into the occupational roles that would find the individual presentation of interest. Throughout the conference the ability of the InFusion enterprise control system to combine the capabilities of the existing installed customer systems and equipment investments into one holistic plant, production and business control system was stressed. This was said to enable the user to obtain optimal business profitability, including control, asset, productivity, environment and safety excellence.

Spot-me, if you can!

The OpsManage11 event featured a new approach to dealing with all the inevitable paperwork and internal conference notices, as well as introduced a better way of locating lost or wandering delegates: the Microsoft Spot-me communicator! With one of these allocated to each delegate, this wifi device allowed internal messaging in the conference and nearby hotels, business card swaps, and should (fingers crossed) after the event (but not quite fast enough to be used in this report) provide all the requested presentations to be downloaded to a personal website! Another useful feature, they say, was to be able to locate a selected conference delegate, using a radar type display on the screen, when they were within about 10 meters of the device. They showed up as a flashing green dot! One or two people were seen walking around like robots following their screen displays…..

Cloud-powered Exhibition

Most of the exhibition stand displays of the software and systems were shown on thin-client based screens and keyboards linked to programmes hosted in cloud computers. This led to a discussion about virtualization, and IOM stressed that all their software systems have been thoroughly tested for operation in a virtual environment, whether using VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V, and this work has been constant over the last five years: it was essential for them to be able to meet the requirements of their customers.

At OpsManage11, one of the major product launches was of ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and Workflow 2012 software. In the full description, the ArchestrA System Platform 2012 is said to provide “A single, scalable and open platform for the entire spectrum of automation and information applications, addressing the business and functional needs of industrial automation, operations and information personnel. Its plant-model based, integrated configuration environment provides a logical representation of the physical processes being controlled and supervised, enabling rapid configuration and deployment of component object-based industrial applications. When deployed, the software improves performance; strengthens security; simplifies installation; increases operator and engineering productivity and efficiency; and supports new high-availability disaster recovery implementations using Windows Server Hyper-V virtualisation from Microsoft. In addition, ArchestrA System Platform 2012 software supports all the latest remote desktop services that are part of Windows Server 2008 R2.”

Within this the interesting aspect is that now even ArchestrA high availability systems can now be hosted on Hyper-V virtual servers, providing a changeover between servers that takes less than 45 seconds between servers: and systems can run up to at least four separate servers to create a multiple fall-over back-up, for example for the extremes of reliability that might be needed on a nuclear power plant.

“Many Windows Server Hyper-V customers in manufacturing and processing need to integrate legacy automation, monitoring and reporting systems across different locations,” said Manlio Vecchiet, director of product management, Windows Server and Virtualization, at Microsoft. “We are pleased that to address this, Invensys Operations Management has created ArchestrA System Platform 2012. By supporting the full spectrum of Windows Server Hyper-V capabilities, Invensys is enabling the flexibility and technology their customers need to achieve real-time business optimisation.”

Intelligent Marshalling on Foxboro I/A

IOM announced a new evolution of the Foxboro I/A Series system in Paris, which had a press release distinctly labelled as “For release on 8th November”, so I won’t publish all that! This release includes the innovative intelligent marshalling concept introduced on the Foxboro I/A Series DCS, which is a field interface module that is a plug in replacement for existing I/A series interfaces, which to date were only available as analogue or digital or NAMUR interfaces, in single purpose modules. The new output module can be analogue 0-20mA or 4-20mA inputs or outputs, powered or unpowered, digital inputs or outputs, NAMUR connection, or analogue HART configured, on any of the 8 sets of terminals available for each module. The function of each set of terminals is then configured, either locally or remotely, from the I/A series keyboard and software. For some reason the unit is called an FBM247 IO card, with FBM relating to a “Universal Fieldbus Module”, but this is specifically an eight channel IO card for unique devices.

Pinching a quote from the press release, Thad Frost, director of fieldbus product management, said “Unlike other control offerings on the market, with Intelligent Marshalling, each channel is software configurable on a per-point basis, with no extra hardware required. All configurations can be done at the workstation, meaning you can securely configure a point from anywhere in the world. It is a simple elegant solution that eliminates traditional marshalling panels as we know them.”

Each pair of intelligent modules share one of the separate wiring termination assemblies, the place where you actually connect the wires from the field. These offer an option: for each channel to connect to a powered or unpowered connection terminal, as I understand it, so I am still trying to figure out how you change that from a remote work station. When we get the answer, I will add it here!

Invensys half year results

The Invensys Group half year results were published on November 4th, the first day of the main conference, so Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and ceo of IOM, commented on these in his keynote speech and in separate discussions later. IOM is undoubtedly the star in the Invensys crown at the moment.

Group revenue was GBP1244m for the first half of FY12 (to 30 September 2011), up 8% at constant exchange rates on the first half of FY11: order intake was down 4% overall.

IOM sales revenues were up 21% for the half year at GBP618m, driven by a doubling of the income from large projects, now 17% of the business. Orders were up 4% at GBP599m: however, during FY2011 there had been a significant order from China Nuclear in this half, boosting the overall order intake level – by excluding this contract value, the growth in base standard business for FY12 first half is “strong across all regions and business segments”, and around 20%.

A little bit of maths on the figures presented above shows the China Nuclear element of the FY11 orders to represent GBP76m. Recognizing the significance of this nuclear business to IOM, with bids and contracts in China and growing numbers elsewhere, IOM have formed a separate nuclear business to be responsible for the business strategy, all commercial activities and the operational delivery of major nuclear projects around the world. The Invensys statement suggests that nuclear business represented 9% of the sales revenue in H1FY2012, ie GBP56m.

Other interesting IOM background facts quoted were:

IOM signed two contracts with TNK-BP, the third largest oil company in Russia, to provide comprehensive automation solutions and services to help drive control, environment and safety excellence at their Saratov 7mtpa oil refinery in western Russia.

IOM also signed a multi-million dollar contract to implement an integrated refinery information system (IRIS) for Saudi Aramco Total Refining & Petrochemical Company (SATORP), a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Total France. In a strategic alliance with Wipro Arabia, IOM will provide an integrated InFusion enterprise control system solution for the 400,000bpd refinery being constructed in Jubail.

OpsManage schedule

The OpsManage schedule is daunting for the presenters, but encompasses all the major markets around the world, to bring the same message to all existing and potential customers.

After the Paris event, OpsManage moves next week to Nashville in the USA, for the period 8-10 November.

14-16 November the show visits Queensland in Australia,

15 November it is on display in Tokyo,

20-21 November is the turn of the UAE show for the Middle East,

24 November it is in Seoul, South Korea,

9 December in Kaohsiung, Taiwan,

14 December in Mumbai, India

For further news and analysis from OpsManage11, please see the INSIDER newsletters for November and December 2011, available on subscription via www.iainsider.co.uk

 

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