Emerson buys Virgo Valves in India

Emerson ha  announced it has signed an agreement to purchase Virgo Valves and Controls, Ltd, a leading manufacturer of ball valves and automation systems based in Pune, India.  

A privately held company, Virgo serves diverse markets worldwide, including the oil and gas, power and mining industries. In addition to ball valves, Virgo also manufactures high performance butterfly valves and severe-service valves for critical applications. Virgo will operate within Emerson Process Management’s final controls business, serving customers in the energy and process-related industries.

“Virgo’s leadership in the engineered, on-off valve market is a great strategic fit within our business and strongly complements our Fisher® control valve business,” said Steve Sonnenberg, Emerson’s executive vice president who heads its Emerson Process Management segment. “Their ‘customer first’ focus on meeting or exceeding customer expectations in innovation, quality, performance and on-time delivery, aligns perfectly with the solutions that customers have come to expect from Emerson. We are excited about the synergy between our two companies and the opportunities for global business growth.”

Mahesh Desai, co-founder and chairman of Virgo, citing the advantages of Virgo being part of Emerson, said: “The alliance with Emerson, and in particular the Fisher line of products, is a continuation of our growth as a global brand. We appreciate the support of customers, employees and other stakeholders that have been part of our company.”

Since starting operations in 1986, Virgo has focused on the manufacture and sales of engineered on-off valve products, and today has manufacturing locations in Europe, the United States and India. Its sales in more than 60 countries last year were about $250 million USD, more than 80 per cent outside India. The deal is expected to close early next month.

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Merger of HART and FF discussed

The HART Communication Foundation  and the Fieldbus Foundation have announced that they have entered into discussions on the potential for merging the two organizations into a single industry foundation dedicated to the needs of intelligent device communications in the world of process automation. 

The Chairmen of the two organizations – Mr. Mark Schumacher of the HART Communication Foundation and Dr. Gunther Kegel of Fieldbus Foundation – issued the following statement on behalf of their Boards of Directors:

“We believe combining the resources and capabilities of each foundation into a single organization will provide significant benefits to both end users and suppliers. For end users, a single organization that combines the power of both the Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation would provide a full solution that addresses every conceivable aspect of field communications and intelligent device management for the process industries. For suppliers, a single organization would create efficiencies in resource utilization, consistency of processes and procedures, and would deliver significant improvements in member services and support.”

The HART Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation have worked extensively together in the past and have a long history of cooperation. The two organizations worked together on the development of common international standards such as Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and, most recently, the development of the Field Device Integration (FDI) specification.  The merger offers significant potential to harmonize many aspects of the two protocols, making it easier for end users and suppliers to implement the technology and obtain the full benefits of each technology in plant operations and maintenance.

In preliminary discussions, the presidents of the two organizations – Ted Masters of the HART Communication Foundation and Richard J. Timoney of the Fieldbus Foundation – added that many synergies already exist and closed by commenting “We are both confident that today’s decision to investigate the merger of these two organizations provides momentum for a major step forward in the evolution of intelligent devices and the world of industrial communications.”

The HART Communication Foundation (www.hartcomm.org) is the technology owner and standards organization for the HART Communication Protocol. Founded in 1993, the Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit, membership organization providing support for the HART Communication technology and standards worldwide. The Foundation is supported by a global membership of more than 292 companies. HART Communication is the leading technology for process measurement and control with more than 40 million HART-enabled devices installed worldwide.

Invensys official comment re InduSoft

At 2pm EDT in the USA Invensys released this following statement ref InduSoft. The release makes no mention of Schneider, or any comment from them, which I suppose is reasonable. But Schneider of course acquired Citect some years ago, which maybe could have provided some of the same style of software as InduSoft? We have to wait and see, but here is the offical news:

Invensys, a leading supplier of state-of-the-art industrial software, systems and control equipment to the world’s major industries, has acquired InduSoft, a provider of HMI and embedded intelligent device software for the automation market. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, and founded in 1997, InduSoft has delivered more than 250,000 HMI software licenses to more than 700 customers worldwide, primarily industrial computer manufacturers and machine and system builders, who embed InduSoft’s software into their products.

“The acquisition of InduSoft represents the continuing execution of our strategy to strengthen our portfolio through inorganic means, enabling us to target additional segments across our portfolio,” said Ravi Gopinath, president of Invensys’ software business. “InduSoft strengthens and broadens our leading software solutions portfolio, particularly in the embedded HMI segment, and provides a continuing driver for growth. They have a proven and experienced team who we are very happy to welcome to Invensys.”

Known for its easy-to-use software and friendly, high-quality customer support, InduSoft has won multiple awards in its segment, including Control Engineering magazine’s prestigious Engineers’ Choice Award in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013, InduSoft took the magazine’s top prize in three categories: Software Applications and Monitoring; HMI Software; and Mobile Apps for Controls, Automation, Instrumentation.

“Combined with Invensys’ existing software offerings, our capabilities and expertise in the OEM and machine-building segments allow us to provide a broader, end-to-end HMI, SCADA and MES solution to our customers,” said Marcia Gadbois, president of InduSoft. “Together, our software tools will make it easier for them to integrate their information and automation systems. They will continue to work with the same strong InduSoft team, and we will ensure they continue to receive the exceptional products and service they have come to expect from us. But now they will be backed by a company with global capabilities and an excellent worldwide reputation for providing industry-leading HMI, SCADA, historian and advanced applications such as MES software and solutions.”

“With InduSoft we can now offer everything from basic embedded HMI devices to manufacturing operations, asset management and ERP integration,” said Norm Thorlakson, vice president, HMI and supervisory software and solutions, Invensys. “InduSoft technology quickly makes us more competitive and gives us immediate entry to new customers and a stronger OEM sales channel, with a focus on machine builders and embedded systems. We are confident it will make us much more attractive. Wonderware® users will now be able buy industrial devices, machines and computers  with InduSoft software, while companies that are using InduSoft software will be able to expand their solutions with Wonderware supervisory, historian and manufacturing operations management software.”

InduSoft will continue to be managed by its existing executive team, adding employees to Invensys operations in the United States, Brazil and Germany.

Invensys acquires Indusoft

*See the subsequent Invensys release in another post today*

No press release as yet but a newsletter from Indusoft reports an “Exciting Future” now that “Indusoft is now an Invensys company”. Indusoft, based in Austin, Texas, is a supplier of industrial software, such as HMI/SCADA systems. The newsletter, in typical newsletter style, does not give that much information, but as yet nothing has appeared on the Invensys website…..

The text reads:

“It is with great pleasure, and much excitement that we announce Invensys’ acquisition of InduSoft.This partnership was created to work on the strength of both Invensys and InduSoft to serve customers worldwide, and form a stronger framework for developing and supporting the InduSoft products that you know and love.

We aim to offer the fullest range of industrial software solutions on the automation market, and this partnership will supply InduSoft customers with a highly focused platform for HMI applications, interfaces for embedded devices, and intelligent systems, while providing expanded support and better customer relationships. This is an unprecedented opportunity to combine the strengths of both InduSoft and Invensys and work in collaboration with one another, while focusing on each of our core competencies.

The InduSoft team will continue to work together to develop and support InduSoft Web Studio, InduSoft EmbeddedView, and InduSoft CEView. For current users of InduSoft Web Studio, the result of this partnership will be an expansion of global support, as well as the continued development and support of the InduSoft products our customers have used and relied upon for more than a decade.

Our customers and partners are hugely important to the success and growth of InduSoft. As a company, InduSoft has always held customer support, best-of-breed software, and a protection of customer investment as priorities. It was important when discussing this partnership with Invensys to ensure that we could serve and benefit you. We’ve listened, and we’ve worked to ensure that you have the largest number of automation solutions available.

Current InduSoft customers can expect the same level of dedication to support and development as before, and will be able to enjoy the benefits of this acquisition, such as a wider array of products to choose from, and the opportunity to scale up or down for every level of automation. If you currently use InduSoft Web Studio products for high-end SCADA applications, you will continue to have a stable, high-quality platform with a full range of capabilities for industrial automation.

The acquisition of InduSoft by Invensys promises a strong future for the industrial market, and InduSoft is fully committed to developing the most powerful industrial software solutions for machine builders, OEMs, the embedded market, and industrial automation. With the support of Invensys, InduSoft users can look forward to a future full of possibilities.”

Petrofac $120m order from Petronas

International oil and gas services provider Petrofac has signed a US$120m agreement with Petronas, the Malaysian National Oil Company, for the operation and management of two high-specification training facilities that Petrofac is building to support the Petronas workforce capability enhancement programme.

Petrofac is currently constructing two “live” upstream plant training facilities, and a “live” downstream facility, which will supplement existing facilities at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) training academy.

Under the latest phase of the agreement, Petrofac will undertake the ongoing management and operation of the two upstream facilities, which are capable of training 500 delegates each year, for the next five years with an option to extend for a further two years.

The agreement follows an earlier Memorandum of Understanding between Petrofac and Petronas aimed at exploring how the companies could collaborate in competency development and capability building. The operations and management components of the agreement, to be delivered by Petrofac Training Services (PTS), marks the largest contract win in the history of PTS.

Andy Inglis, Chief Executive of Petrofac Integrated Energy Services, commented: “We are delighted that we are continuing to build on the existing relationship with our long-term customer Petronas to support its goal of enhancing Malaysian workforce capability in the oil and gas sector.  Training is a core part of the IES offer and the award of our biggest training contract to date demonstrates our growing scale in an area which international and national oil companies have high on their agendas. The creation of this regional centre of excellence will enable Petronas to ensure the development of a highly-skilled resource pool to meet its own and industry needs now and in the decades ahead.”

E+H invests $40m in US production

Endress+Hauser is set to serve its customers in North and South America with more US-made products. The Swiss specialist for measurement engineering and process automation has invested over 40 million dollars in expanding its plants for flow, level and pressure measurement engineering in Greenwood, Indiana.

Producing, assembling and calibrating at sites all over the world is one of Endress+Hauser’s central business strategies. “We want to move our production as close as possible to our customers,” said Klaus Endress, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group, during the inauguration ceremony for two new buildings in Greenwood, Indiana. “Being close allows us to respond quickly to the special needs and requirements of individual markets and customers.”

One important factor for this concept to work is globally uniform quality standards. “Here in the US we manufacture at the highest level,” stressed Hans-Peter Blaser, Managing Director of the flow engineering plant in Greenwood. An extension to the new building occupied only five years ago has created nearly 8,800 square meters of additional space. “This gives us the chance to increase capacity and to produce additional lines of instruments locally.” The systems for calibrating flowmeters, unique on the continent, have now grown to include the latest technology for gas calibration.

The plant for level and pressure engineering moves into a new building with over 9,800 square meters of floorspace directly next door. “After years of strong growth, this will make us fit for the future,” explained Managing Director John Schnake. The additional production areas will increase the scope of production and will allow more products to be delivered directly from the Greenwood plant. The vacated facilities space will allow for a new visitor and training center for the US sales organization.

American business with Swiss roots
Over the past years Endress+Hauser has strongly grown its market share in the United States. Todd Lucey, Managing Director of the US sales center, believes that one of the key drivers of their success is this expanded local manufacturing capability. “Over 80 percent of the measurement instruments we deliver in the USA today are now made in the USA. And we will continue to grow this share into the future,” he said, adding: “We are a proud American company – with strong Swiss roots.”

Endress+Hauser has had its own sales center in the United States since 1970; for over two decades, the company has also manufactured there – for the US market, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Flow, pressure and temperature measurement devices are produced in Greenwood, Indiana where the US sales center also is headquartered. Endress+Hauser manufactures sensors for liquid analysis in Anaheim, California while the subsidiary SpectraSensors in Houston, Texas, specializing in gas analysis, operates a plant in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Over 700 people work for Endress+Hauser in the United States – a tight network of representatives with another 350 sales engineers and service technicians supporting customers nationwide.

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consult http://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com

Invensys unveils Foxboro Evo

Invensys, a leading supplier of state-of-the-art industrial software, systems and control equipment to the world’s major industries, has unveiled its next-generation process automation system. With advanced tools and applications delivered across a high-speed, fault-tolerant and cyber-secure hardware platform, including the integration of the company’s world-leading Triconex safety system, the Foxboro Evo process automation system was designed to improve operational insight and integrity.

“The three most important ways a process automation vendor can help its customers secure their future is to protect the operational integrity of their plants, enhance the operational insight of its people and enable them to adapt easily and affordably to change,” said Gary Freburger, president of the Invensys systems business. “Our new Foxboro Evo system does that with unrivaled elegance. With more powerful processing capacity and other new, advanced applications, the system allows our customers to uncover new and hidden value from within their operations. This is another automation breakthrough from a company with a 100-year history of delivering innovative technology advancements. We’re excited about what this means for the industry and for our customers, and we look forward to continuing to help them safely achieve their short- and long-term business and operations goals.”

The Foxboro Evo process automation system has evolved directly from pioneering Foxboro I/A Series and Triconex technology, both entrusted to control and protect some of the world’s largest, most complex process facilities and known for their innovative, layered architecture. The system extends this approach through a component object-based platform, which can undergo major upgrades without halting operations.

“We needed to upgrade the vast majority of our DCS, but like most sites, we didn’t have the luxury of a site-wide shutdown to make a full change possible,” said Michael McKenzie, distributed control systems specialist for BP in Brisbane, Australia. “We were facing a substantial obsolescence issue, which we had ranked as a significant risk to ongoing operations, so we needed a solution that would allow us to upgrade components as we needed them, without sacrificing functionality or usability for operators. The new Invensys system allowed for a much easier upgrade of all components and will ensure that we can keep our system well away from obsolescence, so that we’re not required to perform any additional large-scale upgrades.”

Because users can upgrade at their own pace, the Foxboro Evo system delivers the lowest total cost of automation and highest return on assets. Additionally, its new applications improve the ability of plant personnel to contribute toward the success of the business by streamlining and contextualizing the information they need to make the right business decisions at the right time.

“As the pace of global business accelerates, automation technology becomes increasingly important in helping manufacturers focus on finding more value within their operations and automation assets,” said Chris Lyden, senior vice president for Invensys. “If users in the control room and in the field can better interpret the growing volume and complexity of the information they receive within the proper context of procedures and operational risk, then they will make more valuable contributions to the business. The Foxboro Evo system is loaded with new features that will help them do that, and it is structured to evolve with them as they and their companies change and grow.”

The Foxboro Evo system includes a new high-speed controller, field device management tools, a maintenance response center, an enterprise historian, 1-n redundancy and cyber security hardening. And because the company’s broad portfolio of roles-based engineering tools and productivity applications are integrated within it, the system provides superior visibility into historical, real-time and predictive operating information to help drive production efficiency.

  • Safety and security personnel will benefit from an innovative coupling of control and safety, which enables sharing of operational information while keeping the safety system functionally isolated, as well as state-of-the-art cyber security.
  • Engineers will be able to reduce their workloads, protect schedule integrity and reduce risks via more intuitive design and troubleshooting features, virtualization and other flexible technology.
  • Operators will gain a more complete, real-time view of plant activity via an updated high-performance, mobile accessible HMI.
  • Maintenance technicians will enjoy lower meantime between repairs via real-time device alerts and analytics, alarm triage, performance monitoring and other benefits.

Current Foxboro I/A Series DCS users can migrate to the Foxboro Evo system with little or no downtime, depending on which version they are running. Users of competing process automation systems, whose wiring terminations are still functional, can migrate to the Foxboro Evo system without ripping and replacing infrastructure, significantly reducing costs and downtime, just as they were able to do with the I/A Series system.