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Future fusion

Invensys has introduced the world’s first enterprise control system, which fuses all of the company’s automation technologies into a single system. Known as InFusion, it will help industrial enterprises align plant operations and maintenance departments to optimize asset performance management.

Hartmut Wallraf, Invensys Process Systems

The focus of many of today’s utilities is on ‘using’ assets. But in the changing market there is an increasing need to shift that focus to ‘performance’, which necessitates shifting from purely process control to both process and business control.

The business of power producers is to make and sell as much electricity as possible at the right time and the right price, and at the highest margin possible. Thus safety, utilization and margin are the main key performance indicators (KPIs) that are of interest. So by constructing market solutions in these terms, Invensys has gone beyond the usual narrow confines of ‘system availability’ to address these KPIs. But the opportunity is bigger and we need to be better by fusing all of Invensys’ manufacturing automation technologies into a single system. This has been accomplished through the ArchestrA software infrastructure, but this is only the start.

Interviews with manufacturing managers and executives indicated that they viewed the primary measurement of the performance of plant maintenance as asset availability and the primary performance measure of operations as asset utilization. An initial evaluation of asset availability and utilization show that at their optimal points they tend to be inverse functions. This means that a traditional approach to automation of operations and maintenance working independently should result in advanced automation approaches deployed in both areas that ultimately do not provide the optimum result.

The executives and managers interviewed indicated that they really do not care whether availability or utilization is maximized in their plants. Rather they wish to maximize the economic value from the asset base. However, historically power producers have not been able to effectively measure the performance of their plant assets, from an accounting perspective, so that the relationship between availability, utilization and economic business value can be developed and managed.

The enterprise control system

The technology enabler for asset performance management (APM) is the Enterprise Control System (ECS) – designed by Invensys – which has the capability to interface data from DCS, SCADA, safety and PLC networks with equanimity. These other systems do not need to be from Invensys. This is a key differentiation from competitive claims in this area and is a unique approach – underpinned by the ArchestrA software environment – this really facilitates choice by the customers, who can keep their options open.

If providing the world’s first ECS is not enough, then combining this with tight integration to the IT world through the embedding of ArchestrA, S95 and IAS into Microsoft’s BizTalk and using this to interoperate with leading software systems like SAP provides a whole new class of automation/information system. Automation and IT have been separate computing domains ever since the first use of computer technology in each of these areas. The ECS breaks down this traditional separation, essentially providing a single system across the power plant and up through the business enterprise computing environment.

Figure 1. The InFusion enterprise control system
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The new plant-wide engineering environment reduces project costs and supports the entire automation installed base, reducing replacement costs while driving more life out of existing assets. As a result of the system scope and built-in interoperability it essentially eliminates integration costs. Engineering costs comprise the largest component of initial automation costs today and integration costs are often the second largest component. Therefore, the ECS provides a very effective response to the two largest automation and information costs faced by customers. It is very important to understand that the ECS is viewed as a convergence of existing systems and technologies resulting in a superset of capability as compared with a subset.

Invensys understands that the ultimate unified system will emerge over a three-year period. It will define ECS as a new class of systems in the manufacturing and production market. This is realistic and feasible because the scope of functionality covered by the system goes well beyond that of any traditional automation system. It pulls together all of the plant floor automation systems, including older installed systems, into a unified automation domain across a plant, which has not previously been achieved by a single system. It further reduces cost by enabling and supporting wireless communications. It unifies the engineering environment as well as the HMI environment across an entire operation, even in a multiple system plant.

This by itself provides customers with huge advantages and reduced cost. But it also ties the entire IT and automation domains into a single computing environment through infrastructural components such as Microsoft’s BizTalk. This opens power generation plants to the total utility management domain in a manner never before achievable and it allows every person in an operation to work in their native software environment and access key information throughout the enterprise. This technology domain expansion is exactly what the market at both the executive level and the technology levels has been asking for. Invensys will be the first to provide a true ECS.

Basic functions

InFusion ECS basic functions enabling economic performance in power generation plants:

Mesh Network: the Mesh Network is the enabler for plant wide installation of automation islands. The network structure is interfaced to the main control room. The Mesh Network provides the highest availability for real time data communication in the process industry. With all data accessible in the main control room, a reduction of 30 per cent of the operation work force is achievable.

Power Toolkit: The InFusion Power Toolkit utilizes the unique features of the ECS and provides reductions in design and maintenance cost. Utilizing the object structure of Comos PT and the InFusion IEE forms an end-to-end, object-oriented engineering system for use in power process plant design. Covering all engineering tasks, the system features consistent planning throughout all lifecycle phases of the entire process chain.

Figure 2. Asset performance management – the functional perspective
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IEE and ComosPT meet all demands of basic and detail engineering allowing the integration of sub areas of the system concept into existing IT or engineering environments due to an open system structure. The online interface between the InFusion based automation and CAE supports the automatic creation of the software structures in the real time automation part of InFusion. The required information is transferred online from Comos PT to the InFusion real time controller based on the InFusion – I/A Series Control Processors. When the design data for the plant processes has been prepared, and the required functions for the implementation of the automation in the I/A Series System are to be loaded, it is essential to ensure that no discrepancies and inconsistencies can occur between the engineering database and the database that is to be created in the automation system. To ensure this, an automated download facility has been developed for the I/A Series System Control Processors, which – due to its open system architecture and the documented APIs for the system configurations – is an ideal starting point. The engineering database is downloaded from Comos PT into an export file containing all information required for the implementation of the design in the automation software based on Control Processor function blocks. This involves the use of user-defined function typical blocks with their parameterization and interconnection as well as connections to external environments via versatile hardware or bus interfacing.

The resulting export is directly imported into the InFusion engineering tool IEE, where the data is used to create the automation functions for the control system. When working with IEE there is no need for any additional function-related definition work. The only prerequisite is the existence of a library (also known as a Toolkit) of IEE Typicals which is mapped to the function block library in Comos PT. For project specific applications it can be adapted freely and without restrictions to meet the requirements of the process plant when alternative classification systems are used or to meet additional function block requirements. This results in an IEE database which is transferred online to the I/A Series System Control Processor and can be tested directly on the plant.

The advantage of this structure is the workflow between all data in the CAE tool starting with the instrument data and the control schematics. All data can be transferred between the users of the data without manual processing. The functional diagrams are based on the IEC 1131 and Control Processor function blocks and used for documentation or online analysis.

An additional important element of the CAE use is the instrument database and the electrical wiring diagrams. Due to the fact that the P&ID in the CAE database has all relevant data, EPCs are interested to reduce their engineering time utilizing the integrated approach between CAE and IEE.

Optimization of load changes: With Connoisseur model predictive control MPC, the plant can participate in additional business value selling primary and secondary control products to the grid. MPC also enables the lowering of production load to lower levels than traditionally used. For example reducing load to 30 per cent in a coal fired plant in peak time will reduce emissions and save fuel. The economic benefit can be a ten per cent reduction in fuel cost. The use of MPC can increase production by 2-4 per cent on a yearly basis. The primary and secondary control business is related to contracts with the grid.

Industry first

The first InFusion system is being installed for Wisconsin Public Services. This will initially be used to provide a simulator and training for what will be the first supercritical unit in the USA. Installation will allow staff to be trained prior to startup of the new Weston Unit 4.