Safety key to IndustrialIT 800xA enhancements

Wickliffe, OH—ABB has released a number of functional extensions to its IndustrialIT System 800xA for 2005, including a flexible and scalable safety instrumented system (SIS), manufacturing management for improvement of batch production, and real-time production intelligence for monitoring and improving overall equipment efficiency (OEE).


Wickliffe, OH— ABB has released a number of functional extensions to its IndustrialITExtended Automation System 800xA for 2005, including a flexible and scalable safety instrumented system (SIS), manufacturing management for improvement of batch production, and real-time production intelligence for monitoring and improving overall equipment efficiency (OEE). ABB released 800xA in 2004 as an open control system designed to combine data from disparate automation-related applications into a single integrated information view.

During a press conference held at ABB headquarters to announce the release of the new extensions, and that the company has sold more than 600 systems since its release last year, Edward Sederlund, process automation manager at Dow Chemical Co., explained Dow’s involvement in the development of System 800xA. He said that for 35 years Dow had operated exclusively on custom-built, proprietary control systems. In 2001, Dow formed an alliance with ABB, making it a supplier of choice. As part of this alliance, Dow provided ABB with a list of 32 requirements that combined process automation and safety considerations for a control system to be developed that would replace the company’s proprietary systems. These requirements established the core of System 800xA.

“We partnered with ABB because of a shared vision that involved integrated process control and safety systems, and total automation implemented with state-based control,” says Sederlund. “Dow is now standardizing across the globe on 800xA for easy sharing and start-up.”

Functional extensions

  • System 800xA High Integrity is a scalable IEC 61508- and 61511-compliant SIS covering the safety loop from AC 800M controllers (SIL [safety integrity level] rated) and field devices to I/O modules and field actuators. The system also complies with EN 954, and NFPA 72 and 85.

“In 2004, you could layer 800xA on safety systems,” says Bob Hausler, ABB’s systems marketing VP. “Now they’re integrated, so that 800xA can be implemented separately for SIS or process control, or they can be combined on one controller.”

SIS realization is achieved either by using dedicated controllers in the same system or through separate applications with the same AC 800M HI controller. This architecture is said to eliminate the duality of system engineering and operations, as well as their associated lifecycle costs.

Hausler adds that ABB involved TUV (a German safety certification agency that verifies compliance with EU directives) early in the process of developing 800xA—at the technical concept stage—so that the 800xA High Integrity offering would be fully TUV certified at its release.

ABB claims that a range of field-proven safety applications are included in 800xA, such as fire and gas systems, emergency and process shutdown, interlock systems, burner management and boiler protection, critical control, high pressure protection systems, and pipeline protection systems.

  • System 800xA Manufacturing Management modules (inventory, quality, operations, and weigh and dispense management) provide real-time tracking of materials throughout the warehouse, laboratories, and production areas. Lot maintenance and history displays re available from 800xA’s Process Portal. Inventory transactions are integrated with execution of manual and/or automated procedures. Combined with 800xA’s Batch and Information Management, the Manufacturing Management module completes the system’s manufacturing execution system functions.

  • 800xA Real-Time Production Intelligence (Real-TPI) is designed for plant engineers and production managers to determine on-line OEE. By automatically collecting data in real time, ABB claims that Real-TPI can record, analyze, and present individual machine and combined process availability, performance and product quality factors that determine OEE. Real-TPI also stores all necessary context data for every event, allowing analysis and identification of weak links in the production line as well as calculating OEE values and other key performance indicators for selected machines.

  • 800xA Process Engineering Tool Integration with Intergraph’s INtools databases allows reuse of resident plant information such as instrumentation, I/O configurations, wire lists, and PID drawings. By providing a single source of the truth for plant lifecycle data, this extension is said to reflect all operational changes made to alarms, ranges, units, and other settings back to INtools to ensure design compliance and minimize future discovery costs and barriers to plant improvement projects.

  • Industrial IT Training Simulator (ITS) is designed to combine operator and maintenance training, control logic development, testing and validation, operator validation, and plant optimization studies into one system. Using the same operator displays, control logic and execution environment as System 800xA, skills learned on ITS are transferable and the simulator itself evolves along with the plant system, according to ABB.

Alarm management alliance
ABB also announced at the press conference that Matrikon’s ProcessGuard alarm management product is IndustrialIT enabled—verifying “plug and produce integration.” ProcessGuard collects and archives real-time alarms and events from all control systems for alarm analysis, allowing operational issues linked to process and equipment problems to be addressed.

Roy Tanner, systems marketing manager at ABB, says that the cause for problems stemming from alarms is two-fold: 1) lack of information getting to the right person; and 2) operators dismissing “nuisance alarms” en masse, inadvertently stopping alarms that indicate real problems.

800xA is said to alleviate the lack of information problem by providing a common interface for all users and through SMS messaging of alarms to proper personnel.

As for “nuisance alarms,” Tanner says, 800xA can hide certain alarms (such as low level alarms) at certain times (such as at restart), so that they aren’t automatically dismissed. ProcessGuard enables this functionality. Only reports of valid alarms (those not resolved once the plant returns to normal operating levels) are then sent to the operator—thereby not allowing operators to dismiss alarms without being certain about their validity.

Up next
ABB says that several additional extensions will be forthcoming over the coming months, including a condensed software package that handles all areas of field instrument engineering, commissioning and maintenance. This software will be a single tool for all instruments, regardless of device or communication protocol, and can be extended to include functions such as audit trail, calibration management, and maintenance trigger.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
David Greenfield, editorial director

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