Advanced distributed control system, with security, introduced in China

Control Engineering International: Four advantages of the ABB DCS Extended Automation V6 were highlighted in a Control Engineering China interview with Tobias Becker, global head of ABB Control Technology Business Unit, and Anne Yang, an ABB group vice president.

By Zhu Xu August 14, 2014

Advanced distributed control system (DCS) features–operational excellence, safety integration, process automation and electrical integration, and enterprise asset management (EAM)–were highlighted at ABB Automation World China 2014, an annual event of ABB (China) for its users, held this year in May.

At the event, ABB’s latest high-end DCS automation system (Version 6) made its official debut in the Chinese market. The control system launch showed ABB’s in-depth understanding of the latest trend of process automation solutions. Tobias Becker, global head of the ABB Control Technology Business Unit, also said the new System 800xA V6 enables users to maintain a leading edge in application client automation control platforms, even in 2020.

DCS challenges addressed

Good things always face some additional challenges. These original words from Becker were translated directly as "a good gain takes long pain." Moreover, the background behind these words is exactly the increasingly severe information security challenge facing the current automation world. However, the new 800xA system is fully prepared to address the information security challenge.

Becker said the built-in white listing function can combat external hackers’ invasion into a production network. Among the latest V6 systems, ABB will focus on the recommendation of 800xA V6 based on the Windows 8 software operating platform for industrial customers. To guard against invasion of external systems, ABB adopts a parallel mode of equipment information security management and real-time network monitoring. Becker expressed full confidence in its actual protection performance. 

Operational excellence, safety

Speaking of the main features of 800xA V6, Becker categorized them into four areas: operational excellence, safety integration, process automation and electrical integration, and enterprise asset management (EAM). The latest information security enhancement marks a key focus of safety integration, and the improvement of plant-wide collaborative automation registers the most remarkable highlight of operational excellence. More specifically, the collaborative automation platform of the 800xA system ensures highly efficient collaborations between different departments and equipment in a plant. 

Integrated alarm management, controls, video, safety

Integration covers alarm management, advanced control, video systems, safety, electrical integration, power management, and a host of embedded capabilities of other subsystems.

As to EAM, System 800xA v6 applies to the full range of ABB automation products and can integrate with all automation products and systems from other manufacturers, especially those products that are no longer supported due to an operating system upgrade. In addition, a newly added long-term historical data archiving function improves the control system’s data collection speed and real-time data access function. The new information management platform can support a heterogeneous system, information analyses, and continuous improvement of the system.

The 800xA V6 also provides an ergonomic operator workplace and efficient operator control room, and the intelligent installation and upgrade tools simplify the upgrade and transfer of old systems. Furthermore, "Customer Lab," the virtual environment test function for upgraded systems, helps customers to lower the labor cost of upgrade test and verification. In addition, the selectable wireless router function provided by the 800xA Tropos Wireless mesh routers enables a new wireless communication platform for mobile operator clients, maintenance workplaces, and even process controllers, thus improving the flexibility and mobility of business processes.

Window into process intelligence

Regarding the design of next generation central control rooms, the collaboration highlighted by ABB is undoubtedly driven by big data.

"800xA will be a window for operators to check the plant-wide field statuses and details. The information integration includes not only the consolidation of the automation system and electrical system, but also the control of the air conditioning system and management of the illuminating system. This is kind of omnipotent for operators in the central control room. Meanwhile, this is also the reason why we call the system xA (Extended Automation), for compared with functions of traditional DCS systems, the functionality of 800xA has been far beyond the originally defined category," Becker remarked.

ABB has a full product portfolio in the process control field. DCS system offerings available include the high-end 800 xA, mid-range Freelance, and the lower-end local Winmation solutions in the Chinese market, and the installation of high-end 800xA products spans 100-plus countries, China included.

When talking about the 800xA’s fitness for use in the Chinese market, Anne Yang, ABB Group Vice President and China and NAS Regional Manager of Control Technologies, said that there is no obstacle for the new 800xA to be recognized.

"Surely, the new 800xA will bring a more perfect user experience for Chinese users, and with the gradual popularization of [Microsoft] Windows 8 and the enhanced focus on information security from Chinese companies, many workable advantages of 800xA will be gradually discovered by users," Yang suggested.

– Zhu Xu is from Control Engineering China in Guangzhou. This was edited from a translated Control Engineering China article, "ABB: DCS Extended Automation V6 features four advantages."

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

ONLINE has other coverage from and links to CE global editions.

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