GE Fanuc adds new controller to its Proficy family

PAC8000 controllers provide DCS functionality, add flexibility to larger Proficy Process Systems control software family.
By Control Engineering Staff July 1, 2009

The Proficy Process System platform with new PAC8000 controllers presents customers with additional options for designing a powerful and flexible DCS (distributed control system). GE says that with its broad process control function block library, peer-to-peer communications between controllers, the ability to handle program and I/O changes on the fly, HART pass through, and redundancy, the controllers provide the ideal platform for a contemporary DCS solution.

The company says it has created the platform in response to demands from process industries such as oil & gas, petrochemical, biofuels, and power utilities that require high availability, asset management, intrinsically safe I/O, and integrated safety functions. PAC8000 controllers are designed to provide all these capabilities when combined with Proficy Process Systems.

Along with the new controllers, GE Fanuc has split its Proficy Process Systems platform into two editions: Standard and Premier. The Standard Edition provides a more basic process control system that is cost-effective but still uses GE Fanuc’s current technology. The Premier Edition adds more sophisticated capabilities such as change management, historian functions, and analytics.

“When we launched Proficy Process Systems in 2007, we provided our customers with the ability to choose their visualization– iFIX or Cimplicity, as well as the ability to choose their fieldbus – Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus, or HART for example. Now we are allowing them to choose their controller,” says Steve Ryan, general manager for GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms’ process solutions. “They can choose among the PACSystems Rx3i or Rx7i which are ideal for process industries that leverage multiple manufacturing disciplines such as food and beverage or the PAC8000 controllers which are ideal for continuous DCS process applications.”

PAC8000 Controllers can tolerate difficult mounting and environmental conditions, including:

  • –40 to 70 °C operating range;

  • ISA Level G3 corrosion;

  • 30G shock and 5G vibration; and

  • Operation in Class I, Division 2 and Zone 2 hazardous areas with field wiring extending into Division 1 and Zone 1/0 areas.

PAC8000 controllers can pass HART information from smart field devices to a computer running device asset management software, allowing for remote maintenance and calibration. HART data and diagnostics can also be used directly in control applications, reducing commissioning time, process downtime, and loop maintenance costs. Redundant controllers operate in parallel, checking status multiple times throughout the processing loop, enabling the backup controller to monitor the health of the master controller continuously, assuring rapid and bumpless change over, when required.

The controller has two high-speed Ethernet ports that use fault-tolerant Ethernet for redundant communications. Each port can be connected to an independent LAN and is continuously monitored for its integrity. If the primary port detects a network failure, traffic is switched to the other LAN to maintain communications.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com
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