Invensys’ new, secure-wireless strategy + enhanced EDDL

By Control Engineering Staff December 1, 2005

Invensys Process Systems ’ (IPS) new wireless-communications strategy utilizes a comprehensive managed-network approach. Its methodology—for all wireless devices, regardless of vendor or application—is based upon shared access-point technology and common data-and-security models. IPS aims to assure appropriate levels of integration, robustness, and security for all industrial and enterprise wireless-applications.

“Wireless communications will provide a powerful new enabling technology for asset performance management,” says Chris Lyden, IPS’ vice president of marketing. “The good news in the emerging world of wireless technology is that more ingenious wireless devices are being introduced all the time,” comments Hesh Kagan, IPS’ wireless program manager. He continued, “The bad news is that most of these devices utilize different, vendor-specific wireless protocols, technologies, and access points to communicate with the wired communications infrastructure. This can make it very difficult to effectively utilize data coming from these devices and virtually impossible to ensure appropriate levels of security.

“That’s why we worked closely with our partners, and several large customers, to develop a managed wireless network approach using shared access-point technology for all devices and a common data- and security-model for all wireless frequencies and protocols: WiFi, WiMax, 802.15.4, RFID, ZigBee, VoIP, proprietary protocols, etc.,” Kagan adds. “Shared access points provide significant upfront and ongoing cost-savings for our customers. The common data model makes it much easier to incorporate the wireless data into our asset performance management applications. And, with a standardized security model, we can now manage the wireless infrastructure to ensure appropriate levels of security and performance.”
IPS’ wireless network strategy is designed to overlay existing plant control-and-information infrastructures—IPS- or third-party-sourced—including:

• Hardware and software as needed;
• Site survey and analysis services;
• Engineering and systems integration services;
• Implementation services; and
• Ongoing maintenance, support, and optimization services.

Site surveys are in progress at several, large, North American chemical-manufacturing complexes.

Separately, the company revealed plans to embed HART Communication Foundation’s (HCF) new smart device configurator (SDC-625) technology into its process automation system. HCF technology is aimed at customers taking advantage of the new enhanced EDDL (electronic device description language) being jointly developed by: HCF, other international fieldbus organizations, and automation system and device suppliers.
HCF uses SDC-625 as a standard reference host. “Invensys’ adoption of the SDC technology will align its system with standard HCF-supported device description (DD) language, and will allow its system to utilize the over-1,000 manufacturers’ DDs registered in HCF’s DD library,” said Ed Ladd, HCF’s director of technology programs. “Implementation of EDDL by Invensys takes us one step closer to our goal—one DD to work everywhere.”

IPS also deploys complementary FDT technology in its fieldbus solutions with EDDL and FDT/DTM technology working in harmony.

— Richard Phelps, senior editor, Control Engineering