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The Industrial Software Revolution Begins Now

2013-10-16 11:33:59views: 1341

The Industrial Software Revolution Begins Now

Invensys is kicking off the conference “The Industrial Software Revolution Begins Now” and underscoring the ‘revolution’ concept with the release of its Wonderware InTouch 2014 and Wonderware System Platform 2014 software. Loaded with new capabilities behind the scenes in its System Platform and upfront in its flagship HMI and supervisory software, these new releases function in tandem to improve operator awareness, optimize performance and minimize disruptions during startup, operation and shutdown. The major focus of this combined software release is “situational awareness.”

Invensys spotlights this issue because “42 percent of industrial business losses are generated by human error most commonly caused by a lack of situational awareness,” says John Krajewski, director of HMI and supervisory product management for Invensys. Considering the criticality of the problem, Krajewski says Invensys holistically redesigned its software to increase situational awareness through a number of improvements, ranging from the historian to real-time object representations to front-end graphics. “This new software will help guide customers in the implementation of best practices, especially best practices in managing their businesses in real time. It will help them ensure that they’re minimizing losses, minimizing waste, and maximizing up time by identifying issues that would result in such losses ahead of time.” When you consider situational awareness, HMI screens are ground zero for the concept. That’s why there’s been so much focus recently on the HMI color guidelines presented in the High-Performance HMI Handbook and the ASM Consortium guidelines.

“But there are inconsistencies between the color standards listed in those two sources. Invensys is not looking to dictate that one or the other of these paths is right or wrong; we’re looking to allow the user to implement the practices that best fit their business.” To deliver this, Invensys has “abstracted color out of our system platform to allow users to choose the color palette that fits their operation best” . In the new InTouch software, Style Libraries are offered that allow the user to choose color palettes that conform to the ASM Consortium guidelines or to the High-Performance HMI recommendations. These style definitions can also be altered to fit a company’s unique requirements. “This level of selection is critical since we serve nearly every industrial vertical” .

“Initial testing indicates that use of these new style definitions and standardized colors can help users reduce situation interpretation time by 40 percent and can lead to a five-fold improvement in detecting abnormal situations before they occur,” says Krajewski. “After initial detection, the new navigation aspects of the software can improve the success rate for handling abnormal situations by as much as 37 percent; and we’ve seen a 41 percent reduction in the time required to complete tasks.” Updates to the Historian software are another key aspect of the overall System Platform update. The new Historian supports up to 2 million data points in a single instance of the historian. To put that in perspective, the 2012 revision (released two years ago) supported 150,000 data points; the 2012 r2 version (released last year) supported 500,000 data points. “Plus, with the new Historian, you can tier multiple Historians together to give you a nearly limitless Historian platform,” adds Krajewski.

The ability to access and store this many data points also impacts visualization. After all, having the ability to log so many data points is one thing. Accessing them and, more importantly, understanding them in the correct context and extracting meaningful information from them is another. This is where Invensys’s holistic investment in the System Platform comes into play. For example, consider the new alarm aggregation capability, which segments alarms into four categories: Critical, High, Medium, and Low. “This grouping is based on best practices from EEMUA and ISA 18.2,” says Krajewski, as he notes that default settings for these categories are as follows:

  • Critical alarms are those that need to be responded to in less than 5 minutes;
  • High alarms need response within 30 minutes;
  • Medium alarms in less than 60 minutes; and
  • Low alarms are those that require a response in less than 120 minutes.
Extending the notion of combining style and content for visualization are the new Symbol Wizards, which allow users to simply point-and-click to assemble HMIs. “Considering that many of those tasked with creating HMIs lack the depth of experience of a 15 or 20 year engineering veteran, Symbol Wizards make it easy for less-experienced personnel to leverage the experience embedded in the software to create best practice HMIs,” Krajewski says. Krajewski explains that, using the Symbol Wizards, customers are walked through the process of adding, say, a pressure transmitter to the HMI. “The Wizard eases the development of presentation layer of the transmitter by asking the user about the transmitter’s high and low limits, averages, etc.,” he says. “Once those questions are answered, the symbol is created using best practices. With the Software Wizards, HMI creation is driven by domain-oriented knowledge, not software expertise. The Wizards allows users to focus on their capabilities without being software experts. Being software experts is our job.”

In the new InTouch HMI software, Style Libraries are offered that allow the user to choose color palettes that conform to ASM Consortium guidelines or High-Performance HMI recommendations. These style definitions can also be altered to fit a company’s unique requirements. The ultimate goal of the new InTouch capabilities is focused on creating greater situational awareness for operators. The System Platform supporting the new InTouch software ensures that the information shown on the screen is put into context for the operator through the design templates offered. Initial testing indicates that use of InTouch’s new style definitions and standardized colors can help customers reduce situation interpretation time by 40 percent. The convergence of mobile, the cloud, social and analytics is being taken to the next level with SmartGlance, which allows customers to access any data (from a historian or database) via a smartphone, tablet or PC. Using SmartGlance, the data can be accessed over the cloud or via a private network when the viewing device is on the same network. The “i” button on the SmartGlance display allows for drilling down into the context of data shown and even provides contact information to those responsible for the data as well as access to related reports.

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