Next-gen DCS doubles as control system and “information hub”

Yokogawa Electric Corp. says the next generation of its CENTUM distributed control system (DCS) illustrates how the DCS is evolving from a single-purpose tool for managing production processes to take on the dual role of plant information hub. The next-generation Yokogawa DCS, dubbed CENTUM VP, is scheduled for release mid-June.

06/01/2008


Yokogawa Electric Corp. says the next generation of its CENTUM distributed control system (DCS) illustrates how the DCS is evolving from a single-purpose tool for managing production processes to take on the dual role of plant information hub.

The next-generation Yokogawa DCS, dubbed CENTUM VP, is scheduled for release mid-June.

The new system's design is a response to customers' desire to have control systems bring in data from more sources within the plant, according to Steve Lazok, technical support, Yokogawa.

Lazok says pressure to get more out of existing production equipment is causing process-oriented manufacturers to ask plant operators to make decisions about when equipment should be repaired, and that requires giving the operators more information.

“There has not been a new oil refinery built in the U.S. in 30 years,” Lazok says. “So that's an industry that's running beyond 100-percent capacity, and they are constantly pushing operator productivity. They need to give operators more information so they can do things like predict when failures might occur. They can do that, for instance, by monitoring pressure and temperature changes around a heat exchanger and getting a feel for when it might start leaking. They can then order preventive maintenance. This helps avoid downtime and losing dollars that can never be recovered.”

Lazok says the operator console—or human-machine interface (HMI)—is the most visible change in CENTUM VP from previous versions of the system. The interface is much more graphic-oriented, making heavy use of colors and animation, but it also gives operators access to information they could not get before.

“Previous HMIs were focused only on allowing operators to control the plant,” Lazok explains. “They were built with proprietary software. But to do what customers want now, we had to use de facto industry standards that allow bringing in data not only from Yokogawa's control systems but from other vendors, like Rockwell's Allen-Bradley PLCs, or from historical databases.”

To make this transition, Lazok says, Yokogawa built CENTUM VP on the Microsoft .NET technology framework and employed a programming language called XAML.

“By using .NET and XAML, we can pick data from multiple databases—and the Yokogawa control system—and display it all on a single screen,” Lazok explains.

As users implement the system, they will use a program similar to Microsoft's Visio to map connections between the original sources of data they want to tap and the CENTUM system.




CENTUM VP, an integrated production control system, will become the flagship platform for Yokogawa Electric Corp.’s VigilantPlant Operational Excellence initiative, which seeks to empower plant personnel to take actions that optimize plant and business performance.

Operators will look at a screen resembling Microsoft's Windows Explorer, with tabbed folders representing various data sources. As operators pull data from the system, they will be able to choose how it is displayed: in graphical form, as a trend chart, or some other customized view.

While the system provides unprecedented levels of information, Lazok says companies expecting to get the most from it should consider getting their operators additional training.

With operators now being asked to use these systems to make what amount to business decisions, Lazok says they require training in new subject areas such as asset management. He also notes successful operation of this new generation DCS will require operators to be comfortable with Web-based systems.

“We are moving closer to the point where control systems and IT will intersect,” Lazok says.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.