Schneider Electric Releases Next-Generation EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS Software and EcoStruxure Field Device Expert

By Craig Resnick

Company and Product News

Next-Generation EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS Software

Schneider Electric released EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS Control Software 7.1 to help its customers improve the real-time efficiency, cybersecurity, reliability and profitability of their assets and operations.  With expanded capabilities and an enhanced HMI, the updated software helps to simplify engineering and enhances the user experience, while expanding the ability of EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS to help drive measurable operational profitability improvements, safely.

Continuously Current Technology

The EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS is an open and interoperable process automation system that is designed to be future-proof and provide more accurate and effective control over a manufacturing plant’s operational profitability.  It is a process control system that is designed to provide measurable operational profitability improvements with a future-proof architecture, helping to enable its customers to achieve a measurable 100 percent ROI in less than one year.  With high-capacity, high-availability control processors; more powerful, fit-for-purpose I/O; more intuitive, role-based engineering tools; and more enhanced, intuitive operation capabilities; the continuously current Foxboro DCS is designed to help:

  • Improve time to first production by up to 30 percent.
  • Reduce project costs and risk by up to 20 percent.
  • Reduce maintenance costs by up to 30 percent.
  • Reduce energy, material, engineering, operating and inventory costs.
  • Empower workforces to make better business and operational decisions in real-time.

EcoStruxure is Schneider Electric’s open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform.  EcoStruxure helps to deliver more enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity for its customers.  EcoStruxure leverages advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics and cybersecurity to help to deliver innovation at each level.  This includes Connected Products, Edge Control, and Apps, Analytics and Services.

EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS for Digital Transformation

EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS Control Software 7.1 runs on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, which helps to provide greater flexibility and more robust cybersecurity.  When planning upgrades, Schneider Electric customers can mix Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10 on the same system, allowing greater flexibility in scheduling and timing for upgrades.  Customers can upgrade individual sections of the plant in their own order and pace to better accommodate plant production schedules.  With Microsoft support for Windows 7 due to end in 2020, transitioning to Windows 10 allows EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS customers to leverage an operating system with more up-to-date cybersecurity features.

Among other new and updated features, the latest EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS Control Software 7.1 now includes:

  • EcoStruxure Field Device Expert that helps to improve efficiency, safety and profitability and also helps to reduce time for startup and restarts. It includes:
    • Intelligent Commissioning Wizard to help to reduce commissioning time by up to 75 percent by automating HART device commissioning and documentation processes.
    • Device Replacement Wizard to help to reduce the time and expertise required to replace or commission HART devices, either individually or in bulk.
    • Bundled HART device description library to help to increase security, speed up device deployment, eradicate version mismatch and eliminate cybersecurity risks previously created by moving documents from the HART consortium web page into the system.
  • New HMI Bulk Graphics Editor that helps to increase operational efficiency and reliability by helping to reduce engineering hours and improve quality during testing. Use in major projects shows that replicating hundreds of displays with the new Bulk Graphics Editor can help to save months of man hours and improve quality by delivering more predictable results. The Bulk Graphics Editor helps to make migrating from the classic FoxView HMI to the new Foxboro DCS Control HMI easier, requiring fewer engineering hours, which can help to reduce the time and cost to transition between technologies.
  • Control Editors Activity Monitor to help to increase efficiency by improving communication, workflow and collaboration.
  • Real-time asset health condition monitoring to help to increase reliability.
  • Technology designed to be more future-proof supporting the latest FTD 2.0 standard, which helps to improve compatibility with digitized field devices from Schneider Electric and third-party vendors.
  • System platform update for version continuity with business software from AVEVA.
  • New migration path, along with the new HMI Bulk Graphics Editor, helps to simplify the transition from existing FoxView HMI displays to the EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS Control Software 7.1 HMI platform for a more continuously current and future-proof system. An upgrade migration path is available from previous Control Software Versions 5.x, 6.x and 7.0. After upgrading, users can tap into newer technologies that help to improve productivity, cybersecurity, efficiency and profitability.



Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Field Device Expert

Schneider Electric also released EcoStruxure Field Device Expert, an application that helps to improve how engineers commission, configure and maintain field devices throughout the lifecycle of the plant. Field Device Expert’s Intelligent Commissioning Wizard is used to automate detection, configuration, commissioning and testing of HART field instrumentation connected to an EcoStruxure Foxboro distributed control system (DCS).  Automatic binding and configuration of HART devices is designed to help to reduce commissioning schedules by over 75 percent, which can result in faster time to profit.

Traditional, manual device commissioning methodology can be manpower intensive, which can make it more error prone, time consuming and expertise dependent. By automating the configuration and commissioning process, Field Device Expert can change automation project execution by helping to minimize hardware dependencies and custom engineering and offer more flexibility in the design, timing and sequence of activities.  For example, with traditional commissioning methods, it can often take up to 50 minutes to configure each asset. Field Device Expert’s Intelligent Commissioning Wizard can shorten that time to 15 minutes, which is a 70 percent reduction. Once the plant is operating, Field Device Expert can continue to help ease field device configuration and condition monitoring throughout the plant lifecycle. This means restarts, such as those that occur after a maintenance turnaround or any shutdown, can also be faster and easier.

As part of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure architecture and platform, Field Device Expert helps to improve efficiency, safety, productivity and profitability. EcoStruxure delivers enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity. Now fully integrated into the Foxboro DCS, Field Device Expert’s new capabilities include:

  • Data available in Field Device Expert can be utilized by EcoStruxure Maintenance Advisor, a predictive maintenance and decision-support platform that helps to reduce configuration time and human error.
  • Intelligent Commissioning Wizard helps to enable faster time to production and reduced commissioning effort and time. With Intelligent Commissioning Wizard, engineers can commission devices 24/7, which helps to save additional overtime costs.
  • Device Replacement Wizard helps to reduce time and expertise by automating HART device replacement, either individually or in bulk. Even when a device is replaced with a non-alike device, the software can automatically execute the replacement, which can help to reduce downtime in certain cases.
  • Single Information Repository helps to increase safety and security by helping to eliminate costly errors. The information created during each phase of device management is saved in a single database so it can be used throughout the lifetime of the devices. This unified database helps to eliminate duplication and mismatch issues that are sometimes experienced with independent DCS and asset databases. This helps to also save additional effort by providing a single, unified backup.
  • Access Permissions for safety-related devices align with IEC61511-1, an industry standard that helps to establish best practices in the engineering of systems to help to ensure the safety of an industrial process using instrumentation.
  • Bundled HART device description library helps to prevent users from browsing and downloading files from the Internet since engineers no longer will need to search for them.
  • FDT 2.0 compliant frame leverages updated technologies (.NET over ActiveX/COM) and supports digital signatures to help prevent tampering.
  • Interoperability with multiple devices from multiple vendors, with multiple protocols. With Foxboro DCS interoperability and various bus capabilities, users can maintain preferences because the system can adapt to user choice.
  • Advanced Diagnostic Support for vendor-embedded device type managers (DTM) helps to enable maintenance technical personnel to access advanced diagnostics written specifically for the concerned device by its vendor. Field Device Tool (FDT)/device type manager helps to enable flexible user interfaces, richer graphics and comprehensive diagnostics for field devices, including more complex devices, such as positioners.

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