InFusion, SAP, collaboration and condition monitoring

1 January 2008

Invensys has introduced a number of refinements to its InFusion enterprise control system, including further integration with the widely used SAP enterprise resource planning system, a concept called the Collaboration Wall, and a new condition monitoring module.

With the introduction of InFusion in 2006 (see MPS, September 2006), Invensys attempted to communicate a simple but effective message: the world's first truly enterprise-wide control system, providing seamless integration and data exchange with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. InFusion aims to achieve cost reduction and systematisation of business practices through an object-based system running on the underlying ArchestrA infrastructure framework, with an interface to all possible devices and systems used in a plant. These include the basic instrumentation (transmitters, actuators etc), safety systems, process control systems, plant information and management systems, operator training simulators, predictive maintenance tools, and process optimisers.

Basically, the objectives of InFusion are to:

Create visibility between plant and enterprise

• Integrate and consistently present data from all plant systems regardless of supplier or generation.

• Enable a new level of knowledge and collaboration and create a collaborative environment for business and plant operational agility (see panel on the Collaboration Wall, p28).

• Facilitate the transformation of data to information to knowledge to wisdom.

Achieve a high level of integration, which is also affordable

• Seamless information integration within and across multiple plant sites.

• Consistent tools and methodology to facilitate easy, affordable and maintainable integration.

• All sub-system integration (more than 300 proven system and subsystem interfaces to date).

• Real-time information access across the plant floor.

• Facilitate high productivity

• ArchestrA objects provide a high level of reuse, ease of maintenance and quick deployment.

• A collaborative environment accelerates decision making (see panel, p28).

• One single environment for all configuration, system and application engineering.

• Application objects and engineering self-documentation tools to enable knowledge sustainability, and automated document version management.

• Latest state of the art control systems, "continuously current" with I/A Series systems.

Provide the foundation for business optimisation

• Easy bi-directional integration of data between control layers and the business level systems.

• Standard integration to Microsoft Office.

• Extended closed-loop control to the business (eg, updated variable cost data into SAP FI module, management scorecard (financial view of operations performance), real-time operational and maintenance performance dashboards (predictive equipment failure, performance impact analysis and loop monitor driving automatic work orders for valve maintenance).

These functionalities are now fully available as standard InFusion features and the first projects are providing users confirmation of this value.

Integration with SAP

Real Time Finance

SAP is a very widely used ERP system and therefore Invensys has predominantly focused its development activities in this area by working closely with SAP.

ERP systems today are transaction based and manage all business-related data exchange in and between many departments, functions and facilities of a corporation. Transaction-based data is used in the monthly reporting cycle, while at the level of the plant real-time management of data is required, where "real-time" refers to measurement data, control data, alarm situations and events, and is defined typically by a data capture frequency of once per second or more.

In a typical use of an ERP application, data from production facilities are consolidated over hours, shifts and days into monthly data. Production costs are handled in the InFusion system and then reported into the ERP system.

Many plants use applications between the real-time automation of their production and the ERP system to consolidate data, to correct or adapt measured values, and to fulfill their reporting needs. InFusion is now capable of standardising all data management applications in real-time automation with standard functions. These functions are created with application objects, which interface with the ERP.

In October 2006 Invensys announced SAP Netweaver certification. Since then, Invensys and SAP have undertaken a co-innovation programme, which has included designing and building Packaged Composite Applications (PCAs). Invensys designed a PCA for process plants called Real Time Finance, which was certified by SAP in March 2007. It combines InFusion Real Time Accounting with elements of Real Time Finance.

A PCA is the basis for a solution to become an SAP Endorsed Business Solution (EBS). As an EBS, Invensys is certified to implement and sell SAP software products to customers. The Real-Time Finance PCA is certified based on the xMII product from SAP. xMII allows integration to the plant floor and associated support systems as well as connection to the enterprise layer.

The Real Time Finance PCA is connected to the xMII which is then tied into the SAP ERP environment in the SAP/R3 product, where it interfaces with modules such as finance, production planning, plant maintenance, quality management and health and safety.

Basically Real Time Finance simplifies the exchange of data between InFusion and SAP. In the past, experts with detailed knowledge of the SAP infrastructure had to develop specific business application process interfaces to facilitate data exchange.

Now, thanks to the integration of Real Time Finance and xMII, it is much easier and quicker to define the data links between the Industry SQL in the InFusion History Engine and the associated data tables in the SAP/R3 modules. It is now as easy as working with Excel tables.

The bottom line is increased visibility between plant and enterprise and an intelligent foundation for business optimisation.

In the power sector a good example of the benefits of Real Time Finance is provided by DONG's management of its extensive and complex fleet of CHP units in Denmark.

Condition manager

Another recent development of InFusion is a new condition management component, Condition Manager version 2.2. This collects, aggregates, and analyses real-time data from the plant, including sensors and actuators, pumps, motors, etc.

The InFusion Condition Manager interoperates with all Invensys and third-party applications supported through the InFusion application environment. Thanks to recent version 2.2 enhancements, equipment condition and maintenance information can now also easily be displayed on plant process control and engineering HMI workstations. This information was previously only available on Invensys' own Avantis.PRO enterprise asset management (EAM) system or other computerised maintenance management systems.

The InFusion Condition Manager can now also feed data to a variety of different plant Historian packages to allow the data and actions to be historised and made available to other plant and enterprise systems.

The collaboration wall

"What is the next big idea for a central control room and a new HMI?" The Invensys answer is the InFusion Collaboration Wall. This supports standard simulation tools to help in the design and future modification of the control architecture.

The Collaboration Wall

• supports and interfaces to standard IT protocols for the purpose of writing interfaces to DCS, SIS, and other process control environments needed for the viewing and management of plant operation;

• interfaces into Microsoft technologies for ease of use and to enable the building of standard display screens and Office-like reports, spreadsheets, and communications;

• links into standard business applications such as Maximo, SAP, and other ERP solutions;

• exceeds the standard footprint that one operator can effectively manage and view;

• contains ergonomic features for comfort, ease of viewing, ease of access, and hard and soft libraries for technical manuals suitable for the workspace;

• integrates with the Invensys DynSim operator training simulator; and

• is capable of bi-directional video and conferencing capabilities using standard video and voice protocols.

Operators have the ability to draw conclusions regarding process events from not only measurement data but from predetermined information drawn from data mined from plant historians. So, with the Collaboration Wall, operators have the ability to "right click" on a process alarm and be given possible root causes, severity, length of time, and first action. It will link both the alarm management functions with field diagnostic protocols to advance guidance to field maintenance and intelligently diverts process alarms and operator alarms to operations; routine maintenance alarm to maintenance; and remotely notifies plant management in the case of severe alarms.

Operators are capable of analysing alarms on a preconfigured basis in any number of configurable time periods without the need for specialised training other than what can be delivered in a standard operator orientation session and statistical alarm analysis is embedded into the distributed control system.


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