Thursday, February 9, 2012

Unified gateway station enhanced!

Yokogawa Electric Corporation is to release an enhanced version of the CENTUM(R) VP integrated production control system, the company's flagship product next month.

In this new version, support for the use of a dual-redundant unified gateway station (UGS), which serves as the interface between CENTUM VP and other control systems, has been added. In addition, an alarm monitoring function is provided for the display of alarm information from other control systems on the CENTUM VP human machine interface (HMI).

Development background
Throughout the oil, chemical, and iron and steel industries, distributed control systems (DCSs), programmable controllers (PLCs), and other types of control systems from a variety of companies are used to control electric power, wastewater treatment, shipping, and other auxiliary facilities as well as the main manufacturing process itself. By monitoring all these control systems using the CENTUM VP that handles the main process, plant efficiency can be improved.

Plant monitoring and control functions are usually designed to be dual redundant so that an automatic switchover to a backup unit can be initiated in the event of a system failure. Although the gateway unit that serves as the interface for the monitoring of other control systems from the main process DCS should also be dual redundant, systems with this feature have not been widely adopted because of the requirement for special software.

Now, with the addition of support for dual-redundant UGSs that serve as the interface between CENTUM VP and other control systems, only simple programming is required to build a highly reliable system with an additional UGS.

In addition to main process alarms, alarms from other control systems can be displayed on the CENTUM VP HMI via an OPC-A&E server. Object Linking & Embedding for Process Control (OPC) is a specification for connecting measuring instruments and control systems. The OPC-A&E sub-specification is for alarms and events. Yokogawa participates in the OPC Foundation, a US non-profit organisation established to develop and enhance the OPC interface, and OPC Council, Japan, a regional organisation of the OPC Foundation.

Nobuaki Konishi, Vice-President and Head of Yokogawa's IA Systems Business Headquarters, comments as follows: "To achieve integrated plant monitoring and control by a DCS, gateway functions must be highly reliable. This has been accomplished with our development of a dual-redundant UGS, enabling the integrated monitoring of offshore platforms and widely distributed facilities such as oil and gas wells for the upstream market. I believe this enhanced UGS will help customers improve production efficiency."

Main target markets are process control and monitoring in industries such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, electric power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, iron and steel, and water supply and wastewater treatment.

Applications include the control and monitoring of plants and production equipment and the remote monitoring of water supply systems, wastewater treatment facilities, power transmission/distribution facilities, and other types of infrastructure.

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