Saturday, July 3, 2010

Network-based control system

New Foundation Fieldbus engineering tool improves efficiency -

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has released an enhanced version of the STARDOM™ network-based control system with upgraded engineering functionality. A new engineering tool facilitates the construction of field digital communications networks that can reduce the cost of maintaining production equipment distributed over wide areas.

Development background
In response to growing global energy demand, oil companies have been expanding their oil and gas exploration activities in recent years. As gas and oil field production equipment is often distributed over very wide areas, periodic field equipment inspections and other maintenance activities have proven very costly, and pose a huge financial burden on these companies. One solution to this problem is the use of digital communication networks. By linking widely distributed production equipment, such networks make it possible to capture and centrally manage maintenance information such as individual device status and maintenance history. This reduces costs by improving maintenance efficiency.

For this latest version, Yokogawa has optimised its existing engineering tool that is used to configure large-scale SCADA systems based on the FOUNDATION™ fieldbus protocol. The new tool, FOUNDATION fieldbus Configurator, enables a 60% reduction in engineering man-hours (compared to the previous tool).

In addition to this new tool, STARDOM's Logic Designer engineering tool for creating control applications has been improved. An enhanced Distributed Network Protocol 3 (DNP3) is also provided.

The FOUNDATION fieldbus Configurator has a number of features that improve engineering efficiency and enable the deployment of FOUNDATION fieldbus networks in relatively short periods of time. For seamless operations, all screens now have the same look and feel as that of other STARDOM engineering tools. In addition, an enhanced export and import function facilitates repeat engineering, and application downloading time to fieldbus devices has been reduced substantially.

Logic Designer, the new control application creation tool, offers improved functionality, with new 'drag & drop', automatic rearrangement, automatic wiring mode switching, and other functions added that make this software easier to use.

The new version of STARDOM also offers enhanced functionality of the DNP3 protocol. DNP3 is a communication protocol used for controlling equipment distributed over a wide area, such as oil and gas field equipment. The protocol has been enhanced to support a wider range of SCADA applications.

Teruyoshi Minaki, Director and Executive Vice President of Yokogawa's Industrial Automation Business Headquarters, said: "The digital technology used with FOUNDATION fieldbus and other protocols plays a great role in the SCADA market by making it possible to manage field devices distributed over wide areas, such as oil and gas wells and wind power installations. Yokogawa has revamped its engineering tools to facilitate high quality engineering. Yokogawa will continue to provide field digital technologies so that its customers can reduce costs over the long term."
STARDOM is an open network control system consisting of components with control, operation, and monitoring functionality. The autonomous controllers at the core of STARDOM have the same control and monitoring functions found in a PLC as well as the information distribution functions of a PC. These products are widely used as intelligent remote terminal units (RTUs) in distributed applications such as natural gas and oil wells. When used in combination, the FCN/FCJ autonomous controllers and FAST/TOOLS SCADA software give increased flexibility in distributed applications.

Major target markets for STARDOM include oil and gas field production equipment in upstream oil and gas processes and new energy markets including wind power generation equipment and micro-hydroelectric power generation equipment.

Applications include the monitoring, operation, control, and data acquisition/recording of production equipment distributed over a wide area.

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