Published in Glass International 2011

Invensys Operations Management develops and supplies process control systems suitable for many aspects of the glassmaking process, from the batch house to the annealing lehr. René Meuleman explores the benefits of these systems and the ways in which they can improve performance.

Invensys Operations Management specialises in automation and information technologies, systems, software solutions, services and consulting for the global glass industry. The company recently introduced its Foxboro Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) T2750 for signal interfacing, processing, local storage and execution of process control strategies. It is available for glass customers and applications are currently running on this renewed hardware platform.

Software package

The company has also developed a software integration package called Wonderware PAC. This software provides modules to complete the integration of the Foxboro PAC controllers’ application into the Wonderware system platform, via the ArchestrA Integrated Development Environment (IDE). It includes several components designed to ensure easy, maintainable and scalable implementation of one or more PAC applications.

Using ArchestrA technology, applications can be assembled using software objects rather than being programmed. Templates can be created and then used to build new applications. This is achieved through simple reassembly and slight modification of the templates and can therefore save time by lowering development costs.


There is more to gain from the features that this technology brings. For example, Wonderware Historian software is capable of storing all process data for a long time at high sampling rates. This long-term archiving, coupled with the availability of data retrieval tools such as Excel add-in, makes different process improvement
studies possible.

Similarly, the Foxboro PAC System is suitable for finding new ways of control processes, converting these functions into new control strategies and improving the daily operations. Processing becomes easier due to the flexibility and almost unlimited processing capabilities of the system. Even advanced applications can now be fitted into the simplex processor base unit, hosting only a single CPU or a redundant pair of CPUs. Implementation of improved process control strategies no longer has any limitations.

Data storage

Along with the long-term data archiving functionality of Wonderware Historian, there is the ‘Store and Forward’ feature, which is available at I/O-level. Since each Foxboro PAC base unit has its own (single or redundant) central processing unit (CPU), it is possible to locally store critical process data for the event of a communication failure. Once data communication is recovered, all locally stored data is flushed to the Wonderware Historian providing seamless data integrity after recovery. Environmental data, such as SOx, NOx and CO2 emissions, are becoming critical as they may become subject to governmental penalties, therefore Store and Forward is an important feature for the glass industry. Together with the ease of reporting the system allows, this can save time on daily routines and enhance the financial benefits in addition.

The renewed Wonderware InTouch Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software provides graphic visualisation and means there are no limitations as to what is
achievable with the mimics and faceplates. However, most end users limit themselves to very basic and ergonomically sound mimic and faceplate designs and focus on the advantages of object oriented programming and integration that Wonderware PAC software provides them. A sound, easy to understand, and standardised faceplate design becomes more important when you want to reduce engineering costs in multiple facility installations by software replication.

Perhaps the most important feature of an Invensys Eurotherm process control system based on Foxboro PAC, Wonderware PAC, and the Wonderware System Platform is that there is a knowledgeable team capable of assisting customers in assembling it.

Cost effectiveness

Initial costs for a single project may not be reduced, however that can only be proven by a budgetary proposal. In order to reduce engineering costs, standardisation, benchmarking of operations, ongoing process improvements and on-the-fly upgrades and expansions, a Foxboro PAC System can reduce cost of ownership and provide an acceptable return on investment. Once the design and standardisations are in place, the savings can have greater potential for the next installation.

Process performance

The system offers the tools, data storage and retrieving capabilities to enable effective process improvements. Once those improvements are found, converting them into improved or advanced process control strategies and/or operator assistance tools can be achieved. 

Minimal space is required to fit the hardware, while there is more CPU power and storage space at the process level. Wonderware PAC takes care of the integration and the Wonderware System Platform offers functionality and ease of operation.

*René Meuleman, Global Glass Industry Technical Leader, Invensys Operations Management, The Netherlands.
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