FIELDBUS technology offers numerous benefits when used with intelligent instrumentation. Predictive maintenance, instrument 'health' warnings, recommissioning, reduced downtime, trouble-shooting, plant asset management are possible.
Until recently, the only way for older, established plants to derive these benefits was by undertaking a very costly replacement and upgrade of their control systems, either PLC network or DCS.
Endress+Hauser has now released ControlCare, an intelligent and low-cost platform that facilitates full and seamless interconnectivity with Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus and HART components.
This allows users of legacy systems to reap the benefits of Fieldbus technology without having to replace their control systems. Since it uses open standards for communication, data access, configuration and diagnosis, there is no longer any need for device, process and plant information to be restricted to any proprietary protocol.
ControlCare achieves this by adopting OPC (OLE for Process Control), an open standard defining a common standard for the exchange of information between cooperating software applications. ControlCare's OPC client-server architecture enables easy integration with HMI and SCADA applications.
ControlCare allows for Fieldbus and conventional devices to be integrated quite simply using Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus DP, Profibus PA, ModBus Serial and ModBus TCP. There is also support for 4-20mA HART connections and conventional digital in, digital out, analogue in and analogue outputs.
ControlCare project engineering is performed with the ControlCare Application Designer Suite software which uses function block diagram as the core control strategy design tool.
Additionally, custom functionality is enabled by native support of the "Hybrid" function block concept allowing free form programming in any of the five IEC-61131-3 programming languages, Structured Text, Ladder Logic, Instruction list, Sequential Function Chart and Function Block Diagram.
ControlCare can be effectively used in a range of applications including process and factory automation, tank farms, silos, steam measurement and management, heat exchangers, boilers, and distillation columns.