Back to the future with CENTUM VP

Back to the future with CENTUM VP

28. June 2018

Nothing lasts forever, or does it?

Mr. Jones is not normally someone who embraces change with open arms. At least, not in a professional context. As Head of Automation, Mr. Jones is responsible for several process plants in the chemical industry. These projects often run continuously for several years. Stability and availability are top priorities. Especially where the process control system is concerned, which in Mr. Jones’ case was supplied by Yokogawa (CENTUM VP).

After several years in operation, several of what Yokogawa calls the field control stations (FCS) were starting to show their age. A motley collection of the CENTUM VP FFCS series were meanwhile installed in the various plants. These components are not like a smartphone, which has to be replaced every two years; however, some of them had been doing duty for nearly 15 years already, and in a few cases the CPU modules (the heart of any FCS) were no longer available as spare parts. Mr. Jones had to do something urgently!

Not enough cash in wallet

It didn’t take long to develop a replacement concept for the field control stations (FCS), and a quotation was received shortly after from Mr. Roik, the Yokogawa sales representative. Only Mr. Moneybags, the plant manager responsible for the budget, was not at all happy. All that money on new hardware, without any increase in plant capacity – no, that wish fell on deaf ears. Mr. Jones was advised to make do with the components he already had and instead to have a word with Yokogawa. “They’re always talking about compatibility, protecting investments, TCO and so on,” said Mr. Moneybags to Mr. Jones. “Now’s their chance to prove it.”

That evening, over a beer with some colleagues who also had Yokogawa systems in their plants, Mr. Jones listened very attentively. One of them reported that Yokogawa let you swap just the CPU module and then you’re right up to date. The reason is that Yokogawa use only one platform. Mr. Jones’ colleague believed you could even do it online but he wasn’t absolutely sure on that count. Mr. Jones knew someone who would be.

Mr. Roik of Yokogawa explained to an astonished Mr. Jones that there is now a brand new CPU (CP471) that can be inserted into all field control stations in the FFCS series – even online with redundant systems or newer models from about 2011 onward – without having to switch them off first!

Still no green light to spend money

This was exactly the solution Mr. Jones had been searching for. It would bring the core automation components back up to date at a reasonable cost without disrupting operations. That ought to be enough to convince Mr. Moneybags!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t! “Why should I go spending money on new CPU modules when the old ones still work? And all because Yokogawa aren’t capable of stocking spare parts?” Luckily, Mr. Roik was ready once again with some persuasive arguments. The new CP471 CPU module offered far more storage capacity and computing power than the oldest models. It was possible, at long last, to expand the parts of the plant where those old field control stations were installed without having to buy new ones. And that’s not all: the latest generation of I/O modules (the universal Network-IO) could now be used in this high performance CPU.

Back to the future

After all of the CPU modules had been replaced (Mr. Moneybags had eventually given his reluctant approval to the budget), Mr. Jones looks back with satisfaction – and ahead with confidence. Mr. Roik, too, pays more frequent visits again. Thanks to the newly available reserves in the FCSs, modernization and expansion projects which had been left by the wayside, or which were quite simply infeasible in the past, can now be tackled. They’re both very pleased with the outcome – only Mr. Moneybags still rolls his eyes whenever he bumps into them.

The development of the FFCS series by Centum VP (2003-today)

Facts, figures and data (by the author)

This story may be purely fictional, but it’s altogether realistic. Mr. Jones and Mr. Moneybags don’t actually exist. On the other hand, there really is a Mr. Roik at Yokogawa!

As of CENTUM VP R6.05, the CP471 runs in all FCSs in the FCCS series. All stations with a CP461 can be replaced online (after being revved up to R6.05). All older models can be

SBA, nature and times of change…

From Safety Instrumented System to Safety Lifecycle Tool

NAMUR: Process control elements (PCEs) with protective functions

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