Foxboro Automation Systems, a unit of Invensys, has introduced new ‘mesh’ network technology for Invensys’ I/A Series system.
The technology incorporates commercial off the shelf (COTS) Ethernet switches, ports, and fibre optic media in advanced meshed configurations that provide multiple communications paths between network stations.
It can be used to configure high-availability, high-performance (100Mbps/1Gbps), Switched Ethernet process control networks and field networks for new I/A Series systems. It can also be used to efficiently extend existing I/A Series systems.
‘Unlike conventional redundant networks, our new mesh networks can be configured to maintain nonstop communications even when faced with multiple points of failure, such as the simultaneous loss of a communications port and a wire break,’ said Steve Young, vice president of Foxboro Automation Systems.
Upon rapid detection of one or more network faults, diagnostics automatically reconfigure the communications path to maintain system communications. ‘In effect, the network is smart enough to heal itself,’ said Young.
The new mesh technology can be used to configure plantwide process control networks as well as to provide a secure link between I/A Series Control Processors and their associated Fieldbus (I/O) Modules. Where appropriate, I/A Series workstations, control processors, device integrators, and fieldbus modules can all be placed on a common mesh network.