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Helping users minimise unscheduled downtime

29 November 2010

Rockwell Automation has expanded its high availability offering to help end users achieve end-to-end fault tolerance in critical control applications. The new capabilities include redundant I/O, alarm and event server redundancy, network resiliency and faster controller cross-loading.

Helping users minimise unscheduled downtime
Helping users minimise unscheduled downtime

This expansion is ideally suited for manufacturers in oil and gas, power and heavy process industries that need to minimise unscheduled downtime that can jeopardise worker safety, damage equipment, harm the environment and prevent meeting key performance indicators.
“The financial risks associated with downtime, drive the need for manufacturers to implement highly available, fault-tolerant automation systems,” said Art Pietrzyk, manager, Rockwell Automation. “Without these precautions in place, manufacturers likely will experience unscheduled downtime, which impacts production schedules, the ability to meet customer commitments and, of course, overall productivity.”

According to research performed by the ARC Advisory Group, the global process industry loses approximately $20 billion, or about 5% of annual production, due to unscheduled downtime. ARC estimates that almost 80% of these losses could be preventable by end users deploying high availability systems.

To prevent downtime, most manufacturers rely on a form of redundancy if a control system shutdown, or loss of visibility, would cause a major loss in data, product or revenue damage equipment, or create a potential hazard.

Redundancy involves the duplication or triplication of equipment needed to operate without disruption, if and when the primary equipment fails. To avoid weighing down a system with redundancy overload, Rockwell Automation recommends that manufacturers determine the cost of potential failures and make high availability investments accordingly.

“Engineers should enlist methods beyond redundancy to achieve availability, such as component derating, design using diversity and client-server configuration,” said Pietrzyk.

“Engineers must apply the high availability methods that best match their performance and economic requirements. Our scalable PlantPAx Process Automation System, combined with our expertise, provides an economical, customisable solution for users to achieve high availability.”


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