SMAR Introduces Assetview Online Asset Management System

Friday, June 07, 2002

Revolutionary, network-enabled software system unleashes powerful fieldbus diagnostics

Smar announced the introduction of AssetView, the first online, network-enabled plant asset management system designed according to the NAMUR NE91 standard and taking full advantage of FOUNDATION™ fieldbus' powerful diagnostics.

AssetView is a key component of Smar's SYSTEM302 enterprise automation solution enabling process plants to better manage the health and performance of field instrumentation and controls. Unlike traditional "offline" enterprise asset management software, which utilizes manually-entered information to track work orders and costs for almost all plant inventories, AssetView focuses strictly on instruments — one of the most important physical assets of any production facility. AssetView provides plant personnel with the information they need to perform their tasks more efficiently, and simplifies assessment of instrument condition, allowing maintenance technicians to make better decisions on what action to be taken.

More than just a standard asset management tool, AssetView benefits from the unmatched interoperability of Smar's industry-leading fieldbus solution, and makes full use of available parameter information from both FOUNDATION fieldbus and HART devices – regardless of their make or model. In doing so, AssetView helps eliminate the constraints of plantwide integration while protecting the user's installed investment.

AssetView is the most advanced device diagnostic and manager software offered to date. Featuring a user-friendly, browser-based interface, it provides continuous, online access to intelligent field devices, and enables technicians to perform a host of diagnostic and maintenance functions, including: calibration, device monitoring, device parameterization, valve diagnostic and performance evaluation, loop tests, documentation and operator audits.

AssetView also provides valuable data collected from smart valve positioners/controllers and other devices, and historically archived in the plantwide database. The system makes the most of this historical information to optimize the operation of plant equipment with minimal frequency and extent of maintenance.

According to Bill Tatum, Smar International Corp. fieldbus product manager, AssetView establishes a new standard for asset management in process industry plants. "Today, asset management is a major concern for manufacturers around the world," said Tatum. "Companies must not only optimize control system performance, but also leverage the value of their installed assets if they are to improve their business results. Too often, however, instrument maintenance is conducted on a trial-and-error basis, resulting in unnecessary process shutdowns and costing millions of dollars in lost production revenue. Using the integrated technology of fieldbus devices and AssetView, suspected faults can now be confirmed based on condition monitoring while the plant is still in operation."

He added, "No other asset management system on the market makes such full use of fieldbus' robust device diagnostics."

In the open, flexible SYSTEM302 architecture, AssetView complements the Syscon engineering tool by offering additional, advanced diagnostics such as charts and graphs for valve analysis and step-by-step procedures for device test and calibration. While Syscon's Device Description (DD)-based technology is primarily intended for initial configuration of control strategies and devices, AssetView is specifically designed to handle long-term maintenance and device operation. Displaying diagnostic data in logically arranged windows, it takes devices through test sequences, records data, and organizes information as part of a sophisticated failure analysis. Diagnostic plots can be stored and retrieved as part of the device record and maintenance audit trail.

AssetView's standard, platform-independent, web-based architecture allows it to work either plant-wide across the network, or enterprise-wide across the Internet. The system's multi-client user interface is a regular web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator operating on Windows, Windows CE, Unix and other common platforms.

With AssetView, web pages are generated for every device at a plant location using ASP (Active Server Page) technology. The device pages contain information such as manufacturer name, device type, serial number, and hardware and software revisions. Technicians can access the pages via web browser clients in order to perform tasks ranging from identification and calibration, to diagnostics and reconciliation of device configurations.

The web technology used in AssetView also allows association of any document or graphic format through either hyperlinks or insertion into HTML pages. No special configurator or software is needed, giving users the capability to easily modify the appearance and format of online documents for a particular device or device type.

AssetView also uploads the network topology from the SYSTEM302 servers, enabling users to browse operational devices at different plant locations from their stations in exactly the same manner as in Syscon. In all other ways, navigating AssetView is like browsing the Internet.