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Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Triconex Tricon CX v11.3 Controller Enables Profitable Safety for High-Hazard Industries

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Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure Triconex Tricon CX v11.3 Controller Enables Profitable Safety for High-Hazard Industries

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has released Tricon CX version 11.3, the most powerful version of its EcoStruxure™ Triconex™ safety instrumented system.

Tricon CX version 11.3 continues the company’s heritage of embedding the industry’s strongest cybersecurity features within its flagship process safety system. Tricon CX version 11.3 is compliant with the IEC 62443 standard and is certified by TÜV Rheinland for use in safety applications up to Safety Integrity Level 3. It is also ISASecure® EDSA Level-1 certified, the industry’s leading cybersecurity certification for control systems, safety systems and system components. As the industry’s first dual-certified process safety instrumented system, Tricon CX version 11.3 meets stringent requirements for safety, cybersecurity, risk reduction and continuous operation in the oil and gas, refining, petrochemicals, power and other high-hazard industries.

Protecting and securing real-time profitable safety with EcoStruxure

“By virtue of its safety and security certifications and its compliance with the industry’s most stringent standards, and because it was designed in accordance with our recognized Security Development Lifecycle process, Tricon CX version 11.3 is secure to the highest degree available,” said Mike Chmilewski, vice president, Process Safety, Schneider Electric Process Automation. “We were the first supplier to achieve dual safety and cybersecurity certifications from TÜV Rheinland, and Tricon CX version 11.3 strengthens our commitment to industry-leading cybersecurity and keeps our customers on a path to a safer, more secure future. It is the latest example of how our advanced EcoStruxure Triconex safety instrumented systems—the most dependable in the industry with more than one billion hours logged without failure—enable a safe, secure operation. Tricon CX version 11.3 protects and secures our customers’ assets, people and environment while making profitable safety a reality.”

An integral component of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Plant architecture and platform, the secure-by-design Tricon CX version 11.3 delivers high performance, high capacity and a lifetime of flexibility. EcoStruxure is Schneider Electric’s open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform. EcoStruxure delivers enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity for its customers. EcoStruxure leverages advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics, and cybersecurity to deliver Innovation at every level. This includes Connected Products, Edge Control, and Apps, Analytics & Services. EcoStruxure has been deployed in 480,000+ sites, with the support of 20,000+ system integrators and developers, connecting over 1.6 million assets under management through 40+ digital services.

Protecting and upgrading performance in high-hazard operations

Leveraging the field-proven safety, availability and security features of EcoStruxure Triconex safety systems, the latest Tricon CX version 11.3 controller enables best-in-class availability and a lifetime of performance for safety-critical applications, including emergency shutdown, fire and gas, burner management, high integrity pressure protection and critical control.

Integrating the compact design of Tricon CX, which reduces the original Tricon form factor by 50 per cent, Tricon CX version 11.3 is ideal for high-hazard and extreme environments where footprint is a premium. Additionally, the system is completely scalable so it can meet customer needs as they change and grow. It is capable of handling more than 750,000 physical I/O points, and because it leverages the same programming tools as the original Tricon, is easy to engineer, install, configure, operate and maintain for decades of continuous, safe operation. As a result, current users can protect their existing Tricon investments and expand as needed without disruption to their operations. New Tricon CX version 11.3 users benefit from the most powerful safety system that leverages the best of the proven Tricon and Trident Safety Integrity Level 3 systems with the ease of future expansion.

Enhancing ROI with value-focused offers

With improved ease of use, a smaller footprint, less design effort, fewer drawings to produce and less wiring, Tricon CX version 11.3 helps increase time to value by 25 per cent, reduces installation costs by 30 per cent and increases productivity by up to five per cent. Additionally, Tricon CX version 11.3 is also compatible with multiple EcoStruxure Triconex safety systems applications, including:

Safety Validator, which automatically tests, validates and documents EcoStruxure Triconex safety system application logic—saving up to 40 per cent of software test hours.
SIF Manager, which tracks and validates Safety Instrumented Function performance over the lifecycle of a plant.

Safety View, a TÜV-certified software application that enhances insight into high-priority alarms for operators, boosting their efficiency and effectiveness in responding to critical situations.

System Auditor, an essential tool for documenting EcoStruxure Triconex safety systems and managing alarms.
Tricon, Trident and Tri-GP high-availability, high-integrity edge controllers.

“With its value-focused features, Triconex CX version 11.3 can reduce our customers’ total cost of ownership by up to eight per cent,” said Steve Elliott, senior marketing director, Process Automation Control and Safety offerings, Schneider Electric. “In addition, its triple redundant, high-availability architecture, inherent redundancy management, online module replacement and change/modification capabilities are proven to help process manufacturers increase ROI by 11 per cent.

“Our customers, especially those in heavy process and high-hazard environments, require the highest levels of safety performance, while maximizing profitability and business performance. Because it helps plant personnel better identify, plan and manage operating and business risks, Tricon CX version 11.3 not only reduces the likelihood of unexpected production outages and downtime, it also helps our customers move from managing their process safety as a cost center to controlling it as a profit centre.”

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Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output

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Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output 1

By Devika Krishna Kumar

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday, retreating further from recent highs as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.

Brent crude futures were down 33 cents, or 0.5%, at $63.60 a barrel by 11:06 a.m. (1606 GMT) U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 60 cents, or 1%, to $59.92.

This week, both benchmarks had climbed to the highest in more than a year.

“Price pullback thus far appears corrective and is slight within the context of this month’s major upside price acceleration,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.

Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, analysts estimated.

Texas refiners halted about a fifth of the nation’s oil processing amid power outages and severe cold.

Companies were expected to prepare for production restarts on Friday as electric power and water services slowly resume, sources said.

“While much of the selling relates to a gradual resumption of power in the Gulf coast region ahead of a significant temperature warmup, the magnitude of this week’s loss of supply may require further discounting given much uncertainty regarding the extent and possible duration of lost output,” Ritterbusch said.

Oil fell despite a surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week to Feb. 12, before the big freeze. Inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 461.8 million barrels, their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday. [EIA/S]

The United States on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Still, analysts did not expect near-term reversal of sanctions on Iran that were imposed by the previous U.S. administration.

“This breakthrough increases the probability that we may see Iran returning to the oil market soon, although there is much to be discussed and a new deal will not be a carbon-copy of the 2015 nuclear deal,” said StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon.

(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Jason Neely, David Goodman and David Gregorio)

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Analysis: Carmakers wake up to new pecking order as chip crunch intensifies

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Analysis: Carmakers wake up to new pecking order as chip crunch intensifies 2

By Douglas Busvine and Christoph Steitz

BERLIN (Reuters) – The semiconductor crunch that has battered the auto sector leaves carmakers with a stark choice: pay up, stock up or risk getting stuck on the sidelines as chipmakers focus on more lucrative business elsewhere.

Car manufacturers including Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors have cut output as the chip market was swept clean by makers of consumer electronics such as smartphones – the chip industry’s preferred customers because they buy more advanced, higher-margin chips.

The semiconductor shortage – over $800 worth of silicon is packed into a modern electric vehicle – has exposed the disconnect between an auto industry spoilt by decades of just-in-time deliveries and an electronics industry supply chain it can no longer bend to its will.

“The car sector has been used to the fact that the whole supply chain is centred around cars,” said McKinsey partner Ondrej Burkacky. “What has been overlooked is that semiconductor makers actually do have an alternative.”

Automakers are responding to the shortage by lobbying governments to subsidize the construction of more chip-making capacity.

In Germany, Volkswagen has pointed the finger at suppliers, saying it gave them timely warning last April – when much global car production was idled due to the coronavirus pandemic – that it expected demand to recover strongly in the second half of the year.

That complaint by the world’s No.2 volume carmaker cuts little ice with chipmakers, who say the auto industry is both quick to cancel orders in a slump and to demand investment in new production in a recovery.

“Last year we had to furlough staff and bear the cost of carrying idle capacity,” said a source at one European semiconductor maker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“If the carmakers are asking us to invest in new capacity, can they please tell us who will pay for that idle capacity in the next downturn?”

LOW-TECH CUSTOMER

The auto industry spends around $40 billion a year on chips – about a tenth of the global market. By comparison, Apple spends more on chips just to make its iPhones, Mirabaud tech analyst Neil Campling reckons.

Moreover, the chips used in cars tend to be basic products such as micro controllers made under contract at older foundries – hardly the leading-edge production technology in which chipmakers would be willing to invest.

“The suppliers are saying: ‘If we continue to produce this stuff there is nowhere else for it to go. Sony isn’t going to use it for a Playstation 5 or Apple for its next iPhone’,” said Asif Anwar at Strategy Analytics.

Chipmakers were surprised by the panicked reaction of the German car industry, which persuaded Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to write a letter in January to his counterpart in Taiwan to ask its semiconductor makers to supply more chips.

No extra supplies were forthcoming, with one German industry source joking that the Americans stood a better chance of getting more chips from Taiwan because they could at least park an aircraft carrier off the coast – referring to the ability of the United States to project power in Asia.

Closer to home, a source at another European chipmaker expressed disbelief at the poor understanding at one carmaker of how it operates.

“We got a call from one auto maker that was desperate for supply. They said: Why don’t you run a night shift to increase production?” this person said.

“What they didn’t understand is that we have been running a night shift since the beginning.”

NO QUICK FIX

While Infineon, the leading supplier of chips to the global auto industry, and Robert Bosch, the top ‘Tier 1’ parts supplier, both plan to commission new chip plants this year, there is little chance of supply shortages easing soon.

Specialist chipmakers like Infineon outsource some production of automotive chips to contract manufacturers led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), but the Asian foundries are currently prioritising high-end electronics makers as they come up against capacity constraints.

Over the longer term, the relationship between chip makers and the car industry will become closer as electric vehicles are more widely adopted and features such as assisted and autonomous driving develop, requiring more advanced chips.

But, in the short term, there is no quick fix for the lack of chip supply: IHS Markit estimates that the time it takes to deliver a microcontroller has doubled to 26 weeks and shortages will only bottom out in March.

That puts the production of 1 million light vehicles at risk in the first quarter, says IHS Markit. European chip industry executives and analysts agree that supply will not catch up with demand until later in the year.

Chip shortages are having a “snowball effect” as auto makers idle some capacity to prioritize building profitable models, said Anwar at Strategy Analytics, who forecasts a drop in car production in Europe and North America of 5%-10% in 2021.

The head of Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics, Jean-Marc Chery, forecasts capacity constraints will affect carmakers until mid-year.

“Up to the end of the second quarter, the industry will have to manage at the lean inventory level,” Chery told a recent Goldman Sachs conference.

(Douglas Busvine from Berlin and Christoph Steitz from Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gilles Gillaume in Paris; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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Aussie and sterling hit multi-year highs on recovery bets

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Aussie and sterling hit multi-year highs on recovery bets 3

By Tommy Wilkes

LONDON (Reuters) – The Australian dollar rose to near a three-year high and the British pound scaled $1.40 for the first time since 2018 on optimism about economic rebounds in the two countries and after the U.S. dollar was knocked by disappointing jobs data.

The U.S. currency had been rising in recent days as a jump in Treasury yields on the back of the so-called reflation trade drew investors. But an unexpected increase in U.S. weekly jobless claims soured the economic outlook and sent the dollar lower overnight.

On Friday it traded down 0.3% against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index at 90.309.

The Aussie rose 0.8% to $0.784, its highest since March 2018. The currency, which is closely linked to commodity prices and the outlook for global growth, has been helped by a recent rally in commodity prices.

The New Zealand dollar also gained, and was not far off a more than two-year high, while the Canadian dollar rose too.

Sterling rose to $1.4009 on Friday, an almost three-year high amid Britain’s aggressive vaccination programme.

Given the size of Britain’s vital services sector, analysts say the faster it can reopen the economy, the better for the currency. Sterling was also helped by better-than-expected purchasing managers index flash survey data for February.

The U.S. dollar has been weighed down by a string of soft labour data, even as other indicators have shown resilience, and as President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief efforts take shape, including a proposed $1.9 trillion spending package.

Despite the recent rise in U.S. yields, many analysts think they won’t climb too much higher, limiting the benefit for the dollar.

“Our view remains that the Fed will hold the line and remain very cautious about tapering asset purchases. We think it will keep communicating that tightening is very far off, which should dampen pro-dollar sentiment,” said UBS Global Wealth Management strategist Gaétan Peroux and analyst Tilmann Kolb.

ING analysts said “the rise in rates will be self-regulating, meaning the dollar need not correct too much higher”.

They see the greenback index trading down to the 90.10 to 91.05 range.

U.S. dollar

Aussie and sterling hit multi-year highs on recovery bets 4

The euro rose 0.4% to $1.2134. The single currency showed little reaction to purchasing manager index data, which showed a slowdown in business activity in February. However, factories had their busiest month in three years, buoying sentiment.

The dollar bought 105.39 yen, down 0.3% and a continued retreat from the five-month high of 106.225 reached Wednesday.

(Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pravin Char)

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