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  • workers in the Neponset factory c. 1920

    Protech Instruments and Rotork Instruments is now Schneider Electric

About Protech Instruments and Rotork Instruments

Protech was formed in 1972 and initially concentrated on analogue signal conditioning and analogue computation products and systems for the process sector. The analogue products were cleverly designed to be flexible in use and could be built-up into sophisticated systems.

The company grew quickly and Protech Instruments systems were widely used in chemical, oil and gas and power generation. Offices and production facilities were established in Luton, UK.

Some Protech systems were used to build safety shutdown systems, including large systems for Torness and Heysham Nuclear Power Stations in the UK.

The History of Protech

In 1985 Protech Instruments was bought by the Rotork group (a UK company) to add an instrumentation/electronics engineering/software capability to their existing valve actuation and valve telemetry products as well as research and development for future products. The company continued as Rotork Instruments and invested in the development of more advanced safety products.

In 2002 Rotork Instruments was purchased by Serck Controls, an SCADA/Telemetry company, to augment their process control solutions and engineering capability offering to clients. In 2010 Serck Controls was then to be included within Schneider Electric enhancing their portfolio in SCADA/Telemetry and Process Safety.

About Protech Products and Services

Legacy ‘Protech’ or ‘PISL’ identified products encompass several uniquely identified ranges, most of which are based upon operational amplifier/transistor technology. These offer a plethora of analogue, and some digital, functions.

These modules are flexible and provide wide range calibration capability to tailor the unit to the application. They are also available in different packaging formats; manufactured as self-contained products, complete with housing and power arrangements; or as compatible rack mounted modules facilitating the construction of more complex process/analogue conditioning functions. 

Schneider Electric continues to extensively manufacture and service these products, but as development predates statutory EU CE marking requirements, procurement is restricted in countries where EU standards, or equivalent, are mandatory pre-requisites and cannot be marketed for new systems use. We continue to provide full support for these products.

Experience with safety systems and systems engineering, Rotork Instruments developed a hardware-based safety system, now called Orbus. Launched in 1990 and expanded into a range of modules to cover analogue and digital inputs, solid-state digital outputs, logic modules, line monitoring and auxiliary functions. Orbus systems can be ‘test-able’ achieving up to SIL3 according to IEC61508, or ‘failsafe’ achieving up to SIL4. Later Rotork Instruments were amongst the first companies to fully embrace the international process safety standard IEC61508.  Rotork Instruments gained certification for Functional Safety Management in 2001 and have held it ever since.

Today we design and engineer new process safety solutions based on hardwired Orbus or software-based platforms and assist with installation and commissioning and offer support services for these systems. We also offer consultancy services related to process safety, such as reliability calculations, assistance with Safety Requirements, recommendations on platform and architecture. Products and systems supplied since the 1970s, including providing spares, calibration and repairs, support agreements etc remain supported.

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