A Time of Great Change

Feb 8, 2012 10:20:00 AM | Posted by Paul Galeski

The old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” must apply to your distributed control system.

Legacy DCS systems are in crisis. Many vendors are dropping their support. If you’re running one, chances are there will be no new parts to replace them. If your current DCS system doesn’t allow for open connectivity, it won’t automatically work with disparate replacement parts. You can try a workaround, but be prepared for it to get expensive, complicated and cumbersome to configure and maintain. Basically, it‘s going to get tougher and tougher to keep a legacy DCS system running.

You know you can’t perform without your DCS system. You need to make a decision, and soon. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. Once an OEM drops support, every customer of that product must find a new solution. Demand for resources spikes. A DCS migration can take years to plan and execute, so it is imperative to get started before everyone qualified to handle it is busy working for one of your competitors.

The systems aren’t the only ones getting older. Nearly 40 percent of engineers and operators that fully understand how your DCS system works will be retiring in the coming years. Layoffs and promotions will thin their numbers even further. New engineers won’t have the history and background in DCS to fully understand your legacy system. So there are fewer and fewer people to help you when something goes wrong. You’ll be lucky to keep the legacy systems working, let alone have the opportunity for process improvements.

Your business has to stay current to accommodate upcoming changes in technology, demand and a global economy. You must produce the same volume of products in fewer facilities. You will be required to adjust to current economic systems. You need to be flexible. You need to be agile. To get there, you’ve got to have the right technology, the right automation strategy and the right partners.

So what do you do? Create an entirely new system in a brown field facility? Who can afford that? More than that, who can afford the downtime for construction?

There is an easier way. It’s DCS Next. You don’t have to break the bank, you don’t have to shut down production for months and you don’t have to wait. Because MAVERICK Technologies has a way to do it that will change everything.

These truly are interesting times.