DCS migration: Batch or S88 style application?

May 8, 2014 10:54:51 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

Deciding between a dedicated batch application and building an S88 style application really comes down to the level of sophistication required to make the system user-friendly and supportable by the plant.

I just finished supporting a batch process startup where the client chose to not continue using the same batch application as the rest of their facility. This plant area had previously been controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC) using some basic sequencing. The project was to migrate it to a distributed control system (DCS) that has already been used in other parts of the plant. Some of the other areas that have been migrated are using the batch software application, but because this process is rather basic it was decided that using the DCS batch software was overkill. Therefore, the migration was done using Sequential function chart-based equipment modules (EM) to operate control modules (CM). It seemed like a logical approach, though as the checkout progressed we kept running into its limitations: the lack a structured recipe/formula management system, the need to create multiple identical equipment modules, a somewhat clunky operator interface, etc. All of which would have been addressed by batch software.

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Exclusive Webinar: Front-end Loading for Control System Migration

May 5, 2014 9:20:53 AM | Posted by MAVERICK Leadership Team

Exclusive Webinar: Front-end Loading for Control System Migration

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Upgrading control systems: Phase migration vs. complete replacement

Apr 30, 2014 7:30:49 AM | Posted by Dave Cortivo

After receiving the approval for a control system replacement project, how do you decide between phased migration and a complete replacement? Do you keep some of the old and integrate the new, or just go with a fresh start?

Now it’s time to setup the plant for the highest possible return on a project that was hard to justify in the first place. There are so many questions that should drive the selection of the control system. What is its expandability? How well does it play with my “other” systems? What is my support learning curve? When you have answered these questions and have selected a control system, the hard part is done right? Not even close; it is time to execute what model you choose. Let’s discuss two typical migration models, phased migration and complete replacement. So now you must consider what should stay and what should go.

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Penny wise and pound foolish

Dec 17, 2013 8:18:01 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

A few appropriate costs early in a project can create major savings down the road and avoid a whole lot of aggravation in the process.

I’ve just finished helping support a project startup that has gone rather well in spite of some decisions to save cost at the start. I continue to be amazed time and time again that companies underestimate the impact of cutting the wrong costs, simply because they don’t know what the project really should cost before they go for funding. The project in this particular case is actually the follow-on to the first phase of a system migration from one DCS platform to another. The customer’s old platform had been in service for a very long time and was becoming unsupportable when things failed. Since any migration was going to be a rip-and-replace, they decided to investigate what was now available in the market place and chose not to stay with the original installed platform vendor for technical reasons. Phase one was done by the vendor of the new DCS, but to save cost the configuration was off-shored. This might have worked if the customer had developed a really good scope, but for reasons I do not know, they did not.

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Planning I&E Activities For Control System Migration Projects

Sep 24, 2013 5:34:06 AM | Posted by Shane Hudson

While some of these elements may seem relatively minor, dealing with them early in the planning process keeps them from becoming major problems.

A comprehensive—hardware and software—control system migration project normally involves some combination of the following engineering activities:

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4 Steps to Keep Your DCS Migration Docs Current

Aug 15, 2012 4:34:14 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

I sat through a demo the other day of a software application that extracts all the information from your control system and puts it into an offline readable format that the user can query to create custom reports. While it is a wonderfully done package, it would be absolutely useless in many of the plants I’ve visited recently. Most of those plants are in the process of migrating their existing obsolete systems to a platform with current technology.

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Why Aren’t More People Getting on the Fieldbus Bus?

Jun 19, 2012 3:55:34 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

After being involved in a number of migration projects, I’m surprised at how few of these considered taking advantage of the extra capabilities of fieldbus-based instruments, drives and positioners. This is not a new phenomenon, but it was more understandable in the early years of the technologies. To some degree the fault lies with the manufacturers. Fieldbus communication was marketed as being a way to reduce the number of wires required and the size of the cabinets required. To a great degree the real benefits of its ability to support smart instruments was a marketing afterthought, “Look at all the room you can save and, oh by the way, you get this extra information.” As a result, the typical migration project team says, “We already have all these HART instruments that give us the extra data and we’re not pulling any new wire, so why should we change?”

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DCS Migration: Some Key Factors to Consider

Apr 11, 2012 4:07:00 AM | Posted by Don Dickson

Most people on the hunt for a new DCS system have never been through a migration before. The industry average life of a DCS is about 17 years, so it’s not something that happens every day. A DCS migration is a substantial investment that should be carefully weighed and fully vetted before making a final decision, so consider these important factors before you migrate.

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