Archive of DCS Migration - MAVERICK Ideas

Penny wise and pound foolish

Posted by Bruce Brandt on December 17, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

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 wi...

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4 Steps to Keep Your DCS Migration Docs Current

Posted by Bruce Brandt on August 15, 2012 @ 9:34 am

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. While you might think a package like the one I saw would be perfect for documenting the before state of the migration, in reality it only covers the DCS or PLC in a lot of facilities. The problem is the number of things exter...

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

Posted by Bruce Brandt on June 19, 2012 @ 8:55 am

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?” Continue ReadingLeave a Comment

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New Year’s Resolution, Revelation or Resignation — Your Choice

Posted by Bill Stewart on January 3, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

Every New Year’s Eve, something special happens when the clock strikes midnight. We come up with a plan to eat better, exercise more and take time to smell the flowers along the way — a resolution. We imagine the different and wonderful life we'll live if we just stick to it — a revelation. Then one day rolls into another and we go about our work as usual — a resignation. When you return to work after the holidays, ask your process automation installed base what it wants to do with the new year. Get a cup of coffee, sit in front of the HMI and just listen while your GUI pours out its CPU to you. OK, that’s not going to happen, and if you sit there too long talking to the interface you’ll question your own sanity. However, there is a way to let the process automation installed base talk to you. Do an assessment and analyze the data. The data will “talk” to you if you...

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DCS Migration Project Checklist

Posted by Jim Ford on November 2, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

You might be wondering why supposedly mundane maintenance like DCS migration is such a hot topic these days. Just look at MAVERICK’s website: Our CEO, Paul Galeski, blogs about it. It’s a feature headline on the front page. We’ve got white papers galore on the topic. What’s the sudden excitement all about? Here’s the deal. Your instrumentation and control system is your most important productivity tool. It represents only 10 to 15 percent of the capital invested in your plant's equipment and facilities, yet it provides almost all the leverage you have to improve yields, increase throughput, reduce energy usage and achieve more uniform product quality. Unfortunately, you can't always realize these benefits if you're still operating with an obsolete DCS. Migrating to a modern DCS presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to significantly enhance the leveraging power of your ...

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