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DCS, SCADA, Controllers

Effective process control system migration, Part 3: Poll results, answers

Those who delay a DCS migration risk loss of uptime and reliability and have difficulty applying incremental improvements. Also, related controls and instrumentation upgrades incompatible with legacy equipment.

By Don Bartusiak and Lynn Njaa September 17, 2021
Courtesy: Control Engineering webcast: Effective process control system migration

 

Learning Objectives

  • Review the losses that those listening in to the webcast perceive from putting off a DCS migration.
  • Examine how DCS integration with existing systems or with different brands from different vendors can be challenging.

During the Control Engineering webcast, “Effective Process Control Migration,” system integrators provided needed advice about distributed control system (DCS) migrations and the audience provided input in two poll questions often assist with effective process control system migrations. Many distributed control systems (DCS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems have reached the end of useful life and are waiting for migrations. Expert presenters during the presentation were:

  • Don Bartusiak, president of Collaborative Systems Integration and co-chair of the Open Process Automation Forum.
  • Lynn Njaa, business development manager, DCSNext process automation consultant with Maverick Technologies.

Learn more below.

At left, Don Bartusiak is president of Collaborative Systems Integration and co-chair of the Open Process Automation Forum. Lynn Njaa is business development manager, DCSNext process automation consultant with Maverick Technologies. Courtesy: Control Engineering webcast: Effective process control system migration

At left, Don Bartusiak is president of Collaborative Systems Integration and co-chair of the Open Process Automation Forum. Lynn Njaa is business development manager, DCSNext process automation consultant with Maverick Technologies. Courtesy: Control Engineering webcast: Effective process control system migration

Poll questions: Audience provides input about DCS upgrades

Participants listening live to the March webcast were asked to participate in the learning by answering two poll questions. The questions covered process and technology related opportunities missed by keeping a legacy-DCS rather than upgrading?

Haven’t upgraded DCS? What process opportunities are missed?

During the webcast, audience was asked the following poll question: What process-related opportunities are you missing by keeping a legacy distributed control system rather than upgrading? Results follow:

  • 21.6% Uptime or reliability because of unplanned shut downs
  • 20.3% Difficulty applying incremental improvements
  • 17% Real-time transparency into processes and supply chain
  • 16.3% Modern alarm strategies
  • 16.3% Open systems standard-based architecture
  • 8.5% Sleep because of after-hours maintenance, repairs.

Haven’t upgraded DCS? What technology opportunities are missed?

The audience also was asked the following poll question: What technology-related opportunities are you missing by keeping a legacy distributed control system rather than upgrading?

  • 23% Related controls and instrumentation upgrades incompatible with legacy equipment
  • 19.9% Modern cybersecurity tools
  • 18.3% Lack of remote monitoring and controls
  • 17.3% High-performance human-machine interface to attract younger engineers, get them up to speed faster and lower incident risk
  • 12% Antiquated training and simulation
  • 9.4% Inability to use mobility tools.

More questions and answers about DCS migration

After the Bartusiak and Njaa presented, there was time for a few questions to fill out the hour of instruction.

Question: How do you integrate new process control systems with existing DCS or SCADA systems?

Njaa: Planning is probably the best course of action for system integration. Having a SCADA system and mapping it over to a control system takes some time and documentation. I know that most of the projects that I’ve seen and done lag documentation, so mapping things out and planning things out is usually the best course of action. 

Bartusiak: Much of what requires an interface to is a package-mounted unit, or a modular-unit, or an analyzer or something like that, and the workhorse means for the interface continues to be Modbus. When interfacing with a legacy system, a gateway product often is involved. The gateway works best when the supplier of the existing thing that you’re trying to interface to (not the new target system) really has to let you know what data structures and protocols are to build the gateway. There’s a technical and commercial aspect to whether or not it can even be done when systems are not built to industry standards.

Question: How do you integrate different control systems of different brands from different vendors?

Njaa: I have worked in many facilities that have a hodgepodge over the years, where the plant has grown by one separate unit at a time, or they have different legacy programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and then someone decides to put in a DCS and something else. They certainly can be all migrated and integrated into a common DCS. Or the data can be brought up into one operator interface where the view appears more seamless, if that’s what they choose to do. There are many ways to a approach system integration.

Bartusiak: The short, provocative answer is that they cannot. [Or cannot easily be integrated.]

Don Bartusiak is president of Collaborative Systems Integration and co-chair of the Open Process Automation Forum. Lynn Njaa is business development manager, DCSNext process automation consultant with Maverick Technologies. Maverick is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Process control system migration, DCS migration poll

Review the losses that those listening in to the webcast perceive from putting off a DCS migration.

Examine how DCS integration with existing systems or with different brands from different vendors can be challenging.

CONSIDER THIS

Are you planning adequately for DCS migration?

ONLINE extra

RCEP/PDH webcast, available until March 23, 2022: Effective process control system migration https://www.controleng.com/webcasts/effective-process-control-system-migration/

Effective process control system migration, Part 1: Planning advice

Effective process control system migration, Part 2: Open standards help

Effective process control system migration, Part 3: Poll results, answers

Effective process control system migration: More answers


Don Bartusiak and Lynn Njaa
Author Bio: Don Bartusiak (left) is president of Collaborative Systems Integration and co-chair of the Open Process Automation Forum. Lynn Njaa is business development manager, DCSNext process automation consultant with Maverick Technologies.