Examining DCS migration

The April issue of AppliedAutomation focuses on distributed control system (DCS) migration and also touches on the subject of legacy control systems and their effectiveness.
By Jack Smith April 1, 2018

The cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation talks about implementing a distributed control system (DCS), a topic this publication has covered frequently and will continue to cover. The authors offer advice on how to manage the cutover process. They explain: "The cutover is the point where the parts of the larger automation system designated to remain in place are moved to the new platform." In addition, they point out the steps to take prior to DCS delivery and ultimately the cutover process. After the DCS arrives, they guide users through the steps users should take before the actual cutover. They describe the three types of cutover: cold, hot, and hybrid, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Even though a legacy control system may still work well after 30 years or even longer that doesn’t mean that it is operating efficiently, reliably, safely, or cost-effectively. From the May 2017 issue of Control Engineering: "In its 2015 report, ‘Distributed Control Systems Worldwide Outlook,’ the ARC Advisory Group estimated that $65 billion worth of installed process automation systems in the world today are nearing the end of their useful lifecycles, which, in many cases, can exceed 25 years. Many of these systems-as much as $12 billion worth-are some of the original distributed control systems (DCSs) installed in the late 1970s. Ironically, many manufacturers treat their business systems and email servers very differently than their process control systems. Companies make a concerted effort to keep IT infrastructure current. The same level of emphasis is not yet common practice for plant automation."

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

– See other articles from the supplement below.

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