Automation, Controls

Insights on DCS migration and mobility

Many software and hardware technologies have been developed that allow companies the means to remotely monitor and control business processes from anywhere, via any device, at any time.

By Jack Smith October 9, 2020

The cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation describes the TraPac San Pedro Bay facility in Los Angeles, which is the first automated container terminal in North America. After automating, the facility brings more goods through the same footprint, with faster truck turn times and a 90% reduction in emissions. According to the author, “Containers at TraPac’s Los Angeles terminal now move in a highly choreographed dance between ships, trains and trucks, using hybrid automated straddle carriers (auto-strads) and electrical grid-powered automated stacking cranes.” Automated systems at the terminal include truck handling, on-dock (intermodal) rail and customs scanning.

The second article in this issue talks about smart input/output (I/O) technology. According to the author, “Outdated distributed control system (DCS) limitations prevent open communication to smart field devices, subsystems and higher-level enterprise-wide systems. Manufacturers are looking to update or migrate their legacy DCS with smart devices to improve asset utilization, increase connectivity and enable near-real-time, data-driven decision-making throughout the enterprise. Some manufacturers jumped on the smart technology bandwagon early and are using microprocessor-based or smart transmitters. Today, many of those same facilities have yet to take advantage of the available advanced data and diagnostic capabilities and, in some cases, multiple process variables (MPVs) that come with them. To do so, they must carefully weigh the pros and cons of installing smart I/O and leverage the latest asset management software.”

In automation, many software and hardware technologies have been developed that allow companies the means to remotely monitor and control business processes from anywhere, via any device, at any time. The third article in this issue talks about advances in mobile devices, which serves as another extension of this manufacturing trend.

ONLINE extra

See links to the stories featured in the October issue linked below.


Jack Smith
Author Bio: Content manager, CFE Media