As mentioned in previous articles, the migration to a new distributed control system is inevitable. Sooner or later every DCS becomes obsolete. However, in some cases the realization of the necessity to migrate to a new DCS is lacking. We have provided an article and a video to clarify this necessity:
However, solely mentioning the reasons to migrate is simply not enough for the financial decision-makers. This article provides some benefits, as opposed to the costs, of migrating to a new DCS:
The financial justification of DCS migrations »
A DCS migration is a radical process to a process plant. Plant managers are therefore looking for a well-planned approach to perform the DCS migration without any flaws. There are several ways to facilitate a DCS migration, which can be during either online or offline process conditions. DCS migration methodology is discussed in the following article:
DCS migration methods: online versus offline »
For (online) DCS migrations, a couple of factors are of great importance to plant managers:
A reliable migration solution is necessary to migrate the loops. One solid solution for all critical loops is the best way to improve efficiency and reliability.
Online DCS migration solution »
Plant managers are looking for a quick and easy process. In the case of DCS migration time is money (literally). In order to save time an efficient and well-structured process is needed. This requires good preparation and planning. It is important to limit the preparation time as much as possible, as this reduces the costs. However, limiting the preparation time to save costs can never be at the expense of the safety of the migration process.
Another requirement for an efficient DCS migration is to prevent or minimize downtime. After all, downtime results in high costs, which is often unnecessary. Downtime can prevented by using equipment/tools that supports DCS migrations during active process conditions. Read more about this in the following article:
Online DCS migration tool eliminates downtime »
A safe migration and the well-being of the on-site employees are top priority to the plant managers. Again, well-structured planning is the best way to facilitate a safe migration. Also, using the right methodology to migrate affects the safety. Mechanical blockage of the valves for instance, can be a dangerous method during a DCS migration. Therefore, an investment in equipment to simplify the migration process is highly recommended. The continuous development in the field of automation makes DCS migrations easier, safer, less time consuming and less expensive. An investment to fund such equipment may be costly, but is very likely to benefit an organisation in terms of safety, time-consumption, expenses, simplicity and efficiency.
Clear and structured process
The migration process should be clear and structured. This minimizes the risk of human errors. A software guided process can guide the technician through the process while increasing safety and efficiency and eliminating risks. There are tools that provide software guidance to the on-site engineers during the migration.
We have developed a tool that answers the market needs: The Online Migration Tool (IST-203). This tool takes over and simulates 0(4)-20 mA loops during active process conditions, eliminating downtime. This allows the user to perform an online control system migration without any disturbance of the process, while increasing efficiency and control. The Hot Cutover Tool guides the technician through the onli
ne migration process, minimizing human errors and risks. This makes the tool suitable for every online DCS migration strategy.