Machine and Process Management

Addressing the misperception that modernizing control systems means jeopardizing operational safety and money

Business continuity in a high-risk or energy-intensive facility is indisputably necessary.

Wastewater management plants, mining operations, or refineries all have a continuous process and serve critical functions to their local and global environments; downtime is not an option. Integral to these operations are the distributed control systems (DCS), which enable automation safely, and its infrastructure that is well known to last years or decades.

So, with this level of importance for consistent uptime paired with aging infrastructure – there becomes this dilemma: how to make your plant resilient and innovative, while reducing any risk of system failure. The common misperception we hear from customers is that modernizing their facility requires both money and downtime, one which is a scarce resource and the other a threat to be avoided. But fortunately, there is in fact a secure solution to futureproofing operations.

Modernize your distributed control system for staff safety and profitability

Unplanned downtime is a real threat. This can be caused by human error, unavailable spare parts, system infrastructure failure, or power related issues.1 Most if not all of these can be circumvented by the upgrade of critical components, like your DCS.

EcoStruxure™ Foxboro DCS is a family of fault-tolerant, highly available controls that consolidates critical information and elevates staff capabilities to ensure flawless, continuous plant operation. Facilities can migrate their existing infrastructure to EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS easily, with Schneider Electric’s I/O card migration. With this low-risk, low cost plug-in solution, the upgrading process is seamless and protects legacy wiring and terminations. Additionally, it is proven to reduce capital expenditures (CAPEX) in the long run and enables open automation necessary for your digital transformation.

While this is one solution you can consider, the greater concept to takeaway is that by modernizing and upgrading your DCS, you secure your facilities’ safety and profitability for the years to come. We see issues when older generations of DCS are not designed for open integration, potentially limiting performance. If poorly managed or done improperly, the addition of these value-enabling capabilities can result in longer, more unplanned outages; both a system and business failure.

But, why innovate in process-driven, established industries?

It’s typical in risk averse industries to want to avoid changes “if it ain’t broke.” But just because your system is capable today, the threat of aging infrastructure can restrict future growth. That said, perhaps you have intellectual property and custom-made applications that you’ve honed throughout the life of your plant. These are unique to your facility and worth preserving only if it makes sense for your company; and not at the deficit of your long-term success.

Companies that invest in innovation can benefit from things like: improved productivity of staff and equipment, influence your OEM/partners’ R&D roadmaps, breathe life into your company culture, or easily adopt new technological advancements in the future.

Learn more about modernizing your distributed control system

The industrial facility or fleet you manage is a ‘no risk’ environment and you must make calculated decisions to ensure its production longevity. To future-proof your site and be setup to adopt system or technological innovations, consider modernizing the critical systems of your facility. Learn more about how you can upgrade your DCS with Schneider’s I/O card migration.

1https://hydrocarbonpublishing.com/ReportP/power.pdf

 


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