How to upgrade control systems the right way

In part one of this three-part article, we explores the right time to consider migration.

By Larry O’Brien and Dick Hill, ARC Advisory Group

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Upgrading control systems could be the biggest single issue many process and batch automation system end-users face today. ARC Advisory Group estimates that the combined value of the installed base of automation systems now reaching the end of their useful lives is approximately $65 billion. This represents a big opportunity for end-users in the chemical process industries and their automation suppliers alike.

The dynamics of the market for control system migration have changed somewhat since ARC Advisory Group performed its last analysis back in 2010 following the global recession that significantly curbed capital spending. Today, many businesses require an even stronger value proposition and justification for migration projects than in the past. Despite this and other headwinds, some process and batch manufacturers are rapidly approaching the point where replacing old technology will be a matter of business sustainability.

Automation suppliers continue to expand their migration offerings. This is the case both for migrating from competitors’ systems and for migrating from a legacy system to a new system from the same supplier. It has also become apparent that migration is no longer strictly a distributed control systems (DCS) issue, but has grown to encompass other types of systems. These include process safety systems (SISs); burner management systems; and other automation platforms.

To learn more about control systems, read “A Strategic Approach for Upgrading Process Control Systems” from Chemical Processing.

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