ACE Presentation: Control System Retrofits

Timothy L. Cole, P.E. and Ian P. Burns, P.E., CFSP presented their paper on Control System Retrofits at the 69th Annual Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries on January 23, 2014. An event organized and hosted by Texas A&M University.

Tim addressed the audience regarding a looming problem in the process industries. ARC estimates that $65 billion worth of control systems are nearing obsolesce; some $12 billion are original distributed control systems installed in the late 1970s. Combine that amount of work with an average age of skilled labor of 56 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek), and you can foresee the problem. The system upgrades could be better handled with the experienced engineers, but there is just too much work to be done.

Ian followed up with practical advice regarding control system upgrade project execution. There are many tools and tricks available; you must apply good engineering judgment and proceed. New control systems are a commodity, with each offering basically the same functionality. Each upgrade / installation must be reviewed, a direction set, tools chosen, and then the project executed methodically. One important consideration is fully understanding the functions which must exist in the new control system.

Click here to view the presentation in its entirety. In addition, please feel free to contact either Tim (302.738.8800) or Ian (281.821.0201) if you have a project need or desire discussion on the topic.