Because a DCS (Distributed Control System) regulates controls deployed across your entire facility, it’s important to upgrade sooner rather than later so it doesn’t develop age-related problems, or worse, become obsolete.
The Importance of Upgrading your DCS System
- Enhance production efficiency
- Improve employee safety
- Ensure quality of plant assets
- Provide operation insight and integrity
But, just like your computer or any other technical device, a distributed control system can develop issues as it ages. And, while you may be hesitant to upgrade due to cost or the potential disruption of your operations while your new DCS system is brought online, there are many reasons why you should upgrade it sooner rather than later.
Benefits of Upgrading Your DCS Platform Sooner Rather than Later
- It will be easier to get support when issues arise.
If you wait too long to upgrade, your DCS system may no longer be supported by the original supplier. Or, if you need to make any repairs, you might not be able to get the necessary parts.
- You lessen your risk of a total system failure.
Because your DCS system regulates controls deployed across your entire plant, waiting too long to upgrade can lead to a system failure, which can halt your entire operations. It’s better to be on the safe side and upgrade your DCS as soon as it shows signs of any age-related issues.
- It will be easier to find engineers to work with and/or help with repairs.
The older your DCS platform is, the harder it can be to find engineers that understand your system. According to Inside Automation, “the number of operators and engineers who understand your existing DCS” may be getting smaller and smaller. Many of the engineers who understand “most legacy DCS platforms” are retiring, and the new up and coming engineers tend to be more versed in newer systems. So, it might be harder to find new engineers that can and actually want to work with your existing DCS platform if it’s outdated. And, it could be even harder to find anyone who can make any necessary repairs.
- Newer DCS systems are compatible with newers technologies.
New technologies are being introduced in plants all the time, and an outdated DCS system may not be compatible with many of these new technologies because they won’t be able to communicate with each other.
While the cost of upgrading your DCS system might seem expensive and even daunting, it will actually be less expensive to go ahead and upgrade now rather than wait until it becomes outdated. According to Inside Automation, the “cost of staying with an old system eventually exceeds the cost of an upgrade or full migration.” This is mainly because you will find the cost of providing maintenance to your system adding up, especially since it could be hard to find support and parts. Plus, you have to factor in the time it takes to keep making these repairs. And, providing constant maintenance could mean time offline. It could even lead to a complete shutdown of your facility, or it could take your staff away from other important tasks while they try to fix any DCS platform issues.
Western States Controls Can Upgrade Your DCS System!
Upgrading or migrating your DCS might seem overwhelming. But, we can help! We have over 30 years of experience in the control systems industry. Our team of experts can help upgrade your existing DCS system to significantly improve plant performance, reliability, and safety. To learn more about our DCS platform upgrade services, fill out our contact form, schedule a virtual consultation, or give us a call at 925-371-9871.