The debate over the virtues of DCS vs. PLC has been ongoing since these two architectures came into existence 40 years ago. For certain industries, a distributed control system (DCS) provides substantially more value as the basis for automating the plant than a programmable logic controller (PLC)-based system. As functionality differences narrow and price points align, the debate over these virtues is getting more intense and the arguments for and against each system are getting more and more murky. This white paper discusses the “Top Ten” issues to consider when evaluating a DCS vs. building your own “DIY” distributed control system using a PLC-based architecture.07/15/2014
In the decade before Stuxnet attacked process control systems in Iran, there were just five known supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) vulnerabilities for all control systems in the world, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT). In 2011, the year after Stuxnet, that vulnerability count jumped to more than 215. Last year, it reached 248 (Figure 1). No surprise then that Chemical makers are increasingly focusing on protecting their process control systems from intrusion both from the inside and outside. In this Chemical Processing Special Report: Secure plan(t), we take a look at:
How to better protect your control system - “Defense in depth” is crucial, and new and maturing technologies may help
Cyber Security Challenges – learn about countermeasures to protect control systems
Case Study: A vulnerability assessment reveals critical gaps in the security of a natural gas pipeline
How to mitigate security risks in legacy process control systems - several steps can help protect against threats and extend the life of legacy equipment
Learn how to secure your process control systems – and your plant. Download your copy of this Chemical Processing Special Report: Secure plan(t) now.12/17/2013
Perhaps the most critical challenge facing the automation industry is that of aging control systems at or near the end of their product lifecycles. A legacy control system can suffer from technical, functional or supply obsolescence. With a well-planned and executed control system migration, however, plants can improve availability and reliability, while increasing production flexibility. In this Chemical Processing Special Report: Making the Most of Migration, we take a look at: Obsolescence planning – addressing concerns and planning for a successful evolution strategy; Restoration Possibilities – how new tools and innovative methods support and breath new life into aging distributed control systems; DCS Migration; More! Download your copy of this Chemical Processing Special Report: Making the Most of Migration now!08/27/2013
For chemical processors, changing process conditions demand quick responses in order to keep processing effective and to keep processes running properly. For processes undergoing such changes, accurate and timely measurements, such as vibration monitoring, redundant tank level measurement and steam header temperature profiling can be difficult to collect. In well-established plants it’s both very expensive and time consuming to get measurement points online using conventional wired instrumentation. Many processors are now turning to wireless devices that can supply data from numerous points that never could have been justified otherwise. In this Chemical Processing Wireless eHandbook we take a look at wireless technology solution successes:
** How installing a wireless pH analyzer for crucial insights on seal integrity provided Fuji Film with a low-cost monitoring solution for protecting a pricey pump
** How one of the world’s largest producers of chlorine, caustic soda and vinyl chloride embraced wireless technology and achieved operating economies and more efficient control of its chemical processes
Patching process control system software to remove security vulnerabilities is fraught with risk. System issues can be the result of installing a patch, but a system is also vulnerable without patching. Fortunately, virtual patching can improve the process and raise the system’s security at the same time.09/21/2012
As companies and industries increasingly rely on technology, security risks become greater. With growing numbers of Windows machines and increased scarcity of skilled technical resources, a “perfect storm” of cyber threats in production facilities is looming.09/21/2012
While upgrading process control systems is vital to maintaining a plant’s performance, the migration process often brings confusion and frustration for customers. See how Honeywell keeps control systems running at the best possible performance throughout the migration process and into the future.08/29/2012
With an aging installed legacy Distributed Control System (DCS), the PRALCA petrochemical plant needed advanced control strategies to improve plant efficiency. Find out how a comprehensive migration solution extended the life of plant equipment and provided a cost-effective path forward to the latest automation technology.08/29/2012
FMC Minera del Altiplano, a leader in the mining of lithium ores and brines, wanted to automate its production processes but lacked sufficient capacity to keep pace with continuous operational improvements. See how FMC expanded processing capacity while minimizing risks to critical plant information.08/29/2012
"Migration could be the biggest single issue facing automation end-users today," stresses a report from the ARC Advisory Group. ARC estimates that installed automation systems worth about $65 billion are reaching the end of their useful lives. Distributed control systems (DCSs) more than 20 years old will need replacement within the next ten years. In this Chemical Processing Special Report: Migration we cover:
- Updating process control systems – understanding the challenges and missteps to avoid
- Case Study: FMC Corporation – we look at the production processes, operational challenges and automated solutions this diversified global chemical company chose when migrating their DCS
- Case Study: PRALCA – control systems migration for a petrochemicals facility
- The business case for control systems migration - strategies for protecting investments, improving business results and reducing risks
When steam traps leak or fail, energy is lost and there could also be steam equipment failure or damage and potential safety hazards. A major food manufacturer improved their steam trap program and enhanced their ongoing leak repair campaign with remote steam trap monitoring using Smart Wireless Solutions from Emerson.03/13/2012
Positioned at the core of most supply chains, chemical firms must deal with many challenges to growing profitably -- flat demand, deflationary prices, and emerging competitors to name a few. Both chemicals firms large and small must develop the insight to change and win in today's ever-morphing competitive landscape. This white paper identifies and discusses how chemicals companies can combine data from many sources -- multiple ERP systems, multiple divisions and multiple applications -- maintenance, human capital, CRM, and supply chain to name just a few -- to create a complete or holistic view for critical decisions. Download now.06/01/2010
One of the challenges that companies have faced in implementation of continuous monitoring systems is the lack of infrastructure for sensing and data collection. The devices to be monitored are widely dispersed throughout plants with large areas, have no existing power or signal transmitting wire infrastructure, so the capital costs associated with the power and communication services have historically prohibited continuous monitoring. This white paper will unearth best practices to prevent product loss, reduce emissions and ensure ROI.05/26/2010
Whether we are headed toward an economic rebound or continuing with the current economic downturn, specialty chemicals manufacturers should take steps now in order to get or keep a competitive edge. But what steps should specialty chemicals manufacturers take? This Special Report will discuss actionable strategies including: Reducing costs while maintaining quality and compliance; Committing not just to "lean manufacturing" but to "lean supply chain" strategies; Implementing "agile manufacturing" practices.12/01/2009
Companies can gain great insight into how their process operates, find problems, and improve quality by using process analytical software.
Process Analytics and Intelligencesometimes called Manufacturing Intelligencehas transformed the way companies produce goods, understand their manufacturing processes, and ensure a quality product in ways we could not have foreseen ten years ago.08/12/2009
Support for off spec materials, formula management, changeovers, parallel operations, lot trace and trace, unlimited unit of measure conversions, is key.
There are a host of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management applications available to chemical manufacturersthe challenge is selecting the right one that offers a baseline product with industry-specific functionality. Many ERP applications available today are not industry-specific enough for chemical manufacturers and require major modifications, or, one must select from an industry template that may or may not fit specific needs.
There is also the chance that the software provider may not exist in two to three years (e.g., it may be acquired and the products future may become unknown), or the provider may not be financially secure, adding long-term risk.07/17/2009
Read about the 10 factors that will impact the design, construction and operation of these next-generation pilot plant units.
Learn about new pilot plant development methods.
Understand the role operational guidance plays in successful pilot plant development.06/29/2009
State Based Control is a plant automation control design based on the principle that all process facilities operate in recognized, definable Process States that represent a variety of normal and abnormal conditions of the process. State Based Control, implemented with the latest developments in object-based technologies, delivers direct benefits to its adopters in a variety of Operational Excellence categories. It results in productivity increases, higher asset utilization of both people and process, automated responses and recovery for abnormal conditions and provides an environment for knowledge capture directly into the control design.05/14/2009
The performance of wireless networks can change over time due to increased performance demands, changes in the radio frequency (RF) environment and changes in the physical environment. This article will explore the use of a wireless diagnostic OLE for Process Control (OPC) server technology to embed diagnostic information in human machine interfaces (HMIs), thus optimizing industrial wireless network performance.09/30/2008
Learn why project management functionality that is tightly integrated with Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools is essential to executives of asset-intensive industries. Without such integration, data needed for both strategic decision-making and tactical maintenance of plant assets is at risk.07/01/2008