CONTROL SYSTEM UPGRADE BY ZERO PLANT DOWNTIME
The new modern control system advantages in improving production throughput and increasing plant safety against high maintenance cost of legacy control system may direct customers to a complete replacement plan, but replacing whole the control system by a new one aside from higher cost is not always the best solution to gain those advantages and dissolve the maintenance issues.
Zero plant downtime is an ideal in any modernization project, today, solutions and methods like hot cutover are utilized to achieve this goal, A hot cutover is a method for migration of control loops to a new control system during plant running time but these solutions are not applicable in all cases, some loop cutover needs cold cutover and must be done at plant downtime.
The plant downtime is costly and in some plants it takes some days to return to last production throughput or even in some process like oil production field shutting down the wells may cause irreversible damage to the wells and it will not be possible to return to last production.
The cost of new control system compare to loss of revenue in most of process plant is negligible then it is important that modernization operation to be executed by a tailor-made plan based on real need of customer, In all on the table solutions, not only should attend to the budget, cost of plant downtime and loss of revenue during downtime and al risks in returning to normal operation in prescheduled time but also the customer inventory must be considered, Some customers have plenty of parts in stock and only by few changes and an upgrading plan can improve their operation and production.
For achieving to aim of zero plant downtime in a migration plan and improving operation, production and safety, upgrading the monitoring system is the fast and safest modernization solution.
Today, most of the vendors developed automatic conversion software for fast migrating from their legacy operating system to the newest ones accurately.
By utilizing special gateways, the customer can operate the plant through both old and new operation stations at the same time. During plant uptime a modern operation systems can be installed on top of old network through a gateway.
This solution can bring beneficial advantages for the customers, not only operation never be cut during operation but also the operator have on-job training and in a long performance test any defects may they can find in new system will be fix before shutting down the old system. The customer can switch over to the new control system whenever 100% trust on it.
Todays, there are multiple solution and vendors in the market ,The most important decision may a customer can make for safe and fast migration plan is to choose an independent system integrator experienced in modernization projects among candidates to provide a customized migration solution for them. We have successfully done many retrofit, revamp and upgrading projects in vary industries by different control systems, and the project 7129 is one of them.