In this post, I would like to focus on how to lock-in the value generated from improving your controller performance. This is another big issue that not many people know about or understand that well. I like to think of it as the “improvement half-life” concept. The concept is that process control optimization work delivers good payback in a relatively short period of time. However, the performance of the controllers, and the value they deliver start to decrease over time.
In my last post I mentioned I would talk about one of the common problems we see with control systems. We’ve seen this same problem in a wide range of industries and processes, and what’s even worse, it can sometimes be difficult to even know you have a problem. This problem is widespread, and can have a major impact on your costs and revenue. What is this problem I am talking about?
Many industries have turned to automation in recent years as a means of cutting costs and improving productivity. It’s an effective way to meet the challenges of high labour costs, lower commodity prices and increased production costs. One of the side effects of the increasing use of automation is that the it has become critical for operations to manage and protect the configuration of their control systems. Take this recent example.
The age old adage says “You can only manage what you measure”. In today’s operations, control systems and HMIs are critical to ensure efficiency and safety. So how well are your automation assets being managed? How many controllers do you have? What model are they? What firmware are they running? Where are they in their product lifecycle? When was the last backup taken? Where are the backups stored? If you don’t know the answers to all of these questions, or it takes hours, days or even weeks to find out - then take some comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.