30 years of battering by operators takes its toll on any system, even one as robust as Emerson’s RS3. When the trackball for a legacy control console no longer supported by its OEM fails it forces a replacement.
The Rosemount System 3 (RS3) DCS can still be found controlling a variety of industrial processes today, after first being installed in 1984. If you are still using RS3 you've likely benefitted from many years of trouble-free service from a system that doesn't need a lot of routine maintenance. For this reason the justification for putting off migration to a newer control system has been easy. Emerson Automation Solutions withdrew on-demand support for the RS3 DCS in October 2013. Since then Emerson has only offered factory support to users of this legacy system via it's 'Sustain Program' intended to migrate users onto it's DeltaV platform. You may be one of those still running RS3 equipment because it has proved hugely reliable and the cost of replacement or migration is prohibitively expensive.
We recently had a request for some legacy control boards needed to run a refrigeration system's compressors. They were critical components in the motor-starting protection system. The boards themselves were simple enough, just four digital inputs, some pre-defined set-points, relay logic and timers as the processing functions, and four digital outputs. The problem was that they were discontinued over a decade ago.
Manufacturing in all sectors is carried out on a diversity of machines that all have one thing in common; at some time, some critical component will need to be replaced.
Everything's running well, it has been for some time. In fact your control systems have worked for years. Why risk loading an update? It carries some risk and offers no improvement to the performance or function of the system.
At Op-tec we've always been passionate about using open technology. We believe basing your control architecture on open technology gives numerous benefits, and makes keeping pace with technological developments easier and cheaper.
Recently, a PLC controlled heating system failed, causing the product to go over temperature resulting in substantial consequential losses.
An engineer dispatched to deal with the problem found that the CPU was not reading inputs, and replaced the input module to no effect
Process automation and control represents a major capital expense and exerts great influence over the even greater expense of the production process its-self. But installed plant automation has a finite life which needs to be extended for as long as possible to maximise the viability of the process, and the business.
Recently, I spoke to the Food and Drink Engineering & Processing Summit about IIoT and Industry 4.0. I wanted to explain the meaning of these terms, and suggest a simple approach to getting started....
We've moved! Things were getting a little tight where we were, and with customers throughout the UK locating ourselves more centrally makes sense as we continue to grow.
Op-tec has, and always will be, an independent service supplier. Meaning we will always select the most appropriate technology based on your criteria for success, be that: cost, performance, reliability, or ease of integration.
We often get asked the difference between DCS and PLC/SCADA-based systems, and where PACs come in to it. So here's an attempt to clear things up.
After many years of operating with a compliant Quality Management System, we have now committed to regular external audits against the latest standard. This gives our customers and partners further reassurance that when they work with Op-tec they work with a company focused on delivering excellence through continuous improvement.
We all have a favourite t-shirt, sweater, pair of jeans or trainers that have stood the test of time - in our own eyes at least. Comfortable, dependable and reliable, we only feel compelled to replace these items when they finally fall apart in the wash, or someone close to us takes drastic action and disposes of them on our behalf.