I heard a great story last week from Emerson’s Scott Ross, and member of the migration and modernization team. A process manufacturer is running a legacy RMV9000 system that has been in service for decades. The system is no longer sold as new. Service and refurbished assembly availability is performed on a best efforts basis. Repair services are still available for the latest version 5 RMV9000 components.
This process manufacturer had a situation where some of the controller and communication boards were exposed to a corrosive substance that damaged them. The plant’s engineer thought he was completely out of luck given the age of the system. He put the call in to the local Emerson Process Management support organization and was surprised when he heard back from Scott with possible solutions.
Scott indicated the main MVCU controller processor board could still be repaired / refurbished and have the most recent EPROMs added. The cards were badly corroded, so Scott was able to track down some replacement cards to send as replacements when the boards arrived at the Emerson Process Management repair facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the U.S. Scott also provided information and possible causes of the failures seen in the error codes on the controller main processor board.
The unit that manages the data highway communication and aggregates information to and from the controllers, the CCM, was also experiencing intermittent issues. The CCM’s 540Mb hard disk drive was showing errors and these drives failure rates increase as they mature. Also, the 200Mb tape drive was faulty. Scott did not have any new drives available but did have refurbished units ready for this process manufacturer to procure.
For this manufacturer, the CCM’s were setup in a simplex mode, so the entire unit could not be sent in to Emerson to be refurbished. They did have on-site spare units that could be returned to Emerson for repair/refurbishment and testing. Once the refurbished unit is received back from the Repair Center, the unit could be inserted into service. Scott made the suggestion that once the sent unit was refurbished that they should consider running the CCMs in a redundant mode to help with overall system availability.
In this case, the result is that this engineer has a path to get through these short-term issues, but realizes the case must be made for an overall modernization effort. I’ve highlighted in a prior post, Estimating Process Automation Benefits, an approach you might take for this justification effort.
This effort definitely beats the alternative of being completely out of luck.