Modernization. We hear it is happening everywhere, and yet, when we look at our own facilities, a modernization project looks like such a massive task that it is hard to even get started. Even though technologies in the plant may be decades old, some teams continue to run them—sometimes to the point of buying spare parts on eBay—because planning and executing a modernization seems so intimidating.
But what if there were a better solution than to postpone modernization? What if there were ways to implement new, modern technologies without disrupting the way the plant operates or busting budgets? As you’ve likely guessed, there is a way, and Aaron Crews talks about it in his recent article in ISA’s InTech magazine.
Modern solutions bring modern benefits
Modernization isn’t just about eliminating breakdowns in legacy technologies—though that goal is important too. Just as importantly, new automation technologies bring benefits that help teams secure competitive advantage in a modern commercial marketplace. Aaron explains,
“Highly efficient and competitive modern process control plants look very different from plants of just 10 years ago. Helpful process technologies that were unavailable or very expensive many years ago are considered best practices today. Some are critical to meeting regulations, while others keep a plant operating at peak efficiency. One example is pervasive sensing technologies.”
Whether it is new sensors that help teams with decision support, better alarm systems that keep operators safer and more aware, or even advanced process control to lock in best practice control strategies, modernized technologies build a foundation for more flexible, reliable operation.
New tools eliminate complexity
Traditional modernization projects were complex, with each engineering team creating their own tools specifically to move their legacy controls onto new hardware and software. But advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have made the task much easier. Much of the hardest work in a modernization project can now be automated, using tools like Emerson’s DeltaV™ ReVamp and DeltaV IO.CONNECT, allowing teams to accomplish more work faster, and with fewer mistakes. Aaron shares,
“The AI digs through the legacy code and identifies functions that are part of the tool’s past project experience. If the AI sees something repeated that matches work performed on previous projects, it extracts that code and structures it to transfer over to the new control system. Not only is the code automatically converted, but it uses a best practice structure for the new control system that is automatically documented to create a powerful automation foundation. Because the process is automated, the project team does not need to worry about errors in the code.”
Those same AI and ML tools also help teams quickly see the scope of their modernization project, so they don’t have to jump in blind. The right tools can create comprehensive project reports that help teams budget and slice modernization projects into phases well before engineering begins.
Maybe it is time to consider a modernization project of your own. Before you do, take a few minutes to read Aaron’s article in its entirety over at ISA. You’ll see some specific examples of AI and ML technologies in action and learn even more about what DeltaV ReVamp can do.