System Modernization to Help Operator Performance

by | Apr 22, 2024 | Control & Safety Systems, Event

Although the decision to perform a control system migration is usually due to obsolete hardware and increasing maintenance costs, the need to modernize creates the opportunity to make step-change improvements that help to run a plant at its full potential. Ageing control systems can impact plant efficiency, safety and profitability, while outdated user interfaces reduce operator efficiency, increase the potential for errors and create inconsistent control practices. During a presentation at the Emerson Exchange EMEA 2024, Alexandre Dussourd, lifecycle systems and software sales engineer at Emerson, looked at how the modernization of automation systems at the Redon plant in France has helped Cargill optimize human resources and operational efficiency.

Cargill is a global leader in the food and beverage industry, operating in 125 countries. At its Redon production facility, a recent project focused on enhancing plant operator experience and streamlining on-site operations. The project involved multiple phases, not only to update the existing old-fashioned human machine interfaces (HMIs), but also to migrate existing third-party control systems to the latest version of Emerson’s DeltaV™ distributed control system. This transformation aimed to create seamless, centralized control of the entire site from a single command center, maximizing the productivity of plant operators and helping to increase operational performance.

System migration process

In addition to an existing DeltaV system, several other control systems from different suppliers were used at the site. The main part of the modernization project was to migrate these other systems to the DeltaV system. That required both new hardware and software elements. The migration project consisted of FEED, planning and system design, and the development of hardware and software concepts. This was followed by development of custom logic, batch and reports, I/O and base control modules, and building preconfigured and customized cabinets. Hardware and software testing was performed before site installation, commissioning and start-up.

Previously, a different operating station was required for each of the different control systems, with multiple keyboards and mouse. To reduce the number of stations, and improve operator experience and control performance, these systems were migrated to the DeltaV system. Using DeltaV Virtual Studio, to create a virtualized system, all processes being controlled have been integrated into a single environment viewed through three pools of four screens.

Another part of the modernization project was to migrate the old DeltaV operator displays to modern DeltaV Live HMIs based on human centered design. These included simplified graphics, single click access to graphics, built-in hierarchical navigation, and improved layouts and directories, all of which help improve the operator’s user experience and productivity.


Migration from old DeltaV displays to modern interfaces based on human centered design.

Migration from old DeltaV displays to modern interfaces based on human centered design.


There was a need to convert around 200 graphics. The creation of new graphical elements (GEMs) was based on the existing dynamos. The Graphics Studio engineering environment of DeltaV Live simplified and streamlined that task. Helping to further streamline the system migration task, remote FATs increased speed and reduced complexity.

In addition to making improvements to the control system, there have also been improvements to field operations. A Wi-Fi and WirelessHART®  network have allowed for new applications including those to support mobile workers. It has also been possible to integrate live camera streams from the field back to the control room, providing operators with a better understanding of current equipment status for improved decision-making.

Modernization of the control system has helped the plant achieve a major milestone in operational excellence. The upgrades have not only instilled confidence, but also boosted performance of on-site teams, including operators and maintenance personnel. These benefit from unified diagnostic tools, helping to streamline their processes and contributing to improved operational efficiency. The enhancements have significantly improved safety measures, contributing to a safer working environment. The integrated approach enables troubleshooting without requiring personnel deployment on site, further enhancing safety, efficiency and productivity.


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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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