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Control system modernization: considerations to make before upgrading

Poor performance, obsolete programming language, not enough memory, inadequate support from the manufacturer and increased operational needs represent compelling reasons to upgrade or replace your building control system. The passage of time makes the improvement or replacement of electrical equipment or environmental components inevitable. For this reason, all business and building owners should keep up to date with technological innovations but also determine the potential risks and benefits of such a considerable financial investment. In fact, companies should be wondering about the best practices or ways to get the most out of the control system modernization, which represents a complex project. Even more, business owners should identify and seize the opportunities that come with a modern DCS, which include enhanced performance and return on capital, energy reduction and mechanical availability, environmental compliance and better security, all leading to reliability and profitability. Shortly, a successful control system upgrade or replacement can push the business forward.

Steps to follow for a successful control system modernization

In order to achieve control system upgrade success, companies should define their goals and methods of reaching them, manage potential projects risks actively, identify constraints, make use of new technologies strategically and have a forward engineering philosophy. Important decisions like selecting the most reliable and experienced manufacturer of generator control systems, power distribution and LV switchgear require full attention and strategic thinking. The biggest mistake that a business owner could do refers to postponing this project because it will consequently affect the company’s success. In fact, all building owners should keep in mind that it is better to modernize a control system early because it will get more and more difficult to find spare parts for an obsolete system, industry experts will be less knowledgeable about such old systems due to the emerging technologies, control system update equals process update and new products are better manufactured. After you determine when you should change your building control system, you have to wonder: do I go with a partial upgrade or full upgrade?

Partial upgrade vs. full upgrade: what is the right option?

A business owner should always think about finances when making a decision, such as benefiting from Automatic Power Generation Control and control system upgrade is no exception. It is more than obvious but replacing the old system entirely can prove to be quite expensive, which is why building owners should opt for a modernization and instead of changing everything at once, upgrade in phases. Moving on to the main topic of interest, partial upgrade involves a replacement of some individual components meaning that it does not require to make changes to the entire system. For instance, it allows you to replace either the PLC controller or the HMI computer but not touch the wiring or field instruments. This option practically enables business owners to take advantage of modern products without bearing the full expense of replacing the control system entirely. However, if the system is outdated, then a full upgrade might be necessary, which means that it is important to evaluate the control system before taking action.

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