There are many situations where the phrase “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” can be applied. Unfortunately, maintaining engineered control systems is not one of those situations.
Many oil and gas, communications, utilities and manufacturing companies (among others), require control systems to operate efficiently and meet corporate objectives. Thus, when a system becomes outdated, begins to malfunction, or becomes obsolete, it can be a major concern.
In today’s post, we’ll be discussing some of the risks associated with relying on legacy systems for too long and highlighting the benefits of taking a proactive approach to control system migration.
Let’s get started.
How Delaying Control System Migration Can Jeopardize Project Success
There are several different ways antiquated control systems compromise site operations. Some of the most concerning include:
This is one of the most prominent reasons why companies invest in legacy system migration. Older systems often begin to malfunction or run inefficiently. Furthermore, just as it is more arduous to find automobile parts for classic cars, finding needed components for outdated control systems is far more difficult than finding parts for current systems. In some cases, engineering firms are unwilling to service systems that are “behind the times”.
The older a control system is, the less likely it is to be flexible and adaptable— a major setback for companies experiencing growth or change. In situations where a company requires a more robust and intuitive solution, migrating control systems may be the only option.
For businesses that are subject to strict regulations, ensuring compliance at all times is an absolute necessity. This includes safety functions, data collection, and product measurement— among other legislative requirements. Unfortunately, however, key tasks or functions may slip through the cracks when relying on an outdated system, putting entire operations at risk. This is another crucial factor to consider when deciding whether or not to invest in legacy migration projects.
How Migrating Control System Can Spare Companies a Ton of Hassle
Prioritizing legacy system migration before a problem arises is always the best practice.
Below are some of the benefits:
Migrating control systems in advance is the best way to avoid costly business disruptions. It is also the best way to ensure a thorough analysis of your current systems and guarantee you receive the best possible solution for your current and future needs. Too often, companies wait until a system crash or major event to begin problem-solving. This can lead to quick fixes and band-aid solutions that will require updating or tweaking within a shorter period of time, which increases spending.
It is never advantageous for a company to be out-of-commission for an extended period of time. For many major operations, even a day or two can have a significant economic impact. This is why preparing and planning for legacy system migration are so critical. Many engineering firms are able to conduct system updates in phases, greatly reducing the suspension of operational activities (or, in some cases, eliminating downtime entirely).
One of the greatest risks associated with a control system failure is the potential loss of data. Without detailed records and documentation, companies can be left scrambling to recover. This is why scheduled legacy migration projects are always the safest bet. They provide ample time for businesses to back-up data, take proper precautions, and ensure continuity.
The Catch Engineering Approach to Control System Migration (Case Study Example)
Catch Engineering was approached by Husky Energy to complete a legacy control system migration at three different sites located on Moose Mountain in Kananaskis Country.
These facilities were operating on a system that was installed in the 1980’s, and it had reached the end of its life.
Under the project scope, our engineering team was responsible for migrating existing operator interface configurations and functions to a new supported platform. We also housed redundant servers and implemented virtualization technologies. These changes ensured superior system performance and fault-tolerance, while also providing remote access to the facility control system.
Under the project scope, our engineering team was responsible for migrating existing operator consoles to new platforms, servers and multiple virtual computers with remote desktops to reduce both travel costs and related mountain-driving risks, and ensuring solutions were leveraged this in the most efficient manner possible.
Below are some of our most notable successes from this project:
- Completing a full and in-depth upgrade, both in terms of hardware, software, and virtualization solution, while still coming in under budget.
- Improving security across the entire system.
- Reducing both maintenance and operating costs, along with improving long-term reliability and durability of all hardware.
For more information, on this case study, please see:
For more information about past projects or to be provided with testimonials, please contact us. We are always happy to verify the quality of our work to potential clients.
Are You Currently Relying on Antiquated Control Systems?
Our knowledgeable team would be happy to see how we can maximize your control system and improve its efficiencies. Reach out to us today.