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Lyondell was also happy with the migration services it received. “We relied on Honeywell’s experts to get us through a few rough spots, and they did an outstanding job with engineering and technical support,” reports Salom at Lyondell.
Service is a critical factor in a successful migration, and it should be the single most important vendor evaluation item. While vendor service experiences were mixed, end users were much more satisfied with services received from system integrators.
“We developed a partnership with CQS Innovation, a local systems integrator that was the key to our migration project’s success,” reports Robert Burgman, a senior automation engineer at ink manufacturer Sun Chemical (Parsippany, N.J.).
“We avoided the potentially confrontational owner/contractor arrangement, and this was a significant factor in continued support. There’s a lot more to support and continued process optimization than a modem or VPN connection,” he adds.
In an ideal world, your company would partner with a local independent systems integrator with intimate knowledge of your existing control system and extensive knowledge concerning current control system offerings from various vendors. Failing that, you must make sure that your selected migration partner can provide good service.
FIGURE 2: BEFORE AND AFTER
These two photos show how ugly an old system can get and how clean a new system can be. Like an ad for the latest diet fad, it is not hard to guess which are the before and after photos.
Images courtesy of Concept Systems.
Plan, Plan and Plan Some More
As with any large, complex project, planning is key to success. “The most important part of a migration project is the process definition and functional specification documents defined at the beginning of the project,” says Burgman of Sun Chemical.
Another end user seconds Burgman’s comments. “Everything takes longer than expected when detailed planning is not completed prior to beginning the project,” according to Dave Goodman, project manager at Cambrex Pharma (East Rutherford, N.J.). “Do the homework, plan the change, identify the critical timeline, have the daily meeting, involve those that will be affected by the change, identify all the resources and have additional resources from system integrators to vendor staff ready if needed. You must have a contingency plan. Remember, people do not remember when things go right; they remember the pain when things go wrong,” adds Goodman.
|How to Plan the Migration
Salom of Lyondell emphasizes that contingencies must be built into the schedule to doeal with unforeseen circumstances. “It’s easy to be overly confident that everything will go as planned, but it usually doesn’t. We had a tight schedule with no float, and a big chunk of this upgrade happened during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It became very difficult to find and keep construction people because many had to help restart other facilities.”
How to Migrate
Perhaps the leading best practice cited was reuse of existing field wiring to the greatest extent possible. System integrator FeedForward always tries to minimize or eliminate re-termination of field I/O. This cuts project costs by reducing field labor and required electrical design drawings. “We find that most vendors offer connection to legacy I/O structures, and some vendors offer cable connection to other vendors’ legacy equipment,” reports Phil Murray, principal at FeedForward.
Tokyo-based Konica Minolta migrated from an old to a new Yokogawa control system and reports that Yokogawa designed new I/O cards that were compatible with the old signal conditioning cards. “It was not necessary to rewire the I/O. We just had to disconnect the cables and plug into the new I/O. This was a huge downtime saver,” reports Wayne Yancey, system engineer at Konica Minolta.
Another important best practice is to not be a guinea pig with brand new software, even a revision. “Simple upgrades within a platform are generally easy to perform, provided you aren’t one of the early adopters,” says Hunter Vegas, PE, an engineer at CSIA member and system integrator Avid Solutions. “For instance, going from DeltaV 6.0 to 7.0 wasn’t a big deal AFTER Emerson worked the bugs out of the conversion prgrams and figured out the procdedure. We often counsel our clients to let other people suffer through that initial learning process before upgrading,” adds Vegas.
How to Execute the Migration