The Azbil Corporation is a $3.5 billion control systems company from Japan, and one of the companies not well known in the United States. Late last week, Azbil announced a support agreement with ExxonMobil that has significantly changed the potential migration path of many older DCS control systems that ExxonMobil has been wanting to upgrade.
Azbil was formerly known as Yamatake, and Yamatake-Honeywell, and it is in the latter incarnation that they co-developed the Intellectual Property that became Honeywell Process Solutions' famous TDC2000 DCS system. There are many TDC2000 systems in common use. Several years ago, Honeywell gave Eastman Chemical Company an award for having the oldest TDC2000 in continuous operation...since at least the 1980s.
The problem, for ExxonMobil and the other TDC2000 users, is that Honeywell long ago declared the TDC2000 obsolete and the parts and accessories necessary to keep the systems going have become harder and harder to find, even used on eBay.
Azbil, however, as the co-developer and co-owner of the technology and Intellectual Property, has decided to make "factory new" parts and systems available, through at least 2025. Azbil has therefore given ExxonMobil and other companies the option of keeping their TDC2000s going instead of upgrading them to Honeywell's newer Experion system, or to systems made by any of Honeywell's competition.
According to Masayoshi Kogai and Atsuko Kawaguchi, of Azbil's public relations department, "Azbil can provide services through the year 2025 which include the ability to redesign parts as needed and to recertify used parts via a high quality factory refurbishment process to bring the part up to the latest revision, the availability of highly skilled regional engineers with in depth knowledge of the system and its operation, the ability to perform a detailed analysis of parts failures to determine if a failure was atypical or simply due to aging, the ability to proactively analyze system performance and robustness and provide recommendations for improvement, the ability to train and maintain detailed system knowledge from both a supplier and site perspective through the term of the agreement, 24/7 access to knowledgeable resources, a cost effective total solution with limited annual price escalation and the willingness to work as a team with all sites, worldwide."
Azbil is offering a complete engineering support solution that makes it possible to continue with TDC2000 systems for at least the next decade, at a cost that is less than that of upgrading to a more modern DCS.
Kogai and Kawaguchi said, " Azbil has begun to offer newly designed electronics that utilize advanced components and circuit designs to reduce both the number of components on the card (to enhance reliability and decrease power consumption) and the number of different cards required (to reduce spare parts requirements)."