Azbil Resurrects TDC2000 #pauto #azbil #hps #controlglobal.com

The announcement last week that Azbil and ExxonMobil have agreed to a support agreement allowing ExxonMobil to continue to operate their TDC2000 DCS Control Systems has implications far beyond the two companies.

ExxonMobil, as we have been expecting for some months now, has decided that there are a number of control systems that they'd just as soon not upgrade if they didn't have to. Why? Probably because they still work fine and the unit is still operating substantially as designed.

ExxonMobil is not the only company in this situation. What Azbil (which used to be known as Yamatake and before that, Yamatake-Honeywell) did was to take advantage of the fact that they had a license to manufacture TDC2000 systems and components, and an agreement, now expired, to only sell their systems in Japan. Since they are now the only manufacturer in the world currently producing TDC2000 components and systems, they can offer companies who are happy with their control systems' functionality a much lower cost option than to upgrade their systems to "new" versions.

There is much pressure on automation suppliers to reduce the cost of upgrades. ABB brought back some of the old Bailey systems last year in the face of the pressure they were facing.

Remember, this is bigger than Honeywell having to re-think its upgrade and migration strategy. EVERYONE is having to re-think their upgrade and migration strategies. 

In the 1980s and 1990s, many North American and Western European companies had licensing agreements and did technology transfers to partner companies in China and India, and some of those companies are continuing to make those obsolete products. It is only a matter of time before it becomes possible to acquire "factory new" obsolete components for products as varied as PLCs, flow meters, control valves, and control systems from the very manufacturers licensed for their own markets.

The Internet has made it possible for these companies to advertise their wares, even on sites like eBay and directly to customers.

Now, throw in the fact that product counterfeiting is widespread in the same places, and it will be a free-for-all for these vendors to sell real parts that the original manufacturers have obsoleted and refuse to manufacture so that they can sell their new products. 

Careful consideration and prudent buying may well save millions of dollars for end user companies. 

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