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Home > Posts > Has DCS Become A Commodity?
July 18

Has DCS Become A Commodity?

Keywords: DCS, Lifecycle Management, Migration, CPAS, STAR, Supplier Selection.

This year's end user workshop on DCS migration at ARC Advisory Group's 2013 World Industry Forum in Orlando was the third such session. ARC reported on the lessons learned from this session shortly afterwards (see this April 2013 ARC Strategy Report). One takeaway from this workshop that always surprises me is the number of process units that are still controlled by very old distributed control systems (DCS). ARC estimates that the value of these systems is in the tens of billions of dollars.

From the end user perspective, however, the view is more of the sheer number of old systems that a large firm would need to replace to update its entire complement of DCS. Despite being clear leaders in their respective industries, some large end users are running literally hundreds of systems that are 20-30 years old.

Manufacturers Concerned About the DCS Lifecycle
Besides the Forum's migration workshop, ARC deals with DCS migration questions on a regular basis. Probably the most common type of consulting engagement ARC performs is to assist a client in developing a long-term plan for automation system lifecycle management. Needless to say, the firms that most feel the pain of DCS lifecycle management also have a lot of very old automation systems. And, like the firms at the ARC workshop, they are usually not laggards in their industries. So how and why are good firms willing to live with process control systems that are so very old?

ARC Advisory Group clients can view the complete report at this Link.

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