Your Data Acquisition System (DAS) helps to monitor emissions and keep your company compliant. When you determined it is time to replace your DAS there are several factors you need to take into consideration while moving forward with the upgrade. Discover some of the hidden challenges associated with the endeavor:
Often overlooked, infrastructure can pose as a major hindrance to a successful DAS upgrade. Ethernet is the most common connection. You’ll want to make sure you have connectivity from all your monitoring locations that loops to one, central location. Incorporate the process group and IT team into the decision-making process to make sure every angle is covered. Evaluate current needs with those of the future in mind.
It would be ideal to incorporate your CEMS DAS into your corporate Active Directory. Discuss potential roadblocks, such as firewalls or VPNs, with your IT team. These experts should be brought in early on in the project to identify and support security features.
Technology is advancing at rapid rates. This includes the technology for controllers. Ask your current supplier what the life cycle of your existing platform is before you choose to replace or keep it. Obsolete hardware becomes expensive for manufacturers to support – costs trickle down to the end-user. When you work with VIM technologies, we will recommend the best option for your situation.
Take advantage of the latest generation of analyzers’ ability to be mined for diagnostics. Our CEMLink6 system connects via “soft I/O” to all the major suppliers of analyzers. It even includes interfaces for Mercury and Sorbent Trap technology. Connecting directly to the analyzer allows us to pull extra information and eliminates the need for hard I/O and I/O modules.
Interface for Plant DCS and Historian
Because production is king, you must maintain existing interfaces with the Plant DCS and Historian. Identify current and future preferred protocols. If you have to manually enter data into your DAS, you may be able to automate the process from the DCS. You’ll need to identify all existing interfaces, document them, and discuss desires for the future with your process team.
Historical Data Conversion
When switching between an old and new system be sure to clarify if transferring historical data is included in the pricing. You’ll want to consider how much data is being transferred, and the pros and cons of this step.
Data Storage Options
There are numerous options for where your DAS is hosted including a DAS computer, virtual server, data center, and the cloud. The current trend is virtual servers and corporate cloud systems. These options allow IT to fully support the hardware, which means more uptime and faster turnaround when there are failures. VIM Technologies is capable of supporting all of the above options.
One of the most important questions to consider is who will have access to the system. From control room operators to technicians it is important to document who, where, and what privileges are needed to access the system. Our CEMLink6 software includes a seamless “one-click” client deployment.
When researching potential suppliers, know what questions to ask: How many people will be dedicated to supporting your team when the project is complete? Do they offer organized training opportunities? Do they have references for similar projects? Treat the conversation like an interview so that you know exactly who you will be working with.
Include remote support as an action item when bringing corporate or site IT into the equation. VPN access will allow you to get fast support from your vendor. Our average response time to an emergency support case is less than 30 minutes.
The above list of hidden challenges can be utilized to help determine the direct and indirect costs of upgrading your DAS. The VIM Technologies COMPAS team can perform a thorough DAS audit on your systems and provide a full assessment of inaccuracies and potential liabilities. We can also explain and demo your DAS replacement options on a conference call or during a site visit. Our goal is to help you take control of your compliance. Get in touch today!