Monday, 25 May 2009

DCS or PLC and Systems Integrators

As I mentioned in the last posting, there can be further reasons why a DCS solution may be better, for example the maintenance of the PLC/SCADA systems may be more involved because they all have different software architectural designs, no two SI's seem to do it the same.
Or the long term viability of an SI - and they are vulnerable - puts a client off compared with the stability of the DCS suppliers.
How can the SI's overcome these issues? At present they largely compete with each other.

What if all the SI's in the CSIA shared their designs?
and used identical documention systems?
and even shared their module libraries?
Then it would be easy for projects to be handed over to another SI if needed.

I think this would help the PLC/SCADA suppliers as a whole to compete with the large DCS suppliers, it could even put them at an advantage over the DCS suppliers.

Is this feasible?
I think it certainly is regarding the documentation systems - and I don't mean word processing, but by using object models, perhaps according to ISA S88 Part 5 - or of course ControlDraw models.

Now, the CSIA has developed some standards, such as CSIA’s “Best Practices & Benchmarks” Revision 3.0.1. This is an excellent document for both end users who want guidelines on selecting an SI and for SI's themselves to review their own business processes. But it is not a standard design.

And by the way, the CSIA is predominately American, few European SI's belong to it, so if you are looking for non US suppliers you need to look elsewhere. Your local PLC suppliers such as Rockwell, Siemens etc will be able to suggest a few.

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