Thread Starter

Shawn Walling

I have a project where I am adding a new DCS system to an existing plant. I have spoken with several vendors about their systems. (Amazingly all of them have the "BEST" system for my application). I was hoping to find a web site or other location with users input about DCS systems are posted. Any help will be greatly appreciated.


You may please visit the website " arcweb.com ". This site contains various analysis reports on DCS systems.
Having spent 21 years in the DCS market as a systems vendor, experiencing the havoc of mergers and acquisitions first hand, I would offer that it is, perhaps, more important to evaluate the vendor companies with respect to their stability, likelihood of being purchased or merged, and the number of separate platforms they currently must support. For example, a recent purchase of one major DCS vendor by another has resulted in a total of 12 different DCS platforms under one company's roof. Selecting to implement any one of these platforms is like playing Russian Roulette. You state that all DCS vendors say they have the best solution for your application. Unfortunately, they are all right to some degree. Any DCS can probably do the job. The question is which DCS will be around and fully supported when you need assistance or wish to expand. In the past, I have found studies by the Gartner Group to be useful in determining a vendor's ability to execute as considered with the development of their technology. Good Luck!
IMHO, there is no 'best' DCS, PLC, SIS, analyzer, PC, blah, blah, blah. I think you're missing the point. All the systems will do the job. Which
company gives you the best support? Which has been calling on you the longest and appears committed to you? (Versus who appeared at the doorstop once they heard you had an RFQ.) Consider the people, not the product (which
are virtually all commodities now).

Blasphemy, I know.

Paul Gruhn, P.E., C.F.S.E.

Curt Wuollet

Amazingly enough, all the users seem to be either using the best system (or the worst) also. :^) I wonder how many people have been able to get experience with more than a couple.


This is expected. Their job is sales, they have yearly targets and there is management pressure to make them. Many times over the years, and I am sure others have seen this too, excessive hardware being deployed for the application (overkill) or incorrectly applied. So your wariness is warranted. The priority for the right application or customer's business is
pushed down the scale.

Often plants will hire "unbiased" consultants. But even then because DCS requires such a HUGE learning curve, you'll see consultants push or lean towards their comfort zone. Also DCS market is small and tight knit, so I doubt you'll find opinions posted anywhere.

I can honestly say - and our customers will back us up on this - we'll never use another DCS. They are all hardware based and as a result a waste of time, money, and floor space. There has also been a lot of rationalization in the market as all of the DCS firms have undergone one or more ownership changes, as larger players try to position themselves in the market. This has made for slow or no development as well.

Now I'd like to say industry has responded with great alternatives, but for one product I have yet to see any. This is because the vendors like little puppies all followed "it has to be Microsoft" philosophy and produced (or acquired) PC based code that is slow, clunky, and unreliable junk.

For example: Honeywell - The hardware and the software or LCN/UCN is reliable but the software is from another planet. GUS is based on NT and
our guys don't like working with the GUS. Brutal effort that GUS. We are migrating several firms off of Honeywell because of ease of use and cost of ownership.

Foxboro - Again essentially hardware based, same elevated pricing structure as Honeywell. They make use of commodity hardware throughout the top end and use lots of it.

Bailey - Hardware based as well. You may get a little bit of price break over Honeywell. Different apps required to work with the system, which is a pain, but they use standard OS for the most part.

Paul Jager
System integrators and contractors. However, it would appear to be human nature that people only 'like' one system, typically the one they started with, were trained on, or spent the most time with. Most integrators and contractors only work with a few systems, anyway. By the time anyone has developed significant experience with a few systems, the next generations of them have been released anyway, making much of the discussion moot. Again, personal opinion only.

Paul Gruhn, P.E., C.F.S.E.

Curt Wuollet

That was kinda my point, these are complex enough that they are very difficult to compare. The corrolary is that, until you get it done and work with it, it's hard to know how good the match is. At that point, opining that another might be better can be a bad career move. This is true of most large systems. Due diligence is extremely
difficult but very important and extremely hard to sell to most management.


This is why a PLC is a better solution. Same vendors with pretty much same products over the years. Standard out of the box solutions, for half, one third, one quarterr, one fifth the price.
Hi Lou,

Who are you kidding? DeltaV is hardly ground up. It's the biggest tack on hardware-based load of marketing hype out there. Here is the reality. These are the comments from a Fieldbus user and echo our experiences with users of DeltaV:
"As we move toward digital communications systems in our mills, we have concerns about losing diagnostic capability for the high-speed analysis of the data we had before we went to digital (smart) transmitters. A lot of speed was lost when we went to transmitters that use digital conversion, digital processors, and microprocessors. It didn't start with smart
transmitters; it started before. And now, with some of the digital links - like Fieldbus, the problem is getting even worse. We need some kind of device that helps us get to the raw data that
transmitters generate in real time. We need the suppliers to work on this. We need to be able to add or delete individual devices while in operation. We can't reconfigure at the end of the day, as some operations can. In paper mills we might only shut down once a year. We cannot wait to add a starter or a transmitter or a device during the annual outage. The ease of use for the electrical and instrumentation [E&I] technicians is another concern. We have new digital buses. Some technicians are just not willing to work with the new technologies and the associated tools, which they think are cumbersome. This is a shame because these devices have the power and have the information in them of which smart tools could take advantage, if suppliers could develop smarter tools that are easier to work with. Spreadsheets are too difficult. The E&I techs need something easier. Power exists today within computers to provide these tools. Really, the only way you can guarantee everything will work is to stick to a single vendor. The whole point was to avoid just that. The savings in cable and its installation is one of the main selling points
of FF. We don't really see that the savings are there. That's really not the main benefit. I'd be willing to venture that there are no savings under 200 or 300 feet, which are typically the distances that we deal with in the paper industry. If you need 2,000 or 3,000 feet, you might realize some savings. Cable is cheap, and with FF technology, you have to have the
terminators and splitters, which eat up the savings one might realize through cable. Further, we need to be able to configure the system before the construction. That's the way we do projects, and that's the way it has to be. A typical job might involve 400 or 500 transmitters. We can't wait until after they are installed to perform configuration. We have to do that ahead of time. As it is now, you're limited to a very slow implementation, and the way we run today, we can't afford to take the time for configuration after we install the devices." (END of quote)
That about sums it up and we couldn't agree more. Vendors of DeltaV are trumpeting technology for technology sake. They target those with a high
comfort level in instrumentation, technicians and trades people. The message is that Fieldbus, the instrumentation and packaged systems (DeltaV) bring great innovation to users. The truth is it doesn't and it's a sham. We've talked with users who are implementing the hardware and software in
magnitude and they have hit capacity and configuration limitations head on. Not only is the Fieldbus jammed with data and able to support a limited number of useful devices, the software to support the system is even worse. Bug laden, slow and cumbersome, without any advanced features like true object orientation, most resort to contracted labor to configure the system, and pay a hefty price for it. Those in the know look for systems engineered to deliver real tangible benefits rather than develop marketing hype before the product. Big does not mean better.

Paul Jager
Interesting topic.
As said our collegues most of the DCS Systems will perform best results. Every supplier's sales representative will say the same. Once their job completes and received the Final payment , they will say who are you.
1.At the time signing the contract, we has to put clause, and allow them to pay % Percentage Installmet.
You should keep 35 % as a buffer , which will paid after successful commissiong and accptace tests. This way you wil get good benefit and project will complete with in the time.
The clause is like a cut and dry case . The system has to ork satisfatoily, the system has to expanadable, and it has to have connectivity to the other Vendors software or hardware ( Mention which your plant equipment plcs, other DCS ).
Some times network problems, sometimes operating systems problems, some time plant loop problems , limitation and aging of the computer hard ware. Suppliers will say stories. Say as said the contract follow. If we pit the clauses. Ofcourse , it will took long time, and easyest and best way of doing.


Humberto Defferrari

First at all, i think it is better comparing same things.
If you want an hybrid system, compare F-R DeltaV with Honeywell PlantScape per example.
Those systems are similar in price and characteristitics. After you can discuss which is better in what and so on.

If you want to compare big DCSs, so compare HWLL TPS with F-R Provox, Foxboro I/A and so on.

Obviously, i can't be objetive in my comments, because i work in one of this companies, but i'm trying to clarify your tech comparision indicating what products you must compare.


Fernando Giraldo

Actually we're working with a new GE Fanuc Hybrid DCS called OpenProcess... is another option and seems to be a very nice package.