Autopro Blog

  • PLC vs DCS Q&A

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    Our recent webinar, PLC vs DCS - How to Choose the Right Control System for your Facility, resulted in some excellent questions being asked by participants. Here are a few that we thought would be especially informative for many of you.
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  • Why use a Local, Vendor Independent, System Integrator as your Main Automation Contractor (MAC)? [video]

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    The MAC concept has been around for a number of years, and evolved from the need to take the automation or control system component outside of a large project, and have it managed by automation specialists.
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  • Terminal Management Industry Roundtable

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    Truck and rail transportation is becoming a major part of our economy, however many loading facilities are facing technological challenges in keeping up with the demands for up-to-the-minute, load-by-load-data from management.
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  • 4 Critical Aspects to Maximizing Control Room Operator Effectiveness

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    Over the past decade, largely in response to catastrophic industrial accidents and the resulting legislated requirements in a number of jurisdictions, companies have become much more aware of the importance of control room operator situational awareness and the human factor engineering considerations, which can impact an operator’s ability to detect and respond to abnormal process plant conditions.
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  • 7 Questions to ask about your Emergency Shutdown System

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    In industrial facilities there are often hardwired and dedicated safety shutdown systems that are designed to vent/flare hydrocarbons, stop equipment, de-energize equipment, etc., when an emergency or upset condition has occurred. This hardwired safety shutdown system is the last automated control layer before the physical protection devices such as PSVs operate to protect against a catastrophic loss. These seven questions should be considered for your facility.
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  • PLC vs DCS - How do I choose the best option for my facility? (video)

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    There are many factors to consider when trying to choose between a DCS and a PLC control system for your facility. In this video, Ian Shirt, Operations Manager with Autopro, discusses the difference between the two types of control systems, the benefits of each, and what factors need to be considered when making your decision.
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  • Using Drawing Automation to Streamline Project Execution

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    Project teams are always under pressure to perform "smarter, faster, better". The current economic conditions are also causing reductions in project funding, with the result that project teams must produce more with less. One strategy that can be used to streamline project execution is drawing automation.
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  • Control System Modernization Q&A

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    Our recent webinar, Control System Modernizations, resulted in some excellent questions being asked by participants. Here are a few that we thought would be especially informative for many of you. Question In a brownfield where HMIs are highly customized, migrating these HMIs are typically a huge challenge. It is also difficult to justify the high number of man hours needed to allocate for these migrations. What is a good method to do such an estimate so it makes sense form a project management perspective?
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  • How to Manage and Minimize Scope Creep on Projects (video)

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    Often when a project doesn't go as planned, it because of scope creep, or on-going changes and modifications to a project's scope without having proper control measures in place. In this video, James Couto, a Project Manager and Senior Engineer with Autopro, discusses ways to manage and minimize scope creep on your projects.
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  • Justifying the Value, Need, and Importance of HAZOP and LOPA

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    February's webinar, Basics Risk and Safety Instrumented Systems, resulted in some excellent questions being asked by participants. Here's one that we thought would be especially informative for many of you. Question: If an oil and gas facility has never had either a LOPA or HAZOP (or no record of such, for example) how should one proceed with justifying the value, need and importance of implementing them? Or how best to approach this?
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  • Four Questions to Ask about Your Safety Instrumented System

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    The Safety Instrumented System (SIS) is a critical aspect of process control, and is fundamental to an organization’s ability to mitigate risk related to the health, safety, and environmental (HSE) impacts of their operations. But for many companies, implementing an effective SIS can be a confusing balancing act between industry regulations, safety standards, and corporate risk management requirements. Asking these four questions will help you assess the effectiveness of your Safety Instrumented System in maintaining safe operations within your facility.
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  • Aligning Alarm Management programs with Process Safety

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    January's webinar, Basics of Alarm Management, resulted in some excellent questions being asked by participants. Here's one that we thought would be especially informative for many of you. Question: I have found significant traction in aligning Alarm Management Program with Process Safety, which is typically more mature. Have you seen benefits from other clients with this alignment or alignment with other programs?
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  • Keys to a Successful Control System Migration (video)

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    Chances are, if you are migrating your control system, it is because something about your current system necessitates an upgrade, whether it is lack of spare parts, obsolescence, or some other reason. There are a few things you should do to ensure your migration project is successful, and to add additional value to the overall project. In this video, Tom Grusendorf, a DCS Specialist with Autopro, discusses three strategies that can help ensure your control system migration project is a success.
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  • 3 Simple Ways to Help Keep Your SCADA System Secure

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    Recently it was reported that a malware attack on the SCADA system of a Ukrainian electrical utility resulted in 1.4 million people losing power for several hours. While this particular incident was carried out as a targeted attack, SCADA systems can easily be made vulnerable to unintentional infection, simply due to a lack of awareness. The good news is there are a few simple checks you can implement to help secure your system, remembering that there is no such thing as being completely secure.
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