Experiences Migrating a Process Control System: “Legacy to Bleeding Edge - How Hard Can It Be”

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Borealis' cracker in Stenungsund, Sweden was a very early adopter of APC for olefin plants. Part of Exxon's early 80's roll out of APC based on Honeywell's PMX process computer on top of a TDC2000 DCS the plant got over a few years state of the art furnace, compressor and distillation control. In addition PMX was used as an easy way of making complex cascades, material balances and historisation, tasks that were beyond the DCS systems of the times. In the following year the project team morphed into a fixed APC group adding to the PMX applications over the years. The first DMC controller in 1989 ran as PMX FORTRAN. In 1995 the first RTO project and later revamps used PMX as the interface between the high level applications and the DCS as well as the operators.

When Honeywell announced in 2001 that PMX support would cease 2007 the plant, no longer part of the Exxon family, had to make some hard decisions based on limited information. Following in the giants footsteps Experion PKS was selected as the target system for a migration. At that stage barely out with the first release and with lots of needed functionality only on Powerpoint. The presentation will cover how the project was estimated and approved and experiences and reflections from today when most money makers are migrated but with PMX still running unsupported since 2009.

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