From oil refineries to food and beverage plants, process engineers are being asked to manage increasingly complex systems – and to do more with less. This is a challenge that Blair Wilson, PlantPAx Marketing Manager, is ready to take up: “The good news is that the latest distributed control system (DCS) platforms have kept pace with technological developments. And more DCS users are now considering upgrading and modernizing their systems for optimal performance.”

But just how will a DCS modernization help manage system complexity and improve productivity? Wilson explains that producers are adept at navigating the complexities and challenges of staying competitive. “This is true in a variety of industries ranging from pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, and food and beverage to mining and chemicals. That’s why it’s so important to implement the latest technological advancements to continue your ever-evolving digital transformation journey.”

System features positively impact the lifecycle of a plant’s operations by ensuring that plant-wide and scalable systems drive productivity, improve profitability, and reduce overall risks for operations. The newest release of PlantPAx offers more valuable technical features than ever before.

The next generation of DCS

PlantPAx 5.0, the modern DCS from Rockwell Automation, is designed to meet plant-wide applications, and more, as well as to help reduce the overhead required for automation infrastructure while delivering improved diagnostics and analytics.

This latest iteration of the popular DCS has a reduced footprint. New process controllers extend the Logix family capabilities with cutting-edge processing power and capacity to reduce the complexity of PlantPAx architectures. This footprint reduction also reduces total cost of ownership of the system throughout the lifecycle.

On top of that, it drives consistency. With native process instructions embedded in the controllers, project teams can adopt approaches to control strategies that drive consistency for individual projects or multi-site deployments.

With its streamlined workflows, development teams will realise savings in the configuration of instrumentations, alarms, and diagnostic system elements. Operators will have the extended ability to view underlying control logic in a safe and secured manner.

Further, to help mitigate risk, the PlantPAx 5.0 system architectures are TUV certified to the international standard ISA-99/IEC 62443-3-3, which provides guidance on the implementation of an electronically secured system. The PlantPAx 5.0 release has purpose-built frameworks that easily connect live and historical data from the DCS into reporting and analytical tools. This allows extended experiences, such as Augmented Reality, and easy integration with scalable analytics packages.

It’s a matter of “when”, not “if”

Wilson adds that, from the control room to the board room, process system users face the persistent challenges of balancing productivity against budget and resource constraints, as well as proactively addressing evolving operational risks. “This is why it is important to meet these challenges and experience real productivity gains in all areas of your plant with the PlantPAx DCS.”

“Digital transformation is a trend that isn’t going away – at some point, every manufacturer and producer will have to start their journey. For many, it’s considered the new normal. Embracing new technologies will fundamentally change how you do business – for the better.

“Evaluate your legacy DCS to see if the latest DCS platform can help in your digital transformation journey. This decision can allow flexibility so you can better meet customer needs, and provide data and insights to help you improve performance, decision-making and profitability. It doesn’t have to be difficult or disruptive. With the right solutions in place, you can embrace tomorrow’s challenges with confidence,” Wilson concludes.


Michelle Junius
Rockwell Automation
Tel. +27 11 654 9700

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