Hot cutover methodology

Benefits of using the hot cutover method for DCS upgrades/ migrations

There are several methods to migrate a distributed control system (DCS migration approach). Many process plants require a method to migrate a DCS during online process conditions. A shutdown is simply not possible for various reasons such as the necessity of continuous production, production loss and high (unnecessary) costs. Using the hot cutover method will facilitate an online DCS migration/upgrade. Some benefits of the hot cutover method are:

  • Migrating without a full shutdown with less costs and no production loss as a result.
  • Manage risk of installing, testing and commissioning the control system during online process conditions.
  • No replacement product source needed. Due to supplier obligation, many plants cannot afford a shutdown, because this forces them to offer a replacement product, which is very costly. An energy company cannot simply stop supplying energy for
  • No impact on actors which are dependent on the plant’s production

An example of a hot cutover project is the replacement of BP’s Sharjah gas plant control system by ABB. The RS3 (Emerson), which was built in 1982, needed to be replaced by a modern DCS system. The RS3 would be replaced by a Yokogawa system. The Sharjah plant provides gas exclusively to users in the Sharjah Emirate. Due to high costs during a shutdown BP demanded a hot cutover solution. The control system consisted of 1450 classic and 5500 serial I/O’s. ABB used four phases to perform the DCS replacement during online process conditions.

Read about the full project here: (PDF)

Innovation in the field of hot cutover migrations are constantly developing. Innovations to ease the hot cutover process are appealing to process plants that require a migration without a full shutdown. An example of these innovation is the so-called hot cutover tool (IST-203). This tool has proven itself useful during several DCS migrations, including the DCS migration at Emerald Kalama Chemical, which was executed by Yokogawa.

Read more about this hot cutover tool » Read more about the DCS migration project at Emerald Kalama Chemical »