Improving Control System Reliability

Emerson’s Venkat Sekar and Emerson Impact Partner Puffer-Sweiven’s Gary Rhodes presented Increasing System Reliability Through Consistent System Management via Guardian at the 2023 Emerson Exchange Immerse Conference. Here is their session abstract:

Reliability is one of the main goals of every enterprise with production control systems. In order to reach that goal, one must identify the possible risks that can affect their systems. Once identified, actions should be taken to eliminate or mitigate these risks. Managing these actions can be overwhelming especially if you don’t have tracking of your system management actions and a metric that will measure their effectivity. This session will detail how Celanese is maximizing their Guardian subscription for their system maintenance and how they are applying a consistent risk management methodology. This strategy has resulted to zero unplanned system downtime for 2022, and Celanese has become among the top system achievers when it comes to system health score performance.

Venkat opened by sharing the story of a chemical manufacturer and their journey to greater reliability using Guardian. This manufacturer is increasing production over time while increasing sustainability through the use of hydrogen and CO2 conversion. Process control engineers focus their efforts on control improvements and configuration optimization. They had limited time to keep the DeltaV system up to date with patches and other system maintenance.

A Guardian health score is an aggregate of support status, software updates, knowledge base articles, and service calls made.

Guardian Health Score components

On a 10-point scale, health scores of 4-5 are twice as likely at risk of a production loss as a health score in the 7-10 range. Health Scores less than 4 drastically increase the probability of an incident that affects production.

Guardian Health Score vs. support calls for lost production

Guardian looks at risk management, lifecycle management, and incident management. Safety, security and process risks are matched to a user’s unique systems and software including focused knowledge base articles, software updates, Microsoft security patches, antivirus updates. Lifecycle management includes inventory management of hardware, software, and product lifecycle status with access to the latest major software versions (DeltaV v15.LTS).

Incident management includes 24/7/365 technical support by phone, web, email, and live chat with call tracking and online resources for troubleshooting and self-education.

Gary shared how this chemical manufacturer took their low Guardian health score in the 4 range and drove it to a nearly perfect 9.7 through focus and work with Impact Partner, Puffer Sweiven. The went from quarterly, to monthly, to weekly meetings to work through the issues identified by Guardian. He walked through an example of Guardian identifying relevant new KBAs, software updates available, and open service calls.

They have maintained an extremely high health score of 9.7 through this weekly focus and working through these issues. Once the large number of issues were resolved, the weekly meetings to review identified issues were mostly quite short.

Visit the Guardian section on to learn more about how you can improve the reliability and performance of your operations.

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