Control systems play a vital role in all aspects of modern
living, from helping us drive our cars, to safely running large
petrochemical complexes and power
stations. According to recent industry research,
instrumentation is the biggest spend item in plants. In 2010,
capital expenditure for buying new instruments was estimated at
$5 billion, with maintenance and operation costs projected to reach $4.9 billion.
However, much of this cost is unnecessary. It arises because
the technology used to plan and design
instrumentation and control systems has often been developed
with little regard for engineers and designers
natural working methods. Procedures that can be perfectly
straightforward if represented graphicallyrerouting a
wire, for example, or segregating cablesare all too often
dependent on manual, tabular data input, which is
time-consuming, expensive and prone to error.