Increase Operational Productivity and Reduce Machine Downtime
Older legacy control systems can be more than just a headache for manufacturers to deal with. Utilizing obsolete parts make it increasingly more difficult to purchase replacement parts – a sometimes lengthy process depending on part availability – with the length of operational downtime dependent on the availability. Once the part is available, then there’s the associated task of the programming resources required to get your factory up and running again.
Between the cost of system repairs and system down time, you can easily start to chip away at your bottomline. And when left unaddressed for too long, eventually your old control system will be the culprit behind more frequent unplanned downtime. Yet, the biggest risk with PLC and HMI solutions becoming obsolete and failing comes if you don’t have a back-up of the program.
PLC Retrofitting vs. Complete System Replacement
With the realization that your hardware and software are aging or have become obsolete, your first reaction may be that a complete industrial control system overhaul is needed. However, after a control system audit, retrofitting, opposed to utilizing obsolete components or committing to an entirely new system, may be a viable option. With an industrial system audit, your existing programs are backed up and your obsolete components are evaluated to generate a report of what your upgrade path options include: modernizing with retrofitting, upgrading the entire system or cross migrating using newer technology.
Unfortunately, there is really no proactive way to determine if you’re working with obsolete parts. Most of the time a system failure will give you a clue, in which case you can use some of the obsolete part lookup tools from providers such as Rockwell/AllenBradley and Siemens.
Benefits of PLC Retrofitting
Today’s retrofitting capabilities economically extend the life of your capital equipment and deliver more security while integrating seamlessly into your current processes. The results of retrofitting include:
- Reduced Maintenance:
If you need to repair, it is cheaper and easier to find replacements when the parts are still being distributed and technically supported. And with the right PLC programming specialist, you’ll receive better sales and support after the retrofit.
- Smaller Footprint: Newer technology components tend to be smaller, saving valuable panel space.
- Energy Efficient: New components are more energy efficient than older components.
- Modern Technological Relevance: i.e. USB, Ethernet technology, IIoT, Larger Memory, etc.
- Improved Performance: Retrofitting is an opportunity to address your “punch list” of process optimization tasks that can increase production speeds and safety.
- Upgrade Opportunities: Updating your parts affords you the ability to more easily and quickly add-on current and future needs.
Avoid Obsolescence Risk with a PLC Audit
PLC Retrofitting, as opposed to utilizing obsolete components or committing to an entirely new system, has a multitude of both short and long-term benefits for manufacturers. Live Automation specializes in retrofitting older control systems and can design and develop customer-specific control systems to meet your factory specifications. Contact Live Automation for an industrial system audit for your company.