Increase Productivity and Reduce Machine Downtime
Older control systems are often a headache for manufacturers as it’s increasingly more difficult to purchase replacement parts. A lengthy and costly process, replacing and/or reprogramming resources required to get your factory up and running again results in downtime that far exceeds the cost of the system itself. Some systems no longer operate manually, and an operation can quickly go under if it is not addressed. Nursing the old control system for too long will only bring more unaccounted for downtime in the future when it will inevitably meet its demise.
PLC Retrofitting vs. Full System Replacement
You might begin to notice that your software and hardware are aging or have become totally obsolete. Instead of immediately jumping to a complete system replacement, retrofitting may be a viable option. After 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. While a system failure will give you a clue that you’re on borrowed time, it’s important to have an audit from professionals that do this frequently.
The biggest question for companies working with older systems is how they will address obsolescence risk when their software or hardware becomes outdated. At RL Consulting, we work with you to evaluate the best option for your specific needs. That might include modernizing with retrofitting, upgrading your entire system or cross migrating using newer technology.
It’s technically possible for your current engineers to keep things going as they are. However, they are often busy with the day-to-day maintenance of the facility and many companies do not keep their engineers up-to-date with the most recent integrations. This is a costly measure for a company to do in the event they do need to upgrade. As with many economies of scale, it’s better to defer to companies that are actively pursuing and training their staff to meet these exact needs. For example, RL Consulting is authorized to work on systems of several companies including Rockwell, GE, Siemens, Omron and more. In your attempt to retrofit or replace, you will almost inevitably run into issues so its better to consult authorized experts.
Benefits of PLC Retrofitting
The biggest benefit of retrofitting is reduced maintenance. Retrofitting capabilities extend the life of your equipment, while providing more security. It also integrates seamlessly into your current processes. If you do need repairs, it is cheaper and easier to find replacement parts because they are still being distributed and supported technically. Not to mention when you have the right PLC Programming Company, like RLC, you receive better sales and support after the retrofit.
Other benefits of PLC retrofitting include:
- Smaller Footprint: Newer 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 “to-do 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.
PLC retrofitting has a multitude of both short and long-term benefits for manufacturers. Before utilizing obsolete components or committing to an entirely new system, consider your options for PLC retrofitting.