Building a truly Connected Enterprise can help you improve efficiency, and one way to do this is to update your equipment if you’re using legacy protocols. Taking a proactive approach to this dreaded project does more than just connect your facility – it allows you to avoid a delayed, forced update that is more often than not accompanied by downed production lines.
But at a time when the economy can seem on shaky ground, major updates can be hard to get rubber-stamped. If equipment is working as it should, it can be hard to make the case for costly modernizing. That type of capital expenditure may be seen as elective.
But like death and taxes, the eventual demise of industrial equipment is unavoidable. One strategy that can help during a slower year is looking to your OpEx budget for gradual updates that will help your company be competitive during bigger years.
By updating equipment on your time and categorizing the steps as operational expenditures, you can put your company on the path to a modernized facility – paid for from a guaranteed fund.
By planning your modernization in phases, you can also ensure that each step ties in to operational priorities as well. Whether you need to improve predictive maintenance, better integrate building automation systems to reduce energy usage, or ensure reliable communications with a new control system, you can customize your modernization timeline to suit your objectives. (Wondering what to modernize first based on your operational needs? We know a world-class global tech support team who can help.)
Using a modernization gateway (if updating legacy Allen-Bradley® equipment) or a migration solution (if switching from another manufacturer’s control system), you can ensure that legacy equipment remains operational during your phased update. You’ll be able to keep your legacy equipment running in parallel with new systems – ideal if you’re waiting to start the next phase of your facility update, or if you need to ensure the new equipment is operating correctly and efficiently. This also helps to decrease the inherent risk involved in modernization projects.
Not a big fan of reprogramming your PLC code for an update? Neither are we. The great news is that when you update legacy Allen-Bradley control systems with the modernization gateway, you can avoid that process.
∙ Brains Brewery needed to keep the beer flowing in the UK – and also update their PLC-2® controllers. Keeping the existing Remote I/O cards and wiring helped them keep downtime to a minimum. The phased approach cost 40 percent less than an alternative modernization plan.
∙ American Castings switched from a SY/MAX PLC to a ControlLogix®. They estimated a cool 140 hours and over $100,000 saved, thanks to being able to run the old and new systems in parallel with the migration gateway.