Is it really time to migrate from PLC-5 to CLX?

April 16, 2014

ControlLogix

We all love the PLC-5 but it’s time to let it go, the era of the PLC-5 is quickly approaching the end. The classic PLC-5 and its associated 1771 I/O platform are going to be classified as Silver Series by Rockwell Automation (AB). It really is time to prepare for  the impending retirement of the iconic PLC-5.  Rockwell is giving us time to plan and manage any migration, the replacement for this series is the ControlLogix series (CLX).

What does this mean for all of us?

Shortly you will not be able to order new PLC-5 Processors and 1771 I/O, which means after your spares are used up you are left with eBay as your maintenance strategy! Yes, refurbished units will be around for a while but who knows who cleaned, repaired and tested them? It is getting harder and more expensive to find spare parts for the PLC-5s, so the question becomes is it worth the cost of unplanned downtime?

Upgrading your PLC5 to ControlLogix is far more than installing new hardware in your manufacturing operations.  The ControlLogix (CLX) series which are faster, easier to integrate with your MES and ERP systems, simpler to diagnose and come with an expansive range of modules that allow them to be adapted for virtually any application.

With ControlLogix (CLX) controllers you can implement a fully featured integrated architecture to drive plantwide optimization, unique features such as the Logix Batch and Sequence Manager (LBSM) which allows you to manage single unit processes thereby letting you build independent recipes and batches make this possible. This inherent capability significantly reduces engineering time for Rockwell Solution Providers and also provides key controller-based batch management capability for the manufacturer.

Other compelling reasons to take the step forward include:

  • No risk of downtime when cutting over from PLC5 to CLX.  The conversion engineering can be done while your operation is running on your PLC5.  So can the installation.  And then the CLX can run in “shadow” mode for a period to verify I/O, etc.  Once your team is comfortable with the CLX system, you switch systems.
  • Investing your employee training dollars on the platform of your future
  • ControlLogix (CLX) uses a tagname database, which means the technicians can use P&ID tags to program the device. It allows for the creation of variables as well as user defined data objects and is very similar to the higher level programming languages making it easier to train new technicians on. 
  • The ControlLogix (CLX) is a task based engine where as the PLC-5 is scan based, which means the longer the program the longer the scan time of the process. With the task based engine the ControlLogix (CLX) is approx. 10x faster than the PLC-5 units. You can even customize the ControlLogix (CLX) to execute a task continuously, periodically or even prioritize one task over another.
  • Many of the safety limitations of the PLC-5 such as light curtains that don’t mute properly, not being able to ping the state of your safety device and being unable to create a bypass condition have all been addressed with the ControlLogix (CLX) series of PLCs.
  • Using one ControlLogix (CLX) to replace two or more current PLC-5s while providing integrated reports and data points.
  • Furthermore, integration into your MES and ERP system is greatly enhanced with the integrated architecture. The entire migration from PLC-5 to ControlLogix (CLX) can all be done while using your existing field I/O setup AND even your current control cabinets!

As you can see it’s never been better to migrate to the ControlLogix (CLX) series and the bottom-line is you are getting a performance boost for lower cost while leaving a legacy system behind! 

 

Choosing the right Rockwell Solution Partner for the conversion.

At Grantek we know that conversions from one system to another can appear to be a huge risk for many companies. Weighing the advantages of doing the conversion with the disadvantages can be daunting, but the key to a successful migration is working with the right partner to reduce the risks. With over 30 years of experience in integrated manufacturing automation and as a Rockwell Automation Systems Integrator, our team at Grantek is uniquely positioned to work with you to develop and deploy a migration strategy that will allow you to quickly and easily migrate your legacy PLC-5 controller and 1771 I/O into ControlLogix (CLX) and the Integrated Architecture.

Our experienced team will implement a tried and tested phased approach towards the migration for a fast conversion that minimizes downtime resulting in reduced labor costs. By deploying our custom code conversion tools to quickly create new code and reduce errors we can speed up migration while reducing engineering time. By leveraging the ControlLogix’s (CLX) functionality we can migrate existing field I/O wiring connections saving the integrity of the wiring as well as the cost thereby lower engineering costs.

Our experience in managing large scale projects and our successful track record of minimizing downtime during the migration are what make us your ideal partner.

As you can see the benefits of a Grantek migration to the ControlLogix (CLX) clearly far outweigh the risks and the cost of a planned upgrade is a fraction of an unplanned upgrade, so let’s migrate your legacy PLC-5 controller and 1771 I/O into ControlLogix (CLX) and the Integrated Architecture.