Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) have been around for a long time, but as new technology is developed, companies are left holding onto control systems installed in years past which no longer meet the needs of a modern production system. In an age where up-time and reliability are key, the oftentimes misunderstood responsibilities of a PLC are not realized until production goes down due to unforeseen failures.
Although a component of a traditional machine system where core functionality does not change over years of iteration, the PLC lends itself to the IT world, where hardware and software are changing at an ever-accelerating rate. Manufacturers try to stay consistent and allow for easy upgrades by building on top of platforms, but as demands in the automation space increase, even these platforms must be abandoned and rebuilt from the ground up. Support for these legacy systems becomes very expensive, as spare parts become more difficult to obtain, and experienced technicians leave the field. Though refurbished equipment may be available, the quality of these parts can often cause problems, as there is simply no way to equate their reliability with that of a new control module and a factory warranty.
Grantek’s extensive industry experience allows for a smooth transition once it’s time to upgrade legacy PLCs. Grantek always begins by auditing the current system to determine whether it is currently providing the functionality needed, meets with machine and process operators to analyze the PLC programming code and other inputs that interact with the system, completes necessary re-engineering, including interactive panel design, custom build, equipment procurement, risk analysis and a Site Acceptance Test. Finally, Grantek analyzes system documentation for completeness and accuracy, providing updated documents reflective of the new system after migration is complete.
On the factory floor, “maintenance” is a word that brings to mind the preventative and responsive tasks required to keep production running smoothly. The “IT” team on the other hand has it’s similar responsibilities of keeping the business processes within the site. Where these worlds converge is where Grantek delivers solutions.
Advantages of working with Grantek include our extensive experience, but also our close relationships with partners such as Rockwell Automation, which ensure our engineers receive ongoing training on current products. Grantek also holds Cisco network certifications and have vast experience working with Festo, SMC, SICK, and other sensor manufacturers.
Grantek’s systematic and holistic approach to Legacy System Migration provides an upgraded system that will perform as it has in the past, but with reduced risk of failure and more efficiency. It will also be easier and less costly to maintain as the production environment changes.