Upgrading PLC-5 automation systems has been on the food and beverage industry’s radar for quite some time now. In fact, when I began working at Stellar 12 years ago, people were buzzing about Rockwell Automation moving the processor into retirement (“Silver Series” status). However, the PLC-5 1771 was such a widely popular system, Rockwell held back on pulling the trigger until recently. In August 2012, Rockwell revealed it would no longer support the PLC-5 processor anymore, including engineering replacement parts —big news, considering more than 80 percent of the marketplace owned these systems. Why you must migrate your PLC-5 Upgrading involves moving from a PLC-5 to a 1756 ControlLogix®. If you don’t upgrade your PLC-5 processor, you’re constrained by an outdated, limited platform that isn’t supported and is no longer manufactured. This means spare parts are also no longer made for the control system. A decade ago, people knew its retirement was only a matter of time: Silver Series status was in PLC-5’s future. However, because these systems are very reliable, people tend to put off upgrading them — an if-it-isn’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mentality. Now, this Silver Series status has been applied to a growing number (now the majority) of the PLC-5 and 1771 I/O products. For those products, spare parts may currently be available, but this could change at any time. Silver Series really is a measure Rockwell has taken to clearly communicate that NOW is the time to upgrade. If you wait, and you don’t have the spare parts, they may be no longer available, and then you will be searching eBay for used parts. If your control system goes down, you lose production time, product quality and/or money from either renting equipment or having to pay personnel to perform the control system’s tasks manually. Migration myths Unfortunately, many […]
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