Upgrading PLC Programming

21st May 2013 | Posted by Charlotte Miskell

In almost any manufacturing process there is always a requirement to upgrade and improve the machinery in use. There is a constant striving to make processes as streamlined and as sustainable as possible. This can often lead to the replacement of parts and can often mean that those operating with older systems find it much more difficult to source parts that may fail. If you find yourself operating with an old PLC (Programmable Logic Control) that is proving to be unreliable, then you will need to find replacements that are cost effective and have the minimum downtime.

In PLC Programming, A PLC system is essentially made up of two components, the processor and the IO (Inputs/Outputs). One of the most effective ways to upgrade a PLC system is to complete the process in stages. This can be started by first replacing the processor for a more recent model and the original IO and field wiring can be retained. This means that the new processor can sit in a new rack, with the original IO connected via a communications network. An ‘adapter module’ will be required for the IO rack to replace the original PLC and act as a gateway between the new processor and the original IO. This process will require limited downtime, meaning there will be little disruption to a plant.

If the new processor will not run the old PLC software, most PLC manufactures offer a conversion tool to convert the old code.

However, there are reasons for not converting the code in this manner. Modern PLC systems are more powerful and more flexible than earlier versions. This means that a rewrite could fix many of the problems that an old machine has. Some older control systems can at times be inflexible when handling products that they were not originally designed for. These issues can be addressed through upgrading the control system and rewriting PLC software.

Upgrading a Programmable Logic Control System with Propals

As part of a system upgrade the legacy PLC IO can be replaced. This generally consists of re-terminating the field wiring to the new IO modules. This can also provide a good opportunity to update the electrical drawings, which will greatly assist in diagnosing electrical problems.

Upgrading the controls of a PLC system in this manner can increase the lifespan of the system. The machine will also be much more reliable and flexible and this could provide an excellent alternative to purchasing an entirely new system

If you have an old Programmable Logic Control system that is in need of repairs then you can contact Proplas International online or by calling 01282 872 450 to discuss your requirements and how we can help you implement a new system. 

Allen Bradley PLC Programming

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