Improving OEE/Uptime with a PLC-5 Conversion to ControlLogix

Improving OEE/Uptime with a PLC-5 Conversion to ControlLogix

A large cosmetic manufacturer hired Pacific Blue Engineering to migrate a PLC-5 control system to ControlLogix. The PLC-5 system controlled a critically important water batching process and without it, the plant simply could not operate. The main problem with the existing PLC-5 control system was obsolescence and its failure would shut down the plant. In the past several years there were IO card failures that forced plant shutdown for several days.

A large cosmetic manufacturer hired Pacific Blue Engineering to migrate a PLC-5 control system to ControlLogix. The PLC-5 system controlled a critically important water batching process and without it, the plant simply could not operate. The main problem with the existing PLC-5 control system was obsolescence and its failure would shut down the plant. In the past several years there were IO card failures that forced plant shutdown for several days. Hence the first job for Pacific Blue was to migrate the PLC-5 system to the latest PLC technology to eliminate the risk of failure due to the obsolescence in the system.

In addition, there were lingering reliability issues with some of the legacy networks e.g., the DH+ and DeviceNet networks, which demanded an immediate correction. Some of these legacy networks also caused unscheduled downtime due to communication loss, and the complexity increased troubleshooting time. This task was made challenging by the absence of any drawings of the three separate networks, DeviceNet, DH+, and Ethernet/IP, through which the existing control system communicated. Furthermore, approximately one-half of the IO was analog, with IFE, OFE, and CF3 cards adding complexity since it had to be converted manually. Communication dropouts did occur on some of the networks, particularly DeviceNet. Pacific Blue engineers simplified the DeviceNet networks, combining the two separate DeviceNet networks into one, which helped to eliminate the issue of communication reliability. Also, by migrating to the latest technology extraction of process information from the water batching operation was made easier.

The company was persuaded to purchase PLC-5 swing arm adapters, which reduced installation time and risked, and allowed the existing wiring to be retained. The project had a compressed timeline which demanded engineering commissioning and electrical installation to cover 24-7 for several days. Pacific Blue completed the project with a day to spare, allowing an early start for testing and commissioning. In addition, the project was completed under budget, and the client reported that the execution and the results of the project exceeded expectations.

The company should consider continuing the migration of the legacy network DH+ and an SLC PLC in the plant which would continue to solve the problem of obsolescence as well as improving OEE and recipe optimization. In addition, leveraging new PLC technology to extract process data would not only ensure regulatory compliance but also allow better business decisions to be made more rapidly.

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