We have successfully replaced many outdated control systems with PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers) or DCS (Distributed Control Systems) based systems. Often old systems become maintenance intensive, with high failure rates and intermittent problems that are difficult to track down. The new controller and computer-based systems are highly reliable and have built-in diagnostics that make troubleshooting faster and easier.

The Retrofit Process

To automate, we first must understand what it does — or is supposed to do. We carry out extensive fieldwork to identify the existing control requirements. Our engineers and field technicians identify the wiring to verify exactly what the system is currently doing (reverse engineering). We can then develop a new system to provide improved functionality.

Once we have completed the documentation, we determine the appropriate inputs and outputs to the new system, specify the components and determine how to install them. This phase of the project includes layout drawings of the system cabinets, as well as detailed wiring diagrams for the I/O.

In most cases, we have the panel built at our facility, so we can test, and UL List the panel prior to installation. Many projects require that the old system be removed to make room for the new controls. Either way, we work closely with the contractor to complete the demolition and new installation within your shutdown time.

Finally, we offer operator training, either on-the-job or in a classroom setting, for operation and maintenance. In some cases, we have programmed simulations and “online” manuals for complex systems or strategies.

Once the new system is installed and the new programming is loaded, we work with mill E/I technicians to perform an I/O checkout to verify the new field wiring and a logic check to test essential interlocks before startup – and to give them experience with the system.

We then staff the startup around the clock (if needed) until it is running satisfactorily. Following startup, we provide you with a final record drawing package and all documentation. We provide both operational and maintenance support until the facility staff is comfortable with all phases of the system. Once we leave the site our staff is available as needed for support.