By Patrick Weber, MESA International Technical and Education Committee member and MESA-Recognized Practitioner
Will your executive board be surprised at the cost of replacing your automation controllers?
Obsolete controls – every industrial organization deals with them. Whether it’s manufacturing, mining, oil & gas, water/waste water, or building automation, electronic controls don’t last forever and eventually need replaced. I suspect many companies are facing this issue now, particularly as it concerns their programmable logic controllers (PLCs). IEC 61131 (the international standard for PLC programming) was first introduced in 1993, and standards-based devices soon followed. Many of those devices have been in operation for two to three decades, which means we are now in the midst of first-generation controller replacement. This is sparking numerous conversations on social media, such as this one on LinkedIn’s Automation group forum: “What about automatically converting PLC software from one system to another”.