PLC5 Control Systems Upgrade

Kelsey HillCase Studies

Quantum Design upgrades line of Pellet Pan Coating line at food manufacturing facility in Rockford, IL.

What is the significance of the project?

The PLC5 controls and HMI were discontinued by Rockwell Automation in 2017, making it risky to continue running lines using those controls.  Replacement parts are no longer readily available for the PLC5; customers must resort to Ebay and similar sites to search for replacement parts.  If something were to go down, it could take days, weeks or months to resolve, losing precious production time and countless dollars.  Some parts may never be available which would lead to a time-crunching upgrade that many companies can’t afford.

Relevant Industries

  • Any Manufacturing

Engineering Specialties Utilized

  • Data Integration
  • Upgrades/Conversions
  • PLC, HMI & VFDs

Technologies Utilized

  • Rockwell RSLogix 5000
  • Rockwell FactoryTalk View ME
  • Rockwell FactoryTalk Viewpoint
  • Rockwell Connected Components Workbench

Details of Project

Recently, Quantum Design worked with a local food manufacturing facility in Rockford, Illinois to upgrade a Pellet Pan Coating line containing 4 separate pellet pans.  This line was significant as 25% of their business relied on each of the 4 pans. If 1 pan goes down, 25% of their business would be lost until the needed parts are found.  If the line failed and couldn’t be fixed or parts could not be located, the company would see a significant reduction in profits.

Quantum Design assessed the existing equipment and proposed to convert the PLC5/60 control system to the latest Contrologix control system and convert the Panelview 1000e HMI to a Panelview Plus 6 HMI.  As part of the upgrade, the communications from the PLC to the HMI would be changed from DH+ to Ethernet and the existing Danfoss VFD’s would be converted to Powerflex VFD’s with Ethernet communications.

Billy Williams, Senior Project Manager states “if we didn’t upgrade, we would no longer be able to run the line which is a significant reduction in profits.”  The customer chose to move forward with all solutions in order to maximize their ROI and reduce the risk of losing one or all of their Pan Coating lines as well as “keep peace of mind”.  Says Williams, “Without this equipment we couldn’t finish a crucial step in our manufacturing process.  Knowing that we don’t have to worry about replacement components to the PLC was the main reason to pull the trigger and upgrade.  A bonus was that we abandoned our DH+ and converted to Ethernet.”

Quantum started by creating new electrical schematics with the Contrologix hardware, Powerflex 753 series VFD’s and Powerflex 523 series VFD’s.  The old PLC 5 processor, I/O modules, power supply and rack were removed from the machines leaving only the existing PLC 5 wiring arms intact.

To allow the conversion to happen without having to rewire all the inputs and outputs, the new Contrologix rack, processor, power supply, I/O modules, and PLC 5 to Contrologix conversion cables were installed.   Next, the old VFD's were removed and the new Powerflex VFD's were installed.

The PLC 5 logic was converted to a Contrologix format using the Rockwell conversion software.  The converted logic was reviewed and required a few changes to clean up some things that did not convert completely.  Logic was then added to communicate with and control the Powerflex VFD's.

In the final stages, Quantum recreated the Panelview 1000e screens for the Panelview Plus 6 using the Rockwell FactoryTalk View ME software.  Tags were changed to match the Contrologix PLC, Alarm controls and messages were reworked and Ethernet communications were added since the Contrologix platform does not support DH+.

Williams says “we chose Quantum Design to complete this conversion because we have built a strong relationship with the engineers at Quantum Design over the years and we trust in Quantum’s capabilities.  We know we can rely on them to get the job done.”

The most significant results are not measureable, as they are based on risk alone.  However, with the new PLC, HMI and VFD, the plant is able to continue on with a substantial reduction in their risk of downtime.  In addition, significant time is saved as operators do not have to spend hours tracking down spare parts that may or may not work.  And as Williams states above, keep peace of mind and rest easy knowing they won’t be down in the near future.