Sticking with a legacy system means taking a gamble that you can still rely on your system, its parts, and its maintenance. We had one customer who was calling us every couple of months because their PLC had “eaten” their program. Staying with an obsolete system often means parts are no longer available through the manufacturer. It can initiate time-consuming eBay hunts. Some systems were installed so long ago that the documentation is long gone. There’s only one person who remembers how it was installed and he’s retiring. Can you rely on having the know-how available when you need it?
What if you could quit worrying about the next time your system is going to fail – and start planning how you’ll take advantage of all its new capabilities?
This month, we built a display that shows the speed difference between the S7-1500, an S5-100U, an Allen Bradley PLC 5-80, and a TI-505. We compared the cycle time by measuring the I/O through a relay. Measuring it this way is comparable to a real-life application. Other speed comparisons typically show scan times, which can exaggerate the difference. With this true-to-life test, the S7 was still more than twice as fast as any of the others.
The newer HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces, or screens) not only can show exactly where a problem is, but also what the problem is. This allows operators to clear the problem very quickly. Some older diagnostic equipment is much more vague, causing operators to solve the problem with all of the efficiency of untangling Christmas lights.
The S7 along with its associated equipment, is much more energy efficient as well. There is also energy saving software such as PROFIenergy which can analyze and automate strategies to reduce the standby load.
You might be thinking “What?! Cost is a reason not to upgrade! It’s going to cost me thousands to install a new system!” But what is the cost of downtime? One study showed that each minute of downtime in the auto industry costs $22,000. What is the opportunity cost of not upgrading? If you could double your production speed, not upgrading costs you half your potential revenue.
Upgrading to S7 technology isn’t really innovation anymore – it’s simply keeping up with the times. But new innovative advances are becoming available for the S7 – and not the S5. Siemens is committing 5 billion Euro to R&D this year alone. The best way to benefit from these new developments is to use current technology.
There’s discussion lately about Detroit becoming the next Silicon Valley – or Silicon Valley becoming the next Detroit. For Detroit to drive that amount of growth requires innovation and some risk taking. If we in Detroit don’t take those steps, Silicon Valley will. We have to acknowledge the risk involved in not changing.
We can’t innovate from a place of fear. We were all around for 2008 and we know how scary that was. None of us wants to see that much red on our balance sheets ever again. None of us wants to look across the table at one of our long-time employees and have that heartbreaking conversation again. The riskiest option isn’t to grow and change. The riskiest option is to hold too tightly to what has worked in the past.
This investment in your business is worth it.
To discuss your legacy migration or how Patti Engineers can help, Contact Us.
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