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Reduce the risk of system migrations

Author : Frank Prendergast, Schneider Electric

26 January 2010

An integrator experienced in quick wiring adapter tools can provide time- and cost-savings, and thus reduce downtime and risk.

Step 1 - Observe all safety rules and turn off all power sources to the rack and legacy I/O modules. Remove all electrical power from the rack and all non-I/O modules
Step 1 - Observe all safety rules and turn off all power sources to the rack and legacy I/O modules. Remove all electrical power from the rack and all non-I/O modules

Migration step by step

Photos depict a stepped process of migrating from a legacy I/O module to a new I/O module. (The legacy module in this case is the Schneider Electric SY/Max I/O; the new module is the Schneider Electric Quantom I/O.)

Industrial facility managers understand the need for progress. Continually updating programmable logic control (PLC) systems can help facilities be more efficient, accommodate evolving needs, and better meet customer requests and deadlines. But an upgrade project is also one fraught with risk when it gets underway, and even after it is complete.

Step 2 - Remove all terminal blocks from legacy I/O modules
Step 2 - Remove all terminal blocks from legacy I/O modules

One of the main reasons is downtime. When it comes to a project like migrating a PLC system to newer, more robust components, facility managers envision an extensive period of planned downtime, often while a system integrator completes the job of component change-outs and rewiring. But also looming are concerns about unplanned downtime after the project is complete.

Accommodating for associated downtime requires meticulous planning and facility-wide co-operation. Facility managers typically plan ahead by increasing stock and production levels or re-routing processes. Another way to mitigate the risk of migration-related downtime is to carefully choose your system integrator.

Facility managers can avoid problems in both the short- and long-term by doing their homework. That means taking the time to extensively qualify system integrators with regard to the individual tools and industry partnerships they use. Such support plays a large role in quickly and efficiently completing system migration project and ensuring no unplanned downtime afterwards. An integrator with extensive experience with solutions like quick wiring adapter tools, for example, can allow re-use of the original wiring for a new I/O module.

Step 3 - Remove all legacy I/O modules from the rack, and then the rack itself
Step 3 - Remove all legacy I/O modules from the rack, and then the rack itself

Rewiring needs and planning can be a major contributor to scheduled downtime associated with system migration projects, and related costs. Traditionally, transitioning between old and new I/O modules requires a significant amount of time to be spent on rewiring. On average, it takes approximately six hours to rewire a single rack. For systems with numerous racks, that time can quickly accumulate to weeks.

Additionally, extensive rewiring increases the chance for safety hazards and mistakes. During a complicated rewiring process, a single error by an integrator can result in extensive troubleshooting later to locate the problem. Other negative impacts of incorrect manual rewiring include system failure and even unintended equipment operation, which poses a real safety risk for anyone near a piece of equipment when it activates.

Step 4 - Install the adapter plate kit, which allows installation of the new I/O modules' backplane without having to drill into the enclosure subpanel
Step 4 - Install the adapter plate kit, which allows installation of the new I/O modules' backplane without having to drill into the enclosure subpanel

But rewiring is only half the battle. After rewiring is finished and operator training, re-commissioning and system start-up is completed, a product installation error can create a lengthy period of downtime to correct, compounding stress and increasing time and cost investments.

Click to read the second part of this article


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