Modern factories, even small mom and pop enterprises, use programmable logic controller (PLC) devices to manage manufacturing equipment. These controllers enable workers to automate assembly line production, control electrical output and perform countless other essential tasks. If you own a small company with a factory, you must make sure that your PLC units are kept up to date and in good condition.
There are several reasons why you should upgrade a dated PLC device if you want to run your factory in an efficient manner.
Increase Efficiency of Older Machines
If your old factory equipment is still in good working condition but your PLC units are out of date, you may not be producing at maximum capacity. A typical PLC unit contains a main central processing unit (CPU) and ports for additional modules.
Newer PCL units have more advanced CPUs with higher processing speeds, more memory for storing data, more functions and increased expandability. You will be able to add more modules for creating new applications and connecting to newer factory machines. Modern units have enhanced safety functions as well.
In addition, you can purchase PLC devices that help you increase production while reducing the energy consumption of the unit and your factory equipment. Just because a PLC device is still mechanically sound does not mean that it is still the best solution for your factory.
Add Computer Networking Features
PLC units have been around since the late 1960s and are a mainstay of factory production. With the advent of computer networking came the ability for factories to connect and monitor production equipment via software on desktops.
However, if you have not updated your PLC devices in many years, you are missing out on the ability to monitor, sync and program your factory equipment via a network-connected computer.
With networked PLC devices, you can also collect, store and analyze real-time data from your factory equipment. Modern PLC devices can also connect to handheld devices so you can view reports about your factory's production remotely on your smartphone or tablet.
PLC devices connected to your wireless network enable you to view production statistics and manage your supply chain before you leave home, or while you are on the road thousands of miles away.
In addition, you can be alerted whenever a machine begins underperforming due a defect, stops running or becomes a safety hazard.
Reduce Repair Costs
Modern PLC devices have LCD panels and other high-tech features that have replaced manual controls on older devices, such as traditional light switches with bulbs that burn out.
When indicator lights go out on old PLCs, you may have to stop production until the bulbs are replaced. If you upgrade the device, you will never have to wonder whether or not an alarm light is working due to a burned out bulb. You can also stop stocking up on light supplies and paying to fix worn out manual controls such as buttons and levers.
Furthermore, if the PLC device is very old or obsolete, it may be difficult to find replacement parts. The older the device, the harder it will be to find spare parts.
While you search high and low for spare parts for an old PLC, you risk getting behind on your production schedule. If you have a problem with a newer device, replacement parts will be readily available.
Overall, upgrading your PLC devices will provide you with cost and production advantages. The investment will pay off when you are able to manufacture products in a more efficient manner and reduce the costs of running PLC devices that have limited capabilities and are at the end of their life cycle. For more information, contact a local PLC manufacturer or supplier, like Flodyne Incorporated.