What is a PLC 5 and Why Does It Need to be Upgraded?
The Allen-Bradley PLC-5, simply known as PLC-5, was introduced in 1986 and quickly became a hugely popular industrial processor used in almost every industrial setting and was strongly embraced by the energy sector.
In its heyday, there were approximately 450,000 platforms installed in various sectors around the world. However, as of June 2017, PLC-5’s are no longer supported by Allen Bradley and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find replacement parts. For this reason, many facilities have chosen to upgrade to a newer platform so they aren’t left with trying to find parts for an obsolete system when their PLC-5 eventually fails.
Allen Bradley has released replacement PLC’s, namely the ControlLogix and MicroLogix platforms, as the successor to the PLC-5 series. If your facility or process is still running on a PLC-5, your process is at risk and it’s time to think about upgrading to a model that is supported.
Why You Should Consider a Swap
The migration from PLC-5 to ControlLogix and MicroLogix is currently underway and has been for years. However, there are still thousands of these obsolete PLC’s running countless processes across Canada and the USA.
The adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” that many facility owners take, in this case, can potentially lead to massive failures and huge costs. Control systems need maintenance and upgrading. The PLC-5’s that are still in operation will eventually fail. If your control system is operating on a PLC-5, you are at risk.
Don’t feel bad. Many businesses have been slow to respond to this change. In fact, there are several reasons why there are so many PLC-5’s still in operation.
Rockwell has relied on the PLC-5 as one of its main platforms for decades. Throughout its life, the brand continued to make changes to the capabilities of the platform – improving and modernizing its features to remain relevant. The control system has been kept relatively up-to-date and continues to perform well despite the growing demands of increasingly automated industrial facilities.
Additionally, PLC-5’s had a low failure rate. Its solid design made it a mainstay for countless processes over the years, and they were very reliable. Inevitably though, this technology will crash. Unfortunately, this means your facility will go down and remain down as you look for obsolete replacement parts.
If you choose to not upgrade, your process will be down for longer than it needs to be. With today’s energy prices, downtime is very expensive. We recommend you get ahead of this problem now.
Solution and Execution
Crossroad Energy Solutions has performed many PLC-5 upgrades. We can help you plan and execute this replacement and keep downtime to a minimum. There are options available to keep the existing enclosure in place, pull out the PLC components, replace with new PLC components, re-terminate end devices, perform point-to-point testing, and commission the process all without removing the enclosure.
Crossroad has experience with swapping out PLC’s while the plant is still running by shutting one process down at a time. To accomplish this, we work closely with operations to gain a deep understanding of each process to ensure that disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.
We will leave you with an up to date, maintainable system that will keep your equipment protected and running.
With today’s supply chain challenges, the earlier you decide to go ahead with upgrading your PLC-5 system, the better. Like most manufactures, Allen Bradley has been affected by the disruptions in the supply chain due to COVID 19 and is quoting massive lead-times for most PLC equipment.
Contact us today for more information and discuss how we can help plan your PLC-5 Upgrade.
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