Allen Casteel, PMP
Allen Casteel, PMP
Operations Manager – Automation & Digital PSM
 

Allen manages Stellar’s Automation and Digital PSM divisions. He has more than 20 years of experience leading automation, engineering and design projects in the food & beverage, chemicals and refining industries. With broad experience in operations, engineering and design, process engineering, plant design and project management, Allen is skilled at developing solutions that meet customer needs. He has worked on projects for Unilever, Keystone, Ben & Jerry’s, Maplehurst, Tyson and others.

Industrial Automation: Is It Time to Upgrade Your Control System?

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Industrial Automation: Is It Time to Upgrade Your Control System?

How old is the control system at your facility? In most processing plants, the control system consists of field instruments that are wired to I/O cards which feed to a central PLC controller. Operators communicate with the PLC through a human machine interface (HMI) computer.

While the lifespan of an HMI computer is about the same as a typical desktop computer, the instruments, field wiring, I/O boards and PLC controllers last a lot longer — and the mentality of most operators is: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Upgrading a control system is a costly investment, and, as a result, many facilities have field hardware that is decades old.

So, when is it worth upgrading your control system? And what options do you have?