10 tips for successful system integration in a recession

Living with problems? A well planned drive and control system upgrade can eliminate a world of hurt. Here is how.


Control Engineering system integration

An economic recession may be the perfect time for smart engineers to upgrade their plants and plan for recovery, according to Dan Walser, senior systems engineer at Applied Motion Systems. If you're living with problems? A well planned drive and control system upgrade can eliminate a world of hurt. While the sales staff works on finding new business, operations and design staff can take the make the most of relatively idle time to retrofit existing machines. Walser says a system integrator can help in 10 ways:

1. Run the retrofitting numbers. Determine the cost-benefit of upgrading your existing equipment vs. buying new. Throughput benefits of 30%-50% and savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars are possible after updating control hardware and implementing a better user interface.

2. Involve the integrator early. Good partnerships build success. By involving the integrator early in the evaluation process, you have a better chance of getting the best solution for your production challenges.

3. Get the whole package to save time, money, and headaches. Make sure your integrator is providing the PLC/motion programming, HMI software design, drives, control hardware, panel building, field acceptance and testing, start-up, training, and documentation.

4. Understand upgrade project management. Field retrofits of existing equipment are inherently different from installations of new equipment.

5. Fix what’s broken. The performance of your equipment after the upgrade will be directly affected by its mechanical condition at that time. Now is the time to replace worn parts and perform other maintenance tasks that perhaps have been overlooked or delayed

6. Support the system remotely . Industrial Ethernet now makes remote support a snap so that you can receive timely assistance if your production is interrupted or troubleshooting is required, reducing total cost of ownership.

7. Be flexible when considering a controller . Not all controllers are created equal. While most are quite capable for general everyday tasks, a qualified system integrator may advise you to consider a particular controller, depending on the complexity of the application, especially for motion control.

8. Evaluate service and experience, not just price. Attentive and immediate customer service will save you money. Ask for references and to see other projects like yours that were successful. You never want to select the one who left the most out of a bid.

9. Read the documentation and get the training, considering manuals, drawings, and updates. This is easily overlooked, and critically important.

Control Engineering system integration
10. Consult your current integrator. If you have developed a relationship with a good integrator, be sure to get a bid from personnel there, particularly if they have demonstrated a commitment to system perfection even when it cost them money.

May 2009 Control Engineering has

more information on each point with a diagram



- Edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief

Control Engineering News Desk, www.controleng.com

Register here to select your choice of free eNewsletters.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security