Improving flexibility, performance for carbon fiber manufacturer with control system upgrade

A carbon fiber manufacturer needed a control system upgrade that fulfilled specific requirements and adhered to a tight completion timeline.

By Automation Group September 10, 2023
Courtesy: Automation Group

Acting as the brain behind industrial operations, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are designed to perform logical decision making for control applications. However, what should be done when a PLC system reaches the end of its life cycle? This case study explores how Automation Group supported a PLC upgrade for a carbon fiber manufacturer.

The customer faced the challenge of modernizing their outdated control system which included control panels operating with a PLC-5 controller and other legacy hardware. This system was used to control their traction drive process which included VFD controls for multiple motors. The customer wanted to improve their process by upgrading their control, visualization, and machine safety systems, and sought help to navigate the complexities of this upgrade and seamlessly transform their outdated system with a modern solution.


Automation Group designed a plan that fulfilled the customer’s specific requirements and adhered to a tight completion timeline. The customer needed upgraded control panels with PLC, human-machine interface (HMI) and  variable frequency drive (VFD) components, alongside a modernization of their existing machine safety system to align with the latest industry standards. The project team carefully assessed each system slated for enhancement, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s existing system and their other production lines. This supported the factory acceptance testing phase, ensuring the components and controls worked properly according to the functionality of the equipment.

With proof of functionality, quality and integrity in place, the project team swiftly deployed the required upgrades which included build-to-print control panels, a PLC-5 to controller migration, safety-rated input/output (I/O) module configuration and more to improve the system’s flexibility and performance.

Project results

The project was successfully completed in less than 90 days, with two months dedicated to development and two weeks allocated for commissioning. Automation Group utilized the expertise of multiple control engineering experts for this project, and effectively leveraged their experience to meet the customer’s tight completion timeline. As a result of the upgraded system, the customer experienced substantial enhancements in productivity, increased reliability, simplified system maintenance, and a user-friendly interface. The project not only met the customer’s requirements but also delivered tangible benefits to improve overall operations.

Automation Group is a CFE Media and Technology content partner.

Original content can be found at Automation Group.

Author Bio: Automation Group