The first step in the migration programme from the Rockwell Automation Global Solutions engineers was the development of a migration strategy that allowed Alba to quickly and easily migrate 33 systems from PLC-5 and SLC500 controllers to an Integrated Architecture based solution while still maintaining the existing field wiring and physical footprint in Alba's control cabinet. The strategy also had to keep production disruption to a minimum by migrating parts of the plant, while other parts were still in production.
The next step involved the retro-analysis of the existing PLC programs and the formulation of a detailed design specification (DDS).
This subsequently lead to the creation and validation of new Global Engineering Modularity (GEMS) programming libraries, which are capable of being supported by any Rockwell Automation engineer in any country.
Once the groundwork had all been established the migration plan was formulated and included a risk assessment and a cutover strategy as well as a detailed migration schedule.
Unlike many other upgrade projects, which can deploy intuitive migration tools from Rockwell Automation, the engineers in this project could not simply convert the code through Logix; they had to strip out all the original device code and then apply GEMs modules to the PLC 5 structure, but within the Logix platform, while still being able to maintain the familiar operation sequence.
Like the system before, they were able to integrate all the operations and visuals into RSView 32 – essentially allowing the line-side operators to carry on as if nothing had changed within their HMI environment.
The result was a software infrastructure that was standardised across the entire plant, replacing one that had before been 60% standard and the rest bespoke as new components had been added.
Product engineering then commenced with application-specific development for the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix® programmable automation controllers (PACs) and the newer-model PanelView HMIs, alongside application-specific modifications to RSView.
Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) was undertaken off site, prior to the commencement of on-site services in Bahrain, which included hardware installation into existing panels, network installation and validation and phased site commissioning; all of which were followed by site acceptance tests (SAT).
All 33 migrated systems were designed around ControlLogix PACs for redundant and non-redundant configuration, coupled to ControlLogix rack I/O or Flex I/O over the EtherNet/IP network. The network was designed as a resilient EtherNet protocol (REP) EtherNet/IP network, which uses Cisco and Stratix 2000 switches, for the communication between the existing RSView 32 redundant servers; and a Device Level Ring (DLR) EtherNet/IP network, which provides communication between the switches, PACs and the I/O.
In total the complete installation comprised 80 ControlLogix chassis; 70 Stratix switches; 50 ControlLogix L73 PACs; 500 I/O modules, 1,000 cable and conversion kits components; 70 Ethernet modules and eight PanelView Plus HMIs.
During installation, obsolete I/Os were replaced using dedicated migration kits. Existing Flex I/O modules were also replaced, moving from ControlNet to the new EtherNet/IP network.
All of the existing operator interfaces were replaced by newer PanelView Plus 6 HMIs, which were also directly connected to the EtherNet/IP DLR. FactoryTalk® AssetCentre was deployed and configured to provide a secure backup capability for all systems.
This was a truly international effort and involved specialist Global Solutions engineers from the UK, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and the Global Engineering Centre in India.
From a support perspective, network validation was provided from Portugal and the UK (from the Rockwell Automation Network & Security Group), with FactoryTalk AssetCentre support coming from Germany.
On-site support was provided by Mark Nellist, a senior site engineer from Rockwell Automation, who was on site, full time, for some 10 to 11 months.
Nellist was supported by a large team of engineers including Alan Williams, who as well as providing engineering support also coordinated all of the Global Solutions team members in their various roles.
Due to production scheduling certain migrations had to be grouped together. For the most complex migration phase, nine engineers were onsite to migrate 10 controllers within a 14 day window.