Obsolescence Can Cause Downtime and Production Loss

By Jason Paquette, Product Marketing Manager

Industries across the country receive thousands of end-of-life (EOL) notifications throughout the year. What are the possible consequences of these notifications? What are the risks involved in a delayed response when handling obsolescence?

An industry average of approximately 20% of identifiable plant equipment is obsolete. Obsolescence, simply put, is the transition from availability from the original manufacturer to unavailability. Obsolescence begins immediately after the information about product discontinuation has been announced from the original manufacturer.

Microsoft has a long history of planned obsolescence for its operating systems. Windows XP is a relatively recent example of that; the software giant no longer provides updates, bug fixes, security patches or troubleshooting for XP. PCs running Windows XP since April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected and it is important that to migrate to a current supported operating system to receive regular security updates to protect your computers from malicious attacks.

Can you trust the most critical parts of your manufacturing business to outdated automation equipment? It’s a known fact that outdated control equipment will suffer more outages due to age and in turn cause unplanned downtime. Your maintenance staff may also cause unplanned downtime because of their lack of knowledge of the old automation equipment. How do you retain the knowledge lost by retiring maintenance staff?

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the legacy automation hardware in your facility and you most likely don’t have the resources to replace it all. With technology and plant modernization rapidly changing, it’s easy to put modernization on the back burner until something disastrous happens…and something disastrous happens usually when you least expect it.

The goal in any industry is to minimize the impact that obsolescence has on plant production cost. Effective obsolescence programs involve input and participation from various plant organizations. Although the program is often owned by supply chain or engineering, the program owner is unlikely to succeed without participation from other teams.

In late 2014, Rockwell Automation declared its PanelView Standard and Enhanced Graphic Terminals to be “End of Life” status. InSource Solutions offers a tailored and scalable solution to convert legacy Rockwell PanelBuilder™, FactoryTalk ME/SE™, and PanelView™, and Eaton’s PanelMate™ assets to Wonderware’s InTouch Machine Edition. InTouch Machine Edition is an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art, and affordable HMI software for PCs, industrial panels, embedded, and mobile devices.

To learn more about how we can help you convert those legacy panels over to Wonderware InTouch Machine edition, click here!