I/O-room mock-up yields big savings in automation retrofit

Sweat the details of your automaton project. Dave Adler, automation consultant at Brillig Systems, finds in a study that the relative automation cost per input and output device varies by more than a factor of three from the least to most expensive automation system.

In a recent retrofit that required replacement of an automation system, including its I/O with the new system, the project team developed off-line testing for hardware and software as well as a plan to optimize hardware changeover. For the latter, he writes in InTech, team members built a full-scale I/O room mock-up of plywood and plastic sheets for use in simulating the changeover.

Electricians made disassembly/assembly wiring trial runs of the I/O system in the mock-up room, helping them optimize the activities of the electricians. The trial runs also allowed for the pre-labeling of terminations, fabrication of panels, and the pre-cutting of wire to length. The wiring effort yielded a 75-percent time reduction during construction.

And the actual hardware change-out took days rather than the normal weeks, says Adler and came in below planned cost.

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