Space equals money

October 23, 2019 // By Sean Robinson
cost savings
They say time equals money, but what about space? Reducing the size and complexity of plant equipment can achieve space and cost savings. Add smart hardware to the mix, however, and it’s possible to enhance process flexibility and performance.

For decades, Series 90-30 controllers have been the systems through which managers have built modern plant infrastructures. Series 90-30 controllers are based on hardware that is versatile and designed to reduce space and costs.

Operators have long favoured 90-30 systems for high-availability applications — and it’s easy to understand why. They are operated through digital interfaces, push buttons and switches and are connected to proximity sensors, relays, contactors and other devices. The systems feature specialty modules, modular architecture, redundant CPUs and power and are designed for ease of programming. However, within the last few years, Series 90-30 controllers have reached the end of their lifespans. At the same time, plant managers face market pressures to achieve new levels of flexibility and profitability in their production. Therefore, a new system is required that can replace — and improve upon — 90-30 systems.


Migrating to new systems

The RX3i CPU from Emerson and GE Automation has emerged as a popular and effective upgrade for 90-30 systems. The system is usurping decades-old Series 90-30 controllers in industries as diverse as metals, power and timber. As a knowledgeable and trusted system integrator, Novotek has helped numerous customers reduce the size and complexity of their equipment. For these purposes, we have seen RX3i CPU Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) systems — trademarked as PACSystems by GE — become especially popular.

PACSystems first gained popularity in 2003, in response to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. The RoHS was adopted by the European Union to restrict the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. Since then, PACSystems have not only proven effective for replacing old 90-30 installations, they have also emerged as one of the best paths through which industries can migrate from old to new systems.

As well as being suitable to replace trusted Series 90-30 controllers, the RX3i CPU also integrates with them. Because the RX3i works with the existing backplate, CPU and power supply, it’s possible to bring Series 90-30 modules directly into the PACSystems backplane while also saving on rewiring and space. This is achieved by distributing the inputs/outputs (I/O) around the machine — all that’s needed is a loop with three or four drop-ins. From the planning perspective, Novotek is also able to deliver a prompt and effective transition strategy to install the equipment.

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