The Splash

Four Ways to Prolong the Life of Your Control System

The Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is the heart of any treatment system, and a few simple precautionary measures can dramatically extend the life of your control system.

One of the most important components to check and replace is the battery used for program backup in the processor. Manufacturers recommend that PLC batteries be replaced on a yearly basis. Plants can experience shutdown after a power outage and find that their backup battery was inefficient, preventing their system from starting back up. Ensuring your backup battery is replaced on a yearly basis can protect you from an unplanned shutdown.

A surge suppression or UPS (battery backup), provides control systems an additional level of protection. It is recommended that a backup UPS is installed for your control system power, protecting against power loss but also brown out and power dips. Surge suppression can protect against power spikes and is an effective and inexpensive way to safeguard your system as well. These occurrences are hard on PLC based systems and can lead to system damage and unplanned downtime. 

Many control systems do not experience automatic updates as they are not connected to the internet. It is suggested that software updates remain off as you typically do not want the system to update on its own. For Windows systems, it is advised that Windows Updates are turned off as they may have unwanted effects on the software that is running in conjunction with your system. 

Cleaning your HMI screen and panel assist in keeping your system running for longer periods of time. Electrical panels have various ratings of what they protect against, keep this rating in mind when cleaning your panel. Type 4 panels are most common, which are both dust and water resistant. This does not include high pressure water, meaning it is never a good idea to clean an enclosure or HMI with high pressure water. Check with your manufacturer if you have questions related to your panel rating.

Have additional questions about your control system? Contact us today.

U.S. Water’s Performance Index series is designed to share operations and maintenance best practices with plant personnel. The more our customers know about how to maintain and protect their systems, the more they can safeguard against system failures or efficiency issues.