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Modernizing a Rockwell-Based Ultra-Pure Water Plant Control System

September 11, 2018 / by Brian Clark

NXP Semiconductor was facing several issues with an aging control system for its ultra-pure water (UPW) plant in Chandler, AZ. The Allen-Bradley PLC-5 control systems were state of the art when installed in the late 1990s, but most of the components are now discontinued or deemed “active mature.” The two main problems NXP Semiconductor was facing with the system included:

1. Two of the five PLC-5 controllers were completely out of memory, preventing any process improvements.

2. The network infrastructure used multiple proprietary, old network technologies, and was slow and non-redundant.

In addition to these technical challenges, downtime in the semiconductor industry is extremely costly. NXP operations required that the entire control system, network, and SCADA system be swapped out and the system returned to normal in no more than 48 hours.

Making the Change
Vertech modernized NXP Semiconductor’s SCADA system from a legacy, aging, and expensive-to-maintain system to a modern, highly connectible, and cost-effective platform. The upgrade included moving from the outdated SCADA software to a platform powered by Inductive Automation’s Ignition. On the hardware side, Vertech upgraded all the Rockwell PLC-5 processors to redundant Rockwell ControlLogix processors. 

To address the major concern about downtime, Vertech developed a multi-step, phased cutover process cooperatively with NXP personnel to ensure zero impact to operations. Prior to the cutover, multiple system walk-throughs were performed to ensure that all team members understood their role during the shutdown. On the big day, 14 Vertech team members worked with NXP personnel in shifts and completed the 48-hour plan eight hours early with no unplanned impact to operations.

Read the full case study to learn more about the upgrade and the benefits NXP Semiconductor is experiencing.

To learn more about manageable approaches to system upgrades that help mitigate risk, download the white paper "5 Risk Mitigation Techniques for a Control System Upgrades." 

Download the White Paper


Topics: Control Systems

Brian Clark

Written by Brian Clark


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