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Modernization - The New Migration

Minimizing the "Elephant in the Room"

Modernization, or as we use to say, migration (and I'am not talking about crossing the western frontier in a covered wagon; although that topic might come up a little later), used to be a straight forward concept because controls were simple. We would come across an obsolete piece of equipment and simply replace it with the updated version. Today, automation equipment is more complex, the luxury of just getting the updated version isn't available. Today there will be several pre-conditions that will need to be figured out and resolved prior to implementing a new control system. Here are some of the things to look for:

  • Network Compatibility

  • Software Changes

  • Application Code Conversion

I've found that all these issues can be overcome with a clear direction and a good plan. However, the most common objections to migration revolves around time and cost. How long will production be down? Where will the funding come from? What is the return on investment? For these reasons many automation migration projects are pushed out for future consideration. Obsolescence never seems to be a good enough reason to start the migration process. That's why it's important to understand the difference between migration and Modernization.

Modernization requires removing all legacy equipment and bringing the application to a modern state.The new technology is fully adaptable and equipped to meet future needs. The truth is, modernization provides:

  • Process improvements

  • Increased Production

  • Time Savings

  • Cost Savings

Additionally, Modernization will streamline the collection of machine data that allows you to conduct advanced business analytics. It's for these reasons we more accurately describe the transition of legacy controls to modern automation systems as Modernization.

Where should you begin when starting a Modernization project? On the surface the overall project looks like a huge undertaking. Especially when considering the pre-conditions I listed above. So here is where we circle back to the covered wagons. I read a book called "The Oregon Trail" and came across the phrase "seeing the elephant". It was a term the pioneers used when they were first heading out. I took this phrase as a modernization context; it's the enormity of how I will get from here (legacy equipment) to there (Modernization).

Modernization does not have to be done all at once. Like all tasks, it can be broken down into bite size pieces that can easily be put together to provide a complete modern system.

Revere Electric can lead you down the path of Modernization by conducting a walkthrough of your production line. Our trained specialists can identify risks within your control systems and suggest ways to improve your processes. Interested in learning more? Contact your account manager or contact as via email @

And if you are not sure if you are ready to get us involved, below are some resources, tools, and websites that can jump start your modernization project... and hopefully, reduce the size of the elephant.

Rockwell Automation Literature Library:

This site is a consolidated depository of all of the Application Profiles, White Papers, Selection Guides, and Reference Manuals that are available to help with any modernization project. Just search "migrate" any key word like "SLC" then select a publication type "Application Profile" to locate the resource you need. Be sure to read the "Tips to improve your search results. Link to Literature Library

Rockwell Automation Modernization Website:

This site will provide the answers to Why Modernize?, Where to Begin? and how to develop a successful modernization plan. Link to Rockwell Automation's Modernization Website

Rockwell Automation Migration Tools:

Did you know that within all of the Rockwell Automation programming editors (Studio 5000, FTView ME Studio, RSLogix500, etc.) there is the capability to migrate legacy application code for use in new controllers and HMIs. Additionally, Rockwell's Product Selection and Configuration website will provide the selection tools required for your modernization project.Link to Rockwell Automation's Product Selection and Configuration website


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