Hi-Tech Product, Out-of-Date Process?


A recent client was a Pharmaceutical company which manufactures an antibody screening unit used by blood banks.The unit, based on column agglutination technology (CAT), consists of a small plastic card with multiple built-in micro tubes. The CAT unit’s simple and easy-to-use format increases laboratory productivity and safe blood transfusions. Our client’s state-of-the-art product was being manufactured on a production line with out-of-date controls and information systems.

Their experiences?

  • More downtime each year.
  • Spare parts were expensive.
  • Spare parts were becoming obsolete and unobtainable.

Our client’s goals -- supportable equipment and current components.


Our Contributions

Our client planned their controls and information systems improvements over a two year period.  Their goals were to have both supportable equipment and current components.  The first phase had Primary Systems Inc. oversee the upgrading of the client’s Allen-Bradley PLC/Motion Controllers as well as their HMIs and vision systems.

The second phase had PSI upgrade the client’s servos and I/O.  The client’s seventeen servos were no longer supported by the manufacturer.  Production yields were being negatively impacted by breakdowns and downtime.  Tom Palovchak, Senior Systems Engineer for Primary Systems Inc., assessed the production line and recommended replacing all 17 servo controllers and motors with 13 new Allen-Bradley Kinetix-6500 Servo Systems and new Allen-Bradley Control Logix 1756-L72 PLCs.  Allen-Bradley Flex I/O had previously connected to the client’s proprietary network.  PSI upgraded this to Ethernet using adaptor modules which allowed for most of the signal wiring from the I/O to the field devices to “stay put”.  The new servos and PLCs also communicated over Ethernet, enabling easier setup and troubleshooting.

Primary Systems Inc. recommended the Allen-Bradley PLC/Motion Control solutions for 3 reasons:

  • Ease of communications to the existing Allen-Bradley Flex I/O;
  • Ease of communications and integration between the servos, motion controllers and HMIs; and
  • Easy availability of spare parts and flexible servicing options for the foreseeable future.

Finally, Primary Systems Inc. prioritized the processing code.  By taking advantage of the increased speed of the new processors, all logic and motion control can now be handled by a single CPU instead of the previous two units.



From a project whose objective was improved integration and serviceability, our client experienced a bonus 8% improvement in yield!

Does your state-of-the-art product have an out-of-date process system?  If so, contact Primary Systems Inc. to discuss how the state of your controls and information systems could be affecting your yields.