Tri Tech Automation designed a modern control system on custom back panels to fit existing enclosures on an outdated packaging line for a customer in the baking industry. Tri Tech’s ability to use the existing enclosures saved hundreds of hours in installation time and minimized impact to production by eliminating the need to re-run every conduit and reuse existing field wiring. 


A global leader in the baked goods industry came to Tri Tech with an outdated control system for their packing line that needed to be upgraded.  


The client had no electrical schematics to help determine how the existing wiring was connected to their field devices. The only glimpse into how the production equipment ran was a Texas Instruments paper printout from 1999. This printout was limited and lacked descriptions and modifications made to the enclosure over the years.  


The existing system had many nuances which left operators clueless about the status of the production lines. The old system was plagued by motor faults without proper indication of who was faulted as well as an elegant way to reset the system so that motors could be reset. These inadequacies created an undesirable amount of downtime in their production schedule. 


The original system included an obsolete Texas Instruments PLC, panel mounted push buttons, and pilot lights that limited the amount of interaction between the system and the operators.  


Through the design process, the biggest challenge was fitting the new system into an existing electrical enclosure.  


“While upgrading the existing panel in an extremely limited space, we also want to keep with our standards of quality and ensure the new system was easily maintained by plant’s maintenance team,” 

-Jon Willi, Electrical CAD Designer at Tri Tech Automation.  


To overcome this, Tri Tech used wireway that is taller than they normally use to save space on the panel itself.   

The client needed to minimize disruptions to production to meet their order commitments; therefore, Tri Tech worked with the client to develop a three-day installation and startup plan. While keeping quality in mind and minimizing risk to production schedules, they decided to build and test the new control system panels 100% in house and planned site visits in advanced to avoid being rushed during installation. 


I did point-to-point wiring details to know where hundreds of miscellaneous marked and unmarked wires were landing. This helped eliminate motors and field devices that had been removed over the years so that we didn’t spend any unnecessary time and labor during the demolition and installation phase of commissioning,”  

-Rob Fenwick, Senior Controls Engineer II at Tri Tech Automation 


Tri Tech created an updated system with a proper safety emergency stop system, visibility into system performance with FactoryTalk View ME on a PanelView allowing them to know what conveyor is down, and a simple fault reset system that clears the lines faults painlessly so that production can resume in an efficient and timely fashion. The control system also included panel layouts and schematics for proper documentation of their system which was not available to them before.  


To provide the operators the insight necessary to optimize the performance of the packaging line, Tri Tech eliminated the push buttons and pilot lights. They provided a new 15” PanelView Plus 7 on the main control panel and used ControlLogix PLC platform throughout the entire project. 


Tri Tech designed custom-made back panels for the existing enclosure which eliminated the need to re-run every wire through each conduit and saved weeks on installation time. 


“I would like to express my gratitude for a job well done. The team at Tri Tech provided a quality installation, concise and understandable code, and a timely startup. We have had zero issues or complaints from the operation of this important obsolescence upgrade project. 

Thank you. I look forward to working with Tri Tech in the future.”  

– Automation Controls Specialist (Client Project Lead)


Tri Tech successfully upgraded the customer’s obsolete control system and delivered the project in less than 6 months while minimizing production downtime. Due to their updated stocking program, Tri Tech took advantage of their stock of HMIs and ControlLogix parts, which would have otherwise been up to a 220-day lead time.  

By the time of installation, the customer had built a lot of confidence in the team at Tri Tech Automation.  


“We built so much trust with our customer that the key stakeholders felt confident enough to leave and let us finish install.”   

-Clint Mix, Project Manager at Tri Tech Automation.