When an AC drive system gets worn out or outdated, you have a number of options moving forward - namely replacing, upgrading, or retrofitting. Each is more appropriately used in different circumstances.
When to replace:
- When components are worn out and you can replace those specific parts - sometimes aspects of the drive and related system can be replaced without replacing the entire unit
- When replacing components isn’t cheaper and it’s better to replace the whole unit - replacing some parts or a series of parts will rack up a higher bill than just replacing the entire thing
- When a drive reaches the end of its life, but a change in functionality isn’t needed - if you need the drive to do the same thing that it has always done, switch it out with the same thing
Frequent replacements can be avoided with a regular maintenance plan. Strategic care for the drive can extend a drives life. Scheduled replacements of components can also keep the unit running longer. Replacing a drive can shut down production for a significant amount of time, so avoiding it is economically crucial.
When to upgrade:
- When hardware is still sound, but software is outdated - downloading new software or a software update can improve functionally without the cost of a replacement
- When you want higher efficiency - sometimes old machinery can be made more accurate and efficient with a software update rather than bringing in a new drive
- When better data collection is needed - more recent programs can collect more accurate and more types of data and can do it more quickly
Upgrading the software can also increase the lifespan of the hardware. There is less strain on the system when it is running more smoothly and effectively. Upgrades take much less time than replacing, so if the mechanics are working, an upgrade is a better bet.
When to retrofit:
- When you want a change in function or process in your system - if you need a change rather than a fix, you need to retrofit rather than replace
- When new technology would serve your purpose better - systems can be updated with new drives to improve production as the technology becomes available
- When replacement parts become less available - if companies stop producing components for an old drive, you’ll have to make the transition to a newer drive
Retrofitting can be done without ripping everything out, making it faster and cheaper than a replacement. Plus, the cost of a retrofit can easily be made up for in reduced production costs. Newer drives can make a system more efficient, reliable, and specific to your needs, but new internal parts can be put into place without replacing things like cabinetry and cabling.
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