The Benefits of Migrating Legacy Systems

If you’re considering migrating legacy control systems, you’re not alone. ARC Advisory Group estimates that there are $65 billion of legacy process control systems already outdated or near the end of their lifecycle. Each manufacturer using one of those control systems has to face a reckoning, probably sooner rather than later. If production is to continue at a profitable pace, a legacy migration is inevitable. Read on to learn the benefits of migrating legacy systems now.

migrating legacy systems

Why Update Industrial Control Systems?

Eventually, all industrial control systems need to be replaced. Vendors introduce new, improved systems and stop supporting the older versions; software is no longer updated. You might think your crack maintenance staff can keep your old control systems up and running, but problems will begin to emerge.

Manufacturers that rely too long on legacy control systems find they face:

  • More frequent production breakdowns
  • Lost productivity
  • Lower quality
  • A lack of replacement parts

The scramble to find appropriate parts often leads to further production delays and additional lost productivity. Furthermore, documentation can be lost or misplaced, hampering repair efforts. These issues are compounded by the fact that many of the team members most familiar with legacy control systems have retired, with even more on the way out. The loss of institutional knowledge is irretrievable.

Outdated software presents another significant problem. If software is no longer updated, that means it’s no longer receiving security patches, leaving your system vulnerable to attack.

The Top 7 Reasons to Consider Legacy Control System Migration

Migrating legacy control systems can seem like a daunting prospect. Perceived costs in terms of time and money, as well as the overall scope of the project, often lead manufacturers to put off legacy migrations. But, eventually, the actual costs inflicted by unnecessary downtime and lost productivity tip the scales in favor of an upgrade. Worse, in some cases, manufacturers are forced into legacy migrations because obsolete parts are no longer available.

Companies that undertake a legacy migration for their control systems realize benefits on many different fronts. The most impactful of these include:

  1. Boosting asset utilization
  2. Increasing facility throughput
  3. Decreasing unplanned downtime
  4. Lowering variable costs
  5. Addressing regulatory compliance concerns
  6. Improving quality control
  7. Reducing fixed costs

Improving quality control can have further benefits like better pricing. A legacy migration delivers advantages across your entire company, from maintenance to management. The improved statistics available with upgraded process and automation control systems provide a helpful window on factors like:

  • Up-to-the-minute production figures for management
  • The amount of material used at each step of the operation for quality control
  • Which machines need support for maintenance

Keys to a Successful Legacy Migration

An effective legacy migration doesn’t happen by accident. It requires care and effort to plan a successful project. You need to take a wide range of considerations into account, such as whether you have:

  • Ownership of the PLC program
  • Up-to-date documentation of the system architecture
  • Well-marked and legible wire markings
  • Computers and panels in good shape

The best way to ensure a successful legacy migration is to partner with an experienced systems integrator that can walk you through every step of the process. South Shore Controls has years of experience migrating legacy systems, and we can help you get the most out of your control system upgrade.

Proven Legacy Migration Process

We begin with a plant visit and meeting that thoroughly investigates your needs. We go beyond simple control systems engineering to help create an end-to-end solution that addresses your total operation. Our expert team of project managers and electrical, mechanical and controls engineers works with you to ensure a legacy migration that meets your needs. 
The next step in our collaborative approach is our presentation of the system migration plan and budget. Once you’ve approved the program, you get the full advantage of our one-stop-shop mentality. Because we have our own in-house fabrication shop and machine shop, we can manufacture the cabinets needed for your legacy migration. We have total control over every step of the process, from design to installation and training. You issue just one purchase order for the entire project — there’s no need to deal with separate vendors for each step along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Legacy Migrations With South Shore Controls

What Legacy Control Systems Is South Shore Familiar With?

We have experience with the full range of legacy control systems, including:

  • Bailey Net 90 and Infi 90
  • GE 90-30 and 90-70
  • Modicon 484 and 984
  • Moore APACs
  • Rockwell Automation 1774, PLC-2, PLC-3, PLC-5 and SLC
  • Siemens S5
Which Modern Control System Does South Shore Recommend?

We take a vendor-agnostic approach to legacy migrations and recommend the control system that’s best for your operation. We have extensive expertise with control systems like:

  • Emerson DeltaV
  • Rockwell Automation ControlLogix
  • Siemens SIMATIC S7-300, S7-400, S7-1200 and S7-1500
What Regions Can South Shore Serve?

Based in Mentor, Ohio, we work with companies in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Legacy migration

Integrated Control Systems to Meet Your Requirements

At South Shore Controls, we believe in collaborating with you to create the best integrated control system for your operation. Our turnkey approach means you receive a complete set of SolidWorks drawings, CAD drawings and operator’s manuals to ensure you get the most out of your legacy migration. 

We provide systems integration and industrial automation controls that deliver tried-and-true results for our customers. Our solutions include:

  • Chemical batching
  • Palletizing, stacking, packing and tray handling
  • Parts feeding and orienting
  • Robotic/pick and place cells
  • Washing and drying
  • Vision inspection

Trust Your Legacy Migration Needs to South Shore Controls


South Shore Controls is the experienced partner you need when migrating legacy systems. Our legacy migration solutions minimize downtime and risk while delivering a tangible business value proposition that will have a real economic impact on your business. Contact us today to learn how we can help improve your operations.

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