Introduced in 1986, the PLC-5 was one of the first PLCs that could be programmed by a personal computer. According to the Rockwell Automation website, the PLC-5 boasts one of the largest install bases of any control platform. However, in 2017 Rockwell officially discontinued the platform. So, what should manufacturers who are still operating on a PLC-5 do when their controllers begin to break down? Our recommendation is to migrate to one of the many modern controls platforms available on the market.

Why You Should Modernize Your PLC Control System

Every manufacturer should consider what the impact would be if their PLC-5 stopped working and the necessary spare parts to restore operations are unavailable. With the PLC-5 now discontinued, new parts are no longer available from Rockwell or many third-party vendors. This means manufacturers still operating on a PLC-5 run the risk of system failures and lengthy downtimes while they scavenge the used market for replacement parts. By migrating to a modern control platform, manufacturers can receive greater technical support from either control systems integrators or suppliers, as well as reduce or eliminate downtime with fast delivery of replacement parts.

Another advantage of upgrading to a modern controls platform is the significantly increased performance. The new series of controllers have more processing power and can be connected to modern IT networks. Furthermore, new PLCs are easier to integrate with MES and ERP systems, providing the ability to collect data, generate detailed production reports, and monitor equipment in real-time.

New controls hardware is also more flexible with the ability to support a wide range of I/O and communications modules. These modules make it easier and more cost effective to scale a new system to any manufacturing environment or application.

Modern PLCs also come with new software programs that can provide more diverse feature sets and enhanced graphics for HMIs. The new software programs also simplify diagnosing and troubleshooting system faults.

Consulting a Control Systems Integrator

Migrating to a modern control system can be a complicated task and is typically best handled by an experienced control systems integrator that can design a custom system to fit your application. Additionally, a control system integrator will have the knowledge, tooling, and resources to complete the task quickly and with high-quality parts, which can result in less downtime and mitigates the chances of equipment failure.

At Process Solutions, we offer start-to-finish PLC migration services. We will conduct an on-site assessment, develop a migration plan, design and build the new system, and handle all the on-site start-up and commissioning services. Process Solutions will also go the extra step to ensure your new system is optimized to improve the efficiency and performance of your operations versus just replacing the legacy system with new parts.

Phased Migration Approach

When helping our clients migrate to a new PLC system, we typically follow a phased approach to changing out the hardware and software components:
  1. The first phase of the process consists of converting the old PLC-5 program code to operate on the new controls hardware. With automated software code conversion tools available, this phase is usually straightforward and quick to complete. Once the code has been converted, we put it through our standardized testing procedure to ensure proper functionality and to eliminate any bugs or errors.
  1. Once the program code has been converted and thoroughly tested, we move on to replacing the PLC-5 controller with a new processor and I/O cards. Whenever possible, we take care to preserve the existing field wiring to reuse with the new controller. By reusing the existing field wiring, we can save a significant amount of time on labor and costs.
  1. With the new PLC in place, we can replace any old HMIs with new HMI models that provide options for enhanced graphics and expanded feature sets.

Let's Get Started on Your PLC Migration Project

Process Solutions has over 30 years of experience in managing control system projects for numerous industries and applications. We pride ourselves on our ability to minimize downtime and design control systems that are easy to use, efficient, and reliable. Using a phased approach, Process Solutions will help you upgrade your operation to the latest controls technology while giving you the peace of mind that your project will be done right, and your system will be supported for years to come.

About Process Solutions

Located near Seattle Washington, Process Solutions is the Northwest’s largest control systems integrator. With 30+ years in business and over 100 engineers and technicians on staff, Process Solutions has the knowledge, experience, and capacity to take on almost any automation project. Process Solutions provides a wide range of automation services, including electrical control panels, PLC and HMI programming, Industrial and collaborative robots, energy management and refrigeration systems, SCADA systems, and data analytics software systems. For more information, please visit


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Vaclav Mydlil
Sr. Director of Advanced Automation
Vaclav leads the dynamic Energy Management and Refrigeration Division at Process Solutions. With an impressive 20 years of experience in power demand management and refrigeration control systems, Vaclav is the driving force behind one of the company’s most innovative systems.

His expertise extends to PLC and cloud-based systems, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance. Vaclav’s commitment to excellence is underscored by his Master of Science degree, specializing in control systems and electrical engineering, which he earned from the University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic.

Beyond the office, Vaclav’s passions include kayaking, snow skiing, and woodworking. Most of all, he enjoys moments spent with his wife and three kids.
Steve Pelton
Vice President of Sales
With over 20 years at Process Solutions, Steve Pelton has held various roles, including Sales Engineer, Sales Director, and his current position as Vice President of Sales.

In addition, Steve oversees Process Solutions’ Energy Management and Refrigeration Division — ensuring the company remains at the forefront of energy-efficient solutions that cater to diverse food production applications. Steve also spearheads the strategic development of the company’s machine monitoring solutions, aligning them with client needs and market trends.

Steve’s background includes mechanical engineering, but his career trajectory has mainly focused on control systems marketing and management. His ability to bridge technical expertise with business acumen has been instrumental in Process Solutions’ growth.

Outside the office, Steve passions include conquering rugged trails on his mountain bike, perfecting his golf swing, and exploring new destinations with his family.
Matt Barnes
Chief Financial Officer
Matt, with 28 years of financial strategy and accounting experience, plays a pivotal role at Process Solutions. As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), he spearheads the company’s growth strategy, ensuring financial stability and health.

Beyond traditional financial management, Matt also oversees strategic initiatives aimed at optimizing Process Solutions’ on-hand inventory costs and availability. By fine-tuning inventory management, Matt ensures the company can meet client needs efficiently and maintain a healthy bottom line.

Matt graduated with a degree in accounting from Western Washington University and previously served as a financial executive at a large retail corporation. Outside of work, Matt enjoys traveling, soccer and spending time with his family.
Kevin Orr
Executive Vice President
Kevin boasts an impressive tenure of over 25 years at Process Solutions. His position in the company has been multifaceted, spanning roles as a project engineer, engineering manager, and Process Solutions’ first Executive Vice President.

Under Kevin’s leadership, the food processing division has flourished, earning its reputation as of the most respected in the industry. Today, Kevin closely collaborates with executives from leading food processors and food processing equipment manufacturers across the country.

Kevin is a devoted husband and father with a passion for international travel.
Todd Busby
Chief Executive Officer
Todd has dedicated over 30 years to Process Solutions, where he has worn multiple hats—from panel builder to project engineer and sales representative.

As the CEO of Process Solutions, Todd has spearheaded significant transformations. Under his leadership, the company has diversified into new industries, acquired a world-class facility, and more than doubled its size.

Todd, a native of the Puget Sound region, is a devoted husband, father, and avid outdoorsman. When he’s not at work, you’ll find him supporting his three kids in all their pursuits or hunting and fishing in Eastern Washington.
David Crumpley
David has dedicated over 15 years to Process Solutions, where he has served as a Senior Engineer, Vice President, and now Chief Operating Officer. His multifaceted experience spans technical expertise, strategic leadership, and operational efficiency.

As the head of Process Solutions’ Water/Wastewater division, David orchestrated the modernization of the company’s internal systems and boosted operational efficiency across the organization.

In his current role as President, David continues to drive innovative initiatives aimed at expanding the company’s reach and further streamlining internal processes.

Outside of work, David enjoys spending quality time with his family and pursuing his passions as an avid outdoorsman.

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We provide numerous remote and on-site services to our customers, including software upgrades, troubleshooting, hardware replacement, and feature additions. Our staff size provides us flexibility to quickly respond to standard time frames and emergency service.


Process Solutions provides commissioning services, as well as system start-ups. Our staff will travel anywhere in the world to help you get your system up and running. We start up hundreds of systems per year, and our licensed electricians on staff can pull permits as needed.


Our Engineering and CAD department can create a wide range of documents, including functional specifications, software design documents, test manuals, O&M manuals, P&ID, system drawings, and network drawings. Drawings for FDA level documents are a particular specialty.


Process Solutions software designers are equipped to handle any size job. We structure our program code to be easily read by both customers and engineers, making support and system upgrades fast and easy.


Process Solutions builds over 3,000 panels per year. Our high-volume model makes our technicians experts in the field and provides our customers with an industry leading experience. Efficient manufacturing practices, mixed with automated manufacturing equipment, allows for quick and consistent job completion.


Creation of custom designs for new and legacy systems. All drawings are template based using automatic CAD macros. Our techniques create an efficient design process with recognizable and easy to understand drawings.

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