As control systems age, they can become outdated, costly to maintain, and cause unnecessary disruptions. While upgrading to a modern control system can provide a significant boost to the performance and efficiency of your operations, it is important to be aware of the inherent risk of downtime associated with the migration process. By being aware of the risks and following the strategies outlined in the guide, you can work to minimize downtime during your control system upgrade.

Conduct a Full Systems Audit

Before attempting to migrate to a new control system, its important to gain a complete understanding of your system requirements and functions. Understanding every aspect of your system, including power requirements, what devices each PLC is controlling, and how your SCADA software ties into your existing PLCs and HMIs will help prevent you from making changes that are incompatible with your equipment, or that doesn’t provide the level of functionality you need.

Employing the help of a systems integrator during this phase can be beneficial, as an experienced integrator will be able to identify areas that may cause issues and plan for how to address them ahead of time. Additionally, a systems integrator will determine if the existing wiring is sufficient for reuse, review documents and drawings to ensure accurate and up-to-date information, and verify there is enough room in your panels for the upgraded components.

Phased Migration vs. Full Replacement

Every controls upgrade will require a different approach based on various factors, such as time availability, system complexity, or the specific manufacturing process involved. Depending on these factors, you may consider whether to use a phased approach for migrating to a new control system or replacing everything altogether.

A phased migration strategy may be a less disruptive and more cost-effective solution when attempting to perform large-scale or complex system upgrades. The advantage offered by a phased migration strategy is it breaks the project down into smaller tasks that minimize risk by narrowing the focus of the work being performed. With a more narrowed focus, a phased migration strategy enables shorter downtime intervals and allows other portions of the existing system to remain intact to fall back on.

An example of a phased migration may include replacing operator stations and HMI displays in phase 1, upgrading the PLC and associated I/O in phase 2, and then moving on to the next location to repeat the process.

The disadvantage of a phased migration is that without careful planning, it can take more time overall to perform the upgrades. This happens when projects get unintentionally extended out over a longer period due to availability issues or increases to the scope of work. This can also lead to incurring additional start-up or administrative costs, which increases the overall cost of the project.

Alternatively, a full system replacement may be advantageous in a situation where you have a set window of time during scheduled maintenance to get the project done, or if your specific manufacturing process requires the project to be completed all at once. A full system replacement can also minimize redundant labor that would otherwise have to be performed in a phased migration. In some cases, the overall downtime associated with a full system replacement can be less than a phased migration strategy that requires repeated short spans of downtime.

Update Software at the Same Time

Once you have upgraded your controls hardware, it may be a good time to update your associated software programs too. Software programs should be rewritten for compatibility with your new hardware components and to ensure standards have been met for security and communications. Additionally, taking the time to include modern software features and capabilities can help maximize the performance and utility of your new systems.

About Process Solutions

Located near Seattle, Washington, Process Solutions has over 30 years of experience providing high quality and reliable control systems. With over 100 engineers and technicians on staff and an output of over 3,000 industrial control panels per year, Process Solutions is the Northwest largest control systems integrator. In addition to custom control panel design, build and commissioning, Process Solutions’ control systems services include PLC and HMI programming, robot system integration, energy management and refrigeration systems, SCADA software, and DAQuery machine monitoring software.

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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