It took more than one year to prepare the migration and this provided the opportunity to optimize the process. Alain Ekchian, ABB‘s Project Manager, added: “When you use a system for twenty or so years, modifications are carried out continuously and, in the end, the documentation is no longer up to date. Reverse engineering was therefore required: data had to be extracted, the program read and translated in the form of a documentary base. As the options for text documentation of the PCUs and PLCs were limited at that period, we were faced with genuine investigative work – the first challenge of this project, which required permanent exchanges between the ABB and Prayon teams. We supplied a description on this basis, which we simplified and optimized. This new description was used to develop the programming for the new system.” This subsequently underwent in-depth testing. Two months before migration, while becoming familiar with the new interface via simulation, the operators from the production unit took part in the validation. Also, the team of programmers at Prayon were trained to program the system so that it will be possible to modify it afterwards. Parallel to this, the hardware was prepared (implementation, pre-wiring and PCB testing, etc.) and the new graphics designed.
On March 4 the production facility was shut down to install the new system. Alain Ekchian continues: “The second challenge posed by this project! We only had four days to fit all the wiring: 5,000 input and output signals to remove and 3,000 to refit (bearing in mind the move to a centralized system). The challenge was met thanks to efficiency and the excellent communication with the teams provided by the sub-contractor Fabricom: 33 technicians worked round the clock in teams. The old mimic board has been replaced by three 55” screens and monitoring terminals have been installed: three PCs each equipped with three screens.” All inputs and outputs were then tested. Olivier: “We also carried out a few modifications to the program and then we started up, tested and adjusted the installation, one sequence at a time.” On March 21 it was successfully returned to the operators.