System Integration & Control Systems Design

Ai2SA replaces HMI on legacy Mitsubishi A series PLC

June 2018 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Architects Integrating Industry (Ai2SA), which specialises in ‘optimally managing and scoping industrial systems projects’, was recently contracted to replace a faulty HMI on a legacy Mitsubishi A Series PLC. Initially, the engineers tried to reduce the cost by repairing the faulty HMI (dating back to 2004), however this proved impractical as spares were unavailable locally, and the cost of importing them was prohibitive.

A decision was then made by the client to decommission the line, however they were persuaded not to. Ai2SA then proceeded with some research to identify an HMI which would be able to communicate to the PLC CPU, which dated back to the 1980s. A unit was identified, and re-engineering started, using a backup from another line, which required significant changes as the new unit was only available with touch panel functionality not an external key pad.

During initial commissioning it was found that the OEM documentation was incorrect as the unit did not offer RS-422 communications and therefore an additional RS-232/RS-422 converter had to be procured. The project was then completed and signed off by the customer who was able to increase lifespan of the production line, thus generating a return on their investment. A screenshot of converted HMI is depicted here reflecting the Ai2SA colour scheme.

In conclusion, it is important to note that it is often possible to customise technology and thus extend the serviceable life of production equipment.

For more information contact Muhammad Babamia, Ai2SA, +27 (0)12 348 6124,,


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