The proximate reason for retrofitting this packaging machine was an outdated electrical cabinet.

After previous successful collaborations with roof tile manufacturer BMI Monier, it was now our job to expand their original packaging installation: the facade inverter. A machine that separates the roof tiles and their metal supports from each other and orientates them correctly before they are packed.

The electrical cabinet of that inverter was outdated. Designing and building a new cabinet gave an opportunity to improve things. The current setup was not integrated into the main line. Not an ideal situation. Another question was whether to convert this stand-alone cabinet into a decentralised field cabinet as part of the control system for the overall packaging system. So that everything forms a logical whole.

Other optimisations were also possible for the retrofit of this packaging machine.


Our automation engineer gathered all the available documentation, which was a mix of paper schedules and digital plans. He then tested them for practicality.

In the next step, he drew the design for the new cabinet. As is the case with most retrofits, a blank slate was the most efficient solution. You can find more about this in the article The 5 electrical commandments for your next machine upgrade.

Our studio started work on those plans. Our electrician assembled the new cabinets and tested them. We simulated all possible scenarios at our workshop so that we could  quickly integrate the cabinet on site, which helped to avoid surprises and keep downtime to a minimum.

That deals with the new cabinet. For the existing main cabinet of the packaging machine itself, we made all the necessary changes on site:

  • We replaced the Siemens CPU with a more powerful one
  • We integrated an 8-channel AI analogue card
  • We replaced the OP17 panel with a TP1500 comfort panel

The first two were for integrating the new board into the existing Profibus architecture. The latter change was to give the operators an overview of the most important data.

We also replaced the original brake motor of the facade reverser with a new servo motor and drive, including mechanical engineering to adapt it to the existing installation.


  • A new electrical cabinet that meets the latest standards.
  • Instead of two separate cabinets with their own PLC controllers, there is one overall line control.
  • A new, more energy-efficient servo motor.
  • A clear and intuitive interface for the operators. This gives them an overview of all essential data: efficiency, pressure, malfunctions, maintenance reports, etc.
  • Updated as-built documentation.

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