McGard, a manufacturer of lugs and locks for the automotive, marine and municipal security industries, purchased a heat treat system from another manufacturing company and needed to install the system at its Orchard Park, NY location. McGard had all of the components and some photos from the previous location, however nothing was labeled and there were no drawings for the installation of the machines.


Luckily, McGard did have a layout drawing of what the system looked like. Along with the photos, Optimation mechanics set the large components in place, went through existing process piping and put the piping and equipment together per the photos. Roughly a quarter of the piping needed to be reworked to fit the new layout.

Optimation millwrights optically aligned everything for this installation. The system included 100 feet of barcode track and two parallel rails for the process car to travel. Perfect alignment was essential. During the process, the car would stop at different stations and plug into the different machines based on the barcode track.

All utilities were started from scratch and run to the machines, including power and lines for water, air and nitrogen.

After installation was completed, McGard asked Optimation to upgrade all the ControlNet based PLCs to newer EtherNet/IP based PLCs and the PanelView Plus 1500 HMI to PanelView Plus 7 15” HMI. This required the conversion of software for a total of seven PLCs.

Optimation controls engineers specified all equipment to be replaced. Electrical designers were used to provide detailed drawings of the new control architecture as well as detailed wiring diagrams for field installation of the new controls. McGard purchased this equipment, Optimation electricians installed the new equipment, and then an Optimation control engineer executed the conversion of the existing software.

The following is a listing of activities that were executed to accomplish the upgrade:

  1. Convert all 1769 CompactLogix ControlNet PLC programs to 1769 CompactLogix Ethernet programs
  2. Convert the 1756 ControlLogix L62 PLC programs to 1756 ControlLogix L73 programs
  3. Upgrade all PLC programs to Studio 5000 version 30.1
  4. Convert PanelView Plus 1500 Program to PanelView 7 Plus program.
  5. Convert all ControlNet PLC communications to EtherNet/IP communications
  6. Optimation electricians removed existing ControlNet cabling and replaced it with new Ethernet cabling. The electricians then installed the new PLCs and the control engineer then converted all the PLC software and installed them on the new PLCs. Two weeks of on-site support was provided to test and verify the operation of the system.


The project was completed in about a year.

Since Optimation bid the project as time and material, the project was completed $200K under budget, and those savings were passed back to the client, who is able to use the funds for more projects.

The control system upgrade brought McGard’s heat treat line up to a newer platform standard that they could support internally going forward. The conversion from a ControlNet network to an EtherNet IP network has provided a platform to easily incorporate a new heat treat line into their existing Plant Control Architecture. It also provided a stable known platform that McGard can rely on when they expand the line as production demands increase.