50-Year Migration Plan

Posted by Ben Orchard on May 15, 2024 8:15:00 AM

Need a generation-to-generation upgrade path? Opto 22 customers have it.

With all the buzz of Opto 22's 50-year anniversary in the air, many of us here at Opto 22 headquarters in Temecula, California, are sharing our Opto stories—mostly centered around memories of people and events. It wasn't until a live-chat message came in from a customer asking about migrating PID loops from a legacy Factory Floor application to PAC Control running on a groov EPIC that this blog post crystallized in my mind's eye.

What struck me even more than the question about migrating those mid-1990s PID loops is just how profound it is that the question actually does have an answer! (Stay tuned until the end.)

Sitting here at Opto HQ, it occurred to me that I had done that exact migration many years ago at the hospital in Australia, where I was an Opto 22 customer.

How many other industrial automation manufacturers have consistently offered their customers a generation-to-generation system upgrade solution that results in a 50-year migration path?

I’ve been using Opto 22 solutions for just over 35 years.  Those first steps started out just before they brought out Cyrano Flowcharting, which was installed via single-sided floppy disks that loaded under MS-DOS—back around 1988!

Oh, the hours I spent debugging my first applications with Opto 22 hardware via this interface:


Back when I first heard the words Opto 22, they were not doing any software of their own—it was all via Intec Paragon software running on Opto 22 hardware. My very first migration was to change out the EPROM (reprogrammable memory, the ones with the little windows in the middle of the chip so you can erase them by UV light) to convert the controller from Intec to Cyrano.

Opto has worked hard to make it possible to migrate from MS-DOS Cyrano to FactoryFloor on Windows 3.11, to ioProject on Windows 95, to PAC Project running on Windows 10/11. Opto 22 has provided a migration path from serial controllers through to ARCnet, then to Ethernet, from M4 controllers to Ultimate, to SNAP PAC, and to groov EPIC.

Have you read this recent blog post by Opto 22's CEO and President, Mark Engman? If not, please do jump over there now and read his thoughts about the past 5 decades, the core philosophy that Opto 22 is built on, the massive technological change over that time, and our vision for the next 50 years.

While I was a customer at the hospital in Australia, Bob Engman was firmly at the helm of Opto 22. When I first moved internationally and started working at Opto 22, one of my best memories was the day I got to have the famous fireside chat with Bob. It was one of the last he was to give to new hires, and Mark has smoothly taken the reins of Opto and kept the core values and clear migration path in his headlights. My point here is that I have seen both sides of the fence from customer to employee, and it is the same. Opto is very open and listens to both sides since they are often the same.

When you pause and think about a migration path that has not only spanned half a century, but also the massive technological change over that period, it's truly astonishing the confidence that past and future customers can have in choosing Opto 22 for their automation needs. We don’t just pay lip service to migration. We actually have a proven track record of providing a path forward, a well-documented, well-traveled path to upgrade our systems over time.

We honestly DO have a 50-year migration track record.

Oh, and back to the question that inspired this blog post: What are the two main tips for migrating Factory Floor PID loops to PAC Control on groov hardware?

We reversed the PID gain sign and changed the scan rate units from minutes to seconds. Better performance and a migration path! Does anyone else remember those two changes?

Till next time.

Cheers Mate,

Topics: Migration, Opto 22 product support, product philosophy, Anniversary

Written by Ben Orchard

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Recent Posts

    Posts by Topic

    see all