MEMBER NEWS: Semco Maritime asks – could your Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) also be obsolete?

January 14, 2022
MEMBER NEWS: Semco Maritime asks – could your Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) also be obsolete?

Time is running out for current PLCs

Manufacturers of decades-old PLC control systems may cease some control interfaces used in the oil and gas industry. Numerous producers of control interface equipment have ceased operations in recent years, and this tendency has continued.

While control interfaces may be less than a decade old, even with current interfaces, the underlying logic of the equipment may be antiquated.

The foremost reason for upgrading a PLC is obsolescence. Manufacturers supply only the essentials in terms of support for PLCs once they are deployed. As a result, any machine controlled by a PLC will eventually fail.

Additionally, solid-state controls with a single function are more prone to this issue than other types of controls. A sizable fraction of older industrial computers used in control interfaces are compatible with and maintainable exclusively on DOS-based operating systems or emulators. This may make future repairs more complex.

A reactive approach or planning for change?

Historically, controlled obsolescence has been mostly reactive, with scant attention paid to programmable logic controller and software obsolescence. This is not the best course of action.

Anticipating and planning for change can assist you in avoiding or mitigating the effects of obsolescence.

As a result, you may wish to respond expeditiously. The consequences of not doing this will lead to unavailability of declining parts, lack of technical support and eventually unplanned downtime. These can be avoided by upgrading to a modern PLC platform.

It has been found that existing PLC systems do not have the capacity to handle changes in the operating environment. The maximum potential is not able to be reached and is closed off to adding new equipment.

We can help you…

Semco Maritime’s process control solutions range from employing single PLC’s for machine or unit control systems (UCPs) to complex plant-wide networks incorporating multiple / dual redundant PLCs and specialist subsystems. Its capabilities include design, manufacture, installation, and commissioning of Process Control Solutions.

Get in touch now to see how Semco Maritime can help you avoid the obsolescence of PLC Control Systems for your application offshore.

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Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise