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Connect Older Equipment

Many systems have older equipment still in active operation that need to be connected to modern platforms. However, older model PLCs or larger pieces of fixed machinery are often not designed for modern Ethernet-based communication. Fortunately, you can often get this equipment connected via serial ports, voltage/sensor readings, or through conversion between common industrial protocols.

Got a serial port? You're in business.

Use the console/serial/RS-232 port

One thing to look for in older equipment is a serial port for communication or programming. A simple NPort serial to Ethernet converter, also known as a serial device server, will allow you to communicate directly to and from that serial port over Ethernet. This is perfect for machines and devices that were designed to connect directly to a PC, like older CNC machines, medical equipment, bar code scanners, and printers.


No serial port? No problem.

Digitize voltage signals from machines or sensors

If you don’t have access to a serial port, or you want additional data like cycle start and stop times, you can use an ioLogik or ioThinx I/O module to convert digital and analog input readings directly into Ethernet-ready data. Live voltage readings from attached sensors are converted directly into data that can be polled on the network via Modbus, EtherNet/IP, SNMP, and other well-established methods. This does not affect existing machine operation and does not require any PLC programming.


Protocols don’t match? You have options.

Connect via a dedicated protocol gateway

A lot of equipment like variable speed drives, switchgear, and power monitoring equipment are still in service but only communicate via a classic older protocol like Modbus RTU. For the most common and widely used industrial protocols, an MGate protocol gateway or converter is an easy way to enable data exchange between these older devices and modern controllers and systems.


Cybersecurity Considerations

While you are getting your older equipment connected, remember to take a holistic view of cybersecurity and take steps to protect your operations at the device level, network level, and supplier level. Moxa offers built-in tools, free educational resources, and powerful utilities to help ensure that you are compliant with current cybersecurity standards. For example, MXview can scan your network and flag devices that are not compliant with the desired level of security.


These Devices Make it Easy to Get Connected

We have some great options from Moxa to help you get your older equipment connected. NPorts, ioLogiks, and MGates are available to easily connect to any serial port, get sensor data without a PLC, or convert between common protocols.

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