What Is A System Upgrade?
When we talk about system upgrades, we principally mean one of two things:
1.) Upgrades to the Microwave Generator
2.) Upgrades to the PLC Control System
Technically, the upgrade could be to any of the microwave equipment. It could be that a customer is changing the product makeup and requires more belt support to handle the added weight. Or, it could be that the door to the microwave cavity has seen better days and needs replacing and strengthening. However, these upgrades are much less common. There are just a lot more older generators out there than applicators or cavities. Technological advances also bring more benefit at less cost to generators than they do to the microwave cavities.
Upgrades make the most financial sense for generators which may be working less efficiently due to an outdated transformer or poor heat exchangers. Control technology has also marched forward fairly rapidly over the last twenty years, making sophisticated control and integration possible at a lower price point. Since these innovations were not available at the original date of manufacture, an upgrade is a cost-effective way to get the most out of your existing microwave system.
What Are The Different Types Of Upgrades I Should Consider?
Consider these different options as you evaluate your current generator and control unit. Often, an older unit can be salvaged, saving you tens of thousands of dollars. If you are unsure what you need or just want a professional opinion to back up your hunch, have one of our professional technicians visit your facility.
Complete generator upgrade. Our most expensive upgrade, this upgrade involves a full rebuild of your existing microwave generator. This enables better performance through longer tube life, more control, better efficiency and easier troubleshooting.
Generator Cooling upgrade. Our new cooling components are less expensive and more efficient than the old tube-and-shell style heat exchangers — we now use flat plate heat exchangers. See below the old (left) versus the new (two images on the right)
Generator Power upgrade. On certain generators, we can upgrade the power output from 50 kW to 60 kW by replacing the transformer to a higher voltage unit with concurrent wiring. See below a picture of an old transformer (left) versus a new one (right).
Filament upgrade. We can also upgrade the filament and/or the solenoid to enable better control over the magnetron performance.
Circuit Breaker Tripping issues on Amana or Raytheon Generators. Having inrush issues on your 6 pulse transformers? Add a step start circuit.
Diode Failures. Having lots of diode failures? Consider upgrading to our higher current capacity diode.
Ethernet upgrade. Older control setups may be obsolete and need switching to ethernet I/O to be compatible with new displays. We’re currently standardized on Allen Bradley Ethernet I/O infrastructure.
Display upgrade. Any older system can be upgraded to the latest touchscreen, assuming it’s using ethernet I/O protocols. We’re currently standardized on Allen Bradley PanelView Plus 6 touchscreens.
Water pump upgrade. A water pump upgrade can increase pressure from 35PSI to 65PSI which increases cooling and flow to the magnetron tube for better performance… See below the old (left) and the new (right).
Don’t Wait To Upgrade!
Regular maintenance and a on-site supply of spare parts can keep your microwave generator up and running for decades. However, no matter how disciplined the maintenance schedule, efficiency loss and obsolescence are inevitable. But, that does not mean that you have to throw out your investment and purchase a replacement. Consider an upgrade instead. Have you already done an upgrade and are considering another? Is this your first microwave generator? Share your experiences and questions with us in the comments.
Are you ready for an upgrade? Let our trained technicians walk you through your options!