Barry-Wehmiller Network

Retrofits – An Insight

 June 02, 2020

Retrofitting, in simple terms, is adding new capabilities or functions to an equipment, which is absent in the original design and built. Retrofits can either be one or all of Mechanical, Electrical and Controls and Digital retrofits.

What are the benefits from using Retrofits in your line/equipment?

Retrofits enable savings in capital expenditure and material cost: Add features, enhance performance, and increase lifespan beyond useful life, instead of investing in a new line/equipment. Substitute patented technologies with an alternate design for cost-savings.

Retrofits leverage latest technologies: Upgrade legacy line/equipment with newer technologies for improving throughput, enhanced line integration, and ease of troubleshooting.

What are the challenges in Retrofits?

Horizontal Flow Wrapper MachineryRetrofitting a line/equipment has multiple benefits that contribute in cost savings and efficiency. However, it has also been associated with certain challenges like:

  • Discrete set of equipment that do not communicate with each other
  • Limitations in adding features/functionalities in legacy line/equipment
  • Non-availability of technical and service manuals for understanding the functionalities of line/equipment
  • Combined warranty of the retrofitted line/equipment

Design Group provides end-to-end support to address the challenges of a typical retrofit exercise, starting from a design-board to installation and commissioning, and providing preventive and breakdown maintenance support.

Digital Retrofits for Industry 4.0

Smart ManufacturingA digital retrofit is a process of upgrading a line/equipment from legacy or un-digitized to connected and digitized. This adds new features and functionalities, thereby enabling it to network with other lines/equipment to collect data for descriptive and predictive analytics.

This is useful in case of legacy line/equipment to monitor the running condition and check for parameters like temperature, humidity, and vibration. Analyzing the collected data helps in performing predictive maintenance, thereby reducing downtime and increasing the lifespan of line/equipment. Thus, Digital Retrofits on an existing essential line/equipment helps in realizing the benefits of Industry 4.0 at a relatively low cost of ownership.

At Design Group, we have helped our clients perform several retrofits for their line/equipment. While performing such retrofits, we ensure to modify/upgrade the equipment to comply with the latest industry standards. We help study the existing line/equipment and provide the right solution for equipping with technology that is defined by Industry 4.0, for extended benefits.

Connect with our experts to understand how you can use retrofitting solutions to realize the associated benefits.

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About the author

Muthukumaran Kanniappan


Muthukumaran Kanniappan is Director of Equipment Design Solutions at Design Group. He received his Bachelors of Technology at Pondicherry University and PGDBA and MS in Systems and Information at BITS Pilani.  

In his 29 years of experience in design & development, he has led multiple product design projects. At Design Group, he leads a team of professionals across India and the US, with cross-functional and multi-domain experience in equipment design. He provides strategy and direction to the team for successful project execution, while adding value to the clients at every phase and exceeding their expectations.