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November 2013 - Vol. VII, Issue 11 
Patti Engineering


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Patti Engineering
1.800.852.0994 (US Only)
248.364.3200    CSIA Certified

With the Thanksgiving holiday a few days away, the staff at Patti Engineering reflects on what we are thankful for. We are thankful for each other, our clients, our community, and our families and friends. With that thought in mind, we decided to shine the Patti Personnel Spotlight on Anne Marie Thomas, the woman who keeps the company organized, productive and smiling.


For our feature article, we will give you insight into why converting obsolete Siemens S5 PLCs to the newer Siemens S7 PLCs can reap big benefits for your company. Based on one of our recent projects, we will explain the advantages and how we can help you through this process. 

Thank you for your interest in Patti Engineering and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Best regards,

Georgia H. Whalen
Director of Marketing
Patti Engineering
Phone: 978.697.2664

We are Recruiting!
Patti Engineering is always looking for great talent!  If you are interested in exploring opportunities at Patti Engineering, email us at
Converting Obsolete Siemens S5 PLC's to
Siemens S7 Control Platform

As a certified Siemens Solution Partner, we often act as a pioneer in converting machines, and integrating new technology into older systems. Just recently, we were involved in a project where we provided engineering services to a global leader in automotive clamping and connection solutions. This involved converting machines with existing obsolete Siemens S5 PLCs to the latest Siemens S7 control platform. For those of you in our community that sit a bit further away from the nitty gritty details of control systems engineering, Siemens S5 is an automation system based on programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that was first introduced in 1979, which has long since been replaced by Siemens with its newer S7 family of PLCs. Many factories across the globe still deploy the older S5 technology, which is becoming increasingly problematic, as it is not easy to support nor is it a simple task to convert.

The S5 product series was discontinued 10+ years ago, and recently the factory technical support and replacement parts support has been discontinued. Maintenance of these control systems becomes more difficult and expensive on a daily basis, resulting in costly and possibly prolonged production downtime. It is a wise decision to migrate from Siemens S5 controllers to Siemens S7 as the S7 comes with increased automation system functionality, availability and efficiency.

Siemens Solution Partner In this particular project, we brought the necessary expertise and preparation required for the labor intensive project where we provided Siemens program conversion services using the latest version. The program conversion - based on the standard statement list format to conform to the customer's standard machinery - will be used as the template for future conversions of the same equipment for the customer. Patti Engineering is also updating the electrical documentation.

Siemens PLCs The Siemens S7 PLC controllers can be expanded in flexibly at any time and really provide tailored solutions for whatever requirements it must follow. There is a wide range of interface options based on the application chosen in a given project; therefore, in addition to the conversion, Patti Engineering was responsible in this project for adding a new operator interface. Our engineers reviewed the HMI requirements (immediate and future) with the customer's personnel prior to start of design. The new operator interface will replace the existing antiquated interface push buttons, timers, panel meters and thumb wheel controls. Additionally, the new hardware will provide the ability to add functionality (visualization or control) in the future.

The design of the new operator interface panel - and its layout - is a vast improvement on the old 1970's style interface. It is a more intelligent, user-friendly operator interface that allows for easy training and more efficient operator control.

After the initial project is completed, Patti Engineering provided onsite engineering assistance where we collaborated with the customer's personnel to install and start-up the converted software and hardware. We also thoroughly verified the operational functionality of the entire conversion.

Are you risking your operations to an obsolete Siemens S5 PLC? If so, you should contact us as soon as possible to discuss an upgrade path - email or call (248) 364 - 3200. 


Patti Personnel - Anne Marie Thomas 

Anne Marie Thomas doesn't appear a usual suspect at the Patti Engineering offices - typically littered with male engineers proudly dressed in company logo collared shirts. She's a soft voice welcoming you into our business, a helping hand within the Patti family that plays the role of Administrative Assistant, jumping in wherever she is needed. 


Her list of responsibilities is long. As Receptionist, she welcomes guests to the office, manages incoming calls, processes the mail, etc. As Receiver, she receives inventory, confirms packing slips and more. She supports the Executive Team, the Human Resources department, the Director of Finance, the Director of Marketing, as well as the Engineering and the Sales Teams. She keeps everyone in line and organized.  

Anne Marie with Amanda and Brian
Anne Marie with Daughter Amanda and Son Brian


It's impressive how many hats Anne Marie wears after only being with the company for two years. Born in a small Canadian town called Amherstburg in Ontario, Canada, she proudly became an American citizen two years ago where she was one of 90 foreigners sworn in from 24 countries. Before moving to the U.S. in 2003, Anne Marie worked for an Architectural Firm in downtown Windsor where she was the Executive Assistant to its Principal Architect. She also previously worked as an Executive Assistant supporting the General Manager of WMUZ, a Christian Radio Station here in the U.S.  


"She's really the woman people look at and say, 'I don't know how she does it,'" explains Sam Hoff, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Patti Engineering. "Personally, I rely on Anne Marie on a daily basis to keep my schedule, to do list, and sanity."


Anne Marie
Ready to Raft!
Anne Marie is thrilled to live just 15 minutes from the Patti Engineering office. In the past, she was lucky enough to travel all over Canada, the U.S. and Europe - and not for work, just for fun. Nowadays, she finds adventure in her own back yard. She says she has found a new appreciation in day trips to local sites. Anne Marie married at a young age, and was able to travel extensively before having her daughter Amanda and son Brian, who both live in Ontario. Other family members include her two sisters and her parents who celebrated 52 years of marriage this year.



Click here to read the rest of Anne Marie's Spotlight!