Industrial Machinery Retrofit with ESP32 PLC
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Upgrading existing industrial machinery is essential to keep it running and optimise its performance.

This case study presents the upgrade of a food packaging line that was becoming obsolete.

The goal of the project was to improve the efficiency of the machine and provide greater flexibility to meet ever-changing production needs.


The machine's old control system had limitations in terms of processing capacity and memory, which prevented the implementation of new functionalities.

In addition, the lack of connectivity and the impossibility of integrating it with other industrial systems made it difficult to collect data and make informed decisions.

The use of Industrial Shields' ESP32 PLC enabled the integration of multiple systems, including:

  • Sensors
  • Actuators
  • Control devices

which significantly improved the machine's ability to collect and analyze data.

The retrofit implementation company and the owner company discussed what improvements could be made with the installation of industrial controllers.

ESP32 PLC for retrofit solutions

A series of objectives were set to be achieved, focused, in the first phase, on digitalization:

  Production data acquisition.

  Line level data acquisition.

  Phase/machine level data acquisition within the production line.

  Data acquisition at product level.

  Production data

In order to implement OEE indicators on the production line, it was necessary to know a series of key data. Thanks to the installation of specific sensors connected to the PLC, we have started to collect this data in order to analyze it and convert it into valuable information.

  Line-level data

Another indicator that was not available until now was information on the overall performance that the complete line was giving:

  • What are its energy consumptions?
  • What are the running, stop or product changeover times?
  • What are the yields according to shift/operators?
  • Which products have more or less incidents?

Now all this information is automatically digitized for further analysis and action.

Line and phase/machinedata level data

  Phase/machine level data

Sometimes, the packaging of one product or another causes the behavior of the line to be altered, even causing more frequent stoppages or breakdowns.

With the installation of sensors by phase or machine within the line, it is now much easier to analyze which combination of product-packaging-phase are the most likely to have optimal performance or to present incidents.

It is easier to find a recurring solution and anticipate line stoppages.

Real-time information

  Real-time information

Thanks to being able to digitize a large part of the data, relevant information is now available in real time and is also sent to the central system to be added to a BI (Business Intelligence) platform.

The option of having a clear and accurate picture of
- production lines
- products
- speeds
- deviations
- incidents
- breakdowns
- stoppages
has enabled production managers to significantly improve line performance.

  Product level data

The performance of the same line can vary significantly when packaging one product or another.

The dimensions of the product or packaging, the system to identify the product correctly (label, ink, laser)... these and other variables affect the performance of the line depending on the product to be packaged.

A product-by-product view is now available that facilitates production management and planning. It is possible to anticipate with much greater precision the times required for packaging specific batches/quantities.

Integration with other systems 

Upgrading the packaging line using the ESP32 PLC improved its efficiency and flexibility, and provided a platform for sharing and integrating data into the customer's existing system. This resulted in an increased ability to collect and analyze data and make informed decisions.

Arduino IDE to program ESP32 board
Node-RED programming solution

One of the advantages of working with an open source based PLC has been the ease of integration with other systems.

The use of Node-RED and the Arduino IDE programming platform has provided that ease of integration while the licensing cost has been zero.


Real-time monitoring

The system provides real-time information on the production process, allowing production managers to make immediate decisions.

Improved cost calculation

It is now possible to know the consumption of the production line or the different machines or phases that compose it. The cost of energy is a very important variable to take into account in medium and high consumption systems.

Error reduction

Automation in data adquisition reduces the possibility of human error and improves the accuracy of the information.

Improved efficiency

By having more and better information, the company can now set OEE targets to implement improvement actions.

Increased product quality

By monitoring the packaging process, the quality of the final product can be improved, reducing rejects and wastage and increasing end-customer satisfaction.


Industrial Shields won the project and beat its main competitors on the following points:

No licence fees.

 Product specifications can be expanded in the future.

Our support team is dedicated before, during and after the sales and installation process.

Equipment designed and manufactured for industrial use and at a very competitive price.

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