Can You Mix Old and New Components?

People tend to assume that old components won’t be compatible with new ones. Like the new components are all morally corrupt and listen to rock and roll at full volume, while the old components tell stories about things that don’t exist anymore, eat meals at strange times, and constantly look for their keys. Really, you can mix old and new components without much trouble, and it’s often the better option.

An example

The New Belgium Brewery, based out of Ft. Collins, Colorado, is a macro-scale microbrewery. To be fair, most people wouldn’t even call them a microbrewery (they’re the third largest craft brewery in the U.S.), but they started out as one and maintain their focus on the quality and the craft of their brewing. New Belgium operates their packaging system with a single brand of motion control. They use some of that brand’s oldest components as well as some of their newest. The old and new components —  even though being multiple generations apart — are still able to function together.

At one point the New Belgium brewery was considering a total overhaul of their system. They were deciding whether or not they should upgrade their entire system to the latest and greatest components. They ultimately decided not to. The process of upgrading the components alone would have cost millions of dollars, not to mention the cost of lost production during the downtime.

The brewery ended up keeping the legacy systems and just upgrading the controls, which was really a smart move. Why sink money into upgrading or updating something that doesn’t necessarily need to be improved upon?


It’s like if you had a box with rusty hinges. Sure the whole box is old, but other than the hinges it’s in good condition. It still fulfills the standard box function of holding things, so why replace the whole thing? Just replace the hinges rather than buy a brand new shiny chrome-plated box that will do exactly what the old box could still do.

Old components and new components do mix. Don’t assume that you have to totally upgrade or buy a new system just because you need some things replaced. If your legacy system is Indramat, check in with our experts for support.