Sorry for the delay. Been traveling.
So, most of their issues are network related. The entire facility, PLCs and office, were on the same subnet. They are in the process of correcting this and are already seeing improvements.
Another thing I noticed was the EB2s where daisy chained, Ethernet cable running from one EB2 to the next and so forth. I don't think they were going through a switch, just from one cabinet to the next. Usually, I would put an Ethernet switch in a cabinet then run each controller/brain directly to the switch. Seems like it would cut down on unnecessary traffic. I've suggested they do this.
Also, running PAC Display on the computer in the cabinet seems to be fairly quick, since the brains are right there. Running the same PAC Display on a computer in the office was sluggish. This was further evidence that there were network issues.
Separating the controller tasks just seemed like the next logical step. Each cabinet does something different and independent, so why not separate controllers. Not only would it spread the load but also make diagnostics easier.
Anyway, that's my opinion. The customer was just wondering if they could use SoftPAC instead of a hardware controller since each cabinet already has a PanelPC. BTW the PanelPCs are running Windows 7 with an Intel i7 processor at around 3 GHz, if that matters.