Plastics processing machines already feature an extremely high degree of automation. If they’re going to further optimize their production processes, manufacturers in the plastics industry have to look for solutions that improve overall plant efficiency across the board. This means including auxiliary buildings, media supply and the entire plant infrastructure in the equation. Better than any other system on the market, integrated automation technology from B&R does precisely that. With a system that reaches from the I/O level up to the process control system for the entire plant, B&R offers a complete solution cast from a single mold. A solution for every automation requirement. A solution for more productivity.
Production of plastic parts is highly automated with extremely fast cycle times. The various production methods – such as injection molding, deep-drawing, compression molding and blow molding – place intense demands on speed, precision and repeat precision.
Access to information about the capacity utilization and availability of individual machines is essential to optimizing productivity. This data provides the foundation that allows the various machines in a production line to be coordinated. Machines with a high level of availability are crucial for ensuring maximum productivity. Considerable improvements in maintenance can be made with a condition monitoring solution.
Condition monitoring raises quality and lowers costs
Continuous condition monitoring increases the quality of products and the availability of machines and plants, while at the same time reducing maintenance costs. B&R’s APROL ConMon solution provides vibration monitoring and analysis based on key condition parameters calculated from acquired measurement data.
With individual machines already fully automated, the next frontier is increasing the level of automation in the plant as a whole – including not only the individual machines but also the inhouse logistics systems and building services technology. Effective automation at this level demands a system whose abilities go beyond those of a conventional SCADA system.
Individual machine controllers must be grouped together into a network without sacrificing their autonomy in the process. In addition, this networked system must be capable of directly controlling and querying sensors and actuators so that no gaps in the process occur between individually controlled devices.
Energy monitoring sheds light on real energy costs
Production costs will never be completely optimized until energy consumption has been optimized as well. Before this can be
done, one must first know the exact energy costs involved – both primary (forming processes) and secondary (machine and plant). B&R’s APROL EnMon solution makes it easy for plant operators to acquire all the relevant energy data and generate comprehensive reports for evaluation and interpretation.
Comparing the efficiency of each machine is the first step. What is more difficult however, is collecting data for entire production lines and the plant itself. This demands a sophisticated process data acquisition system that spans the entire production chain and plant infrastructure: B&R’s APROL PDA.
UNIWELL Rohrsysteme GmbH & Co KG, German manufacturer of air and fluid lines for automobile production, uses APROL PDA for quality assurance. “Fluctuations in production parameters can have a negative impact on quality that may otherwise go unnoticed until it is too late,” explains UNIWELL’s technical manager Lutz Goldhammer.
“Since we’ve had APROL collecting process data across the entire production line and making it available to automation processes, our machines are now able to quickly compensate for any deviations, or stop production entirely if necessary,” Goldhammer continues.
POWERLINK integrates proprietary systems
I/O modules connected via POWERLINK permit sensor data to be queried directly. This allows UNIWELL to monitor every step in production
seamlessly and to take action when necessary to avoid unnecessary costs.
A significantly higher level of process optimization can be attained by monitoring not just a single production line, but rather an entire plant along with all of its auxiliary equipment. Manufacturers can make the necessary adjustments to the production processes and substantially improve the overall energy balance of their products.
APROL process control system
APROL is a full-fledged process control system whose comprehensive features go far beyond process data acquisition to include supervisory level control and process visualization tasks. Customers enjoy process automation with a uniform experience and performance, from the field level up to the management level. APROL covers all applications, whether they are oriented toward processing or production. Integrated functions provide data exchange with production planning, simulation and control systems via a database interface, web interface or OPC.
Uniform platform – From the management level to the field
Regardless of their make and model, the controllers on the individual production machines can be connected directly to the network using standard fieldbus technologies. With B&R controllers, the integration goes even deeper. For configuring the hardware and fieldbus network, the APROL process control system contains Automation Studio, the same development environment used for machine automation.
Together with the APROL system’s process data acquisition functions, integration of this familiar engineering tool inside of APROL provides a consistent platform for optimum efficiency in the coordination of machines and their infrastructure.
Integrated safety technology
Like other sectors of machine manufacturing, the plastics industry is being shaped by a trend towards modularization. Bus-based safety technology is an important topic when it comes to modular machines. It facilitates the development of optional machine components and makes it possible to exchange machine modules during operation. The result is a considerable boost in efficiency compared to a hard-wired safety solution.
B&R uses the fieldbus-independent openSAFETY protocol for the communication of secure signals. Using the “black channel” principle, openSAFETY can tunnel through the transport layer of any Ethernet system. Even machine components equipped with different control systems and different fieldbus systems can be easily integrated.
openSAFETY – First choice for plastics processing machines
There are other reasons why openSAFETY is first choice for plastics processing machines, however. With extremely short response times it guarantees minimum stopping distances, even for very fast movements.
openSAFETY also allows drives to perform intelligent reactions, preventing damage in the event of an abrupt stop and providing controlled emergency operation and rapid restarts – all while ensuring complete safety for plant employees. An array of safe reactions, such as safely limited speed, can be implemented not only for individual axes, but also for the tool center point of complex kinematic chains.
Safe communication throughout the plant
Integrated safety technology has firmly established itself as a solution for individual machines – particularly for machines with handling units and optional components. Recently, however, plastics manufacturers have also been using it to provide safe communication throughout an entire series of cascaded production machines.
With openSAFETY, the machines can be grouped in a safety network regardless of what fieldbus technology they use internally. This enables them to coordinate their reactions to safety-related events. It also eliminates the risks involved in having different machines along the same production line each respond differently. Having the entire line share a single safety perimeter shrinks its footprint and saves the cost of peripheral safety equipment.
Complete system – Complete consistency
Numerous users are already using B&R’s APROL process control system to unite their plant systems centrally into a hierarchical complete system. With a broad spectrum of functions – including integrated system simulation using MATLAB/Simulink – APROL is able to combine every level of automation into a homogeneous complete system.
Direct integration of external systems and signal sources allows for an all-encompassing approach that ensures reliable and efficient operation of the system over its entire service life.
More than 60 participants from various industry sectors, among them automation device manufacturers and process automation professionals, accepted B&R’s invitation to the Salzburg Radisson Blu hotel on May 24th.
The convention chiefly addressed manufacturers of electronic automation components such as sensors, actuators, motors, drives, and bus couplers for I/O modules, as well as complete control systems suppliers. In a series of talks, managers and engineers from B&R, IXXAT, port, and Hilscher discussed technical questions and implementation strategies for POWERLINK and the bus-independent safety protocol openSAFETY.
In the opening presentation, Stefan Schönegger, Open Automation Business Unit Manager at B&R, introduced the new POWERLINK Slave Development Kit. Hans-Jürgen Hilscher, owner and manager of the systems automation company Hilscher, spoke about multi-protocol solutions based on high-end netX processors.
Marcus Tangermann, CEO of port, gave a presentation about consistent parameterization of field devices, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of FDT/DTM over XML-based device description files. Wolfgang Seiss from the Open Automation Technologies department at B&R then presented the company’s POWERLINK Master solution.
Concluding the session, IXXAT CEO Christian Schlegel spoke about the implementation of openSAFETY solutions in specific projects.
“We welcome the positive feedback and the large number of participants who took part in B&R POWERLINK Day”, says Schönegger. “Once more, this overwhelming response underscores our leading position in the market for real-time Industrial Ethernet systems.” The Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group (EPSG) is an independent organization founded in 2003 by leading companies from the drive and automation industry. Its aims are the standardization and further development of POWERLINK, which was first introduced by B&R in 2001.
The high-performance real-time communication system is a protocol extension of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, designed to ensure real-time data transfer on the microsecond level. EPSG cooperates with leading standardization organizations, such as CAN in Automation (CiA) and the IEC. Anton Meindl, Business Manager Controls at B&R, is the EPSG’s CEO.
After the introduction of openSAFETY solutions for SERCOS III, Modbus TCP, EtherNet TCP/IP and POWERLINK at last Hannover Messe exhibition, the openSAFETY standard is now also available for PROFINET.
Thus, openSAFETY is now available for all major real-time Ethernet protocols, covering 91% of the Industrial Ethernet market. With its openSAFETY solution, the EPSG is the only provider of a ready-to-use safety technology running on all transport protocols.
openSAFETY has been developed independently from all fieldbus organizations. Since the development of safety-oriented technology is very cost-intensive and carries a high investment risk, the automation industry has been calling for a global standard for safety systems for a long time.
By introducing openSAFETY, the first completely open safety-oriented data transfer protocol for all automation applications, the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG) has laid the foundations. The protocol, which has been certified by German testing authorities TÜV Rheinland and TÜV Süd, allows for communication cycles at the microsecond level, thus ensuring very fast reaction times as well as optimal safety.
It is suitable for use in systems with safety requirements up to SIL 3.
Bihl+Wiedemann, one of the leading companies in the development and implementation of electronic automation components and safety solutions with an AS-interface, will launch a safe gateway for AS-i Safety at Work systems and openSAFETY.
Also, Bihl+Wiedemann becomes a member of the EPSG. The gateway enables both non-safe diagnosis data and safety-related process data to be exchanged between AS-interface installations and openSAFETY. On the AS-i side, the gateway provides an AS-i Master with an integrated safety monitor.
Due to its simple installation and low costs, AS-interface technology is widely used. More than a hundred companies provide more than a thousand different products. With AS-i Safety at Work, safety-oriented sensors and actuators in openSAFETY applications can also benefit from the advantages of AS-i.
For openSAFETY, the gateway constitutes a safe I/O node with a variable number of safe input and output signals. The number of signals is determined by the AS-i configuration. On the occasion of this development, Bihl+Wiedemann has decided to join the EPSG.
“The combination of AS-interface – the tried-and-proven, simple, and inexpensive installation system for the lowest field level – and openSAFETY is very attractive to us”, said Jochen Bihl, CEO of Bihl+Wiedemann. “Since AS-i Safety complements every open safe fieldbus technology, joining the EPSG was the logical conclusion.”
First Korea Industrial Ethernet Conference was a great success. The first Korea Industrial Ethernet Conference took place on October 21st, 2010, in Seoul.
Approximately 140 participants followed the invitation by the Industrial Communication & Networking magazine(ICN). Many well-renowned Korean companies such as Kia Motors, Samsung, LG, and POSCO were represented.
A number of lectures addressed various aspects of the implementation of POWERLINK and openSAFETY and presented reference projects as well as hardware components. Sanghoon Kim, Director of Cooperation at Hankyung National University, took the opportunity to announce the founding of a POWERLINK training center for technological education and practical training.
Lecturers further included members of the EPSG and several leading manufacturers of automation components such as Hilscher Korea, Phoenix Contact, and B&R.
“I am impressed by the strong interest in POWERLINK”, said Oh Seung Mo, managing director of ICN. “Engineers and users seem to be particu-larly interested in POWERLINK as an open technology.” Specific requirements of customers and users have been becoming more and more important for manufacturers.
POWERLINK enables solutions which meet these individual demands. The conference, jointly organized by ICN and the POWERLINK User Group Korea, was supported by the KGCCI (Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry), the Austrian chamber of commerce, TuV SuD, and the EPSG.