In the metropolitan region of Salvador, BA, Brazil, reduced production costs and increased product quality were achieved using InduSoft Web Studio supervisory software.
Drastic reduction of product line and system maintenance costs
Increase in quality and traceability of produced batches
Constant monitoring from anywhere in the world
Production reports allowing for the monitoring of results
|Figure 1: PVC Compound preparation facility|
Figure 2: InduSoft Web Studio synoptic panel
When “Engel Engenharia de Automação Industrial” and “Albag Sistemas para Matérias-Primas”, both located in Joinville, SC, Brazil, joined together to plan a new system for PVC compound preparation using InduSoft Web Studio automation tools, they didn’t realize that this partnership would exceed all their expectations.
Engel is an industrial engineering automation company specialized in machine design and industrial automation systems, with a fully equipped staff providing services in the fields of electrical design, PLC programming, HMIs and supervisory systems. Albag, on the other hand, manufactures equipment for the handling of raw powdered materials, for all phases of receiving, transporting, dosage, weighing and supplying raw materials, particularly for PVC pipe, tubing, lining, roofing, tile and siding industries.
|Figure 3: Screen with complete synoptic panel of the facility|
In a facility located in the metropolitan region of Salvador, BA, Brazil, various kinds of PVC compounds are used to produce lining, tubing, fittings, and other PVC accessories. Given the increased volume of production, the company holds several types of compounds and lot sizes, which vary in accordance with demand, requiring a production system that is flexible and automated. The PVC compound preparation plant contains: four silos for storing PVC resins and carbonates, five reservoirs for the storage of additives, four industrial scales for PVC resins and carbonates, two scales for additives, four mixers, four silos for the storage of completed materials, and eight pneumatic transport systems, as well as exhaust and dust extraction systems.
The system can be divided into three subsystems:
1. Transport and Storage of Raw Materials and Additives
Monitors the supply and storage system used in the production of powdered PVC compounds, such as PVC resin, calcium carbonate, titanium dioxide, stabilizers, and pigments. The system must maintain the silos fully stocked to meet production demands.
2. Weighing and Stocking of Mixers
Doses raw materials and additives in accordance to production recipes. The system uses scales and metering screws to dose materials. After dosage, the resulting batch is verified as lying within the acceptable tolerance range for the chosen product before being sent to the mixer. All production data (production type, quantity, and the tolerances for each material) is registered within a company database for tracking and analysis.
3. Transport and Storage of Finished Product
Transports finished materials to various storage silos after product blending.
The objectives for the new system were to double production capacity by expanding on the old system (comprised of a PLC Siemens S5 and a dedicated supervisory toolset running on an IBM 486 PC), to resolve the serious maintenance issues encountered in that system, and to create a batch data storage system that would ensure traceability and product quality. The solution proposed by Engel and Albag was to utilize the InduSoft and Beckhoff platforms in the new system. Apart from meeting all the requirements and exceeding the technical expectations of the project, this solution was also considered the most financially viable.
|Figure 4: Raw Material Dosage Screen|
During the process of the system’s development, InduSoft and Beckhoff simulation and debugging tools were used. These tools assisted in the development of the system as a whole, minimizing errors and required adjustments during the system’s startup in Salvador. For this reason, the total development period was drastically reduced, resulting in the system entering production earlier than anticipated. The commissioning and startup of the system was separated into two stages: the expansion of the system, and the substitution of the old system. Each stage was completed within a period of two weeks.
The system contains a computer dedicated to the monitoring of the entire facility, running InduSoft Web Studio Secure Viewer Thin Client. From this computer, it is possible to monitor the plant through a synoptic panel, configure system recipes and production objectives, monitor alarms and events, and, if necessary, operate the system manually. Using the Secure Viewer Thin Client, it is also possible to access the system via Microsoft Internet Explorer from anywhere in the world.
All production data is stored in a remote Microsoft SQL Server Express database, as well as being stored locally. Performance reports are generated to monitor achieved results. The security system has four distinct access groups: Operation, Supervision, Maintenance, and Engineering. Each of these groups pertains to a specific access level based on its activities and system integration.
For the control panel, two Beckhoff CP6201 12” Industrial Computers containing Windows CE, Twincat and the InduSoft CEView supervisory toolset were used. A remote IOs Ethercat network with approximately 500 digital and analog IO points, load cell interfaces and gateways to other fieldbus protocols was also utilized.
During the entirety of the development, commissioning and startup of the system, Engel and Albag counted on the advice and technical support of the professionals at InduSoft.
| Figure 5: Additive Dosage System Screen Figure 6: Mixer Supply System Screen|
“We could not be more satisfied,” says Mr. Denis Kohler, Automation Engineer at Engel. “The supervisory system provides web access for all plant managers at various sites. Now they can follow production remotely from any computer connected to the company network,” adds Mr. Kohler. The company’s IT infrastructure was also modified and configured to allow for remote access by the engineering teams from Engel and Albag. This measure was taken to allow adjustments and improvements to the system to be performed remotely as required, reducing the amount of maintenance downtime and associated employee displacement costs.
In conclusion, the system developed by Engel and Albag, apart from drastically reducing production costs, enabled the storage and tracking of data and remote access for all managers. All this was made possible in record time thanks to the expertise of the technicians at Engel and Albag, and flexibility and intuitive interface of InduSoft Web Studio.
| Figure 7: Beckhoff CP6201 PC Panel with InduSoft Web Studio toolset|| ||Figure 8: System Control Panel|
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