Components and systems
Process and control technology
We plan and program the process and control technology in nearly every automation project. As a Siemens Solution Partner we use programmable logic controllers by Siemens, which we can programme with STEP 7 or TIA. On request or if necessary we can also use PLC- and IPC-technology from other manufacturers like PILZ, Rockwell or Mitsubishi. Implementation of remote maintenance: we recommend a safe remote maintenance connection, e.g. Virtuell Private Network (VPN). If the IT-department of the customer does not provide access from outside, we use our MOX-box. This is a Linus PC which is configurable and has industrial capability. It secures the access to the plant and outward via a firewall. We get a safe connection to the customers‘ plant via the internet or mobile communications.
For simple drive solutions it is enough to control the motor via a frequency converter. For challenging applications like winding we use servo controllers. With these we can control the drives in traction and torque. We work into the technology of the application in order to calculate and optimize the parameters. DC power supply oder asynchronous motors? Many drive manufacturers do not produce DC controllers anymore and urge their customers to replace the DC controllers by asynchronous motors short term. For us it is not important which drive technology the customer prefers. If there are still many DC controllers in a factory and if they can be maintained at a low price by the own personnel, there is no reason to replace all drives by asynchronous technology. Due to our experience we can control DC controllers as well as asynchron models without any problems. If the customer does not insist on a certain manufacturer, we often recommend drive controllers by Siemens, which are still produced for DC motors. We offer the switch from DC motors to asynchronous applications for drive technology as a complete solution. We have gained specific know-how in various applications for drive technology. We can do winding, spooling, positioning and realise synchronous runs. Our customers rely on these technological experiences for drive solutions.
We use our positioning know-how in all cases where loads or tools have to be moved fast and precisely to a certain position. We control the positioning of single axles via the positioning module of a PLC. We realise the synchronous travel of more axles with the technology-CPU by Siemens. The S-7-300 CPU 319TF by Siemens can display the classic cam travel electronically. Thus gives the set point for each axle which are operated e.g. by a servo controller. We use CNC-controllers for more difficult positioning tasks. Based on this technology it is not necessary to program positioning processes, but it is not enough to only provide setpoints and start the positioning. The interaction of path and angle sensors, drive power and mechanical construction must be effected – like a positioning process -according to the needs of the technical process.
In the automative industry we have solutions with robots for handling and assembly tasks: e.g. hinged-arm robots by KUKA work in automated screwing stations at Audi and Skoda. This is just more than programming the robot: We plan and implement the complete application. For many years we have cooperated with a mechanical engineering company which implements screwed fastenings and so-called marriage stations in the automotive industry.But in the meantime our contractors appreciate the significantly higher flexibilty of a robot solution, which really pays in case of frequent model changes. We plan and implement the robot application in the course of the complete mechanical engineering solution. Our technical responsibility starts with the construction of the screwdriver: we make use of the following systems: Atlas Copco, Bosch Rexroth or Stanley Controller. We implement most of the projects with robots by KUKA. All the competencies are in-house. On request we can also use robots by ABB or Stäubli.
The bus system is the lifeline of an automated plant. We are often asked to find the errors in bus systems whose sporadic failures disturb the whole plant. According to our know-how we support our customers in selection, installation and maintainance of bus systems. Softwerk offers failure analysis of bus systems. During our service performances we see many plants for which a non ideal bus system has been chosen. The most frequent mistakes in the installation of a bus system is that cable lengths and distances are not complied with, cables are too short, screens are not placed properly, potential equalisiation between the plants are missing, non trailing cables have been used and costs for the installation of active terminal resistors have been saved. We analyse and measure PROFIBUS and PROFINET-systems.The customer receives a concept for improvement in addition to the report.
It is important to us that our systems can be operated and maintained easily. Therefore we develop appealing visualisation for each automated solution in which structure and functions are self-descriptive. Through various projects we have deveolped the knowledge how to lead the operator optimally. We have gained our claim for the visualisation of fault messages in the automotive industry, as they do not accept downtime. In case of a problem we can immediately show the maintainer where to search and what to do. E.g. he can find the pictures of all emergency shutdown functions on his terminal after an emergency shutdown. There are safety-relevant systems which are only used in case of emergency. And just then they have to be operated by intuition. We also use technology by in visualisation in order to be able to realise a continuos solution. If a customer has already visualised many systems with inTouch by Wonderware, we can also develop an inTouch solution. Graphic quality can support pleasure and safety in handling. In order to work efficently we use the graphic libraries, which the systems already have. These systems are enlarged and customized.
A careful preparation is needed for the collection of machine and operating data. We involve the technical as well as the commercial management of our customers. We can enlarge our MDE/BDE solutions step by step, e.g. batch tracing. Each project starts with a detailed analysis of the current situation. It is appropriate for many projects to collect data via a superior controler which can communicate with subordinate controlers via different bus systems. As an alternative also analog values can be collected and transformed. The collected data are saved on the archive server. If the communication to the server is interrupted, the PLC must buffer-save the data for a certain time. We often use the communication processor ERPC by Siemens, which can get data from the control system and can communicate with different data bases via data base applications. The use of an ERPC ensures a standardized and failure-free communication. On customers‘ request we can process data or install new functions like batch tracing. In order to produce optimum quality and to be hedged in case of product liability many customers always want to know which resources and parameter have been used in a specific batch. By order of the auditor we collect setup time and downtime in order to determine the efficency of the plant.
Process control systems
We use process control systems to control complex systems in the food and chemical industry. With Plant iT and brewmaxx by ProLeiT we can show the whole production flow and implement batch tracing. In opposite to a visualisation project a process control systems already contains standardized visualisation classes and blocks which refer to a 100% standardized code. The engineering of a process control system is to link the preconfigured blocks in such a way that the complete system with all functions can be displayed. The complete process can be controlled via standard functions like sequences e.g. a brewery with all functions and subfunctions. If Softwerk implements a process control system, we do not only install the system on the server, but also take over the whole programming of subordinate control systems: mostly SIMATIC-S7-PLC by Siemens.
Production control system (MES)
With Plant iT and brewmaxx Softwerk reaslises a continous production control system not only for the production of food and drinks but also for other industries where process engineering is needed. Managing directors and operating managers get a plant-wide overview of the orders with complete data and cost transparency. In many factories there are more guidance systems which can communicate directly with the controler of the plant. It is not reasonable to link the operative process control of each trade to the ERPC system. The interface is missing, which generates specific orders for the single trades from the production orders of the ERP. It also supervises the execution and sends only data back which can be processed by the commercial IT. A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) also called production control system takes this task. The MES collects the current data of the on-going production. How long does the setup take? Which resources are used for the current order, how much energy is needed? These data are not passed on directly but put into relation to the specified operating machine and order data. The MES then calculates the efficency of the complete plant from the aggregated data and shows where loss in productivity occurs.