The PLC versus IPC or PC based control debate has been with us for over two decades now, with commentators making various predictions about the rise of industrial controllers with PC based internals versus purely PLC solutions. Yet according the latest figures from Gambica the PLC market continues to grow.
Mitsubishi Electric is heavily invested in PLC technology with a massive installed base and a continuous stream of innovations being released to the market.
Indeed, it is interesting as part of the PLC versus IPC debate to note that there has been some blurring of the technologies, with each now incorporating some of the features of the other. From the PLC perspective, this includes everything from the inclusion of embedded web servers to the availability of plug-in PC modules such as Mitsubishi Electric’s C-Controller. Other modules, such as Mitsubishi Electric’s MES module, mean that PLCs can now link directly to higher level systems without the need for intermediate PC hardware. Furthermore, the combination of PLCs and HMIs means that PLC platforms can also provide a very PC-like environment for SCADA and other visualisation applications.
The latest generation of PLCs are also offering broader functionality such as embedded robot controllers with the related safety systems and aspects of AI that allow for flexible learning and intelligent decision making. Users are thus free to look at the most appropriate solution for a given application rather than being forced along either one route or the other because certain vital features and functions are missing. Even here it is interesting that the appeal of the PLC often endures and for many users there remain good reasons to stick with a purely PLC orientated approach.
Part of that comes from the proven reliability of PLCs in applications where it is not uncommon for users to expect assets to deliver for a decade or more, with no pressing requirement to constantly upgrade control and automation systems. When the user does eventually want to upgrade to a new control platform, the PLC offers an inherently easier migration path than the IPC solution.
Perhaps more important to the user / operator is the requirement in many of those same applications for longevity of support. In the water industry, for example, AMP periods of typically 5 years mean that system integrators want to be assured of complete product stability, so that they can replace products like-for-like with minimal engineering overhead.
Now, system integrators in other areas of the utility and transport infrastructure are reporting that customers are calling for even longer product lifetime support, with even 15 years becoming common. Because PCs evolve and transform over much shorter product cycles than PLCs, they will often be much more of a challenge to support over the longer term, even if at the specification stage they might have tangible advantages over traditional PLC-based alternatives.
The feedback from system integrators and machine builders on the PLC versus IPC debate has also been interesting when it comes to their own development efforts, particularly in applications where, on paper, either approach would yield a good solution. For example, machine builders producing serial volumes of the same machine often feel the IPC route could be convenient for them. In contrast, machine builders and systems integrators who are adapting or customising individual machines to meet different requirements frequently report that they find it easier to configure PLCs to meet those differing user needs.
There are many other reasons why the appeal of the PLC endures. The issue of cyber security continues to grow, and many users are still reticent to put what they see as more vulnerable PC hardware into critical automation systems. Perhaps that view is unfair – there have, after all, been a number of high profile cyber attacks and viruses targeting PLCs. There exists a perception maybe, that the bespoke operating environment of the PLC offers protection through unfamiliarity rather than the standard operating systems of PC based control, however, it would be naïve to think that ‘security through obscurity’ would deter a determined hacker with the correct backing.
Baumüller has developed a compact drive system for a multifunctional municipal vehicle.
Baumüller has developed a compact drive system with a very high level of energy efficiency for a fully electric municipal vehicle. The vehicle is designed in series production for a speed of up to 80 km/h and has a range of 100 kilometers. An emission-free, environmentally-friendly and low-noise multifunctional municipal vehicle has been created in conjunction with other companies. It can be used with interchangeable attachments for various municipal cleaning and maintenance work, for example as a sweeper, snow plow or loader.
The joint development with the companies Cosyst Control Systems GmbH, bLz – Bayerisches
Laserzentrum GmbH, Polyplast Sander GmbH and SMS Engineering GmbH was supported as a funded project by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology. The project sponsor is Bayern Innovativ.
Electric Axle for Rear and All-Wheel Drive
The compact drive system from Baumüller consists of two fully electric drives, each of which is mounted to the vehicle’s rear axle. Alternatively, an all-wheel drive can also be used instead of a rear-wheel drive. The drive system consists of a Baumüller DSA synchronous external rotor motor with an integrated converter, power electronics as well as a planetary gear and was specifically developed for this funded project. The planetary gear is located in the rim of the rear wheel and is directly connected to the drive system. This has the advantage that there are fewer transmission losses, since an additional drive train, such as a cardan shaft, drive shaft or differential, is not necessary. Additional advantages of the compact drive system are increased application flexibility and improved driving comfort. In addition, the drive is very capable of handling overload, i.e. gradients of up to 18 percent can easily be managed.
The special feature about the rugged newly designed DSA motor with a rated output of 18 kW is the winding switchover. This allows an automatic gear change of the municipal vehicle from a working gear to a high-speed gear. The switchover makes it possible to achieve different torques and speeds, which are automatically adjusted to the application area and speed via the motor controller developed by Baumüller. This means that in the first stage, the working gear, i.e. when sweeping or mowing, a doubled rated torque is achieved at only half the speed. This level is used for speeds of 40 km/h or less. The energy source is not burdened with large currents here, which allows for a greater range and a longer operating duration than before. With the second stage, the high-speed gear that permits speeds of up to 80 km/h, a simple rated torque is generated and the full speed is reached in the process. Despite the higher speed, the power requirement still corresponds to that of the first stage. The degree of efficiency also remains very high, thus allowing for greater range and a longer operating duration.
BAUMÜLLER, Intelligent Diagnostic and Communication System
BAUMÜLLER, Intelligent Diagnostic and Communication System
Fotoğraf Açıklama: Archiving and evaluating data can take place locally or remotely with BAUDIS IoT. Smart data analysis is used to avoid production errors and to increase productivity, all automatically through a self-regulating machine learning process
Baumüller Demonstrates Predictive Maintenance System with Smart Data Analysis
With BAUDIS IoT, the Nuremberg-based drive and automatization specialist Baumüller presented a system for predictive maintenance at SPS 2016. But BAUDIS IoT can do much more than that. It is the consistent enhancement of the BAUDIS diagnostic system developed by Baumüller, which has successfully been in use for more than 20 years. BAUDIS increases the process reliability and availability of production and is successfully used worldwide in machines and plants.
BAUDIS IoT, the latest version, is an IoT-capable diagnostic and communication system that allows for a simple networking of machines and systems via the Internet and the intelligent analysis of data. The networked version benefits from the long-standing expertise of a successful system. The system can be used independently of the manufacturer of the automation components and the sensors and therefore can easily be retrofitted and upgraded. It is therefore equally suitable for greenfield and brownfield plants, i.e. for the digitization of new and existing production facilities.
Two Versions for Data Archiving and Evaluation
In principle, two versions for linking machines and systems are available. If the decision favors the local version, the data recorded on the drive will be evaluated directly by the operator on site. If the remote option is preferred, the data is uploaded to the cloud and is archived and analyzed either centrally at the customer’s location or externally at a service provider’s location for example. The benefits of the second version: The networking of plants and locations in the cloud or via a central server, i.e. an evaluation unit, allows for additional comparisons and evaluations. In addition, the updates can occur centrally. Externally, the evaluation always occurs with the latest available algorithms.
BAUDIS IoT from Baumüller allows for the continuous monitoring of automation components and machine states, data recording and analysis and the generation and output of a recommendation for action. The evaluation always occurs with the latest available algorithms. The system is thus continuously made more intelligent and uses algorithms to develop independent solutions (machine learning). By avoiding production errors, productivity increases and does so automatically through a self-regulating process. BAUDIS IoT can be used and upgraded at any time independent of the manufacturer and the sensors used.
Smart Data Analysis Saves Time and Money
Industry 4.0 applications create countless opportunities to improve machines, optimize drives, increase availability and make service more efficient. BAUDIS IoT is an industry 4.0 technology solution and provides for an intelligent networking of systems. With BAUDIS IoT, machine operators have an ideal system available to them in order to monitor their production and, in the event of a looming failure, to be able to act or react quickly or in a timely manner, thus increasing the running times of the machines and systems by means of scheduled maintenance measures. This saves time and money and improves the machine availability as well as the productivity. For the machine manufacturer, BAUDIS IoT is a good way to offer the system as an option and thus to create added value for his customers. Baumüller can completely take over the installation, monitoring and maintenance of the BAUDIS IoT system if desired.
Why efficient conveyor systems are becoming increasingly important
Why Efficient Conveyor Systems Are Becoming Increasingly Important
These challenges are faced not only by the traditional logistics sector and distribution centre operators, but also production and trading companies. Even the e-commerce sector, which continues to grow at a rapid pace, is being forced to develop processes which are as efficient, flexible and cost-effective as possible. It is not just a question of getting products to customers quickly and cheaply. The management of returns, so-called “re-commerce”, also plays a decisive role for business success in this growth market. The required improvements in efficiency are not to be achieved just with new greenfield projects built out of town. After seven to ten years in use (depending on the industry), warehouses, as such, are considered obsolete: technically outdated, worn out through use and not fit for purpose. The result: high operating and process costs, deficient flexibility, diminishing competitiveness. Warehouse operators are already able to gain potential savings of up to 30 percent through the modernisation of automatic warehousing. Retrofit concepts can be used to profitably combine increased efficiency and flexibility with the modern aspects of Green Logistics.
Modern 24 volt conveyor technology: Strengthen your competitive position with low operating costs
Conventional conveyor systems, which have a permanent active drive, usually generate accumulation pressure, which has inherent drawbacks. For example, for onward transportation or removal, the respective item to be conveyed must be isolated using an additional line. To avoid these disadvantages, system integrators often design conveyor systems to be zero-pressure. A clear trend is emerging: 24 V drives (RollerDrives) from Interroll are increasingly replacing the formerly commonplace systems with an electropneumatic control for individual accumulation sections.
Firstly, the corresponding conveyor lines use considerably less energy compared to conventional 400 volt drives. This is because the individual RollerDrives are only driven if material actually needs to be conveyed. In practice, at an average throughput (600 to 1000 containers per hour), reductions in consumption of 50 percent or more can be easily achieved. In addition, this demand-driven operation and the removal of additional drive machinery mean that the noise level of the system is considerably lower. At the same time, less maintenance and repairs are required. This is not only due to the fact that brushless 24 volt drives are generally less maintenance-intensive than conventional drive motors; there is also the fact that these motors, whilst running with the same conveyor output, are operating for signifi cantly less time than conventional systems, thereby minimising wear effects.
Also ideal for modernisation
The strengths of 24 volt technology also lend themselves to the modernisation of existing conveyor systems. In the experience of leading system integrators, old systems which are driven by vertical shafts or fl at belts, for example, can quite easily be transformed into state-of-the-art systems. Pneumatics and coupling brake units are made superfl uous by subdividing the conveyor into zones, thereby signifi cantly reducing installation and operating costs, as well as wear and noise emission.
24 V solutions significantly reduce operating costs
Actually, around 50 percent of the energy costs within the internal logistics for systems with a high degree of automation are spent on conveyor technology, warehousing and order picking. More than two thirds of the remaining 50 percent of these energy costs is spent on heating and ventilating logistics buildings, and around another 15 percent on lighting. This means that conveyor technology, in terms of energy-saving alone, presents considerable potential for optimisation.
The optimum solution is almost always the 24 volt technology-based, motor- driven conveyor rollers (RollerDrives) from Interroll. Unlike traditional conveyor systems, where central drive motors provide the drive for complete lines, RollerDrive solutions are decentralised. These conveyor lines consist of independent sub-segments, with drive provided by the RollerDrives with integrated 24 volt motors.
”Through the modernisation of our conveyor technology using 24 volt conveyor modules, we were able to significantly increase the performance of the system and link to a new production area, without having to invest in a completely new conveyor system. Another benefit: Even though the performance has increased, it was possible for the noise level to be significantly lowered. For this reason, production staff are also very impressed with the new system.“ – Lutz Müller, Liquida Operations Manager, Klosterfrau Berlin GmbH
Modernisation and construction of new conveyor systems in pharmaceutical production
Numerous examples show how use of 24 volt technology can optimise the transportation processes within production plants. For example, at a pharmaceuticals manufacturer, RollerDrives from Interroll ensure boxed finished products are conveyed for central palletisation. The technology was installed by the renowned system integrator Förster & Krause. For this, a total of six production and packaging lines were incorporated, two of which were newly built.
These conveyor systems take the cartons directly from the six carton sealing machines, which are in different production areas, and deliver the cartons via the vertical conveyor to a central conveyor line. This is located around three meters above a hallway. The cartons travel a distance of 200 metres and are then collected at the palletiser. An accumulation conveyor in integrated into each line, which makes it possible for the cartons to be cyclically removed from all six lines. The user’s operations manager and staff benefit from a flow of material which is not just quick, especially in comparison to previously installed systems, but also exceptionally quiet. Apart from the efficiency improvements which are achieved, there are also significant advantages for the employees in terms of working conditions.
Connection of two production areas at an automotive parts supplier
At an automotive parts supplier, standard KLT containers have to be transported from a new hall to an old section of the building. For this, two accumulation conveyors in each area were arranged one above the other, one used for outward and the other for inward transport. The supply and waste disposal is carried out by a vertical conveyor. The connecting line is arranged in an aisle at a height of approximately 4.5 metres and is reversible. The containers are transported between the two areas in blocks.
This automated flow of materials can replace transportation by forklift. This saves both time and money. The investment for building the conveyor line returns a profit within a short space of time. This allows the company, which, as an automotive parts supplier, is under considerable price pressure, to improve its competitive position.
Buffer zones between the picking and packaging of paints
Even in the newly opened distribution warehouse of a paint manufacturer, 24 Volt technology from Interroll ensures that their internal transport and distribution processes can be made significantly more efficient and cost-effective. Firstly, order containers are placed on the individual picking area stations, transported using vertical conveyors to a 7.50 metre high conveyor line and conveyed to the twelve packing areas in the first level upper floor.
The conveyor circulation system is designed so that the individual containers for a consignment are collected and conveyed with no accumulation pressure. The containers are automatically discharged, without time-consuming isolation, from the circuit into the packing areas. Each packing area in turn has an accumulation conveyor for the order containers. The cartons are conveyed to two manual strapping areas and then palletised. Thanks to the buffer zone, in the form of the circulation system with no accumulation pressure, picking can take place independently, in terms of time, of the packing of goods. This solution not only makes flexible deployment of personnel possible, but also, according to users, has positive effects on the working environment.
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