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Automation Update - 3
Realising the benefits of virtual commissioning on automation projects
Virtual commissioning is a valuable technology commonly used on large projects, typical of those found within the major automotive manufacturers, where systems containing hundreds of robots, PLC’s and complex devices are tested, validated and commissioned in a virtual environment. The benefits to these customers, who are generally working on tight project timescales, are both clear and significant. In these instances it is not unusual for valuable savings on project timescales to be realised as a result of the virtual commissioning process. In this article, Tim Bednall – Sales & Marketing Manager for Wood Automated Systems UK explains how the virtual commissioning process developed by the company can bring equally tangible benefits when applied to smaller automated systems, and why in time it is likely to become the standard approach for all automation projects. The usual method of commissioning for automation systems has generally followed a traditional route. The system will be designed, individual components parts either outsourced or manufactured, software, PLC and robot programmes created, and once the system build process is almost complete, initial commissioning will begin. Although a clear, structured and well-understood process, it is time consuming, and at the point where true commissioning begins, the project timescales are likely to already be compressed with the target completion date looming. As many smaller automation projects become more complex, especially in instances where there may be multiple technologies being integrated, the justification for and the potential benefits to be realised by using the virtual commissioning process become clearer. Therefore within today’s high-pressure and fast-paced environment, simulation and virtual commissioning is likely to become an essential part of many automation projects. Not only do these processes help mitigate risk, they also significantly reduce precious set-up time on site. Virtual Commissioning is the process of validating the operation of control system software against a model of the mechanism, machine or system. In this context, the model could be a 2D or 3D CAD “Digital Twin” of the actual facility. In the context of
Industrial Automation, Virtual Commissioning is used to test the operation of PLC, Robotic controls and other complex devices system software by connecting virtual or real controllers to the inputs and outputs of components and mechanisms that exist within a 2D or 3D virtual machine A Virtual Commissioning model or Digital Twin of the system is created, and the inputs and outputs of its components and mechanisms connected into the PLC, running the control code. The software is tested and validated through the Virtual Commissioning model. Test scripts can be designed up-front as part of the Functional Design Specification (FDS), including user interfaces, status and error messaging and fault diagnosis and recovery. Once the software had been tested and validated in the Virtual Commissioning environment, the PLC software and new mechanical equipment is installed on site. Wood - Automated Systems UK has made significant investments in simulation and virtual commissioning technology in order to prove automation solutions at the design stage. The company’s simulation expertise, gained from the use of their systems across many complex automation lines, reduces risk, cost and timescales for customers embarking on automation projects, delivering peace of mind ahead of the actual installation. Engineers are able to use advanced software to explore and analyse a whole host of ‘what if?’ scenarios, allowing the performance of each element of each solution to be optimised. Once the software for the particular programme has been written, a virtual model is created to demonstrate exactly how the solution will work. The virtual commissioning process also makes it possible to create production and maintenance scenarios that would otherwise be impossible or dangerous to implement in real life. As well as reducing costs, rigorous simulation and virtual commissioning also minimise the risk of damage to machinery and overcomes potential safety related issues keeping the project on schedule.
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Automatic Print Inspection using 4Sight Technology 2019 has been an exciting year for AutoCoding Systems with the launch of their new automatic print inspection solution, 4Sight, developed in conjunction with global partners, SICK. “Good Read” – all the characters have been located and identified
“No Read” - some characters are legible but below the threshold for a “Good Read”
anufacturers often experience problems with illegible or missing codes on consumer products, an issue which can have expensive, and sometimes serious consequences if the products have to be reworked or recalled. Inspecting and reading printed codes, particularly on high speed lines, has always been challenging due to the many application specific variables. Using the SICK AppSpace development platform, AutoCoding Systems has developed 4Sight, the first fully-automated vision inspection system for printed coding and marking. The 4Sight application communicates directly with any brand of printer, with no requirement to “teach” the camera what to look for. Unlike more traditional vision inspection techniques, no fixturing, such as an edge or logo, is needed; the software can automatically cope with variations in artwork, background and text location.
“Bad Read” – most of the characters are smudged and illegible
Additionally, the application offers full flexibility allowing users to determine acceptable print quality tolerances and define what is considered a good read, bad read or no read on a per product basis. As well as operating seamlessly with AutoCoding, the 4Sight software can be used as standalone solution or connected to any code deployment system and also offers full integration to various types of label editing software. When connected to a code deployment system, the accuracy of the printed code can be guaranteed, meaning that the need for full OCR is eliminated. Managing Director, Mike Hughes, considering some of the challenges of using vision technology to automatically inspect printed information commented, “Historically AutoCoding Systems has used its standard product to automate packaging line devices and, within a workflow, integrate its product to other customer infrastructure systems, as needed. Frequently, AutoCoding is used to deliver solutions in coding and packaging verification, where printed codes and variable information are fully controlled for all brands of printers and coding technologies by the AutoCoding software. The 4Sight application adds a much-desired vision solution to our coding management capabilities. Inspecting printed codes, particularly at continuous inkjet speed, has always been fraught with challenges, making living with a print vision system quite difficult in terms of nuisance stops or false rejections, causing unnecessary line stops. 4Sight uses new and innovative methods for print inspection, simplifying the process and making vision accessible to all budgets.”
All processing is undertaken onboard the SICK camera where the 4Sight software resides meaning no line-side PC is needed. There is a simple set-up process for camera position, set-up, focus, illumination and exposure time, with no requirement for operators to configure features or regions of interest. The software automatically adjusts to accommodate real-time message changes, such as date code and clock time. In addition, there are a number of configurable features, such as “inspection depth”, to allow the solution to be easily optimised for fast processing The 4Sight solution can be used as a standalone application where time, making it an ideal print inspection solution for high an image of the code to be inspected is taken by the camera prior speed applications. to job start, printer led where there is a direct connection between the printer and the camera or integrated with code deployment Inspection depth allows users to choose between software, such as AutoCoding. different levels of inspection, from simple code inspection through to full OCR, balancing the need for accuracy with www.autocodingsystems.com processing speeds. 6 - Automation Update
Rittal Supplies Bespoke Panels For Critical Controls The East Midlands Instrumentation Company Ltd (EMI), an electrical, instrumentation and control installation contractor for the power generation, power transmission, rail and industrial markets based in Gainsborough, had a complex specification from a client.
The client needed specially designed panels to protect critical equipment that controlled a remote pumping station and dam. A complex control and distribution system with Rittal’s Ri4Power system allowed segregation of the busbars from the controls. This meant three panels were needed for power and motor control, automation and control, and monitoring/communications. The monitoring equipment needed to be installed within an area at risk of flooding, so it was decided to place the panel on a metre-tall frame to reduce the chances of the equipment being damaged by floodwater inundation. To overcome this, Rittal’s engineers designed a custom-sized Ri4Power panel to sit comfortably on the frame. All three panels had to withstand internal fires and each compartment was fitted with a special fire
resistant lining to stop fire spreading from one to another, and a smoke/fire rated venting system. In addition, special filters were installed for ventilation, which included a gel that expanded if heat was detected and closed any air gaps. The power and motor control panel was specially designed in an L-shape to fit neatly within its allocated space. The Rittal team also developed a busbar that was designed to accept a mains supply, but which could also accept a temporary generator supply, if needed, for essential loads. Further information at www.rittal.co.uk and www.friedhelm-loh-group.com or on twitter @rittal_ltd.
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TF Automation focuses on process automation solutions in 2019 as well as community engagement TF Automation design, engineer and manufacture process automation solutions, supporting a wide range of manufacturing industries from, aerospace and automotive through to medical, food, printing and packaging. Investment in the latest automated manufacturing technologies is a key issue for many of our customers who see it as a viable strategy to tackle skills shortages while maintaining the agility to stay competitive in a global market and we work closely with them to ensure cost effective and efficient solutions. We have had another successful and varied year with projects this year ranging from product identity and traceability and laser marking to product assembly and electrical testing using robotics plus numerous workstations for general testing product testing. This has meant our continued involvement in the supply chain for the automotive industry as well as aerospace, foundries, plus heating/ plumbing products and personal protection. The need to improve process and productivity is a constant challenge for all our customers. Our focus is on providing solutions to reduce the risk of human error in tasks that are constant, predictable and repetitive. We engineer and program our machines to perform tasks repeatedly, offering accuracy and repeatability far superior to the same task carried out manually, thus ensuring increased output and efficiency. Community engagement is a key ethos for TF Automation and following on from the success in 2018, the company has taken part in Bradford Manufacturing Week - a unique event set up by Bradford Chamber of Commerce to engage local students with manufacturing and engineering companies in Bradford. TF Automation hosted over 100 GCSE and A level students over one week, showing them some of the technology incorporated into the machine build process and discussing manufacturing and engineering as positive and engaging career choices. TF Automation has always worked with the local education providers, through apprenticeships 10 - Automation Update
as well as graduate placements and internships. We are already planning into 2020, looking forward to working with existing customers to further enhance their production processes and output and supporting a variety of new customers with challenging automation problems. With over 40 yearsâ€™ experience, our strength is in our ability to assess and understand the requirements of each individual project, considering both end user and operative. We look at numerous possible designs for clients, ensuring that both their expectations and their clientsâ€™ are met and the optimum solution provided. To find out more or to discuss your next automation project with our design team, contact us on 01274 308005, email us at email@example.com or visit our website www.tfautomation.co.uk.
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Introducing the next generation in filling and closing technology: the CWM 240i. CWM Automation’s latest innovation is designed for pot filling and sealing, providing higher speeds and up to 30% more control than a traditional inline machine. CWM Automation’s goal is to exceed customer’s expectations in quality, delivery and performance. Each of our machines are designed and built in-house at our site in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Specialists in providing filling, heat sealing and lidding machinery, as well as end-of-line solutions, we target a wide range of industries including dairy, convenience foods, pharmaceuticals and many more. Key Features of the 240i Machine Built around Rockwell Automation’s iTrak technology, the electromagnetic modules combine continuous motion and dwelling on the same frame bed. The 240i machine is designed to have 14 moveable slats in groups of 2. Made up of intelligent conveyers, each slat movement on the 240i Machine can be recorded for data analysis, giving you a full insight into how effectively your machine is working. On a standard 4-lane machine, the 240i can fill up to 240 cups per minute. Due to the flexibility of the 240i, slat changeovers can be completed quickly for different sized pots and packaging formats, without causing any unnecessary machine down-time. Additionally, all operations are servo-driven, allowing for quicker and easier changeovers. Hygiene is a top priority when it comes to the 240i: hygienic lines 14 - Automation Update
are maintained throughout the process to achieve 3A standards. CWM Automation’s Managing Director, Mick Williams discusses the 240i machine’s main benefits: “The 240i combines the flexibility of constant motion for filling and sealing and dwell for cup dispensing and ejecting. "This combination gives the ultimate control for filling liquid products at speeds normally restricted by the moving of the filled cups. A 4-lane i-Machine has an output of 240 cups/ minute compared to a standard linear machine output of around 120 to 140/min. It also gives the
flexibility of quick change overs between packaging sizes due to its innovative design.” The 240i can be manufactured in larger versions, with more lanes to allow for even more pot fills per minute. Offering a shorter footprint than a standard linear machine, yet allowing for a greater output capacity, the 240i can significantly boost production efficiency. In fact, payback is approximately 23% faster on the 240i, based on the machine being 75% faster than the aforementioned linear machinery.
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Stay Aligned To Avoid Problems In The Drive Train For drive couplings to be fully effective, it is essential that not only is the correct type of coupling specified for the application, but that the coupling is also correctly installed and aligned. Although certain coupling types are designed to accommodate some shaft misalignment or displacement in service, like any other piece of equipment, they do have limitations. Failing to ensure that a coupling is properly aligned, or has levels of misalignment outside of the manufacturers specifications, will result in premature failure of the coupling and potentially other drive train components. With a widely accepted figure of 50% of rotating equipment failures attributed to misalignment, David Proud of Reich Drive Systems UK discusses the importance of selecting the right coupling and also adhering to manufacturers specifications. The term coupling alignment is best described as ensuring as far as possible, a finely toleranced and common rotational centreline between the shafts that are to be coupled together. Achieving this will allow them to transmit power efficiently and operate reliably over extended periods. There are a number of different types of misalignment that can contribute to problems within a drive train. These may include angular, axial, radial or in extreme cases, a combination of one or more alignment issues. The reasons for misalignment can be varied, ranging from gradual movement of machinery over time or even just the fact that the drive train was not properly aligned at the time of installation. As for any other piece of engineering machinery, drive couplings should be installed and maintained in line with the original manufacturers recommendations. Spending time ensuring that a drive coupling has been correctly fitted and aligned will pay dividends in the form of long and reliable service. There are of course a number of different methods of aligning a drive coupling, ranging from using basic tools such as straight edges and feeler gauges, right through to sophisticated laser alignment systems. The benefits of using laser technology include the fact that many laser shaft alignment systems utilise software that can calculate accurate values for any adjustments that need to be carried out to achieve perfect alignment. At the end of the day, the important factor is making sure alignment is within specification, regardless of the method used. Misalignment outside of the coupling’s specification will cause it to wear at an accelerated rate. In addition there is the potential for negative impact on other components, for example bearings, causing them
to fail prematurely. There may be instances however where it is not possible to achieve perfect shaft alignment and in cases such as this, the choice may be to select a flexible coupling such as Reich’s MULTI MONT SELLA. These pluggable claw couplings have a long history, having been field proven over a number of decades. With the capability to compensate for axial, radial and angular misalignments, as well as absorb shocks and vibrations these couplings can help to mitigate the effects of alignment errors and vibration.
(Reich’s Multi Mont Sella is one of a range of flexible caw couplings, which can help mitigate the effects of shaft misalignment)
Additional benefits of this type of coupling are the ease of assembly and alignment, their maintenance free design and the capability to change the flexible elements radially, without the need to de-couple the drive train elements. With a history spanning over 70 years, REICH-KUPPLUNGEN has built up unrivalled expertise in the design and manufacture of drive couplings for use across a wide range of industries and applications. The company has earned an enviable reputation not only for the quality and performance of their product range, but also for their ability to provide application and customer specific solutions through the company’s D2C (Design to Customer) philosophy. Reich are also always happy to provide advice on all aspects of coupling selection and integration, including recommendations on how best to avoid issues from misalignment.
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Automation Update - 17
Decentralization at its best The Cube system from Murrelektronik is a modular field bus system for on-machine installation concepts. It’s engineered flexibly to be the optimal solution for any application – meeting protection class IP20 through IP69K. Cube67 features great functionality, easy connections, a robust and compact design, fully molded modules, and multifunctional inputs and outputs. The modules can be installed right next to the sensors and actuators. Our one-cable-technology connects the modules to the bus node, transferring both data and power. Extensive diagnostics enable maximum transparency. The number of terminals in the control cabinet is reduced by moving field bus modules into the field, freeing up space.
ith the Hygienic Design modules for Cube67, the Cube system features the benefits you need for your machines and systems implemented in the food industry. The food industry has extremely demanding requirements when it comes to durability and cleanliness of components. The Cube67 Hygienic Design modules have been designed to fulfill every single requirement. They are housed in a closed stainless-steel housing and feature as well as threads in V4A (1.4404) and that facilitate cleaning. They meet the highest protection class IP69K. The Cube67 on-machine installation concepts can be used actively right into food areas. These features can reduce costs: • Eliminate the costly stainlesssteel terminal boxes used in the food sector can be phased out completely by using Cube67 Hygienic Design modules.
The Cube67 field bus system makes it possible to change bus without changing system: installation concepts can be implemented independent of existing control concepts. Simply select the bus module with the desired field bus protocol; Murrelektronik can provide bus nodes for the most common field bus systems.
Cube67 at work
Cube67 solutions provide maximum cost-benefit ratio across the entire life cycle of a machine: through simplified design, fast application assembly, error-free commissioning, and maximized system runtime for productive operation.
Cube67 Hygienic Design
Suitable for food zones Cube67 from Murrelektronik is a field bus system with a modular design for on-machine installation concepts. It’s engineered flexibly to be the optimal solution for any application – meeting protection class IP20 through IP69K. • Parallel wiring over stainless steel mesh in food & beverage applications is extremely elaborate, and expensive specialized cordsets need to be used. The Cube67 HD system directly connections the processes with a one-cable-technology sytem. This saves space and greatly reduces the installation efforts! • Valve manifolds and intelligent sensors can be implemented in a cost-efficient way via the IO-Link master module.
Cube67 Hygienic Design modules
Cube67 Hygienic Design modules at work
Find out more about Murrelektronik I/O systems and decentralised automation www.murrelektronik.com/products-industries/products/io-systems 18 - Automation Update
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