Keeping tabs on six powder coating production lines is a challenge
for control room operators at Valspar. They must know immediately
if equipment fails or operates out of allowable process limits.
Then they can take corrective action before problems arise,
like product jams, downtime, or worse, bad product. To lessen
this burden, operators wanted to initiate automatic startup
and shutdown sequences of equipment instead of having to start
equipment manually. Although they can control all lines from
any interface, each operator interface in the control room
is typically dedicated to a particular line. It was also important
that additional interfaces (on the production floor and on
a portable computer) allow operators and maintenance personnel
to control the equipment locally. When necessary, their maintenance
personnel could operate and test individual components independently.
We gave each production line a dedicated Allen-Bradley PLC
controller responsible for controlling and monitoring extruders,
feeders, belts, mills, process air blowers, product scales,
a bag house and related equipment. Each controller maintains
accurate feed rates, speeds, temperatures and process air
flow rate. Responsibility for common utilities are shared
among the line controllers and a dedicated Allen-Bradley controller.
We used Wonderware's InTouch for the operator interface
and Wonderware's InSQL to collect and store historical process
data. Historical process data can be trended for problem diagnosis
or system evaluation. Lot information is stored in custom
MS SQL tables. Seagate's Crystal Reports generates and prints
Because environmental consultants and engineers were located
throughout the U.S., remote control and dial-up connectivity
was essential. Using native Windows 2000 dial-up networking
and Netmeeting, the consultants are able to dial-in, view
the system status, and retrieve historical system data.
- Color of process equipment allows the operator to visually
discern status immediately.
- Highly distributed architecture allows all production
lines to be controlled from any operator interface.
- Fast communications between operator interfaces and PLCs
over dedicated 100Base-T network
- Automatic fail-over of I/O Server.
- Highly reliable fast database server with RAID5 disks
and dual processors.
- Real-time and historical trending for problem diagnosis
and system evaluation.
- Lot tracking and production reporting
- RSLogix & RSLinx
- Wonderware FactorySuite 7.1 & InSQL 7.1
- Seagate Crystal Reports
- Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0
- Microsoft SQL 7.0
Client Comments: "Manufacturing powder coatings is a
difficult process. Process parameters are critical and must
be held to tight tolerances. Our new system provides complete
control and monitoring of all production lines and notifies
our production operators immediately of any process alarms.
This reduces our downtime and keeps quality control personnel
Valspar Corporate Project Engineer