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Client
Valspar Corporation

Overview
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 production reports.

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.

    Features/Benefits
  • 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

    Development Tools
  • 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 very happy."

Valspar Corporate Project Engineer
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