Go (Recon) Figure

In the manufacturing world, time is often your worst enemy. Margins are usually tight, and start-up schedules have to be as short as possible. This is especially true when it comes to large consumer goods companies. One such client recently wanted to replace packaging lines, and their success can largely be chalked up to solid virtual simulation and system analytics tools.

The situation was difficult: one of the world’s largest consumer goods company’s iconic food has been on the tables of millions of Americans for decades. However, new requirements for increased flexibility and capacity in the line demanded that the old line and control software be changed out. With a tight two-week deadline, the client needed to meet or exceed the following work requirements: Four banks of baggers with the ability to share common trunk lines, every bagger needed to be able to go to any packer, old lines and control software needed to be removed and replaced, completely dynamic controls debugging was needed in 2 days (not the standard 2-4 weeks), and they needed to be back in production 2 weeks from the day the line was shut down.

For the manufacturer to meet these deadlines and requirements, they had 3 options: Build the line off-site (pre-integrate) and then disassemble and reinstall, send production to an outside co-packer for the duration of shutdown, or virtual pre-integration and virtual commissioning of controls.

Our team quickly eliminated the options to build the line off site, which would require disassembling it and reinstalling it. The time, complexity and costs made that option impractical. Also eliminated from consideration was to send production to an outside co-packer for the duration of the shutdown. Tight deadlines and margins, as well as costs, made that option untenable, as well. The team quickly shifted to performing a virtual pre-integration and virtual commissioning of controls.

The virtual verification followed a 4-step process prior to installing equipment and making the new line live: Audit; Develop Model/Create Process to Test Model; Develop New Program Control Scheme; Test on Model.

For the Audit step, each packaging line was audited prior to the beginning of the relocation to verify the accuracy of the layouts, schematics, programs, and the system architecture. Each packaging line’s PLC and HMI programs were then recorded and used as a base point for simulation program development.

Next, checklists were developed for each control point to validate and verify the engineering of the relocation. With all those assurances 먹튀검증 regarding legacy data and performance in place, the simulation program development for the new line could begin. Emulation models allowed the controls engineers to validate all the custom code for a system using a scaled, 3D simulation of the line.

The consulting team set up the HMI & PLC at their lab in Atlanta. New control schemes were created; HMI screens were developed; and custom programming was written. New PLCs were to be integrated into the existing system architecture. The system also used a new HMI distributed application configuration allowing monitoring and servicing from a centralized location with the added benefit of being deployed to existing HMI locations as required.

Once the PLC and HMI programs were completed, they could be tested on the new simulation model. Dynamic checklists were developed and used to validate each possible routing scenario for baggers to cartoners. The dynamic checklists included the validation of fault logic, jam logic and routing capabilities with an emphasis of “on-demand” change-overs.

At this point, complete dynamic controls debugging could begin. Controls engineers executed and debugged the modified PLC and HMI programs prior to onsite commissioning. The team’s simulation and systems analytics tools were used to test, debug and confirm the control systems functionality of each routing scenario prior to on-site commissioning.

The customer then verified all systems analytics data, models, and simulation during a demonstration of the controls at the office. The actual installation could start with the full confidence of the entire team.
The application of the simulation and systems analytics tools allowed the client to have their line up and running by the deadline. They also outran their startup curve. In fact, all requirements were met or exceeded. This was made possible only because the team made use of proprietary emulation modeling tools and startup management practices.

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