Ignition Addresses Numerous Issues, Saves Money
Project OverviewThe plant consists of three extrusion lines. They are similar in many respects but different enough that each line requires a unique HMI solution. There is also a collection of resin dryers, towers, and chillers that are controlled by an additional workstation. The previous software was beyond its useful life, tag limits were a problem, not enough licenses were available, and there was not a support contract. We needed to address the following problems:
- Islands Unto Themselves: Tags on one machine could not be used on another machine. They had to be recreated and this increased communication loads on the PLCs.
- Tag Limits: We had hit the 1500-tag limit on two systems, were close on two others, and had additional data we wanted to incorporate into our visualization system.
- Licensing Costs: To upgrade our existing RSView32 system would have cost about $20,000 and we would still be stuck with the same tag and client limits.
- Thick Clients: RSView32 is a very thick client. The computer RSView32 runs on does communication, data collection, and visualization. Configuring a new machine took hours and the machine had to be powerful enough to run the software.
- Poor Data Historian: RSView32 does not have a historian. It will save log data but does not do any logical compression. The time resolution of the data is dependent on the logging interval.
- Additional Consoles: Every RSView32 machine needed a separate license.
- Cost: It became apparent very quickly that it would cost a lot more than $20,000 to actually improve our existing system.
I graduated from RPI with a degree in Mechanical Engineering way back in 1987. I have worked at Bixby International since 1993 in Maintenance, IT, and finally as Engineering Manager. My responsibilities include all hardware and software technologies used at Bixby. I started programming PLCs back in 1989 and HMIs in 1991. On the office side of Bixby, I have developed database and intranet solutions to interface with both production data and our ERP system.Created By:
Bixby has been around for about 140 years. It started in Haverhill, Mass., manufacturing parts for the shoe industry. Although footwear is still a part of Bixby’s business today, we are a diversified custom plastic film and sheet extruder. Unlike most extruders, we specialize in short runs of specialized resins and compounds. Website: www.bixbyintl.comIndustry: