Taking total control

A car production line - image courtesy of Siemens.

How automation and special purpose machine builder Orwin achieved improved production flexibility without compromising on quality.

The drive behind Tyne and Wear-based Orwin’s need to improve flexibility came directly from its own customer-base.

A key client in the food and drink manufacturing sector showed increasing expectations for Orwin to help them keep pace with the demands for flexibility, responsiveness and quality which are pre-requisites for their industry.

Rising to the challenge, Orwin sought assistance from Siemens and its solution partner, Cleveland Systems.

With this duo, the specialist machine builder found common assumptions that increased flexibility would negatively impact on quality dropped away.

Siemens Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) offering, which promises integrated control of automated systems, is largely to thank for this.

Tam Ashcroft, director at Cleveland Systems explains: “To improve system and manufacturing flexibility for the end customer’s 18 axis brake pad machining and assembly line capability, which Orwin was developing, we looked at the design and commissioning of the automated control system software.

“Siemens Sinamics S7-300 PLC, S120 18 Axis servo controllers, Profibus distributed links and the MP277 10” touch screen HMIs were judged as an integrated and proven answer for the machine’s control functionality.”

The reconfiguration entailed the connection of the S7-300 PLC to the S120 drives via Profibus DP.

Standard Siemens telegrams were configured to achieve cyclic data transfer, giving full PLC control and monitoring of each drive, including the transfer each way of parameters and data sets.

Traversing block control philosophy was used, giving 64 pre-defined movements for each axis and the S120 servo controllers were connected to each motor using Drive CLIQ technology.  This provided optimised plug and play diagnostic capabilities.

Early stage planning

The software design was developed and submitted at an early stage of the project, along with sample code and timing plans for the new control system implementation.

The modular software design allowed for straightforward system configuration, ease of navigation and future maintenance.  This complemented the TIA approach and allowed for accelerated commissioning of communications between the drives, PLC and HMI devices.

Brian Murphy from Orwin summarises the operational benefits: “With the solution provided, all control aspects of the brake pad machining and assembly production have been tackled.”

As a result, Mr Murphy claims Orwin’s end user has seen significant improvements in terms of reliability, repeatability, clearer diagnostics information, production flexibility and overall efficiencies for the brake pad machining production.

John Inskip from Siemens Industry adds: “The system now has easily navigable software supported by the communication intelligence that sits behind the Siemens’ TIA approach.

“In areas such as recipe controls, the machine operators can simply adjust the parameters over the HMI, and together with the traversing block movements that are also editable from the S7-300 PLC, it now provides the end user with a high level of production control and flexibility.”

Orwin’s Murphy concludes: “Siemens TIA has provided a complete automation control solution.  It is delivering tangible benefits for our customer, allowing it to respond to changing market needs.”