Electric Actuators Replace Pneumatics for Testing

SMAC electric actuators (Moving Coil Technology) are replacing conventional pneumatics in standard QC and Switch Test applications due to the high degree of precise force control and programmability.

Major global manufacturers of mobile phones are replacing their in-house pneumatic production and test systems with SMAC electric actuator systems. The major reason for the change is the precise force control which allows the testing of different parts of the phone key pad with different forces, extremely difficult and costly to do with old fashioned pneumatic devices. Also, highly accurate positioning control within 20 microns is possible, and the unique SMAC electric actuator solution also delivers a more compact and neater solution with lower installation, maintenance and running costs.

The SMAC electric actuator systems provide 100% feedback and data provision for the manufacturer’s QC checking, SPC and quality systems. This in-line testing significantly improved quality, reduced waste and increased efficiency during production.

This application success story is from SMAC.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SMAC distributor in Wisconsin.
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A value added alternative to VME cards to enable network communication

Based in Stow in Ohio, Sytech Systems provides complete control solutions. From electrical and control panel design and construction to software engineering. They deliver a turnkey solution including implementation, installation and start up. Sytech Systems integrates hardware and software to achieve manufacturing excellence by using state of the art equipment, technology and methods. Sytech Systems is well known in the industry as an integrator of industrial process control systems: from tunnels deep under the Himalayas to modern steel production plants in Arkansas. They also integrate vision and data acquisition systems as well as MES.

“We work with every major brand of PLC, but creating a bridge between two networks in order to send and receive data is usually problematic and time consuming to accomplish”, explains Jeffrey Moore, Senior System Engineer, at Sytech. “One of our customers needed to interface between a GE Fanuc PACSystems RX7i PLC and a Siemens Simocode Motor Management system operating on a PROFIBUS network”.“If there is an open slot in the GE Fanuc PLC rack and there is a GE Fanuc card or third-party VME card available to make the connection, then creating a bridge between the PLC and the“foreign” network is not too difficult. However, if there is no slot available, then the expense of expanding the current rack or adding another rack can be a costly proposition. Furthermore,some third-party VME cards have a set of issues all of their own, making their inclusion into the application time consuming”.

The Anybus® Xgateway ™. It enables them  to provide a bridge between the Fanuc PLC Family’s intrinsic or existing Ethernet network and almost any other industrial network. As in our client’s application, PAC System RX7i Ethernet-to-PROFIBUS network slave devices, Sytech Systems can create a communications path to meet the required specifications.”

Thanks to Anybus® X-gateway™, there was no need to add Fanuc or  third-party VME communications cards to expand the current PLC rack size or to add an expansion rack.

The remotely mounted and independently powered Anybus® X-gateway™ uses existing Ethernet communications to exchange data with the Fanuc PLC via Modbus/TCP. No other equipment is required to bridge between the PLC and another network other than the Anybus®X-gateway ™ and a 24vDC power source. In the PACSystems RX7i-to-PROFIBUSapplication discussed above, the Anybus® X-gateway™ allows up to 125 PROFIBUS slave devices. As cited in the example, the PACSystems RX7i has up to 32 Modbus/TCP channels. If each Modbus/TCP channel were connected to an Anybus®X-gateway™ device, the PACSystems RX7i could potentially communicate with 4000 PROFIBUS slave devices. Furthermore, communications between the PACSystems RX7i and the PROFIBUS network do not add significantly to the PLC sweep time.

This is an success story from HMS/Anybus.

Tri-Phase Automation is a HMS/Anybus/eWon distributor in Wisconsin.
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SoftPLC Produces a BioMass of Power

SoftPLC handles biomass electric power plant

In Northern California, SoftPLC controllers, Tealware I/O and Web Studio are used by Blue Lake Power in their biomass electric power plant. The plant was originally a coal-fired plant that has been converted to burn woody waste. It uses wood chips as its mains fuel source for a conventional boiler which powers a steam-turbine generator.

Four SoftPLC’s are used for material handling, for both the input fuel and the ash by-product conveyors, and for all of the process control. Hardbook CPU’s with remote Tealware I/O connected via Ethernet are used for all the systems. Web Studio is used for the plant SCADA system which includes a redundant server, several desktop client stations and two large LCD displays in the control room. Web Studio is also used as the HMI running on portable tablet PC’s by the maintenance crew.

The Blue Lake plant adds over 93,000 MWh of renewable power to California’s grid and provides significant economic and environmental benefits for the city of Blue Lake and the state of California. The plant’s fuel procurement plan improves forest health, reduces hazardous fuels, and provides stability to the woods industry and local communities.

This application success story is from SoftPLC
Tri-Phase Automation is a SoftPLC distributor in Wisconsin.
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Vertical protection for an automatic pallet lift

Challenge
A pallet lift that connects several floors in a production building is to be protected against unauthorized or unintentional access during operation. At the same time, it should be possible to insert or remove pallets from the lift without triggering the safety device. There was very little mounting space available on the lift.

Application Solution
The automatic pallet lift is protected using the S3000, the only safety laser scanner approved for vertical protection at the time of installation. The device was installed at a height of around 3 m directly on the frame of the pallet lift. The floor is used as the reference contour. Two protective fields, one behind the other, monitor the lift opening and detect the direction of travel. When a pallet is loaded, the S3000 safety laser scanner detects the pallet based on the geometry taught; the pallet is transported into the lift. A person will not have the same rectangular dimensions as a loaded pallet and is reliably detected because the geometry is different to the geometry known to the scanner. If a pallet is to be moved out of the “paternoster”, the protective field is switched so that a movement in this now reversed direction is allowed.

The pallet lift is reliably protected using the safety laser scanner, without hindering the flow of material. The evaluation of the object contour makes it possible to reliably differentiate between man and material. Also with the vertical protection, not just a protective field, programmed only once, is monitored, its reference contours are also checked continuously. If the device adjustment changes in operation, this contour will change and the S3000 safety laser scanner stops the machine.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Color detection and quality control

The perfect combination of contrast and color sensor technology: when producing cables or yarn, the KTS and KTX sensors from SICK detect even the most minor color and contrast difference thanks to the color mode. Even faulty, incorrectly dyed material is detected reliably and sorted out in time.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Control of roll changes

Supply material such as wire or backsplice foil is often wound around rolls. If the roll is changed too early or too late, material loss and machine downtimes are the result. The KTS and KTX contrast sensors from SICK reliably detect the difference between supply material and roll, so necessary roll changes are automatically signaled at the right time.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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CHEP Increases The Availability For Pallet Transport With The Reflex Array Sensor

Damaged pallets have to be detected before they are sent back out into the world again. A reflex array sensor reliably detects all kinds of pallets and reduces the investment of sensors in comparison to a small light grid.

Things are extremely busy at CHEP´s Belgian site in Bornem, with dozens of trucks arriving and leaving every hour, bringing in stacks of blue pallets and picking them up again. Pallets which are sorted, inspected and repaired on site, so that they can be sent back out into the world again. But the quality of all these pallets isn´t the same. How do you detect damaged pallets?

100 mm. Such a light array can detect a pallet perfectly, even if (for example) one block of the pallet is missing. Due to the continuous automatic adjustment of the switching threshold the sensor still works perfectly after 4 months operations in that harsh, dusty environment. Fast and easy in commissioning The two reflex array sensors were installed very easy. Only one sensor, only one power supply connection and only one reflector. The red light array – thanks to the PinPoint LED – is visible very well on the reflector. Furthermore the alignment of the reflex array sensor is supported by an optical alignment. Extension of reliability with the active contamination compensation The reliability of an optical detecting system is reduced due to dust depending on the operating time. The continuous adjustment of the switching threshold keeps a constant distance between the signal and the threshold over a certain time period. This new active contamination compensation increases the availability of the reflex array sensor significantly. That means the cleaning intervals for the optical surfaces will be extended and finally the effort will be reduced.

This is an application story from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Checking the handle position on food crates using IVC-2D

The position of the handle relative to the outer edge of the crate is measured. It is then determined whether the handle is in the correct position.

Challenge
Foodstuff logistics companies often use uniform containers. These containers are equipped with moving handles for transportation and stacking purposes. The handles must be left in a certain position so the containers can automatically be stacked several meters high. If the handles are in different positions, the stacks may fall over and large quantities of valuable foodstuffs become unusable.

Application Solution
The containers pass through an inspection station equipped with an IVC-2D Smart Camera before they reach the stacking and sorting area. The position of the handles is measured relative to the outer contours of the container; it is then determined if the handles are correctly positioned. A special light source, in conjunction with an optical fiber, ensures the results are consistent even when ambient lighting conditions vary. The correct selection of the lighting also ensures that the process is rarely confused by content on the container that may appear similar to a handle.

In this application, the IVC-2D Smart Camera reliably detects container handles, even with external light sources are present. Due to the short duration of the analysis, the cycle time is not impaired. The logistics company has since had no complaints about damage due to crates falling.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Reliably Recording Different Containers on Trays in Automated Small Part Stock

Miniature photoelectric sensors from SICK provide information about presence and position for electronically controlled tray management in an automated small part stock.

Challenge
AM-Automation GmbH in Offenau, Germany, founded in 1986, specializes in project planning, electrical, software and mechanical engineering, production and service for automated high-bay and small part stock technology. The company has developed an automated small part stock, in which a transponder-controlled tray management system enables efficient use of space both in the warehouse and on the tray itself. The controller requires information from photoelectric sensors to identify how many containers are positioned on a tray. When the requirements were analyzed, it was established that the sensors would need a compact size and increased ranges. Another important requirement is that the sensors must guarantee a high degree of detection reliability even if there are reflective, light diffusing and depolarizing surfaces at near range. SICK was able to offer a high performance and economic sensor solution for this.

Application Solution
The wide range of miniature photoelectric sensors includes one sensor with particular optical properties (WL100 Bright Light) that has proved to be the ideal solution. Thanks to their small size and suitable fixtures, the devices can be integrated into the automated small part stock’s storage rises, perfectly aligned and minimizing on space. The moment that a tray moves into one of the sections, the photoelectric sensors successively identify the containers on the tray. The critical effect of plastic surfaces that depolarize the sensor light (and can therefore disrupt the sensor in close range detection) is suppressed by the WL100 Bright Light. At the same time as the containers are detected, the tray’s transponders and the transponders of the containers on the tray are identified electronically and used, together with the signals from the miniature photoelectric sensors, for the REID-assisted tray management. The reliability of the photoelectric sensor signals guarantees a high degree of process reliability and availability when operating the automated small part stock.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Positioning of Storage and Retrieval Systems and Goods Identification

The requirement was to increase the speed and positioning accuracy of storage and retrieval systems, as well as to allow products to be definitively identified whilst still in the storage bay. All the requirements were met with SICK sensor systems.

Formosa Heavy Industries Corp., Taiwan, a company in the FORMOSA Group, has been developing, producing and installing automatic warehouse systems worldwide since 1982. Their products include storage and retrieval systems (SRS), automated guided vehicles (AGV) and the racks themselves. In order to optimize the process speed in the high-bay warehouse, Formosa Heavy Industries Corp. needed to increase not only the speed of the storage and retrieval system itself, but also its positioning accuracy. These objectives were to be achieved by replacing the incremental encoders used previously with fast absolute encoders. Also, the customer wanted maintenance costs to be minimized. The greatest challenge, however, involved adapting the interfaces and control logic used for the nominal/actual comparison. It was a further wish of the customer in this project for the system’s efficiency to be increased by specifically minimizing order picking errors. Accordingly, bar code readers were installed on the load carriers of the storage and retrieval system for some applications. These would identify the products to be picked locally, i.e. at the storage bay itself. SICK developed an outstanding solution for this together with the customer.

Application Solution
The sheer number of DME distance sensors installed successfully in high-bay warehouses all over the world represented another argument that persuaded the customer to use this solution in its storage and retrieval systems (SRM) in future as well. In this case, the DME3000 precisely met the customer’s requirements because it communicates its absolute measurement values in a stable manner via an RS-422 interface, thereby allowing high-speed and highly precise position changes by the storage and retrieval system (SRM). Furthermore, the maintenance-free design of the DME3000 not only won over Formosa Heavy Industries Corp. itself, but also its own customers. It goes without saying that this reduces the maintenance time required. Last but not least, the overall package from SICK was rounded off by using a CLV432 bar code scanner which reads the bar codes on the load carriers within the storage bay with extremely high reliability. In this case, SICK cooperated with Formosa Heavy Industries Corp. to meet the set objectives, thereby significantly boosting the end users’ confidence in the overall system.

Benefit
– Rapid response times by the DME3000 distance measuring devices

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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