A single Snap-in I/O module from Unitronics did just the trick!
AMPS Industrial Controls Corp., a distributor of automation components and systems integrator, was recently hired by an end user to update and automate the controls of a second-hand Pultrusion machine purchased on ebay. The machine’s purpose, to manufacture fiberglass poles, requires a continuous process of pulling raw materials through a bath of resin, and then into a heated die where the resin will undergo polymerization.
With capabilities such as serial communication, analogue, discrete and high speed inputs and outputs, the Unitronics Vision290™ seemed to be a perfect fit. Analog outputs were used to control the speed of the winder while analog inputs were used to monitor pressure. High speed inputs were needed to monitor speed and several thermocouple inputs were required for temperature control.
As a bonus, the Vision290’s™ built-in touchscreen HMI served as an advanced maintenance terminal for monitoring performance. Having the panel as an integrated part of the PLC allows it to easily draw the relevant data from the system.The Vision290™ PLC was also very attractive from a cost standpoint. All other PLC brand options were far more costly because of the unique I/O requirements. Matthew French, an electrical engineer at AMPS Industrial Controls Corp., says “The cost of other big brand PLCs would have been staggering whereas a single Snap-in I/O module from Unitronics did just the trick.”
A&B Packaging of Lawrence, MI specializes in fresh packing and cleaning equipment for fruits and vegetables worldwide. They had been using custom, pre-programmed PLC boards to control their packaging and cleaning equipment that had quickly become out of date. They were facing upgrading and re-programming costs of over $85,000 on top of additional costs per-board. Ultimately, they were unable to change the program on their own, which forced them to add an outside HMI.
Unitronics’ V570 and V350 PLCs with onboard HMIs were brought in to give A&B Packaging more flexibility to react to their customer’s unique needs; versus giving them a canned package. “Our biggest advantage with the Unitronics PLC is the lower overall cost.” Said Allen Roggow, Field Tech Supervisor for A&B Packaging. “These units also gave us the ability to customize software and gave us the benefit of having one database to put together the HMI screens.” Most of the units A&B Packaging is using are the V570’s due to the size of the screens (5.7”) and the restrictions on their panel size. They are utilizing the V350 models for their smaller machinery.
Marathon Bottling and Automation LLC is a mobile wine bottling and custom automation OEM that has been using Unitronics PLCs for over 6 years and have now automated their new mobile wine bottling operation. In conjunction with using Unitronics PLCs on their custom automation projects, they have begun networking Unitronics Vision130™ PLC to control local functions on the truck, and the Vision1210™ for the entire system control and data collection. This mobile operation connects to a winery’s tank, pumps the wine into the equipment on the truck and nitrogen sparges, fills, vacuum corks, and labels all the bottles at 50 bottles per minute. The whole bottling system consists of a rotary nitrogen bottle sparger, gravity filler, vacuum corker, a 6 head capsule spinner, and pressure sensitive and cold glue labeler with 6 conveyor control.
In order to get this system running, they required RS485 for control of variable speed AC motor drives along with analog inputs for temperature measurements of incoming water during the sanitation process. Analog inputs were also used to monitor incoming nitrogen gas pressure. Various and multiple I/O were needed for general sensors and pneumatic valve actuators. High-speed outputs were needed for stepper-motors along with high-speed inputs for rapid sensor detection. Accurate label placement with even spacing between front and back labels was also a necessity. “After using/programming several other brands of PLCs, Unitronics software is by far the most intuitive and easily understood while providing significant functionality and quality.” Said Murphy. “The time it takes to configure and implement features and functions in other PLC brands often isn’t even required in Unitronics due to the ease of use. Completely new features to me are often covered well in the example code. After copy/paste into my code, they often work the first time.” “By providing built-in features of RS485, analog inputs and general I/O along with multiple PLC to PLC communication options, Unitronics has always stepped up to the challenges.” Said Murphy.
Due to the seamless integration of all these options, the programming challenges are kept to the processes at hand instead of configuration issues, handshake issues, communication issues, etc. that other PLCs require.”
Tri-Phase Automation is an engineering based distributor with a broad breadth of innovative industrial solutions for the water and wastewater industry and we are a proud member of the The Water Council.
Our solutions range from the Internet of Things (IoT), remote monitoring & data acquisition, HMIs, PLCs, motion control, safety, sensors, to programming including panel builds and design.