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Operator Interface Applications
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Application: PLC Network Pays Big at Popular Casino
Products used: DL06 PLC, LookoutDirect, EZTouch operator panel
Description: A seven-PLC serial radio and Ethernet network that monitors and controls a casino water system has improved both system reliability and water quality. Three wells with chlorine and fluoride addition, four reservoirs, and the fire system are controlled by this PLC network. The seven PLCs are networked to the LookoutDirect platform, which provides full SCADA/HMI for the system operators, both locally and remotely via a dial-up connection. Previously, monitoring and control functions were mostly manual with the use of some standard pool timers. Typical problems were water shortages – or no water – and overflow of the reservoirs. One overflow incident even caused a traffic accident due to water running across the highway. As for water quality, it had been unpredictable because data on actual chemical feed rates was lacking. The integration of AutomationDirect products, use of automated alarms, and access to readily available information has yielded significant improvements.
Products used: DL205, EZTouch, Dataworx
Description: We were tasked with developing a production final tester for a new line of temperature limit controllers. Based on the requirements, we chose a DL205 base and D2-260 CPU with I/O cards - an analog card controls our temperature sensor simulators and allows for a barcode reader and printer. The operator interface is an EZTouch panel. Once we wrote the main program we just cloned the “recipe” and changed the set point parameters and I/O requirements for each model. (This was quite a programming time-saver and all the operator has to do now is touch one button to change the model being tested.) We are using Dataworx to collect the tested parameters and make the information available to whomever requires it, suc as quality, engineering, or even the customer.
Products used: DL205 & 6" EZTouch Panel
Description: Cosmo Corporation produces coil forms for the electrical and electronic industries. This includes thermoplastic and thermoset molding, as well as round wire, square wire, flat terminals, and assemblies. My challenge was to improve the assembly operations. By implementing systems using the DL205 and EZTouch Panels, I was able to build user-friendly controls that include automatic and manual operation, but more importantly, complete diagnostics and data collection at the touch of a button. The new controls and diagnostics reduced maintenance requirements to the barest minimum, and the data collection provides production with accurate, real-time operator, part number, and machine capability information. This being a newly implemented project, the full impact of the improvements is yet to be appreciated, however I can say that the reduction in maintenance, increased reliability, and improved performance has improved productivity by nearly 14%, and the production data provides information for accurate/competitive pricing of our products.
Products used: DL05 PLC, F2-Unicon converter and EZTouch Panel
Description: We recently used DL05 PLCs to replace the conventional thermostats in our building, using a FO-04AD-1 analog input module to monitor the room temperature. The PLCs are linked to the EZTouch panel through F2-Unicon RS232/RS422 converters and a single, 2 twisted pair shielded wire. The EZ Touch panel is located in the maintenance department, so all temperatures can be monitored and adjusted as needed through the panel. This also allows alarm indicators for early warning of equipment failure.
With the use of AutomationDirect products, we have eliminated thermostat
tampering, and gained easy access to room temperatures control throughout
Products used: DL06 and EZTouch
Description: We recently installed a bulk cement handling
facility at our Joliet, IL location. The facility offloads cement from
river barges and pneumatically conveys the powder into a massive storage
dome, and truck loading facility. The concrete dome, which will hold 30
barge loads of cement powder, was erected using an inflatable air form
system. A MODBUS network of four DL06 PLCs, controlled by an EZ Touch
Operator Interface outloads the cement from the dome. A 4-20 ma PID loop
implemented by one of the DL06 processors is used to control the speed
of two hydraulically driven sweep augers. An analog radar sensor monitors
the cement level in the truck-loading silo. All three primary functions
are graphically animated and displayed on the EZ Touch panel. The “supervisory
master” DL06 controls the pneumatic conveying system and acts as
the communications hub for the slave processors. Each processor runs local
functions independent of the master. One feature that is particularly
useful is the Alarm History feature of the EZ Touch. Future planned expansions
of this facility will be simply and easily added to our system network.
Products used: D2-260, EZText 220P
Description: Our system controls aluminum anodizing. The operator uses the EZText panel to enter the size of the job and the desired thickness of anodizing. The D2-260 translates this into the necessary current, voltage, and time profile required to produce the desired result, and controls a 300kW SCR switched power supply that delivers the anodizing current to the workpiece.
Since the optimum waveform has both short term (~1sec) and long term (~5min) components, and needs precise control over two orders of magnitude (10A to 1000A), the floating point math capabilities of the D2-260 are used quite heavily.
The environment is extremely noisy electrically (because of the 300kW SCR phase angle switching), so the design of the grounding and shielding, as well as software filtering, were very important to the success of the project.
In addition to the standard PLC on/off inputs and outputs, analog inputs
and analog outputs are used as part of the monitoring and control process.
Products used: DL05, DL06, EZTouch operator interface
Description: NASA Ames Wind Tunnel Division in Moffett
Field, CA has a new 3000 psi 200 GPM hydraulic unit to control the blade
angle of a helicopter model. But the new hydraulic unit was delivered
without remote control and facility controls system interlock. The DL06,
DL05, and EZTouch were chosen to implement remote control of the unit
and to interface with the wind tunnel facility control system. The DL06
with optional 2-channel analog input and 2-channel analog output card
was mounted inside the hydraulic unit main control cabinet. The DL06’s
built-in digital I/O is used for local start/stop, light indications and
interlocks of the hydraulic unit. The analog input of the option card
is used to check the temperature of the unit and the 0-10 VDC output is
wired to control the servo valve for flow and pressure adjustment. The
DL05, with optional 4-channel analog input is used as the remote master
PLC to talk to the DL06, which is about 500 feet away. The DL05 analog
input card is wired for temperature, pressure, and flow sensors at the
test section of the wind tunnel. The EZTouch is connected to Port 1 of
DL05 and is used as a control interface and parameter display inside the
control room of the wind tunnel.
Products used: 8” EZTouch operator interface
Description: Kors Engineering uses an 8” EZTouch color panel to help provide a consistent, easy-to-use press automation interface for a metal stamping application. Prior press controls varied press to press, but with Kors Engineering's integration, presses now have a consistent interface. This allows multiple operators to operate multiple presses, as opposed to specialized interfaces that required unique training for each press. Operators can now see the full press operation and also have easy navigation through the press settings. With screens developed in conjunction with the customers' requests, learning curves were drastically reduced. The facility currently has several dozen presses. Since our installations, they are running higher production then they've ever performed.
Products used: DL06 PLC, F0-04AD-1 analog input module, 6” EZTouch operator interface
Description: We recently added ten injection-molding
machines to our plant. These are high-volume machines that require a material
feed and distribution system that will keep up with the demand for material
(virgin plastic pellets). I designed a control system using a DL06 PLC
interfaced with a 6” EZTouch color touch panel. This system controls
two vacuum pumps, six material lines, and 10 feed hoppers. The system
can be configured via the touch panel to run two types of material and
to control which press to deliver it to. We are also capable of controlling
the distribution of material based on frequency of demand. The most useful
feature of this system is self-diagnosis of problems and data acquisition.
Since vacuum leaks are detrimental and hard to locate on this type of
system, I also installed a vacuum transducer on each vacuum system that
compares vacuum as each hopper is loading. Any critical reading is written
to the touch screen’s database. The performance of the system is
displayed on the touch screen as a historical trend graph and holds two
hours of information. What used to take considerable time to troubleshoot
this system now only requires a glance at the touch screen.
Products Used: EZTouch Panel
Description: Versatility is the sum of Ogden Mfg.'s ETR line and AutomationDirect's EZTouch panel. We have taken the open platform of the EZTouch panel and interfaced it with our entire range of temperature controllers. This panel helps us provide a stand-alone terminal to act as a single point interface for up to 100 Ogden PID controllers and access the 256 parameters of each individual control at once. Combined with the GUI and single touch recipe loads from the touch panel, this makes for a very powerful temperature system with little training in the field.
Products Used: EZ Touch and D4-430 controller
Description: We have a horizontal boring mill that was retrofitted with the D4-430 control. The retrofit was done just before we purchased the machine and a poor job was done on it. For months we were working out the bugs in the controls and programming. If it weren't for AutomationDirect's support staff, I don’t know what I would have done. I was able to learn how to program and redesign the entire ladder structure. We were still plagued with old wires shorting out, so I designed a new control panel and rewired the entire machine. Unfortunately, I didn't know about the EZ Touch panel until a few months later. After rewiring, the next problems were in two of the multi contact switches. The switches are the kind that control various gears shifting and only two of the three contacts worked on the mechanical switch, causing the gears to crash. I replaced them twice at a cost of $150.00 each. I then saw the EZ Touch panels added in the catalog and convinced management to let me give it a try. The price was close to that of the old switches and the only other purchases were for software and cables. It also eliminated any possibility of gears crashing because of mechanical failure of switches or wire breakage. One small cable replaced 72 wires from the control console to the control box. When I started programming, it was to control speeds and feeds only. However, it was so easy I decided to program nearly all the control functions of the machine on four screens. Since the installation of this control, we have not had another control problem. Great products, affordable prices, outstanding documentation and support. Thanks again!!