Rockwell Automation and a local systems integrator (SI) have recently joined forces to help Ford in Cologne with the relocation and recommissioning of a conveyor-driven storage area, with over 100 conveyors, from an older site into a live production environment.
As well as the logistical elements of the move, both companies had to work together to change the redundant and unsupported incumbent control infrastructure, replacing it with a contemporary solution comprising the automotive industry’s Modular Control Program (MCP) standard running on an Allen-Bradley® Logix-based architecture.
Rockwell Automation and the SI faced a number of challenges in this application, with the primary issue being time.
Like all lean production environments in the automotive industry, there can be no weak links or bottle necks and the lines this conveyor solution was going to serve were about to ramp up to full production.
This meant that the relocation and subsequent commissioning was critical to the production line’s operation and no delays would be acceptable.
Compounding the time issue was the development of the new control infrastructure, which had to be replaced with a new standards-based solution.
It was for this reason that the SI – upon a recommendation from the sponsoring engineer at Ford – involved engineers from Rockwell Automation, not only for their knowledge of the MCP standard that Ford had requested, but also for their intimate knowledge of the Logix architecture.