In the corrugated box, folding carton and printing industries, minimizing product waste and ensuring efficient material handling are critical. For more than 30 years, C&M Conveyor has helped companies meet these objectives with innovative industrial engineering and conveyor systems design. The company's product line now features new products including plastic belt transfers, load tiering devices, and sheet stripping equipment as well as industry proven automatic chain transfers, strapper consoles, moveable machine infeeds and transfer cars.
More than a product supplier, C&M Conveyor provides system integration and support services – as well as precision-engineered system solutions, including their Computer Inventory Management Systems (CIMS). Built to integrate with C&M conveyors and other equipment throughouta corrugated box plant, the company's CIMS is designed to completely automate the material handling process along various transfer lines – and deliver material as needed to the finishing machines throughout a plant.
Recently, the company released an updated CIMS – based on a Rockwell Automation control system. The computer inventory management system (CIMS) from C&M Conveyor. Allen-Bradley CompactLogix Programmable Automation Controller Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus 6 Graphic Terminal Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Programmable Automation Controller “Our initial systems were developed more than a decade ago and utilized PC-based control. While advanced for their time, these systems were subject to commercial software upgrades and related issues,” said Rob Recker, director of electrical engineering, C&M Conveyor. “The new CIMS is built on an industrially-hardened control platform.” For years, C&M Conveyor had used Allen-Bradley® CompactLogix™ controllers to run their conveyor system equipment. Extending the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture® to the automated CIMS was a logical choice.
Working with Rockwell Automation application experts, C&M Conveyor developed a roadmap for the new system. “While each CIMS requires confi guration to meet the end user's requirements, the core program is defined and proven,” Recker said. “Teaming with Rockwell Automation, we were able to use off -the-shelf hardware to design a customizable system.” Powered by Allen-Bradley ControlLogix® programmable automation controllers (PACs), the CIMS integrates with the CompactLogix-controlled conveyors on the plant floor – as well as the plant's scheduling system. The CIMS is monitored on Allen-Bradley PanelView™ Plus 6 graphic terminals, running FactoryTalk® View supervisory HMI software. “Basically, the plant's schedule dictates how much corrugation must be made into boxes during any given time,” Recker explained. “Using sophisticated algorithms, the ControlLogix controller manages the plant's inventory in storage (WIP) and on the conveyor lines – and ensures material is delivered to the infeed of the finishing machine as required. The plant-wide coordination of material delivery helps prevent any bottlenecks throughout the system. In addition, the automated, conveyor-based system minimizes the need for forklifts, pallet jacks or other manual intervention, which can be inefficient and result in material damage and waste.
“Our CIMS also provides customers with flexibility,” said George Davies, director of mechanical engineering, C&M Conveyor. “The user can run the system in various modes – from completely automatic to semi-automatic.” “Maintaining the same architecture throughout the system has proved to be a significant advantage for C&M Conveyor and our end users,” Recker added. “The integration and communication are seamless.” With numerous systems successfully installed, C&M Conveyor plans to handle future application development solely in house. “That was the plan from the beginning,” said Recker. “We co-developed the initial system with Rockwell Automation with the intention of maintaining the software once development was complete. At the same time, we know we can count on Rockwell Automation for support or training if the need arises.”
For more information, contact: Tom Brentlinger, Sales & Marketing C&M Conveyor, Inc.
Phone: 812.849.5647, Ext. 238
Published August 1, 2014