A precisely synchronized production line is a beautiful thing to behold. But achieving peak productivity on a complex line comprised of multiple machines, conveyors and systems is no easy task. For more than 20 years, Roeslein & Associates has applied its engineering, fabrication and construction expertise to help customers reach optimal efficiency on their production lines quickly and seamlessly. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Roeslein builds unitized, preassembled systems for the container manufacturing, process and energy industries.
The global company maintains manufacturing operations in Red Bud, Illinois and Shanghai, China. “Typically, we produce everything from an integration standpoint,” said Ray Hoelting, electrical engineering manager, Roeslein & Associates. “We take manufactured equipment from other companies, and we integrate it into our line control system.” Roeslein offers customers full concept-to-completion project solutions – and can assume the role of an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, general contractor or system integrator, depending on customer requirements. “Our business model is built around flexibility,” Hoelting said. “And our modular approach to specialized plant facilities is our key differentiator.
In fact, the company's approach to aluminum can manufacturing has made it an industry leader. To turn cold rolled aluminum into beverage-ready cans, the production line includes cupping presses, bodymakers, washers, decorators, inside spray systems, neckers and palletizers. Cans leave the system open and ready for the filler. While typical contractors build a production facility and then outfit it with the equipment onsite, Roeslein premanufactures logical units dedicated to each system in the process. Unitized sections include all process piping, the cable tray, lighting, handrails and conveyors – and are shipped to the facility pretested and ready for installation. “The key benefits of our system are speed and agility,” explained Hoelting. “Because we can fabricate and test the production line while the factory is being built, we can complete an installation about 50 percent faster than the usual ‘stick built' process.” Fully assembled Roeslein systems churn out up to
3,000 aluminum beverage cans per minute and are generally more than 80 percent efficient within three months of installation.
To support the company's modular approach, the Roeslein can manufacturing system is built on a Rockwell Automation On-Machine™ architecture, featuring Allen-Bradley® GuardLogix® safety controllers and Allen-Bradley ArmorStart® distributed motor controllers. “GuardLogix controllers provide us with the safety functionality and flexibility we need to meet global requirements,” Hoelting explained. “With the controllers, we can easily add specific safety components that may be required for various systems and geographic regions.” ArmorStart controllers provide the modulated speed control required throughout the system. Depending on system size, 100 to 150 ArmorStart units are used on each can manufacturing line. “We rely on ArmorStart controllers to help keep our lines running efficiently,” Hoelting said. “Rather than stopping the system if there is a machine issue downstream, we can simply slow it down and still keep producing cans.”
The Roeslein system uses the ArmorStart controllers for motor applications under 5 Hp. For the blowers and other higher horsepower applications on the line, Roeslein applies Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® 525 and 753 AC drives. The system is integrated on EtherNet/IP™ and monitored on Allen-Bradley PanelView™ Plus 6 graphic terminals. “Using ArmorStart controllers and PowerFlex drives throughout the system significantly reduces energy use,” Hoelting said. “In some parts of the world, our customers are paying up to 30 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity. Decreasing energy consumption is key.” As Roeslein continues to expand its global presence, it will rely on Rockwell Automation for support. “Rockwell Automation has supported us in all our international endeavors,” Hoelting said. “We know we can count on them for any local training or support our customers need to keep their systems running optimally.”