Supporting A Global Leader
By 2040, it’s expected that 54% of new vehicle sales will be electric vehicles (EVs). As battery costs continue to fall, demand for EVs will rise, soon making the automotive market the single largest application for batteries.
The challenge for EV and battery manufacturers is to accelerate production at a sufficient rate to meet demand in the short term. They also need to future-proof their production operations for
further inevitable innovations in the automotive powertrain.
This automaker’s electrification plan was simple: play to its strengths and build on iconic nameplates. To do that, they leveraged the unique qualities of full battery electric vehicles to amplify the attributes customers love and value.
To help achieve its goals, the automaker relied on partner Precision Automation and Robotics India (PARI). PARI is known for engine assembly and battery pack/module assembly lines for electrical vehicles.
PARI is a respected in the automotive, tire and rubber industries, and customers rely on PARI’s India-Pune facility to help meet growing global demands for electric vehicles.
Variation Causes Delays
The automaker’s goal was to improve its complex battery pack/module assembly line to reduce time to market. For PARI, the time required to engineer a system like this is significant, and can impact project delivery schedules.
The challenge of customized lines includes variation in line speeds, precise pick and place heavy loads at high speeds, controller stoppage, close coordination between up and down stream lines and processes, protection of intellectual property, and connectivity and seamless data flow between IT and OT.
To help improve the electric vehicle battery line, PARI needed to reduce the time spent configuring unique solutions for custom projects. The goal was to reuse common engineering components for this and future projects.
From previous projects, PARI India found that while significant engineering time was spent on each project, maintaining consistency in the application code over various projects was also a challenge, impacting maintainability.
All of these factors lead to a higher-than-desired installation time. Another drawback occurred due to the limitation of handling data over a higher number of nodes on the EtherNet/IP communications network.
Solutions for a Customized Line
For the customized solution, PARI worked with Rockwell Automation to deliver a complete automation system that would allow the customer to rebalance their lines quickly. In addition, the end user wanted a solution that would match the existing architecture, and use a template similar to what they were currently using.
Rockwell Automation solution and technical consultants performed an in-depth analysis to identify the challenges of the complex battery line. The configurable solution would need to consider variability and functionality; architecture scalability; and future requirements.
The goal was to encapsulate application code in a standard global programming template. The team created an application library, with section-wise control, so PARI could configure the code by using key selections. The template adopted a modular code structure, to ensure code re-usability while addressing custom variants. The team also created application specific function blocks (Add-On Instructions) and ensured IP protection of application code by using different levels of protection in Studio 5000 Logix Designer®, an application used to configure, program and maintain the entire Allen-Bradley® Logix 5000 familiar of controller’s and related devices.
Rockwell Automation ControlLogix® control systems use a common control engine with a common development environment to provide high performance in an easy-to-use environment. Tight integration between the programming software, controller and I/O modules reduces development time and cost at commission and during normal operation. ControlLogix L8Y and L350 controllers help to ensure that the automaker has a future-ready architecture and layout that’s easy to integrate into the current assembly.
PanelView™ Plus 7 graphic terminals were used to help simplify configuration. The terminals include Ethernet connectivity so users can monitor applications from remote locations.
Kinetix® VP-Series servo motors provide smooth, integrated motion over EtherNet/IP networks and are optimized to run with Kinetix 5700 servo drives. Kinetix VPC continuous duty servo motors provide continuous power and torque.
PowerFlex® 755 AC drives provide ease of use, application flexibility and high performance. PARI simplified the replacement of drives by automatically configuring the parameters from the controller with auto drive recovery (ADR) functionality.
The 1734 POINT I/O™ family of distributed IO offered digital, analogy and specialty I/O. Comprehensive diagnostics and confinable features make PIONT I/O easy to apply.
The solution networks motion and process on EtherNet/IP, a single, unified, strong communication network. The benefits of this solution create a foundation for the future, as EtherNet/IP is an industry standard and a popular choice across industries.
Results Improve Time to Market
As a result of implementing this solution, PARI reduced engineering time by 50%; increased their global competitiveness by delivering a complex line with Rockwell Automation technology; and simplified its architecture with a single EtherNet/IP protocol – offering enhanced diagnostics, reduced installation and commissioning time to improve PARI’s time to market.
The results mentioned above are specific to PARI’s use of Rockwell Automation products and services in conjunction with other products. Specific results may vary for other customers.
Allen-Bradley, ControlLogix, Kinetix, PanelView™ Plus 7 graphic terminals, POINT I/O, PowerFlex, Rockwell Automation and Studio 5000 Logix Designer are trademarks of Rockwell Automation, Inc.