According to Assaf Beckman, Project Manager at Tomatic: “The existing system was based around a tailor-made black box solution running on much older controllers. It was very hard for the engineers to control the recipes or add new equipment. Indeed, in many cases they would need intervention from the original system supplier to make any significant modifications. What they wanted was a more open, user friendly and flexible approach that would give them the ability to own the system – in terms of its development and evolution – and not be held hostage by legacy suppliers.
“The company approached us with its list of requirements,” he continues, “and we teamed up with Rockwell Automation to present our proposed solution. Once we had Rockwell Automation on board, its engineers undertook a site survey to see what was required and how best to develop a configuration based on the customer’s precise needs.”
The solution initially comprises a pilot project based on a mid-range programmable automation controller (PAC). This is being run (and wired) in parallel with the existing control architecture and is being used to ascertain the operational capabilities of the new system, using manual feed systems.
This pilot project will eventually be scaled up across the whole process system through the replacement of two legacy computers with a new server and control solution based around a higher range PAC coupled with FactoryTalk® Batch and FactoryTalk Historian software suites delivering a modern DCS. “We are able to keep the existing wiring system and there will be no impact on the control cabinets due to the size of the replacement components, so the physical impact of the changes will be negligible. The biggest impact will be how well the system operates. And if the pilot project is anything to go by, the customer will see a step change in its in-house capabilities.”
The deployment of smart devices will be further enhanced by the interconnectivity the solution offers, which will allow the customer to modernise and migrate further into a Connected Enterprise, which converges plant-level and enterprise networks, and securely connects people, processes and technologies – delivering greater (and easier) third-party interactions and the ability to analyse and act upon data from a much wider array of information nodes.