According to Bill Wright, Managing Director at Datastor Systems: “Datastor is seen as the preferred supplier for process control at ABN. We started working with ABN back in 1989 with the deployment of an Allen-Bradley PLC-5® solution for ABN's automation needs. Over the years the system successfully provided the control required for the manufacturing processes, but like many older automation products, the PLC-5 was heading for obsolescence, with the possibility of putting ABN at risk in terms of hardware failure.
“We compiled a document based on a traffic light system,” he explains, “that detailed the current state of spares in terms of ‘available', ‘not available' and ‘readily available, but heading into obsolescence'. The completion of this analysis highlighted the need for a new solution and it was at this stage that we spoke with Rockwell Automation and discussed its Logix system and its PLC-5 migration tools.”
The large migration at ABN, phased over four weekend shutdowns, comprised the replacement of the core network, multiple controller changes, and the incorporation of a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) solution that runs on PCs above the new programmable automation controllers (PAC).
“We decided to utilise the Allen-Bradley 1771-to-1756 IO Swing-arm Conversion System,” Wright explains. “This enabled the current PLC-5 I/O to be used, while using the latest Allen-Bradley PACs, thus minimizing the need for new electrical wiring. As a result, it provided a cost saving to the client. You can use the existing swing arm with terminal wiring and use push plugs into new backplane. The changeover time is a lot less as you don't have to rewire, thanks to the reuse of existing terminals and backplanes.
“Along with the replacement of the PLC-5 controllers,” Wright continues, “there were existing SLC-5/04 controllers that had to be brought into the new ControlLogix® PAC environment in both the grinding and blending areas. This was achieved using the existing SLC I/O in the plant with 1747-AENTR EtherNet/IP™ adapter modules. These modules provide an Ethernet link back to the main ControlLogix PAC so the SLC I/O could be used as remote I/O.”
By using EtherNet/IP as the primary communication protocol, Datastor can offer its customers remote monitoring and maintenance, with the option to connect the machine into its customers' Connected Enterprise. The Connected Enterprise, an approach manufacturers are adopting to leverage the use of connected machines, supply chains and customers, allows them to establish manufacturing processes that are data and information rich, supported, secure and future-ready for market demands.
Ultimately, a Connected Enterprise approach for manufacturers and their suppliers will create a more competitive, innovative enterprise that can deliver insights to improve productivity, sustainability and economic performance through faster time to market, lower total cost of ownership, improved asset utilisation and enterprise risk management. Other benefits of access to real-time, contextualised information, include minimized downtime, improved technology and process optimisation, greater workforce efficiency and smarter expenditure. Because EtherNet/IP is based on standard, unmodified Ethernet, it means that very little needs to be done for these connections to be established; and full security solutions are also available for user control and to prevent unwarranted access.