Automatismes Girona Deploys Device Level Ring (DLR) Technology

Automatismes Girona Deploys Device Level Ring

Challenge

  • A Mexican feed manufacturer needed its entire distributed manufacturing facility to be connected to a central control system

Solutions

Results

  • Reduction of production times and costs
  • Increase in the quality of the technology infrastructure in the factory
  • In case of system failure, production no longer needs to be stopped

Network architecture from Rockwell Automation provides higher security and faster response in automation processes for compound feed mills

Background

Since 1983, Automatismes Girona (AUGI) has developed and implemented complete solutions in the field of industrial automation in order to upgrade any kind of machinery and process. Thanks to its diversification, it covers a wide variety of industries such as food and feed, chemical and pharmaceuticals, plastics, healthcare, water treatment and renewable energy.

The company has two relevant certifications, which verifies its professional qualifications. First, the quality management standard ISO 9001, which credits the good practice on all projects. Second, the company is a Rockwell Automation Solution Partner, which means it demonstrates the highest level of commitment to Rockwell Automation technologies and relationships; is an industry leader; and has differentiated services or solutions that complement or extend those of Rockwell Automation.

This recognition is precisely why dozens of customers around the world trust AUGI; with one example being PROAN (PROTEINA ANIMAL, S.A. de C.V.), a Mexican feed manufacturer dedicated to the production of eggs, pork and dairy milk, which decided to automate its entire factory with the help of AUGI and Rockwell Automation.

Challenge

Thanks to its experience, AUGI has automated production processes for all kind of factories and industries, including animal feed. However, this project had some distinctive features. First, it was a seven-storey factory with a very high production rate of around 300 metric Tons per hour.

Second, as explains Xavier Mir, Process Automation Manager at AUGI: “The customer had a lot of machinery distributed along the facility that needed to be connected to the central system more effectively with better security and availability for communications.”

Finally, the whole process had to be automated, from the arrival of trucks with raw material such as cereals, vitamins, minerals and additives; to dosing and mixing, according to the relevant formulae and receipts; processing with mills to make flour; pelletizers and auxiliary machines to obtain the final product; transport to bulk storage silos; and shipping of finished product in trucks.

A SCADA application was developed by AUGI to be integrated into the existing Rockwell Automation technology to ease the management of the manufacturing process

Solution

The managers at the Mexican company chose an innovative solution: A Rockwell Automation EtherNet/ IP™ Device-Level Ring (DLR) topology architecture. “Usually we carry out these implementations with other communication networks, on a more basic system.

However, in this case, since it was a high-throughput factory, we committed to this architecture because it offers higher security,” explains Mir. In fact, the company implemented three DLR rings for distributed I/O boxes throughout the facilities, so, “if one of the segments fails for some reason, information can flow using an alternate route and the operation of the factory continues. The system is much faster and more fault-tolerant,” he elaborates.

Besides the deployment of this infrastructure, the company counted on other Rockwell Automation products for this project, such as Allen-Bradley® ControlLogix processors, Allen-Bradley POINT I/O™, Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® frequency converters, Allen-Bradley VersaView® integrated-display computers and several SCADA stations.

All of this was complemented with a proprietary .NET application developed in VisualBasic by AUGI. This application is integrated in the existing Rockwell Automation technology and eases the management of relevant parameters for the factory, like the control of receipts, formulae, versions, stocks, production records, orders, shipping, batch numbers, traceability, etc. “We created this application specifically for compound feed mills, and it is getting excellent results,” Mir explains.

The Rockwell Automation Device-level ring infrastructure is perfectly valid for other customers who have an Ethernet network and need high security and high availability

Results

According to Mir: “The device-level ring technology provides high speeds and security to communication networks; meanwhile, the ControlLogix L70 processors are able to manage the whole factory program in much less time than earlier versions.” Furthermore, continues Mir: “The remote periphery allows us to implement data-gathering cabinets along the machines and then, via communication networks, transmit this data to the processor without the need to use cables for each signal.” In short, thanks to this implementation production times and costs have been reduced and the quality of the technology infrastructures in the factory has been increased and, in case of system failure, production no longer needs to be stopped.

AUGI is starting to implement this system in other industries. As Mir explains: “The Rockwell Automation Device-level ring infrastructure is perfectly valid for other customers who have an Ethernet network and need high security and high availability.”

The results mentioned above are specific to this customer's use of Rockwell Automation products and services in conjunction with other products. Specific results may vary for other customers.

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