Slovakian private company VIPO, a.s. has worked on applied research and development since 1974 and is a leading supplier of technology and equipment for tyre component making machinery, carbon brush making machinery, automotive machinery, rubber chemistry and industrial adhesives.
In 2001 VIPO, a.s. implemented ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and also gained certification from the Slovak Ministry of Education for the periodical evaluation of research and development organisations. Its aim has been to establish itself as a customer-oriented, technically competent and flexible research, engineering, manufacturing and entrepreneurial company capable of integrating research and development into its technical solutions and products.
In a recent project, it was approached by an Indian company to develop a bead winding line for the manufacture of weftless bead wires for passenger car tyres. The customer wanted to deploy automation and motion solutions from Rockwell Automation, but VIPO did not have the in-house capacity and necessary experience having used other automation providers in the past at the time. So it called upon the services of the Rockwell Automation® Global Solutions engineering team to help the company develop a solution.
The primary challenge in this instance was the replacement of an established control architecture and the deployment of a new automation and motion solution; and then fine tuning it to match the request of the tyre-maker end user in terms of quality and speed. VIPO and Rockwell Automation had to combine their knowledge from different areas – in this instance the dynamics and processing of rubber compounds and the capabilities of automation solutions – to create a solution that matched the requested performance and output quality. The engineering teams also faced strict manufacturing and delivery deadlines, which had the potential to be complicated by the multi-national, multi-language makeup of the project.
The Rockwell Automation Global Solutions team worked to the brief that VIPO provided and were able to design and develop a highly effective solution based around an Allen-Bradley® ControlLogix® L72 programmable automation controller (PAC) matched to multiple servo axes, which undertook the primary motion operations. This automation and motion solution was then complemented by an Allen-Bradley PanelView™ Plus HMI operator interface, an Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® 755 variable-speed drive to take the wires from the bobbins and Allen-Bradley Guardmaster® safety products to protect the operators.
The Kinetix® 6500 servo drives controlled a number of axes, including controlling the winding and opening and closing the mould to the correct positions, depending on the inner diameter of bead. The servos were also used to move the former up and down, to accurately position it for bead creation and the subsequent removal of the product; extract the bead from the former; and control the tension on the press tool. The PowerFlex 755 was used for wire take off from the bobbins.
VIPO engineers and the Global Solutions team used RSLogix™ 5000 V.21 to create program profiles, a task which was made far simpler thanks to the fact that the servo profiles were all in place within the Logix programming environment. The solution was completed by a number of low-voltage products and a Guardmaster safety infrastructure comprising relays and light curtain scanners.
The Global Solutions team undertook the full design exercise, including the migration from the incumbent automation supplier. This was completed with the cabinet and all electrical installations, including machinery safety. As well as having in-depth knowledge of its own technology, Rockwell Automation can also call upon in-house engineers with industry-specific knowledge, making the design and development task far more in tune with the end user’s industry needs.
According to Martin Bezak, Sales Manager at VIPO: “The engineering support from Rockwell Automation was vital in what was our first application of their technology. We successfully combined our knowledge of the materials and the processes with their knowledge of the automation and motion equipment. They knew the way forwards with the technology and we used our knowledge of rubber compounds and winding processes to guide them.
The engineering support from Rockwell Automation was vital in what was our first application of their technology
“We were impressed with the Logix software,” he continues, “as it made the setup of the equipment significantly easier. Seeing as the motion equipment is already part of the programming environment there was a lot less work to do as all the programming could be undertaken in a single software environment.
Quality and professionalism also played a major part in the project’s success, as did the adherence to the deadlines. VIPO also enjoyed full support from a single company for the whole electrical part of the line.
“It was the sharing information that really stood out,” explains Bezak. “The Rockwell Automation engineers were top guys, they knew what we needed and they used their significant experience from other applications. When we explained technology required, they found out how to make it work and what we could deploy. We also enjoyed the fact that we had engineers who spoke our language and we still speak to them regularly regarding future development and maintenance needs. In the next few months we expect another projects to start and we will call upon the Rockwell Automation Global Solutions team again, as we will once again be migrating from one automation supplier over to Rockwell Automation in order to address the needs of other customers around the world.”
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.