75% Reduction of Losses of Finished Product Thanks to Central Control

SPIN Unifies Information Plantwide

Solutions

Results

  • Product rejection at the end of the process was reduced by 75%, thanks to early detection of deviations in quality
  • The overall solution reduced by 50% the investment in equipment and monitoring implementation and information systems
  • The plant can be supervised by only four people per shift
  • Using a single system (same user interface, same operation mode, etc.) has made it much easier to incorporate new staff
  • There is only one system to maintain and understand, so maintenance is easier in terms of training and the resolution of errors

SPIN applies Rockwell Automation technology to unify information within an entire plant, making the production operation easier and accelerating decision-making

Background

SPIN, a Spanish system integrator with over 30 years' experience, is headquartered in Barcelona, with subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Australia. One of its key activities is the implementation of monitoring systems and plant information using solutions from Rockwell Automation.

Through this real-life example, SPIN presents its vision and experience in the implementation of central control rooms and how this solution can become a competitive advantage.

Customers are becoming increasingly concerned with the optimization of a whole process stream, since it is difficult to achieve the desired end result from the sum of individual steps.

By using an overview of the process, users can prioritise and improve in those areas that are having a real impact on the output. Unification of supervisory information systems is therefore becoming a priority.

Here, we present the implementation of a central control room in a new factory, which faces the same challenges that most plants face.

Challenge

The factory consists of several large workshops. The product is manufactured on demand, in large quantities and has a high manufacturing cost.

In this case, one of the most important challenges is to help ensure product quality is not compromised throughout the different stages of the process, as the product is not recoverable at the end if any defects occur. However, if quality issues are detected during the process, they can be rectified. As manufacturing costs are high, with a commensurate cost of loss it is essential to be able to recover products on time.

Being user-friendly is one of the most important characteristics of the system, which not only makes it comfortable to operate, but also helps to significantly reduce training time and facilitate the rapid integration of new staff. This was an important requirement of the project because of the high staff turnover.

The main goals are:

  • Reduce quality problems to a minimum
  • Reduce the need for high-level training for staff
  • Optimise operating costs and maintenance of systems

Solution

The first decision was to centralize the monitoring and information system.

This solution allows monitoring of the entire plant using just a few operators, providing them with enough information to make the right decisions on time and helping to optimize final product quality. All useful information will be combined and available at the same point in order to monitor how processes are performing.

To achieve this, computer architecture was designed based on SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) central monitoring and control, which reflects the status of all processes and can command these processes from the same system.

The solution chosen was Process Control System PlantPAx™ (Process Automation System) which supports the configuration of a distributed architecture and it is controlled and coordinated from one central point. All system services are centralized in the control room, which is a key element. For this reason, the chosen solution was PlantPAx™ to facilitate redundancy from HMI services to communications.

PlantPAx™ Monitoring is supplemented with data management modules, FactoryTalk® Transaction Manager and HistorianSE.

The first module shares data between controllers and databases (including corporate). The second module deals with everything related to ‘historitization' of variables.

Their ability to speed up data processing and storage has become a powerful tool to handle huge number of variables that are managed in a factory.

Finally, thanks to integrated FactoryTalk® Vantage Point software in PlantPAx™, all matters relating to reporting and dashboards have been resolved, allowing the company to link information from different sources (plant or corporate), and give users the ability to create their own reports and sharing via a web portal.

The solution was also supplemented with modules for the generation of SMS messages for alarms and warnings, so the support staff, wherever they are, always get the relevant information.

Ethernet was chosen for the installation, along with EtherNet/IP for the connection to the Allen-Bradley equipment; establishing a control system that is not only fast, but also based on standard components.

At the core of this architecture there is a rack of servers that store all plant data.

By connecting all computers and users to them, it consolidates the information in one site, enabling the production team and the management team (through the corporate network) to have access to all the information they need.

Results

The main benefits of implementing this solution are twofold:

Product rejection at the end of the process was reduced by 75%, thanks to early detection of deviations in quality. Finally, the overall solution reduced by 50% the investment in equipment and monitoring implementation and information systems (only one investment rather than one per production phase).

The plant can be supervised by only four people per shift.

Using a single system (same user interface, same operation mode, etc.) has made it much easier to incorporate new staff. There is only one system to maintain and understand, so maintenance is easier in terms of training and the resolution of errors.

All plant data is included in the central control system. A data server stores all the information relevant to the plant. This redundant server architecture means there is a second server that is a current copy of the original. This design simplifies communications to corporate systems such as SAP, as it only needs access to this single source of data.

The IT department has to create and maintain a single communication channel between the corporate networks and the plant. A single source of data also implies a single value for each measure or KPI.

In summary, the central control room of the factory has become a system that provides security in the quality management of the plant. It is also an affordable way to operate the factory and a valuable source of information for operators and managers, giving them access to relevant data for decision making.

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