In order to improve quality, some manufacturers are timing the manual processes performed by operators.
This usually requires the operator to start & reset multiple timer’s and pilot lights to determine that the specified time and other process conditions, as specified in their SOPs, have been met.
The standard operating procedures can be programmed onto the Unitronics Vision1210™ so that the operator can accurately time each step in the process, while monitoring and recording all critical process parameters.
In order to improve the quality and consistency of their product, some manufacturers are timing the manual processes performed by operators. This usually requires the operator to manually start and reset multiple timers and pilot lights to monitor and record that the required time of each part through the process, as specified in the SOPs, has been met. For consistency, sometimes the process is carried out inside environmental chambers with multiple temperature control zones. In order to maintain product traceability, parameters such as the name of the operator, the environmental conditions of the process chamber and the time in process need to be recorded. The timers should not run if the process conditions are off spec. Additionally, the timers for each part should be presented in a manner that the operator can intuitively know which timer belongs to which part in the process. In industries where products and processes constantly change the control system must be flexible and easy to modify without costly rewiring or modifications. Instead of using wired timers and pilot lights, timers and virtual pilot lights can be programmed onto Unitronics’ Vision1210™ PLC + HMI screen. Through programmed interlocks, timers only run when the environmental conditions are within spec. In the future, if the customer needs to modify the system, such as adding or eliminating timers, a simple programming change can be done. The SD card functionality of the V1210 eliminates the need for a paperless recorder. PID control with autotune eliminates the need for external environmental chamber controllers. The large HMI screen allows having multiple loops with all of their adjustable parameters and trending in a single display to aid in process loop tuning.
Jose Padro, PE, President of Unitronics’ Caribbean distributor Alpha Systems, Inc., delivers solutions using the Unitronics V1210 for processes such as these. The large screen allows fitting all the timers and “virtual” pilot lights on a single display. “The complexity of wiring multiple timers with two pilot lights per timer (a green for running timer and a red pilot light for an expired timer for each part), plus wiring multiple temperature controllers and a paperless recorder was eliminated.” Said Padro. Accidental overheating of machine and process due to thermocouple or hardware failure can be eliminated in the Unitronics V1210, by programming logic to shut off heaters when temperatures are either too low or too high to be real. The logic is then tested for either a thermocouple failure or a hardware failure through simple tests which should result in shutting off heater operation.
Additionally, all operator logins, process parameters and alarms can be logged onto the SD card for traceability and to act as a “black box” to help customers diagnose a machine or process failure.
Jose Padro describes the Unitronics solution as “Lower cost, an easier build, and easier debugging.” He goes on to say that Unitronics’ Vision1210™ PLC + HMI can provide “an easier and safer operation, a better integrated system and a more modern design. Unitronics gives us higher customer satisfaction that comes hand in hand with repeat business. When building multiple identical machines, the programming is done and debugged once vs. having to hard wire and test the logic for each copy of a machine.”
“Unitronics is an excellent product. The Vision1210™ is priced at less than half of a traditional panel type HMI, and does even more because it doubles as a paperless recorder with the SD card functionality.” Says Padro. “It gives us a foot in the door when we sell it as a control panel HMI for existing PLCs. Additionally, the Unitronics I/O cards can be wired for sinking or sourcing inputs while other major brand PLCs require different I/O cards for sinking or sourcing inputs. The support both via telephone, email, and the Unitronics forum is among the best in the industry. I have had questions answered even on a Saturday from the Israeli office.”
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