Chrysler drives new assembly line with PCs

'We wanted to maximize machine up-time, move away from PLC technology, and greatly reduce floor space requirements for the system," says Chrysler's Kokomo, Ind. plant manager Ken Moore.To meet these requirements, Chrysler chose Cutler-Hammer's (Westville, Ohio) Open Automation Computer, Steeplechase's (Ann Arbor, Mich.


'We wanted to maximize machine up-time, move away from PLC technology, and greatly reduce floor space requirements for the system," says Chrysler's Kokomo, Ind. plant manager Ken Moore.

To meet these requirements, Chrysler chose Cutler-Hammer's (Westville, Ohio) Open Automation Computer, Steeplechase's (Ann Arbor, Mich.) Visual Logic Controller software, and Phoenix Contact (Harrisburg, Pa.) Interbus I/O blocks to form a 68 control station industrial PC system to manufacture Chrysler's rear wheel drive automatic transmission for light trucks and vans.

Maximizing machine uptime

"Our goal is a machine uptime of 85%," Mr. Moore emphasizes.

To meet this goal all PCs are of the same model and content and are configured redundantly to perform station controls, zone controls, and host task respectively.

The 68 control stations perform all control functions except computer numerical control. Six zone controllers serve as data concentrators and provide transport coordination for the synchronous line. The host PC provides statistical process control, error proofing supervision, data collection and storage, as well as MIS communications.

Chrysler recognized the advantages of reduced installation and debugging time, ease of troubleshooting, reduced cost, easier system upgrades and reduced space requirements achieved when hosting the logic control and human machine interface in the same PCs.

Using the flowchart capabilities of the Steeplechase software allowed Chrysler to design, implement, and test control station software as individual modules which closely aligned with the physical transmission manufacturing carousel's provided by Ingersoll-Rand.

"The greatest advantage of networked I/O devices was its contribution to fast machine installation. Network I/O replaced thousands of conventional device-to-I/O modules red wires with a daisy-chained Interbus cable serving Wago bit-slice and Phoenix Contact Interbus blocks," relates Mike Taylor engineering supervisor.

Leveraging this modular implementation and the benefits provided with single cable installation allowed Chrysler to reduce installation and debugging time by 4 or 5 months. Chrysler sees this modular implementation as providing on-going benefits by allowing the addition, changing or removal of a control station and it's related manufacturing carousel over a weekend.

"The future suggests a continuing flow of fast, powerful, and innovative products. Upgrades in carousel control intelligence and capabilities can be made sooner and for less cost," Mr. Moore adds.

Reducing floor space

No longer was there a need for mezzanines and offline control cabinets. Placing both the control and HMI in the PCs and through the extensive use of networked I/O devices resulted in a 50% reduction in floor space requirements.

Chrysler utilized the floorspace savings to improve the efficiency of their assembly stations.

"In short, PC applications are user-friendly to operators and skilled tradesmen. Windows-based displays have the same look and feel throughout the plant, and familiarity with PCs among young hires is making PC technology universally accepted and understood. This should translate into better quality transmissions, higher machine uptime, and greater output," Mr. Moore concludes.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me