Products inside: Glass manufacturer improves process information flow
A residential window glass manufacturer has a furnace that runs nonstop at approximately 1600 C and requires nearly three weeks to reheat after shutdown. When it was time to replace the aging furnace refractory, the company also decided to replace its aging distributed control system (DCS), without extra downtime.
For years, the plant relied on Allen-Bradley drives and controls from Rockwell Automation to manage cold-end processes, including robotic movement of glass exiting the furnace. Plant engineers understood the advantages of expanding the control platform upstream by using the PlantPAx process automation system from Rockwell Automation on the hot end of the line.
The plant reported consistently positive experience with existing Allen-Bradley controls.
The project team worked with Rockwell Automation to select a system integrator with glass-industry experience. RoviSys, a Rockwell Automation Solutions Partner based in Aurora, Ohio, has extensive experience in the glass industry. RoviSys met the project team to discuss objectives and then worked with Rockwell Automation to develop a proposal and system architecture.
As part of the process, the project team worked with Rockwell Automation Strategic Alliance Partners Endress+Hauser and Cisco. They replaced existing transmitters with Endress+Hauser temperature and pressure sensors to provide seamless integration of the instrumentation with the PlantPAx system, easing implementation and maintenance.
The new system uses Cisco Catalyst switches to connect from the process system on the plant floor to the enterprise zone, and Allen-Bradley Stratix 8000 managed Ethernet switches at the control layer. The Stratix switches deploy standard, unmodified Ethernet and are designed to include many popular IT and control features for improved ease of use by the manufacturer’s engineers and IT professionals.
During the shutdown, the plant replaced the drive system used to pull the glass ribbon from the furnace, upgrading to Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 755 AC drives from Rockwell Automation, using EtherNet/IP (an ODVA Ethernet protocol) for seamless integration with the new system.
One priority for the project team was to provide operators with more detailed process information—something the plant can easily accomplish with the information-enabled PlantPAx system. Production technicians and others were actively involved in customizing dozens of screens early on, gaining familiarity and confidence with navigation before the system was installed.
– Keith Bagarus is director, global glass automation, RoviSys; edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, email@example.com.
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