FDBusiness.com

Omron automation is the best thing for sliced bread!

 Breaking News
  • HKScan Opens New €80 Million Poultry Plant HKScan, the Nordic meat group, has just opened its new, state-of-the-art poultry unit at Rauma in Finland. Valued at over €80 million, the new facility is the largest investment in HKScan’s history. Indeed, the state-of-the-art Rauma unit ranks among the most significant investments in the history of the Finnish food industry. Jari Latvanen, president and chief [...]...
  • Record Growth For UK Food and Drink Exports in First Half of 2017 The first half of 2017 saw exports of all UK food and drink grow to £10.2 billion, up 8.5% on the first half of 2016. This represents the highest first half exports value on record. The UK’s top 3 export products are whisky, salmon and beer. Contrary to recent export trends, stronger growth was reported [...]...
  • Nurturing Locally, Growing Globally – International Meat Congress ICoMST 2017 in Cork The 63rd International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST 2017) took place at the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, during August 13-18, 2017 and was chaired by Teagasc’s Assistant Director of Research Declan Troy. Over 450 papers were presented at the congress, many by Teagasc researchers. The role of meat in strategies to achieve a sustainable diet [...]...
  • Tempting Batters Now With Clean-label Benefits A leading German natural starch producer, KRÖNER-STÄRKE, perhaps better known as a natural, starch supplier for bread manufacturers, has turned its attention to the convenience market. With a view to cleaning-up the unhealthy image of breaded or battered foodstuffs, the company has succeeded in developing specialist wheat starches which allow food processors to formulate on-trend, [...]...
  • B&R is Introducing a Hypervisor For Its Automation System B&R is introducing a hypervisor for its automation system. This software allows Windows or Linux to run alongside B&R’s own real-time operating system. That enables you to combine the control and HMI applications on a single PC, for example, or have an industrial PC double as both a real-time controller and an edge controller that [...]...
  • Florette Further Expands its UK Business In line with its strategy to be a major player within the UK fresh produce category, Florette UK & Ireland (part of the French Agrial group) has acquired the Wigan site of MyFresh Prepared Produce, a producer of a wide range of salad and vegetable products. MyFresh, Wigan, which employs almost 300 people and was [...]...

Omron automation is the best thing for sliced bread!

October 09
13:36 2011

In line with its ongoing commitment to applying the best of modern technology to deliver genuine benefits for its customers, Ibonhart, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of automatic bread slicing and bread packaging equipment, has recently updated the control system for its popular IB360 bagging machine to include remote access facilities. Automation components from Omron were the key to the smooth and successful implementation of this important upgrade.

Ibonhart knew that remote access would provide substantial benefits for users of its machines, as it would allow software upgrades to be installed and faultfinding to be carried out without the need for a service engineer to visit site. Machine downtime would, therefore, be minimised. This is an important consideration as bread-packing machines typically handle between 3,000 and 4,000 loaves per hour, which means that every hour of downtime represents a large loss of turnover and profit.

For these reasons, Ibonhart was preparing to start work on adding remote connectivity to its machines when it won an order to supply an IB360 bagger to one of the largest bakeries in Kazakhstan. Given the cost and inconvenience of travelling to this location, the company decided that remote access would be a major benefit for this contract, and gave top priority to developing suitable facilities.

It quickly became apparent to the Ibonhart engineers that adding remote access to the IB360 control system using products from its existing supplier of automation equipment would be far from straightforward. The company therefore invited several other suppliers of automation products, among them Omron, to put forward solutions.

“There was absolutely no doubt that Omron gave the most authoritative presentation,” said Chris Barfe, a Director of Ibonhart. “The company clearly understood our requirements and knew how they could be met efficiently and cost effectively. In addition, Omron was able to show us similar remote access projects it had worked on with other clients, all of which were operating very successfully.”

The decision was, therefore, taken to use Omron automation equipment for all key functions in the new control system. The configuration chosen included a versatile yet inexpensive CP1L-M packaged programmable controller (PLC), an NS-series colour touch-screen to provide the operator interface, and four 2 kW JX-series inverter drives. All of these major components were linked with a Modbus network.

Additionally, Omron also supplied G9SA safety relays for the machine, along with E3ZM photoelectric sensors that have stainless steel housings and are optimised for food-industry applications. Using a single supplier for all major items of automation equipment was a big benefit for Ibonhart, as it ensured compatibility and avoided issues of divided responsibility.

In addition, for this project, the close integration of the Omron automation components allowed significant savings to be made, as it was possible to implement the remote communication facilities on the NS touchscreen rather than directly on the PLC. This meant that a lower cost PLC could be used without in any way compromising the performance or capabilities of the remote access system.

Switching to Omron automation components for the new version of its IB360 bagger did, however, present Ibonhart with an interesting challenge – how to adapt its existing application software for use with the new hardware in the time available. Omron was able to provide invaluable advice and support in this area.

“We were, in fact, able to reuse much of the programming from the old PLC with only relatively minor modifications,” said Omron field application engineer, Martin White. “Not only did this save time and money, it also meant that the new code was instantly familiar to the Ibonhart service engineers and that it’s functionality had already been proved.”

“For the NS touchscreen, we did have to write new programs from scratch,” he continued, “but this really wasn’t surprising as we had added so much new functionality. This included, of course, the remote access facilities, which were implemented as a secure VPN (virtual private network) operating via an on-demand broadband link.”

An important feature that simplified the programming of the touchscreen was its ability to handle multiple languages. This meant that it could be programmed in English and then, immediately prior to despatch, switched to Russian to suit the end user. Unlike most other multi-language screens, the NS automatically resizes the text to accommodate the different word and message lengths in the two languages.

The machine and the remote access system were extensively tested at the Ibonhart factory before it was sent to site, a process for which Omron provided on-site support. “Actually, the testing went very smoothly, so we didn’t have much cause to call on Omron’s support,” said Chris Barfe, “but it was nevertheless very reassuring to have an engineer on site just in case we did need his services.”

The usefulness of the factory testing was confirmed when the IB360 bagger reached site in Kazakhstan, as its installation and commissioning was straightforward and entirely uneventful. The remote communications feature also proved to be problem free in operation, and it gives Ibonhart’s engineers complete access to the system without needing to leave their desks in the Ibonhart UK factory.

“The remote link lets us work with comprehensive diagnostic features on the machine,” said Chris Barfe, “and, while these have all worked perfectly in trials, they haven’t yet been proved in a real fault situation. That, I’m very pleased to say, is because we haven’t had any real faults! Nevertheless, we have used the link to install a software upgrade and, of course, to make routine checks on machine status. The link does exactly what it was designed to do, and it does it very reliably.”

Both Ibonhart and its customer in Kazakhstan are delighted with the performance of the new IB360 bagger, and this underlines Ibonhart’s commitment to ensuring that its equipment utilises the latest technology available. As a result of its experiences with this machine, Ibonhart is now planning to use Omron automation equipment on a number of future projects.

About Author

colin

colin

Related Articles



Food & Drink Business Conference & Exhibition 2016

Upcoming Events

  • September 11, 2017drinktec
  • September 13, 2017FI Asia
  • September 19, 2017PROCESS EXPO 2017
  • September 22, 2017Global Summit on Food & Beverages
AEC v1.0.4

The Magazine

F&D Business Preferred Suppliers

Advertisements