best practice principles in machine building
Rockwell Automation has identified five aspects of machine building, covering global standards, machine control, networks, programming and wiring
How would you feel about spending less time on labour-intensive, repetitive tasks, and more on solving your customers’ business challenges?
If this sounds good to you, Rockwell Automation can help. Rockwell Automation is constantly exploring faster, simpler ways to help you build more efficient, cost-effective machines and equipment. Its resultant solution is its new Midrange system portfolio, based on a simplified, compact control platform. This short guide looks at five aspects of machine building what Rockwell has identified as being unnecessarily complex. Covering global standards, machine control, networks, programming and wiring, the company outlines how it has simplified and improved processes, helping clients save time, money and effort.
What’s more, because it works with end users itself, it knows what it looks for from a machine builder. Taking note of these best practice guidelines won’t do any harm at all in terms of prospective business.
Best practice principle 1: build for the global marketImagine. A machine builder is in the fortunate position of being able to sell a machine in 10 different countries. It can be built in 10 different ways from the ground up to meet the needs and standards of each market, or it can be built as one machine which adheres to global standards and adapted from there. Which would you rather?
Rockwell’s Allen-Bradley Midrange platform helps you build machines and equipment that incorporate global legislative standards. It covers different voltages, operates on the common, globally recognised Logix platform, and is infinitely scalable and flexible.
By using one single platform, you can consolidate your spares inventory. Its support services are more focused and efficient, reducing downtime and maintaining productivity. At Rockwell Automation, its size and scale means that it have commercial agreements with many key manufacturers worldwide.
Rockwell supports you and your clients whenever and wherever you need it, whether at your site or during installation at your customers’.
Best practice principle 2: use one controller for every applicationTraditionally, because machines and equipment come in different shapes and sizes, so have the controllers. The more controllers, the more hardware and software needed to support them, the more product-specific installation and maintenance manuals, the more training, the higher the incremental costs and possible complications.
Traditionally seems to come with ‘complicatedly’ built-in, so Rockwell has made tradition truly a thing of the past. Its solution is simple. And that equals one hardware and software package, one user manual, one tool for all applications, regardless of size and complexity of machine and equipment. It makes for a much easier way of getting things done.
Brilliant. A simple, single, modular solution for today’s multi-faceted machine and equipment-building requirements. One that accelerates production processes and drives performance improvement.
• Maximum control integration and faster performance.• Reusable programmes save time and money.• Complete communications flexibility and consistency.• Reduced set-up, operation and maintenance costs.
Best practice principle 3: use one network, whatever the taskThe benefits of networked machines and equipment, lines, factories and business systems are well known and well documented. Trouble is, in many cases they’re also well ignored. The complex nature of machine and equipment building has led to some highly complex scenarios. Client gets a network for I/O. Another network for motion. And another for controller-to-controller tasks. For machine-to-machine. For line-to-enterprise. Of course, the added complications of separate adaptors, connectors, media and configuration tools.
Which is exactly what Rockwell has done by building EtherNet/IP into its new Midrange portfolio. It’s the network what the world understands and uses. It’s open, easy to work with, flexible, all embracing, and the simplest route to a single design environment and network architecture.
• Handles the widest range of applications including discrete, motion, drives, process, and safety control.• Connects across applications, through IT infrastructures and down to device level.• One standard network lowers the total cost to design, develop and deliver machines.• Increases clients’ business opportunities with global manufacturers on the same network, many of whom it is already working with.
Best practice principle 4: take the pain out of programmingProgramming. It’s a skilled task where the best use of time results in the differentiation for which clients’ clients are looking for. But how often does a client get distracted by repetitive and avoidable chores?
To support a client in concentrating on the ‘high-value’ work, Rockwell has applied a modular programming approach. One programming environment means that client can re-customise and reuse code for different machines and equipment in different ways without the constant need to go back to square one.
Better still, client can use Rockwell’s off-the-shelf, modular programs that come with a basic structure and with diagnostics handling already completed.
Why would you want to spend your time coding and re-coding, when you could be spending more time doing the stuff that makes your business more money?
• Standardise on one control architecture and reap the benefits.• Common programming environment can reduce training and technology costs by 40 per cent.• Spend less time doing the labour-intensive work and more time driving machine innovation.
Best practice principle 5: a few words on wiringThe costs and time involved in wiring are huge. You know the score … design, procure, receive, lay out, wire, check, unwire for shipping, collect, rewire, check and so on. You have to ask yourself, why would you want to do more than you have to, when simpler, more cost-effective and time-saving alternatives are available?
With its Midrange platform, EtherNet/IP is already built in. This can be used straight away to connect to on-machine I/O blocks, in turn plugging straight into sensors. Rather than controlling devices with hard-wiring, it all takes place via the network.
The Kinetix 5500, for example, has just the one cable for feedback and power. Simple. No wiring to carry out, no wires to cross. And as if that’s not enough, every wiring point you remove means a real and quantifiable saving in time and money.
Whether you’re building a brand new machine or new equipment, upgrading existing equipment or migrating from an existing system and wanting to use existing wiring, Rockwell Automation has got the solution to fit.
• One standard network significantly reduces hard wiring.• EtherNet adaptors and toolkits convert competitive solutions and migrate older platforms using existing field wiring.• Reducing wiring can mean up to 70 per cent time and cost savings.
best practice principles in machine building