Our Automation Services:
- Disaster Recovery
- Process Refurbishment
- Bespoke Design and Development
PLC & SCADA/HMI Process Refurbishment
3000+ SqFt Production Line Incl. PLCs, HMIs, Distributed IO Units & 1200 IO Devices
The refurbishment was decided by the client when areas of the process had starting to fail late last year, original suppliers and spare parts were becoming difficult to locate, shutting the process down for extended periods of time. Scantime Automation were brought in initially to help troubleshoot when a serious breakdown stopped production for several days.
To build a new facility would take years and would place the company at serious risk of further downtime, which could be worse than the last, therefore it was decided to upgrade the obsolete control system to a newer, supported control system.
We had chosen Schneider to supply their M580 PLC systems and Magelis HMIs to control the automated process and replace the obsolete Telemechanique equipment that controlled the production line for over 20 years.
From Siemens S5 to Mitsubishi FX
In 2017, we were called to a Timber company to complete a risk assessment of their Automation equipment onsite, during this risk assessment we highlighted several areas of concern including a 27-year old Siemens S5 PLC that controlled a main part of their production line. When asked about this system, it was made apparent that the company had no spare parts for the Siemens S5 PLC, no backup program, no programming software and no contact with the original designer, all of these factors made this area of concern an area of high risk and it was agreed that this Siemens S5 PLC was to be replaced with a new PLC and a new program was to be designed.
During discussions with the company, it was decided that we would replace the now-obsolete Siemens S5 PLC with the new Mitsubishi FX-3GE PLC. One reason for this decision was that the majority of PLCs onsite were Mitsubishi PLCs and the company engineers were already trained in working with Mitsubishi PLCs.
A new PLC control panel was built and a PLC program was designed in the weeks leading up to the Summer shutdown, when the Summer shutdown arrived, the original Siemens S5 PLC was replaced and the new Mitsubishi FX-3GE PLC control panel was installed, the program was then downloaded and commissioned ready for production start up the following week.
The company now has an up to date control system with accurate program backups and local software support.
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PLC & SCADA/HMI Disaster Recovery
Scantime Increases Company Production by 25%
Our troubleshooting abilities were called upon to analyse a production process for a Durham-based company. The process was suffering from problems in producing a particularly difficult product, which in-turn increased downtime making the line extremely inefficient. Upon studying the operation and production equipment over several days, we turned our focus to the Allen Bradley ControlLogix PLC and the PLC program which was responsible for the control of all this equipment.
Several days of program analysis went by and we detected a small bug in the program operation that occurred for only a few milliseconds, could this be the cause the problems? After further program analysis, our engineers traced the problem and diagnosed it as a PLC program design error, which has probably been lurking in the background since its original design and installation, only making itself apparent when this product type was introduced.
Over the following week, our engineers introduced modifications to the existing PLC program and solutions were implemented to help fix this problem, upon Download, the results were instantly noticed, line equipment began to work the way it was intended, no more stoppages and the line production increased by a dramatic 25%, the feedback from the company Engineering Manager was outstanding; "You would never believe what a difference this has made to production.".
Working with a Blank PLC Program to Locate the Fault
We were recently called onsite to diagnose a production issue as the original supplier of the system was unable to assist, the fault was centred around the speed of equipment where the lateral movement of the hardware was noticeably slower than usual causing several problems with production. The PLC in question was a Mitsubishi Q Series PLC that was interfacing with several Siemens IM151 Slave Units.
Unfortunately, our client had no commented backups of the PLC software which meant we had to use the uploaded copy of the design from the PLC, however a common occurrence with Uploads is that symbols and comments aren't uploaded leaving us with what is essentially a blank program, another issue was when this design was uploaded, it appeared that areas of the code were actually missing.
Luckily for our client we like a challenge and we were able to analyse the Ladder Logic and SFC code and work out where the problem was located.
The fault appeared to be situated on one of the Siemens IM151 Slave Units and after further work we were able to trace the problem back to a broken or damaged wire within an Encoder wiring connector on the production line.
The cabling was replaced and production was able to run at full speed once again.
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Bespoke PLC & SCADA/HMI Design and Development
Aviation Pressure & Flushing Test System
Using the Siemens S7-1200 PLC and WinCC SCADA package, we designed, installed and commissioned a PLC/SCADA Program for a system that pressurised various airplane wings from 1100 PSI (76 Bar) to 5650 PSI (390 Bar) to test the integrity of the airplane wing construction.
During a pressure test, the PLC controlled and monitored the states of several pieces of equipment including, pumps, valves, pressure transducers and a flow meter to purge, increase pressure at a rate of 100 Bar/Min, stabilise, hold and monitor a pressure drop of up to 5% within the pipework of each airplane wing.
The airplane wings would then undergo a flushing process which is controlled via a drop-in flushing rig which uses an electrically driven pump that produces 40 litres per minute during the flushing sequence. This drop-in flushing rig is controlled from the same Siemens S7-1200 PLC which is controlling the pressure testing rig.
During this flushing process, the PLC monitors the cleanliness level of the pipework within the airplane wings via an ICM (Inline Contamination Meter) unit connected to the PLC via RS485 to ensure that all pipework within the airplane wings are flushed to the correct AS4059 cleanliness standard.
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