Modular Plant for Flexible and Efficient Production

Smart Automation developed a modular production line with decentralized control for an automotive supplier – from sensors to multiprotocol I/O modules, pre-assembled connection technology, LED lights right through to RFID

Polish system integrators Smart Automation developed and implemented a new production line for valve covers for a tier-1 automotive supplier. The modular concept of the production line and the decentralized control was able to meet all the customer’s requirements. Components from the Turck portfolio, which boasted a host of features including Ethernet multiprotocol functionality and the ARGEE decentralized onboard logic, provided the flexibility and reliability of the dynamic line.

  • The supplier’s extensive production line has a modular design and can be adapted to future requirements

  • Turck’s Ethernet multiprotocol I/O modules ensure efficient data communication along the plant

  • The RFID read/write devices in the line record all goods carriers

  •  WLS27 LED line lights display the respective status of a module by color

  • With their compact design, the TBEN RFID interfaces can be easily mounted almost anywhere

Modern production plants for industry require increasingly more flexible solutions. Whether it’s changing production volumes, dynamic demands placed on the shape and size of the parts to be produced, and the need for rapid changeovers for new products, manufacturers in many industries are faced with the task of efficiently mastering the new challenges.

Smart Automation developed a production line for valve covers for a tier 1 automotive supplier, based on modular machines and decentralized control.  This modular concept enables more flexible and efficient production, allowing a faster response to changing market conditions and customer needs.

Modularity on multiple levels

The line combines modules for numerous tasks, including the UV laser printing of data matrix codes for traceability, induction heating, assembly and measurement of aluminum inserts, and robot-based deionization and surface cleaning for rubber sealing. Numerous measurements and leak tests also had to be carried out, from diameter and roundness to leakage, flow and pressure drop tests. Each workstation consists of three submodules for transport, process and construction. With the modular structure of the workstations, Smart Automation was able to achieve standardization at the design, assembly and programming levels, which greatly simplifies any changes that may be necessary later in the life cycle of the machine.

Future-proof thanks to standardized device integration

A key requirement for the production line was the use of different Ethernet protocols. With their Ethernet multiprotocol functionality, Turck’s BL67 and TBEN series I/O modules were therefore the ideal solution for this project. They combine the three Ethernet protocols Modbus TCP, Ethernet/IP and Profinet in a single device and can be run automatically in any of the three networks. This enabled the number of device variants required to be effectively reduced.

The Turck I/O modules used in the line also support the decentralized control approach with their ARGEE onboard logic. This field logic controller functionality can handle small to medium control tasks without placing any burden on the central controller.

Flexible process monitoring with RFID

To fully monitor the manufacturing process, Smart Automation has  implemented an RFID-based tracking system in which Turck’s TBEN-S module and HF read/write devices play a central role. All parameters and measured values of the manufacturing process are recorded for each individual part and stored in a database on a server and in the cloud.

Factor 1 sensors with maximum switching distance for all metals

The company chose Turck’s uprox series for the inductive sensors required. As factor 1 sensors, the uprox devices detect all metals reliably and with the same switching distance, thus standardizing sensor selection – another benefit in machine design.

Fast and error-proof: pre-assembled cables

Another challenge with the complexity of this line was the connection technology. But Smart Automation has also found a solution for this in Turck’s extensive connectivity portfolio. Pre-assembled cables of various lengths were selected during the planning phase and passive hubs were used where necessary.

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