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Why Control? Plexpack’s Standard PLC/HMI Controller


One of the features we are most proud to offer as standard to our customers is our PLC/HMI Controller. Used in every one of our brands, the controller we offer comes with numerous benefits designed to make your production efficient and simple. We have worked closely with B&R over several years to design a program that makes machine operation, maintenance and data tracking simple. By offering this control system as a standard feature throughout our product line, we aim to make its benefits accessible to every customer and every system- without breaking your budget.



Video Transcript

Paul:                        

Today we will talk about the PLC/HMI B&R controller we use across our entire product line. The significant investment is made in this technology has led us to the point where today we offer features like hardware and software, security, remote access, and diagnostics built-in system diagnostics and predictive maintenance. Today, we’ll discuss what are the features and why we have included them. So let’s start with some general features that run across our entire product line. First through user access levels, user operator, technician, and engineering levels which are designed to restrict and protect critical machine functionality. Next would be recipe management.

Michael:

[00:00:56] all of our machines come with built-in recipe management, really used to store key operating parameters and set up settings for specific products that can be easily recalled at a later date when that production room is run again. So they’re all stored in a CSV file on the built-in memory and the controller. The memory is about four megabytes the size of an out of these files. They’re also easily able to be pulled off the controller shared with other machines that are identical and backed up that way as well.

Paul:

[00:01:30] We have warning and alarm management. Also, we include active and historical alarm tracking, which provides clarity on what happened when it happened on your machine. System Diagnostics Manager is another feature we included in the B&R package. This provides visibility of the status of the control hardware, similar to what would happen at the task manager on a PC. It also allows the ability to do a system dump of critical log files to help in the diagnosis of hardware and software issues. Tell us about the FTB server and the BNC server capabilities.

Michael:

[00:02:10] So to go along with the built-in file manager that we have on the interface on the screen, there’s also an FTB server that’s hosted by the controller that allows you to connect with an active client off of your laptop or iPad and pull files from the controller, such as the recipes we talked about earlier, the log files from a system dump, any large file logs that are stored there. Just one more easy way to access the files aside from a USB drive directly into the controller. The B&R C70 also has a built-in vnc server, which allows you to use VNC client on your laptop or iPad again and pull up the screen exactly as it appears when you’re standing right in front of it and operate it remotely through that VNC Client.

Paul:

[00:02:57] We also have built-in production statistics, this includes a product counter which is user-resettable and allows for the production rate to be displayed in hours or days, however, you like to do it. So now what we’d like to do is talk about some specific features as they relate to our brands and what we’re going to do is begin with Emplex.

Michael:

[00:03:26] First, Mike, tell us about user management. On our Emplex line to help some of our medical customers comply with FDA guidelines were utilizing B&R’s map user X functionality. This function block allows us to integrate with eldap servers, such as Microsoft’s version of Microsoft Active Directory, and allow the customer to use their single database of usernames and passwords on our machine directly and avoid having to have redundant usernames and passwords that they need to manage separately.

Paul:

[00:03:55] Exact language selection is also something you can do. Currently, we operate for French, English, Spanish, Italian or Russian and we have a legacy mode. If all this seems just a little too complex, which is maybe the way I’ll end up using it. That’s for users who prefer a single access level and direct control machine functions like heat speed and pressure. It’s designed to mimic the use of standalone controls found on our older MPS models and some of our competitors. The ability to disable this model will not allow operators the opportunity to bypass the recipe settings.

Tell us about greater maintenance.

Michael:

[00:04:34] So we try to keep our machines running as well, or allow our customers to keep the machine running optimally. So the majority of our software on the machine has built-in usage trappers for the wear on the machine. It’ll track that usage and hours or distance or whatever the most relevant unit is for that specific component, it’ll trigger an alarm warning so that it can be replaced prematurely and avoid failing while the machines in production.

Data logging and audit trail functionality. So we also open data logging, which allows the critical operating parameters of the machine to be stored to a CSV file, which is, again, sort of a user partition. We also have a more advanced audit trail functionality, which tracks everything that happens on the controller with a timestamp and can be exported to other data collection software such as Wonderware historian over OBCUA.

 And finally, safe systems.

We have hard-wired emergency stops and the control relay removes the energy from devices that may cause harm to a user.

Paul:

[00:05:46] All right, now, we’d like to talk to you about how we’ve implemented the B&R plc HMI C70 into our Damark product line, the first thing I’d mention is we have language selection. We can have English or Spanish in this case. And the next thing I’d mention is integrated machine safety.

Michael:

[00:06:03] On our larger pieces of equipment, we’ve integrated the B&R safety controller on the X20 io system inside of the control cabinet. It communicates with our C 70 controller over the proprietary X to X plus and gives us a lot of visibility of what’s happening with the machine safety functions, all the door switches, estops, enabling switches, and any other safety devices that are installed in the machine are wired directly back to the safe inputs. Any device that can cause motion or harm a user or store energy is controlled directly by the safe outputs. The visibility between a safety controller and plc gives us a lot of flexibility in how we implement these functions and allows for isolated control of the machine axis at safe speeds to allow for a set of procedures and maintenance tests.

Paul:

[00:06:48] So when we’re talking safety, it’s very important. And if you can see the machine behind us, it’s big, it’s complex, and it’s fast. There are safety issues that have to be addressed. We do this in conjunction with our customers by talking about their specific needs and jurisdictions and specific needs relative to whatever company policies you have in that regard. Now, Mike, tell me something about the integration, the integrated machine motion of the control. 

Michael

[00:07:10] A machine like this has a built-in motion for B&R using their acopos 3p drives. The specific machine has nine servo axes being controlled by three drives. So each of those drives controls three independent motors. It creates a really small footprint for us to install in the panel, reduces the heat that it generates. They communicate back to the C 70 controller over their power Ethernet interface, which provides for very fast synchronization between all the server axes, whether it’s cammed motion or basic Moshable files. Everything’s implemented on standardized p.l.c., open motion function blocks making it very easy for us to adapt the machine’s platform to various applications.

[00:07:58] Thanks, Mike. I should also note that this cabinet that’s below us here is cool, and that comes as a standard feature on any of these bigger panels that might tell us about remote monitoring and programming.

[00:08:13] We like to offer our customers some assurance when the machine is located far away from our factories in Canada, so are the larger equipment does come with a VPN router installed in it. It comes in three iterations, one being for a direct land connection, one which is Wi-Fi capable, and the last one for communication over a cellular network with the other two won’t work. It allows us to have a lot of visibility with the machine while it’s running. Diagnose more complex software failures or bugs, as well as help with some hardware, falls as well. Allow us to pull information from machines and make live changes and give the customer a sense of security when they bring that more complex machine during the production.

[00:08:56] So inside the panel here, we have a variety of devices. Communicate directly with the  C70 controllers over a few. It’s available interfaces, the first being the x20 remote io system sitting here. It has the yellow slices here, which are safety controller as well, some safe inputs and outputs. They communicate with the B&R controller over the x2x plus. We have six AC drives here for the AC Moore’s machine. They also communicate with the controller over the x2x  plus. Just to the left of that, we have the active post p 3 drives. Each of those drives controls three independents servo motors. They communicate with the c70 controller over an Ethernet power link, a very fast interface for precise multi-axis motion. Along with that we have our VPN router side the x2x io bank here that allows us remote access to the machine and that communicates with the controller over its ethernet interface and through that interface, we can see what’s going on with everything else in machine no matter what. It’s communicating with our machine.

Paul:

[00:10:02] All right, and finally, something about us at Plexpack here. We’ve been in business for the last 50 years. We have 19 languages spoken. We have offices in Canada, the US, and Mexico, and we have websites in both Spanish and English. We have a dedicated service site that is brand new, and we ask you to take a look at it. We have stock machines and parts in three different countries. We have roughly five thousand customers and ten thousand machines installed. Now, if you’d like to get in touch with us, contact us through our website www.plexpack.com, or call us at any one of the offices that you’ll see in a moment on the screen. Thanks very much for your time. If you’d like to know more, we’d sure like to talk to you. Thanks.


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