It’s a well-known fact that the best wines improve with age, but so does wine-making technology.
Even though wine production is a highly skilled process that requires time and patience, it also relies on control, flexibility and even a touch of agility every now and then. SMC’s EX600 fieldbus technology was able to demonstrate such attributes for a wine bottling line design and manufacturing specialist.
SMC’s customer offers advanced solutions for the automation and computerised management of the bottling process – including rinsing, filling and securing of bottles – so each step interfaces simultaneously with the conveying systems, minimising overall space requirements.
In order to control all operations, the customer was using a Plug-in-style traditional wiring system. SMC’s technical experts saw the potential for improvements by introducing the EX600. The fieldbus system, via Profibus-DP, brought greater centralised control, flexibility of usage and important savings in terms of manpower.
The manufacturer required a production capacity of up to10.000 b.p.h (based on 750ml bottles) and in order to achieve this, a complete automation platform, based on fieldbus technology, was installed. Now a PLC was automatically controlling each step of the wine bottling process.
The PLC Master was combined with 20 slave devices. The 20 EX600-SPR1As were fully in charge to drive and collect all temperature, pressure transducers (4...20 mA, 1...5 Vcc) and digital sensor and actuator (0-24 Vdc) signals. Its modular design concept provided the required flexibility for such a multi-layered process.
A customer spokesperson said: "Our main objective was to reduce the number of slave units considering different typology of required signals, through fieldbus technology. SMC was able to meet this challenge with a single system. The EX600 delivered savings in terms of time and a global reduction of labour costs.
"Each configuration was already pre-assembled and tested according to our specifications and so it was ready to use on delivery. And thanks to the Profibus-DP’s specification in terms of communication and diagnostic messages, we were able to properly set up all the machinery management."
Each slave configuration was connected to the network by using simple ’BUS IN & BUS OUT’ connectors, offering fast and reliable data communication. Furthermore, a full diagnostic report was achievable thanks to specific messages. This minimised downtime and offered greater efficiencies as well as setting up a ’predict maintenance’. Other advantages included web-server technical support and energy efficiencies.
The customer added: "We face daily challenges and can only tackle them head on by using our skills and knowledge. We focus on innovation and this is why we need likeminded partners such as SMC, who provide us with the right solutions. The SMC team is essential to our business success; they are attentive, always available and they help us to help our customers stay competitive by providing us with the best solutions."
SMC is the world’s leading pneumatics provider and has been voted for two consecutive years as one of the most innovative global companies by leading business magazine, Forbes. The company prides itself on working closely with its customers and through its technical support structure is able to provide solutions that improve productivity and reduce overall production costs. SMC has developed a full range of Serial Interface solutions and for further information visit www.smc.eu.