Case Studies

Hover over a case study below to discover our solution.

RFID System Replacement

Goal:

Replace an old, obsolete RFID system.

Challenge:

The line was active and there were many stations, so the line couldn’t simply be shut off and the system swapped out in a weekend. The system needed to run both hardware systems in parallel during commissioning, which required custom code and two RFID tags in each palette.

Solution:

Two pieces of hardware were put in at the same time. The replacement was done in phases of putting all new hardware in, testing, and removing old hardware, all without shutting off the line.

PLC/Robot Upgrade

Goal:

Replace obsolete PLCs and Robots on the line with newer PLCs and Robots.

Challenge:

The old robots were obsolete, and the customer wanted to go to a different robot manufacturer. The robots were essentially black boxes and employees knew little about the code. A lot of mechanical and programming work was required in a short amount of time.

Solution:

We replaced the robots and PLCs and rewrote the code from the ground up. In addition, we added an RFID system to make recovery easier when there’s an issue.

Paint Cell HMI Replacement

Goal:

Upgrade a PC-based solution with custom Active X controls that worked on older versions of Windows but not newer versions while also replacing the custom controls with built-in controls.

Challenge:

We did not have the source code for some of the existing controls and integrating to databases proved difficult.

Solution:

We reverse-engineered to upgrade the application and allowed it to work on the newest versions of Windows.

IP Zone Isolation

Goal:

Provide more IP addresses to accommodate switching to an ethernet-based system.

Challenge:

The plant didn’t have the infrastructure in place in terms of networking and hardware to provide more IP addresses. In addition, the line was actively in production and could not encounter any downtime.

Solution:

We worked with Phoenix Contact to put a piece of hardware in each zone to give the company virtually unlimited IPs. All items were also assigned a new IP in an organized manner.

Milling Studio Request System

Goal:

Replace an existing system that relied on initial submission request and word of mouth to request milling jobs.

Challenge:

Creating a scheduling system was difficult without knowing the number of people who might be using it and how it might be scaled.

Solution:

Using Ignition, we developed a milling request and scheduling system and integrated with the company’s other systems to provide progress updates. This improved the company’s process and provided insight into a project’s status.

Profinet Upgrade

Goal:

Replace hardware that used an old communication protocol, Interbus, with a new ethernet-based solution, Profinet.

Challenge:

Profinet requires ethernet communications; we needed to put in ethernet infrastructure.

Solution:

Checklists were developed to manage the process and make sure things were updated properly. We coordinated with the trades, swapped out hardware on weekends, worked with electricians, and provided support for start-up.

Scheduling Application

Goal:

Replace old software that downloads production schedules using a custom protocol.

Challenge:

Understanding what the existing code did and writing new code to improve the method.

Solution:

We used Ignition to connect to the company’s scheduling database, parse and massage the data, and push it back down to the Omron PLCs.

Scanning System Upgrade

Goal:

Upgrade a scanning system we previously installed.

Challenge:

The customer had many ideas, so we needed to scope the system out and understand exactly what was wanted and needed.

Solution:

Using Ignition, Android, and other hardware, we installed an improved scanning system for their day-to-day scanning of production.

Machine Replacement

Goal:

Replace a troublesome, complicated machine.

Challenge:

Many PLC hardware and firmware issues came to light.

Solution:

Without a machine building partner, we split one machine into three, logically and physically. Each machine became straightforward and simple compared to the complicated original, and there was no longer a FIFO, which made the machines fit the current standard.

Standard PLC Architecture Solution

Goal:

Create a system to be a direct competitor to a company’s existing PLC standard solution.

Challenge:

The two controllers had differences in languages, data structures, OPC’s, and HMIs. The customer also changed the standard as we wrote it.

Solution:

We reverse-engineered, automated, and replicated to produce the solution. We needed innovative solutions to get around the parallel programming paradigm issues.

Productivity Tracking System

Goal:

Install a productivity tracking system that could collect data from a variety of machines.

Challenge:

Virtually all of the packaging line equipment didn’t have a PLC and was old hardware.

Solution:

Using Ignition and a Profinet network, we picked up raw signals from machines, stored the data, and developed real-time screens and reports for the company.

Bolt Feeder Upgrade

Goal:

Switch a PLC station from a Telemecanique PLC to Phoenix Contact PLC to fit the plant standard.

Challenge:

Going from a PLC written in one interface language to another.

Solution:

We swapped out the hardware and migrated to the current standard.

Maintenance Request Paging System

Goal:

Create a maintenance request paging system to alert the company’s mechanics to issues on the line that operators encountered.

Challenge:

There was nothing in place at all.

Solution:

We put in an HMI in combination with physical pagers that would notify and track maintenance requests as they occurred on the plant floor. The maintenance state would then be acknowledged and closed out by the attending maintenance person. Upper management could then pareto the downtime, response time, and repair time easily and effectively.