Drives, PLCs and SCADA and controls are fundamental to the converting industry, companies naturally rely on their machine control systems for production. More recently however, enterprising companies have developed their control systems to commercial advantage.
Advances in drive and control technology have meant that system reliability has improved so much that it is virtually taken for granted. The control equipments ability to meet health and safety regulations and to provide wide ranging general functionality is also regarded as a given.
However, along with safety, manufacturers now assess their machine controls in the context of improving production efficiencies, targeting faster operating speeds and quicker changeovers, higher production standards and improved energy consumption – all cost factors which can help converting companies become more competitive.
Optima Control Solutions Ltd. is a leading control system integrator operating at the leading edge of this technology since 1995. The Blackburn-based company’s managing director, Michael Hill, believes that suppliers of machine control systems to both OEMs and end users must measure success by analysing the effect on the customer’s operating efficiency.
One business which reaped the benefits that upgrading to Optima’s state of the art drive and control technology can provide is leading papermaking, coating and converting company Tullis Russell in Scotland.
Tullis Russell was concerned that its ageing Jagenberg Vari-Dur 120 Slitter- Rewinder was having a detrimental affect on the operational performance of its Glenrothes site and decided to replace the original analogue components with new digital technologies.
Optima Integrated a Siemens PLC and HMI, Parker SSD drives, ABB tension control, Pilz safety equipment and Sick optics, subsequently transforming the machine’s performance and helping Tullis Russell post a five percent improvement in its OEE and an associated 25 percent increase in productivity. Intelligent, networked drives and high performance tension measurement equipment now operate the complex load-sharing algorithms that provide reliable and improved winding performance, while automatic sequencing of the machine operation has improved its operational repeatability.
Mr Hill said: “When considering a control system upgrade, OEE might not be as obligatory as safety improvements, nor as unavoidable as the fundamental need to keep the machine running. However, the intelligent integration of modern drive and control technology in this upgraded Jagenberg Vari-Dur 120 control system has had a significant impact on the production efficiency of the machine.”