New Ethernet-based Parker Link system supercedes SSD fibre optic

Parker 590+ DC Drives

Parker 590+ DC Drives

Link 2 fibre optic systems are recognised for their reliability, high performance and noise-free transfer of data for web transport systems. Originally developed by SSD Drives in the 1980’s the Link technology is still widely in use today. However, now that Link 2 has officially been declared obsolete, what are the replacement options available?

In 2015, Parker officially launched the new Ethernet-based Link replacement system to selected integrators for proving. Optima were one of the first companies to successfully bring this technology to the field.

The drives upgrade was undertaken on a high-performance paper winding machine. This drive system comprises a main Siemens PLC and HMI communicating with the Parker drive system over Profibus.

New Ethernet-Based Link Tech Box

New Ethernet-Based Link Tech Box

Having successfully integrated over 30 Link systems since forming the company – including a 110-drive system for a coating line at a leading papermaker – you can be sure that Optima have the know-how to implement any system effectively.

Optima will be pleased to provide a no-obligation site visit to discuss how the Ethernet Link technology can replace your existing fibre-optic system or for a completely new upgrade.

Please Contact Us to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Optima Control Solutions sees its overseas market expand

A recent article by Lancashire Telegraph highlights Optima Control Solutions securing of a multi-Million pound contract to supply a lithographic coating line to Jeil C&P Ltd., a printing plate manufacturer based in Daegu, South Korea.

With the assistance of NatWest Bank and UKTI, Optima managed to win the highest value contract ever secured by the company in 20 years of successful trading.

Individually, the contract value equals Optima’s par turn-over figure for recent years. It’s successful acquisition and delivery demonstrates Optima’s continued evolution as a key player in the manufacturing sector.

Michael Hill MD of Optima, Simon Watson, of NatWest, Ian Harrison, of NatWest and Steve Cowles

Michael Hill MD of Optima, Simon Watson, of NatWest, Ian Harrison, of NatWest and Steve Cowles


Amidst stiff competition from China, where the labour cost base is significantly lower than in the UK, Optima’s track record of supplying high quality engineered solutions won out.

Michael Hill said “My hope is that further UK and overseas opportunities will arise and we can continue to broaden Optima’s project portfolio and contribute further to the UK manufacturing sector”.

Click here to read the full article on the Lancashire Telegraph website.

Optima Control Solutions to Optimize Internal IT Infrastructure

The internal upgrade projects are part of Optima’s sustained effort to bring customer downtimes to a minimum and to improve customer support activities.

Optima Control Solutions, a team of independent automation experts, prides itself for being up to date with modern computing technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization. The company has recently initiated a very pronounced change in its I.T. infrastructure. Alastair Fay, Optima’s IT manager facilitating this change, talks to Hristina Stefanova about the upgrades that he has undertaken since 2011. Continue reading

Optima Control Solutions Boosts Production Performance

This innovative manufacturer of ground reinforcing fabrics was founded in the1980s and ever since its name has become synonymous with high quality mechanical ground stabilisation and soil reinforcement products. The company is a world leader thanks to its innovative solutions and technology-driven vision. This company invented and patented the first polymer geogrids – their Biaxal geogrids are widely used around the globe. Optima Control Solutions, an independent automation expert, was approached by them and charged with the task of completely upgrading one of their production line control systems.

The problem:

After years in production, the specialist line located at their plant in Blackburn became progressively obsolete and inefficient. It required not only a complete mechanical upgrade but also a total control system upgrade and a complete machine rewire. They needed an expert control system company flexible enough to complete the whole upgrade in a very tight time window – a total of 4 weeks. Moreover, the customer needed work to be carried out during an extended shutdown period at Christmas. Optima Control Solutions, headquartered just a few miles away from the plant, accepted the challenge and teamed up with the companies mechanical engineers to complete the task competently, on time and within budget.

The solution:

Optima designed the new control system in accordance with the customers process requirements. Optima’s solution included some smart design features that gave greater machine reliability characteristics. PLC remote I/O units were fitted in the control cubicles, control desks and junction boxes located on the machine. The majority of the existing control cables could be removed which gave improved reliability and would simplify future maintenance on the machine. A redundant Siemens WinCC SCADA package was installed for controlling the machine and allowed production data to be easily collected and analysed. Optima’s team utilised Siemens Scada both on the input and output control desks. This control design allowed the machine to be controlled by either SCADA if one of them failed.

The benefits:

Joe Crane, plant engineering manager at the company in Blackburn, had nothing but praises for the job Optima had completed. “First of all, I am very pleased that they agreed to work over the Christmas period – it would have been impossible to complete the project at different times as we had to change the mechanics in parallel with the control system.” He stated that Optima’s upgrade contributed to an improved line efficiency of at least 20%. “We now have better control and accuracy in production – speed and tension loops are great. Also, Optima managed to raise the machine safety levels to a higher standard.” Regarding the data colleciion package employed into the upgraded Biax line, Mr. Crane said it was a great diagnostic and data management tool that made predictive maintenance part of the plant’s production strategy. “At present, we make decisions quicker and establish changes faster. We are now able to make informed decisions and optimize production based on data we have confidence in.”

Imperial Tobacco’s Re-Branded Packaging Judged a Winner

When Imperial Tobacco decided their Lambert and Butler product was to be rebranded, Alcan Packaging and API Foils had a two-part challenge.

The first part being the product’s design and security demands. These meant that highly accurate register control was essential because tolerances of +/-0.15mm in 70mm were required in the final product. The second part of the challenge was that three discrete production processes were needed to manufacture the product on three different sites by two different companies and with each process the material structure altered.

API Foils at Poynton had previously worked closely with Optima on a number of projects and, being aware of our experience and expertise, API contacted Optima to explore possible solutions. Continue reading