Project and Challenges
Rotalec was engaged to retrofit an existing chocolate production machine to reduce setup time.
A chocolate producer was using an older, cam-driven and pneumatic machine to manufacture chocolate recipes.
The existing machine and chocolate-making process presented the following challenges:
– Manual Adjustment Required for Each Recipe:
Setup time for each different recipe was time-consuming and tedious, requiring maintenance personnel to enter the system and manually adjust valves and timers.
– Decentralized Controls:
Over time, customer had added local controls haphazardly to the machine, which controlled the various additions but did not work seamlessly together. The machine lacked a centralized control system, both in terms of physical location and HMI program.
Rotalec supplied up-to-date motion control and communications technologies.
We retrofitted the existing chocolate machine with our recommended technology solutions to streamline production.
We supplied new servo-actuators and Emerson servo-drives to replace the existing actuators. This technology was able to automatically adjust to the levels required to produce the desired recipe, no longer requiring operator intervention to set valves and timers.
Centralized Control System
Implementing a new TrioMotion MC405 controller, we centralized all controls and communication in one location through a single Red Lion G310 HMI program. The operator could now select a recipe from the main controls and the machine would automatically adjust itself for that recipe.
New TrioMotion controller allowed for precise timing in the synchronization of valves, necessary for creating specific chocolate recipes. For example, it could synchronize valves to begin pouring the chocolate into the mold, introduce caramel at the right time, close the caramel valve, then close the chocolate valve shortly thereafter. The result? A perfectly rendered chocolate treat!
The client was able to significantly reduce setup time and improve ease of use.
Key Benefits of the Technology:
- Saved time and increased efficiency; with automatic adjustments, setup time for recipes was reduced to nearly zero.
- Added reliability and reduced room for human error in machine configuration for recipes.
- Operators gained significantly more control over the machine, as everything was adjustable through one HMI.
- Centralized controls enhanced ease of use for operators.
- Enabled very precisely controlled timing.
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